|“||This isn't one of your silly little mysteries! You can't solve me so easily!||„|
|~ Ben Ravencroft's most famous quote.|
Benjamin "Ben" Ravencroft is the main antagonist of the 1999 direct-to-video film Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost. He is a famous horror writer whose ancestress was an evil witch named Sarah Ravencroft, who had been imprisoned in a spellbook centuries ago. He is also the former idol and now archenemy of Velma Dinkley.
He was voiced by Tim Curry, who also played Goblin King in Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King, Hexxus in FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Rooster Hannigan in Annie, Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island, Maestro Forte in Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, Drake in The Pebble and the Penguin, Dr. Slicer in Recess, Big Bayou in the Courage the Cowardly Dog series, Belial in The Legend of Atlantis by Golden Films, Big Brother in Johnny Bravo, IT/Pennywise in the TV adaptation of Stephen King's IT, and Slagar the Cruel in the TV adaptation of Mattimeo.
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 by the name of Oakhaven.
However, upon arrival, Ben was surprised to find his hometown was flooded with tourists because of the Autumn Fest and a concert featuring the Hex Girls, and was angered to find out that his ancestress had gained publicity as an evil witch.
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 uncovered the mystery: The Mayor started the Autumn Festival and used Sarah Ravencroft's reputation as a witch for a gimmick to increase Oakhaven's popularity, and all of 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 fireballs. The local restaurant owner named Jack had hoisted McKnight on the cherry-picker while it was driven by the hardware store owner, and the fan used to create the eerie wind was operated by someone else. Ben scolded everyone involved in the scheme for lining their pockets by dragging Sarah Ravencroft's name through the mud.
Later that night at Ben's house, the gang was visited by the Mayor and Mr McKnight, who came to apologize and explained why they had used Sarah's image: they had accidentally dug up her grave. The town had found Sarah's gravestone in a large bulldozed pile of dirt and rocks while building the puritan village for their Autumn Festival but they had found nothing else.
However, a stray remark by McKnight led Velma to figure out where the book was buried. She and Scooby led them all to the big tree stump, where Scooby had found an old shoe buckle earlier that day. As Scooby dug deeper, he eventually found a box, which contained the book Ben had been searching for all those years. But upon seeing its sinister appearance, Velma became concerned and remarked that it did not seem to be a journal in any way.
It was there that Ben revealed his true colours: he confirmed it was not a journal but a spellbook. He then told everyone that Sarah had indeed been an evil witch who had been imprisoned in her own spellbook by Wiccans. Velma called him out for lying to her, but Ben showed no remorse for manipulating her and told her that he figured Mystery, Inc. could help him after reading about their exploits. Ben also explained that their meeting was no coincidence: he was the one who engineered the whole mummy scheme, paying the archaeologists and the security guards, just so they could meet. He didn't tell them the truth about the book because if they had known they would never have helped him.
Ben declared that he would free Sarah and unlock her power. Reading a spell, Ben called upon the dark powers that he inherited from Sarah and then successfully freed Sarah from her imprisonment. However he was horrified to learn that she did not have interest in ruling the world and she would rather destroy it, and that she didn't care about the well-being of her own descendant. Realizing his awful mistake, Ben attempted to imprison Sarah by casting a different spell but it did not work. Sarah revealed that only a Wiccan could imprison her with the spell, and encased him within a shell of mystic energy, 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 cast the spell to imprison Sarah just as the witch laid her hands upon it in a futile attempt to stop her. Ben was then freed from his bondage, but Sarah quickly grabbed him by his ankle as she was sucked back into the pages declaring that she would not go back alone. Ben struggled to get free but he was ultimately dragged into the book with Sarah, both of them screaming in terror. A flaming tree branch then fell upon the book and burnt it, sealing the malevolent Ravencrofts inside for all eternity or killing them and ending their threats to the world.
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 spellbook, 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 legendary horror author 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 before Tim Curry was cast.