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The Winchester Mystery House

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posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 03:42 AM

The Winchester Mystery House, well known for it's staircases that lead to knowhere, and more importantly, the many ghost activity that takes place. Located in California this mansion was worked on for over 38 years, in which the owner Sarah Winchester was always changing, re-painting, furnishing, and building this amazing home.Day and night the sounds of saws, hammers, and nails filled the air in the home and around it. Nothing ever stayed the same in the Winchester Home, but one thing has always remained, the question of why exactly Sarah kept up so much work on the home and never stopped changing and building, even up to her death.

Sarah Winchester

Born in 1840, Sarah was the daughter of a carriage maker, and was known around Connecticut as the Belle of New Haven. Sarah had a wealthy upbringing and attended the best private schools, in which she learned 4 different langauges and played piano. In 1862 she married the son of Oliver Winchester, whom invented the famous Winchester repeating rifle, and owned the Winchester Repeating Arms company. Sarah and William had an amazing relationship together, even moving into the best New England society. But things took a turn for the worst, and in 1866 after a few weeks of giving birth to there only Daughter, Annie, became ill with a childhood disease known as marasmus, and passed away. Naturally, Sarah became severly depressed, and did not get better. Then in 1880, her husbands father passed away. And if things couldnt get worse, the following year her husband William passed away from tuberculosis.

Upon Olivers death, Sarah inherited 50 percent of the ownership of Winchester Rifle Company, and reportedly made 1,000 dollars a day. Which in today's terms would be like making 22,000 a day. She ultimately sought out a medium, whom told Sarah that her family was cursed by the dead people who had passed away in result of the Winchester Rifle. The medium told her to move west, and to build a house for herself and the spirits who were around her. She told Sarah that if she were to ever stop construction on the house, she would die. Sarah believed this to be true and very quickly moved to California to build the house we know today as The Winchester Mystery House.

The house was an eight room farmhouse on 161 acres of land in San Jose. She began spending her money on immediatly adding multiple rooms. The work never stopped. It went on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year every year for 38 years. Sarah was known to be very eccentric, as anyone would be when going through so many losses. In the neighborhood many people and neighbors speculated on her. She was very rarely seen by many people or even her workers, which she treated very generously by paying them 3 times the amount to work for her. One of the first tasks was to build a huge cypress gate surrounding the house so that nobody could see in. She also donated to many charities. The neighborhood children were more than welcome to play in her yard, and she would give them ice cream and invite them in to play piano. She often wore a dark veil and its belived if any of the servants saw her face, they were fired.

Neighbors reported that they started hearing bells which went off at midnight and 2am, and many believe this to be the time when spirits come and go. Some people even said Sarah never slept in the same bedroom more than two nights, to confuse the spirits.

She was also obsessived with the number 13 and incorpareted it into the house, in which there being 13 bathrooms, 13 chandeliers, windows having 13 panes, and more.

After an Earthquake, she was trapped in her room for seven hours. Sarah thought this might have been a sign that the spirits were mad that she was working on the front of the house so much, so she started building in the other areas.

There was no real plan to the building of the house, and rooms were often torn down and rebuilt or left, so the workers needed a map to navigate through the house. The house has doors that open to walls, stairs that lead to nowhere, and windows that look into walls.

Unfortuatly Sarah developed arthitirs and was in pain alot in her later years, and she passed away from heart failure in 1922 at the age of 83. She was buried beside her husband in New Haven, Connecitcut. She left a will that had thirteen sections, and she signed it thirteen times. The belongings were left to her niece, and ultimately was sold to the highest bidder, and 5 months later, the house was opened to anyone who wanted a tour.


Many of the workers believed Sarah could walk through walls and windows, and claimed she often spied on them. She did in fact build elaborate features in the house so that she could keep an eye on them while they were working, and often snuck up behind them and quietly watched them work.

She even had a very good memory, as she knew the location of every single item in the house. When she died, a workman told a story of when he was asked to fix the gate, there was only six colored screws in the work room of which he was to use. When Sarah discovered one missing, she said "Those were gold plated! We need to use something cheaper."

She even liked to test the workers to see how loyal they were. She once told a worker to paint and entire room, walls and ceilings, with red enamel. Three days later, she asked him to paint that very same room, back to white. Another time, she had three applicants whom she was to pick one to hire as the gardener. She asked all of them to plant a row of cabbage upside down. The first guy did so and did not say anything, the second one refused to do it at all, and the third agree'd to do it, but stated to Sarah that they normally were planted right side up. The third guy obviously got the job, because he recognized she was the boss, but was not afraid to speak his mind.

