Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday Weird: The Winchester Mystery House

Today we've got the Winchester Mystery House, mostly because I just read an article talking about how soon people will be able to stay in the Winchester Mystery House, which would be awesome and fun.

The Winchester Mystery House was built by Sarah Winchester, widow of William Winchester, the son of the first president of the Winchester Repeating Arms company. They built guns. A lot of guns. And made a lot of money doing it.

When William died, Sarah inherited a lot of money, amounting to roughly $1000 a day, which is a crap ton today, let alone in the 1800s. After visiting a medium, Sarah believed her family had been killed by the ghosts of people shot with Winchester rifles. She thought she could save her life by building a mansion which would never be finished. So she set about doing just that.

Picture of the 7 story house before it was damaged in a 1906 earthquake and brought down to 4 stories 

Sarah died in 1922 in a house that spans 6 acres with 160 rooms, including stairways that lead nowhere, doors and cabinets that open into walls, skylights placed into floors, and a hidden séance room at the center of the house.




Sarah also designed a number of her home's aspects and rooms to repeat the number 13 — rooms with thirteen windows, thirteen fireplaces in one suite, thirteen gas lights on a chandelier, thirteen holes in her kitchen drain, etc. Except for servants, Sarah Winchester lived alone in her house from 1884 until 1922, talking mostly to dead people and ghosts.

The Winchester Mystery House has long been considered haunted by visitors and employees. Tour guides have heard their names called, people have seen a carpenter pushing a wheelbarrow in the basement, frequently tours will catch the smell of food cooking.  In fact, the Winchester Mystery House keeps a log of sightings or experiences. You can even look at them broken out by different rooms (Sarah Winchester's Bedroom has 100 experiences listed alone).

Have you ever visited the Winchester Mystery House? If so, was it awesome? Or creepy? Would you pay to spend the night?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That would be such a cool place to visit. I heard they do special 'ghost tours' at night around Halloween.

Talli Roland said...

Creeepppppy! You wouldn't catch me in there, that's for sure.

Dan said...

Awesome. This place has been on my bucket list for years.

Rena said...

Right, so this is one of those places... as in, I pass a billboard of it every day. LITERALLY. The Winchester Mystery House is just a three hour drive from where I live right now.

First things first, that era was prone to laudanum and seances. It was supposed to be the new religion (it wasn't), powered by science (yeah, missed that part, too), but it was very en vogue and very riddled with charlatans who were very good at getting money from people.

I don't think they are filled with ghosts, but I dare say a place is only as haunted as it is believed to be. With that house, that's a lot. And to be clear, the proprietor was CRACKED. Like a lot. Seriously disturbed. So yeah, I'm not interested in staying the night in the madwoman's house, but anytime you want to go touring, you can chill at my place and we'll take a drive down.

mshatch said...

Wow, that's crazy and a bit sad that Sarah felt so much guilt over the guns. I would love to visit that house.

Leandra Wallace said...

How awesome would it be to get to tour this place w/out a tour guide? Give me several hours to putter about this place all on my own, and I'd be in heaven. But only during the day!

Matthew MacNish said...

This is ridiculously cool.

Montanamarynotmartha said...

Yes, it's awesome and creepy! Only her neice ever visited her. She has million-dollar tiffany doors all over the place - even a tiffany window that is places where the sun never shines through it. Safety-wise some of the doors on upper floors open out to nothing - don't drink before you tour!

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