Haunted Winchester Mystery House

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The Winchester Mystery House —Some legends say it is haunted by every person killed with a Winchester Rifle.

sarah-winchesterDeeply saddened by the deaths of her daughter Annie in 1866 and her young husband in 1881, and seeking solace, Winchester consulted a medium on the advice of a psychic. According to popular history, during a séance, the medium told Winchester there was a curse on the Winchester family because the guns had killed so many. The psychic told Winchester her husband and child died because of vengeful spirits and she was next.”

The Boston Medium told Winchester that she must “build a home for the spirits who have fallen from this terrible weapon. You must never stop building the house. If you stop, you will die.”

Sarah Winchester inherited more than $20.5 million upon her husband’s death. She also received nearly 50 percent ownership of the Winchester Rifle Company. Giving her an income of roughly $1,000 per day. This amount today is roughly equivalent to $21,000 a day so she was well able to fund the mansion she began building.

In 1884, Sarah began a construction project that lasted thirty-eight years. The Victorian mansion is filled with so mstrwyldingnowhreany unexplained oddities, that it has come to be known as the Winchester Mystery House.

For the next 36 years, they built and rebuilt, altered and changed and constructed and demolished one section of the house after another. She kept 22 carpenters at work, year around, 24 hours each day.  The sounds of hammers and saws sounded throughout the day and night.

There were countless staircases which led nowhere; a blind chimney that stops short of the ceiling; closets that opened to blank walls; trap doors; double-back hallways; skylights that were located one above another; doors that opened to steep drops to the lawn below; and dozens of other oddities.

Nearly all of the windows contained 13 panes of glass; the walls had 13 panels; the greenhouse had 13 cupolas; many of the wooden floors contained 13 sections; some of the rooms had 13 windows and every staircase but one had 13 steps. This exception is unique in its own right…. it is a winding staircase with 42 steps, which would normally be enough to take a climber up three stories. In this case, however, the steps only rise nine feet because each step is only two inches high. Only 2 mirrors were installed in the house…. Sarah believed that ghosts were afraid of their own reflection.

When the great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 struck the fireplace in the Daisy Room (where Mrs. Winchester was sleeping on the night of the earthquake) collapsed, shifting the room and trapping Sarah inside. She became convinced that the earthquake had been a sign from the spirits who were furious that she had nearly completed the house. Sarah never slept in the same bedroom two nights in a row and she spent from midnight to two a.m. conversing with spirits. On September 4, 1922, after a conference session with the spirits in the seance room, Sarah went to her bedroom for the night. At some point in the early morning hours, she died in her sleep at the age of 83. The building stopped the next day.

winchester_mystery_house-b4-earthquakeSarah had managed to spend nearly every penny of her wealth. Rumor had it that somewhere in the house was hidden a safe containing a fortune in jewelry and a solid-gold dinner service with which Sarah had entertained her ghostly guests. Her relatives forced open a number of safes but found only old fishlines, socks, newspaper clippings about her daughter’s and her husband’s deaths, a lock of baby hair, and a suit of woolen underwear. No solid gold dinner service was ever discovered.

One of the first to see the place when it opened to the public was Robert L. Ripley, who featured the house in his popular column, “Believe it or Not.”

In the years that the house has been open to the public, employees and visitors alike have had unusual encounters here. There have been footsteps; banging doors; mysterious voices; windows that bang so hard they shatter; cold spots; strange moving lights; doorknobs that turn by themselves. Some special events include flashlight tours every Friday the 13th and at Halloween.  

 

Mary Connealy
Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series
https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules
Updated: October 24, 2009 — 12:59 pm

23 Comments

  1. Mary,
    I’ve read about this house before. I love it.

  2. Awesome. I just watched a special on this last night on TV. Incredibly sad story. I also visited there 2 years ago and was awestruck by the oddness of the entire house. I wish I had more time to visit, those tours are too short.

  3. Have read and heard of this house and find it facinating. Would love to visit it one day.

  4. I found a whole list of American mansions when i was reading about this one.

    a lot of them took decades to build and they don’t accuse Vanderbilt or Henry Ford of being crazy…NOW DO THEY!!!????????????

  5. Hi Mary! What a story this woman had! It’s perfect for Halloween. Happy trick or treating to everyone!

  6. Truth is stranger than fiction, isn’t it? a perfect post for Halloween. Happy pumpkin carving, all!

  7. Mary, I’ve never heard of this and what an absolute waste of money. Dang! Can you imagine how much GOOD she could’ve done with all that cash?

    Amazing, amazing.

    HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

  8. Mary,

    This is so exciting. I watched a documentary on this house and it was so sad. I can only imagine what this woman must have felt.

    Thanks for sharing this post

    Melinda

  9. Hi Mary, we took the kids to visit the Mystery House and it is indeed weird. Yet strangely beautiful. Poor Sarah. She probably belonged in one of those feeble-minded places.

    Happy “boo” day, everybody.

  10. Honestly, Pam, she kept a whole town full of carpenters employed for three decades. That’s something. 🙂

  11. A home for those furiously mad you mean, Tanya. 🙂

    Look at that picture of the stairway that goes nowhere. Really stare at it. Very odd. The stairs just go straight up to the ceiling and there is what looks like a handrail…on the ceiling.

    What in the world?

  12. You know, re-read about the deaths of her child and husband…seriously…fifteen years apart. ’61-’88 this isn’t like BLOW AFTER BLOW LANDED ON THE HEAD OF THIS FRAGILE WOMAN.

    Now is it???

    She was a little bit of a flake from the get go, I’m thinkin’.

  13. What a fascinating story. I would love to see the place.

  14. What a house. Interesting.

  15. This was amazing!!! I am adding this to my must see historical sights. Makes Molly Brown House boring.

  16. Avatar

    Had heard of this house before. Unfortunately, we hadn’t heard of it until after we moved from Sacramento, CA. We were close enough to have visited. Will go if we get back out that way.
    It really is a shame she spent the later part of her life in such a state. All that money and she wasn’t happy. She may have kept a town of builders and suppliers employed, but she really didn’t LIVE the rest of her life. She just existed in fear.
    Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

  17. I had never heard of this! I wonder how many square feet are in that house! Whew! Too bad she spent her money on “dead-end” stairs instead of helping others. *Sigh*
    Great house for Halloween! Thanks for sharing.

  18. I agree with Martha, so much good could have come
    through all that money!

    Pat Cochran

  19. Before i ever heard about the house of Sarah i had dreams every night about her coming to me saving me from a man out for her money. ever sense whenever i say “Sarah” i can kinda see her and get a feeling of a presecence. in the dream she showed me the way through the house and to her “tresure” i know i have somthing to do with her i need to get to this house a.s.a.p!!!

  20. how sad that she spent her money on building a mansion for thirty years instead of spending it on her own.its true she did live a life with fear but i mean its normal everyone has something to be afraid of.dont try to runaway from nothing cause you are gonna hide from it your whole life, and you are never gonna let go ,stand up for yourselves. Sarah kept on hiding from her fears but she had to face them somehow.thats my advice to peeople who are afraid to face their fears band stand up for themselves.

  21. I really want to go there! I find it funny how she died at age 83 and the house took 38 years to make 🙂
    How many rooms there are also make me happy 🙂
    Its to bad she didn’t think to make the 42 steps stair case climb 13 feet hahaha!

  22. Honestly I didn’t believe people wene they said it was real………now u no the truth this is one big house……..

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