The House

Door to Nowhere

Odd staircases

Windows in the floor.

Shelves on the ceiling.

The house is 4 stories high, contains 47 fireplaces, 10,000 window panes, 160 rooms, 40 bedrooms, and much more. It has many features that were very modern at the time, including forced air heating, modern toilets, push button gas lights, hot showers, and three elevators.

Stained Glass

She supposedly thought spirits hate windows, so she got many of her windows made from Tiffany, importanted, and very expensive. One of the man beautys of the house.

There are two stained glass windows, in which a quote from Shakespear is imprinted on. The quotes read "There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lip, Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out At every joint and motive of her body. O! these encounterers, so glib of tongue, That give a coasting welcome ere it comes, And wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts To every tickling reader, set them down For sluttish spoils of opportunity And daughters of the game."

The excerpt on the window, "wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts" may mirror Mrs. Winchester's own feelings about her younger self.


One night, a caretaker at the mansion said he had heard the sound of a screw slowly turning, and a thud as if it hit the floor. He turned on the lights and looked around, but didn't see anything.

Another employee seemed to have a particular spirit who began bothering him. After a long night at the mansion he locked the doors and set the alarm, when he returned, the doors were all unlocked. He was completely alone in the house at the time. Another night, he walked through the house at the end of the day and locked the doors and shut off all the lights, when he returned to his car he looked up to see all the lights right back on the third floor. And finally, one morning he went to his desk to find that it was drenched with water, and all the paperwork was soaked. It rained the night before, but it didnt make sense that nothing else was wet, not even floor. Only his desk.

There have also been many tourists who claim to smell soup cooking in the kitchen, even though the kitchen hasnt been used for decades. Theres also stories of the organ in the Blue Room being heard playing when nobody is around. Sarah also conducted many seances in The Blue Room.

During a tour one time, a tourist asked where the man with the wheelbarrow was. Nobody knew what he meant as there was nobody in the house with a wheelbarrow. He decribed the man as having a mustache and wearing overalls. When he was given this picture below, he pointed out the man he had saw in the basement.

Sarah has also been seen by many tourists in the house. Many claim to feel a prescence near the elevator shaft, feel hot and cold spots in the seance room, and hear footsteps in the 13th bathroom.

Several years ago, the Office Manager for the Winchester Mystery House™ was walking through the first floor when she noticed an older woman sitting in a chair in the formal dining room. The woman was small and dressed in Victorian-era clothing, and she didn’t look at or speak to the Office Manager. Later, she asked the Tour Manager why no one had informed her that there was a promotional activity that day. After all, she was the Office Manager, and it was important that she be kept in the loop. “What do you mean? There aren’t any promotions today,” said the Tour Manager. “The lady dressed as Mrs. Winchester? Isn’t she part of a promotion?” “What lady? There’s nothing like that planned for today.” Together they went into the dining room, but there was no one there. The chair where the old woman had been was pushed into place beneath the table, undisturbed.

To read all the occurences and sightings in The Winchester House, please visit this link.

Conclusion: Who knows what exactly went on here at this house. Did she really build the house to confuse the spirits? Was she just bored and needed to keep her mind off things? Did she just not know what else to do with her forture? Whatever happened, this house is surely something to read about, and im sure amazing to see. I hope you all like the thread.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 04:01 AM
My guess would be that a lot of negative things occurred in that house. The number 13 has huge occult meaning. It should be burned!

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 07:00 AM

Originally posted by raip11sniper
My guess would be that a lot of negative things occurred in that house. The number 13 has huge occult meaning. It should be burned!

Burn up all that history? For what?

If anything The house is haunted due to the Winchester legacy. I doubt anything too terrible happened there or else the stories would have made it into the mythology surrounding the house.

Does anyone know if she entertained guests much? I think I remember hearing that she became fairly solitary, but that was from a show that aired a decade or so ago.

There are three possibilities I suppose 1) she really was haunted by the ghosts of the people killed with Winchester rifles 2) she let something evil into the house trying to contact her deceased family or 3) she went bananas trying to contact her dead family.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 07:12 AM
I think there is a lot more to this story than we know.I have read that the women who built it may have been the target of a hoax.She was enveloped in the occult and had very shady friends that possibly went out of there way to make her believe it was haunted in order to keep charging her large amounts of money to perform rituals and supposedly rid it of ghosts.I think they took advantage of a rich gullible and lonely women.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 07:20 AM
Just an interesting Tidbit... This house was Stephen King's inspiration for Rose Red.

n an interview with TV Guide, King admits that the story was inspired by the Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California. He first saw the story of the house in one of the “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” comics when he was a kid and remembered it for years after. “According to ’Believe it or Not’”, King recalled, “Oliver Winchester, who invented the famous repeating rifle that won the west, left a daughter-in-law with a belief in Spiritualism when he went to his reward. At one seance, Sarah Winchester asked the medium, ’When will I die?’ .... the medium replied, ’When your house is done’.”

