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Ernest is first met by Maria when she encounters him behind a locked door in the Baldwin Mansion. He resides within the mansion, but seems no longer to be a physical entity, perhaps eluding to the idea that he may be a ghost. This is further implied by a message which is found outside the mansion — "Keep out of Haunted Mansion"
This message may have been written by an outsider, but there is a possibility it may have been written by Ernest himself.
One thing is known about Ernest, is that he doesn't like to be disturbed, evidenced when Maria meets him for the first time where throughout their conversation he will frequently tell her that he wants to be alone......