Do you believe in ghosts? If you answered “no” then you might just change your mind if you visit Winchester Mystery House. So read on to see why this house has stairs leading to nowhere and why it was under constant construction for 38 years.
Winchester Mystery House is a sprawling mansion in San Jose, California. It was once owned by Sarah Winchester which is where it gets its name from. In 1862 Sarah married a man named William Wirt Winchester. He was the son of Oliver Fisher Winchester who manufactured the prominent Winchester repeating rifle. But in sad circumstance in 1866, their infant daughter died of marasmus- a disease not then well understood. From then Sarah slipped into a dark depression and, with the early death of her husband 15 years later from tuberculosis, it’s easy to see why she would be distraught.
It’s said that she then went to visit a medium who told her the deaths of her family were due to spirits of American Indians killed in the civil war by the Winchester rifle who were now taking their revenge. The medium inferred she would be next unless she moved west and built a great house for the spirits. As long as construction never stopped on the house, the medium said the spirits would be appeased.
Sarah Winchester immediately bought an eight room house in Santa Clara Valley and hired carpenters to work in shifts all day and all night. The once unimposing residence quickly became an expansive seven story mansion. It’s said she had a room which she visited each night on her own in order to contact the spirits and ask them about the construction. The next morning she would hand over plans to the head of construction who would then implement them. As Sarah was not exactly a practised architect, there were some pretty unusual constructions as she rebuilt over rooms to keep the construction going.
Due to the millions of dollars she’d inherited from the passing of her husband and mother-in-law, she owned 50% of the shares to the Winchester rifle company and had enough money to continue building for the 38years until her death in 1922. Due to her income of over $1,000 per day (the equivalent of over $22,000 today), no expense was spared in the mansions construction. The house had the best quality of building materials there were included Tiffany windows and gold-plated screws. The house would’ve cost around $5.5 million- this would be equivalent to over $71 million today.
Among the strange interior are a staircase which leads to the ceiling and a staircase with a window at the top that can be climbed through to reach another staircase leading down. Many ghosts and strange happenings have been reported in the house and surrounding gardens.
Whether Winchester House is truly haunted and what Sarah Winchesters intentions were remain a mystery but despite this the house is a beautiful and awing experience with a deep and intriguing history that might just give you goosebumps as well an interesting example of architecture. Make sure to visit MyTravelMoney.co.uk to compare travel money rates and get the best deal before you go!