**Opinion** I think this house is amazing and this poor woman had nothing to do but wile away her days working, perhaps she developed a mental disorder with all the trauma in her life, perhaps she was haunted. I don't think we'll ever know for sure, but one thing is certain... the craftsmanship and creativity are amazing!

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 07:25 AM
reply to post by Jess_Undefined

Oh I love this house; it is one of the places I want to see.
I’ve always been so fascinated with this property.

Thank you for the refresh of Sarah and her fantastic house.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 08:04 AM
Wow, thanks for the post! Although it has been years, I've been in that house 3 times. It is a fantastic place to see. It is so strange to see stairs going nowhere, doors with bricks on the other side, etc. I think anyone who visits the bay area in CA should visit!

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 11:00 AM
I heard it was built so weirdly so as to confusing the spirits haunting her.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 11:15 AM
I love the stories behind this strange house.

I have heard many rumors on why she kept adding on to it; one that is often told is that she indeed just wanted to confuse the ghosts.

I think however, she was kind of a nut case to be honest.

A great place to go if you want to get a thrill, the night ghost tours, I hear, are especially thrilling.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 12:04 PM
I went on a tour of that house a few years ago. It was definitely interesting. The thing that surprised me the most about it is that I expected it to be on a large piece of property away from the city (or at least a good distance from the main street). Instead, the house is completely surrounded by the city, and not much of the property has been preserved. It's just enough land for the footprint of the house, and a relatively small front yard with a shed (if I remember correctly). Most of the furniture is gone, so all you have is some empty rooms. The rooms that do contain furniture are not the original pieces belonging to the house. In a way it was kind of disappointing for me, maybe because whenever I heard about it or saw it on TV I always imagined it my own way. The tour guide explained that Mrs. Winchester felt great guilt for the many lives the winchester rifle took over the years, so she put up a few statues in the front garden to commemorate (or appease) the restless spirits. She may have genuinely believed that she was being haunted. The amount of guilt she felt for the many lives lost might have very well driven her insane. That's completely understandable.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 12:12 PM
I have trouble believing that a guy who gets shot and dies suddenly knows the address of the guy who designed the gun that killed him. Surely Henry Fords house should be more haunted. I'll bet more people have been killed by Fords than by winchesters.

posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 12:40 PM

Originally posted by GetToDaChoppah
I have trouble believing that a guy who gets shot and dies suddenly knows the address of the guy who designed the gun that killed him. Surely Henry Fords house should be more haunted. I'll bet more people have been killed by Fords than by winchesters.

That depends on what you believe. If you believe that spirits live on past death and are in tune with the universal consciousness, then getting some guy's address wouldn't be very difficult at all.
Besides,.... even if she wasn't being haunted it was her GUILT that drove her mad, not the actual act of being haunted by real spirits. At least that's my humble opinion on it.

posted on May, 1 2011 @ 03:09 AM
I just went on Friday Apr 29th after seeing your post. Thanks for the reminder, I hadn't been there for years. It's a very cool mansion with a nice collection of foreign flowers and plants from all over the world. I wish I could just walk around by myself though with headphones, like Alcatraz. I didn't see/hear anything spooky, but the place gives me a thrill anyways.

posted on May, 1 2011 @ 09:11 AM
Great Thread Jess.

I love stuff like this. Excellent work, hope everything is well with you and David.

Originally posted by Jess_Undefined

She was also obsessived with the number 13 and incorpareted it into the house, in which there being 13 bathrooms, 13 chandeliers, windows having 13 panes, and more.

posted on May, 1 2011 @ 09:19 AM
I think the house is magnificent and occurs you can tell that paranoia was part of the architecture.

I would love to visit one day.

I watched the Ghost Hunters episode on the house and they barely found anything paranormal in it.

I also watched the Ghost Adventures episode on the house and they got some voices but not much of paranormal either.

I think that the whole thing and mystery has to do more with the architecture and to attract visitors than anything ghostly.
edit on 1-5-2011 by marg6043 because: (no reason given)

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