|“||This isn't one of of your silly little mysteries! You can't solve me so easily!||„|
|~ Ben Ravencroft's most famous quote.|
Benjamin "Ben" Ravencroft is the secondary antagonist of the 1999 animated film Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost. He is a famous horror writer whose ancestor was an evil witch named Sarah Ravencroft, who had been imprisoned in a spell book centuries ago.
He was voiced by legendary actor Tim Curry, who also played Hexxus in FernGully: The Last Rainforest by 20th Century Fox, Rooster Hannigan in Annie, Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island, Maestro Forte in Disney's Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, Drake in Don Bluth's The Pebble and the Penguin, Big Bayou in the Courage the Cowardly Dog series, Belial in The Legend of Atlantis by Golden Films, and IT/Pennywise in the TV mini-series adaption of Stephen King's IT.
Ben first appeared in a museum, helped the gang to solve the Babylonian Mummy mystery, claimed that he had been doing research for a novel when he saw the archaeologists acting suspiciously, and decided to investigate. He then revealed he knew them by reputation, much to Velma's honor, as she was a huge fan of his, and he invited them to his hometown, Oakhaven.
However, upon arrival, Ben was surprised to find his hometown had become flooded with tourists because of the Autumn Fest and a concert featuring the Hex Girls, and was made uncomfortable to find the event was portraying his ancestress as an evil witch and ghost.
He spent time with the gang, while also talking about his ancestress, Sarah Ravencroft, and desired to find her journal to prove she had been a compassionate healer and a Wiccan, not an evil witch. That night, he, Fred, Velma, and Daphne, ran into Scooby-Doo and Shaggy who claimed that they had been chased by the Witch's Ghost. They followed a source of light and witnessed the Hex Girls rehearsing for the concert. They introduced themselves as Thorn, Dusk, and Luna, and were also fans of Ben.
After they talked to the Hex Girls, Fred and Daphne stayed to keep an eye on them, while Velma, Ben, Scooby, and Shaggy continued the investigation. Velma sent Scooby and Shaggy to follow the Mayor while she and Ben investigated an old barn. There, they found a cherry-picker truck, with the engine still warm.
Eventually, the gang and Ben uncovered the mystery: The Mayor, to raise Oakhaven's tourist industry, started the Autumn Fest and used Sarah Ravencroft's reputation as a witch for a gimmick. The townspeople had pitched in to help: Thorn's father, Mr. McKnight, had posed as the Witch's Ghost, and used one of his daughter's props to throw flash-paper, which mimicked fireballs. The local restaurant owner, Jack, had hoisted McKnight on the cherry-picker while it was driven by another participant, as was the fan used to create the eerie wind operated by another. Outraged, Ben expressed disappointment in the Mayor and all the culprits in his scheme for dragging Sarah's name through the mud.
Later that night at Ben's house, he, the gang, and the Hex Girls were visited by the Mayor and Mr. McKnight, who came to apologize and explained why they had used Sarah's image: They discovered her gravestone while building the puritan village for their Autumn Fest, but had found nothing else, no bones or Sarah's book.
Then, a stray remark by McKnight enabled Velma to figure out where the book was buried. She and Scooby led them all to the Big Tree Stump, where Scooby had found a "shoe buckle" earlier that day. Digging deeper, he found a chest, which contained the book Ben had sought for so long. But upon seeing its sinister appearance and opening its horrible pages, Velma concerned Ben, and said that it didn't look like a journal at all.
It was there that Ben revealed his true colors - he confirmed it was no journal but a spellbook, that Sarah Ravencroft had indeed been a witch, and declared himself a warlock as a direct descendant of hers. He explained that the Wiccans had imprisoned Sarah in her own spellbook centuries ago, and that Velma had helped him find it. Velma called him out for lying to her, but he showed no remorse for manipulating her, and he had been searching years for the book, when he came upon her exploits.
He figured Mystery Inc., by their impressive reputation in solving mysteries, could surely help him find the book and then revealed their meeting was not coincidence: Ben was the one who engineered the mummy scheme, and who paid off the archaeologists and the security guards, just so they could meet. He didn't tell them the truth about the book or Sarah, and knew that if the gang had known the truth, they would never have helped him.
Ben then declared that he would free Sarah and unlock her power. Reading a spell, Ben called upon the dark powers that he inherited from Sarah, displayed some of them, and then attempted to free Sarah, only for the gang to interfere. Though Ben succeeded in freeing Sarah from her imprisoning, he is horrified to realize that she had no interest in ruling the world and would rather destroy it, and that she couldn't care less of the well-being of her own descendant. Realizing his awful mistake, a disgusted Ben attempts to seal Sarah back into the book by casting the appropriate spell for it, but she mocked his attempt, revealing that only a Wiccan could imprison her with the spell, and entrapped him within a barrier, much to his anger.
After a mad skirmish over the book, the gang delivered it to Thorn (who was of Wiccan blood on her mother's side) and she successfully casts the spell to imprison Sarah just as the witch laid her hands upon it in a vain attempt to stop her. Ben was then freed from the barrier, but as Sarah was sucked back into its pages, she grabbed Ben by his ankle, declared that she would not go back alone. Ben was dragged into the book with Sarah, both of them screaming in terror.
A flaming tree branch then fell upon the book and burnt it, which sealed the malevolent Ravencrofts inside and ended the threat forever. Although this doesn't specify their fates, it is assumed that they received a punishment far worse than death: they were doomed to live in an unknown prison for all eternity, without being able to be free ever again.
In the beginning, Ben seemed to be a very fair, decent, and intelligent man who showed signs of reciprocating Velma's romantic attraction to him. However, after he used the gang to achieve his goal of finding his ancestress's spell book, he revealed himself to be an evil, arrogant, manipulative, and sadistic megalomaniac with an ambition of world domination.
However, even Ben has his standards regarding what's better for him and the world. His one redeeming quality is present in his disgust upon learning that his wicked ancestor wants to destroy the world rather than rule it and his attempt to undo his error by imprisoning her all over again.
Powers and Abilities
As a direct descendant of Sarah Ravencroft, Ben was a natural warlock, but it appeared that he needed Sarah's spell book to activate his otherwise dormant powers. Though he was completely successful in obtaining the spell book and activating his powers through it, his magic - though no less dark and sinister than that of Sarah's - was still far inferior compared to his ancestress, who trapped him in a ball of mystical green energy after he tried to imprison her back into the spell book, and he proved unable to escape on his own.
- Ben Ravencroft might be a parody of (or based on) the legendary horror novel writer Stephen King (as a coincidence, Tim Curry, Ben's voice actor, portrayed It, a villain created by King). However, he also resembles the late H. P. Lovecraft.
- Though Ben Ravencroft is capable of seeing without his glasses, he is shown having difficulty picking them up when they were knocked off his face, and he ended up putting Velma's glasses on his face by accident.
- Ben seems uncomfortable hearing about the graphically gruesome retelling of one of his book's ending from Velma, and therefore likely relieved that they arrived at the same moment in Oakhaven. Even if this was apart of his act, he still wrote it so it's a little hypocritical of him to act that way. It could be considered a clue to his actual evil nature.
- Maurice LaMarche was considered for the role of Ben Ravencroft.
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