August 17, 2008

Winchester Mystery House

It certainly looks out of place surrounded by modern buildings and parking lots. It certainly is big, almost unbelievably large. It certainly is strange, full of mystery, and seems to have no rhyme or reason to its random layout. The house, built by a woman named Sarah Winchester, was an attempt to attract good karma. Her husband was the second president of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The gun that won the west, was stained with the blood of angry spirits, according to Sarah. Sarah felt the deaths of her husband William Wirt Winchester in 1881 and baby girl Annie Pardee Winchester in 1866, were the result of the angry spirits who were killed by the riffle.

Sarah suffering from the loss of her baby girl and husband consulted a physic. The physic told her to appease the spirits. The physic said that she lost her loved ones because the people who were killed by a Winchester were angry and vengeful. She must move west, and build a house that must never be completed. If the building stopped, Sarah would die. So Sarah, moved from New Haven to San Jose, California and hired workers to began construction on her house in
1884. Night and day workers toiled with the sound of hammers and saws in the background. It didn't stop until Sarah died on September 5, 1922.

Sarah had inherited a fortune from her husband's company, and used it to furnish and build the house. You can find Tiffany glass, hand carved wood, modern indoor plumbing, hand pushed gas lighting, and three elevators inside the mansion. The cost to build was well over 5 million, an amazing sum especially for the late 1800s. The house covers 4 acres, has two basements, 467 doorways, 47 fireplaces, 40 bedrooms, 40 staircases, and 5 kitchens.

Part of the house's purpose was to confuse the angry spirits and keep Sarah safe. To do this, there are countless stairways that lead into walls, doors open to the lawn outside, stair posts that are upside down, skylights that are designed to be one above the other, and bathrooms with glass doors. It's wonderfully strange.

Today, the house is a California Historical Landmark and is registered with the National Park Service as "a large, odd dwelling with an unknown number of rooms." Several different tours of the house are available, including flashlight tours at night on dates around Halloween and each Friday the 13th.

You can find out more about the mansion at

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