The Winchester Mystery House, located in San Jose, California, is strikingly beautiful and yet remarkably strange. It was once the residence of Sarah Winchester.
The widow of William Winchester, she became the heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune after William died from Tuberculosis.
It is said that Winchester was convinced she was being haunted by the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifles and soon led her to build this peculiar mansion. There is much speculation about Sarah’s eccentric and superstitions personality and about the true reason for building the home, but here are a few interesting facts about the Winchester Mystery House.
1. The house was under construction for 38 years.
After purchasing a small farm house, she hired a team who would work in split shifts so construction could continue day and night, every day for 38 years. Work finally ceased in September of 1922 when the heiress died in her sleep.
2. The Number 13
There are many design anomalies in this house, and the number 13 shows up numerous places throughout. Sarah Winchester was said to be obsessed with the number and used it in building staircases with 13 stairs, rooms with 13 windows and even chandeliers that hold exactly 13 candles. There are also 13 panels in the entrance hallway.
3. Stairways and doors that lead to absolutely nothing.
It has been rumored that the reason behind the doors and stairways that lead to nowhere were built to confuse the angry spirits that were haunting her. There are even secret passageways and three ways to get out of the Seance room but only one way to get in.
4. The house is considered one of the most haunted places in America.
One of the tour guides of the mansion confirmed that the third floor is the spookiest place, and has had much paranormal activity. It is not uncommon to hear footsteps, and some guides have heard their name being whispered.
5. The 1906 Earthquake
It is said Sarah felt that the spirits were mad that her building was almost at completion and they caused the earthquake, which damaged a large portion of the mansion and led to Sarah being trapped in the ‘daisy room’. She had to be dug out by her staff, but was unhurt. After the earthquake Sarah had the top three stories of the mansion, torn down and rebuilt.
6. The seance room
Sarah carried with her the only key to get into the seance room in which she would enter every night to speak with the spirits on how to continue building on the mansion. One of the three exits that lead out of the seance room, send you through a closet but after you pass through the door it shuts behind and you cannot enter back into the room.
Visiting the Winchester mystery house
The house is one of San Jose’s largest tourist attractions. Tours of the mansion are offered, showing off 110 rooms and the history as well as the legends that come along with this incredible location. If you are curious to find out more about Sarah Winchester and the Mystery house you can visit their website, here to plan a tour.