If you are ever in the San Francisco Bay Area, a visit to the Winchester Mystery House is a must. The Winchester Mystery House is a sprawling 160-room mansion that was once the home of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester. After her husband’s death, Sarah became convinced that she was cursed by the spirits of all those killed by Winchester rifles. In an attempt to placate these vengeful ghosts, she began construction on a massive new home in 1884, and she never stopped building. As a result, the Winchester Mystery House is full of oddities and curiosities, such as dead-end hallways, staircases that lead to nowhere, and doors that open onto walls.
A Brief History
Sarah Winchester inherited her husband’s fortune when he died of tuberculosis in 1881. She also inherited 50% of the stock in their family’s rifle company- the famous Winchester Repeating Arms Company. At the time of her husband’s death, she was living in New Haven, Connecticut with their young daughter, Annie.
Shortly after William’s death, Sarah began experiencing strange dreams. In these dreams, she saw ghosts who were killed by Winchester rifles. These ghosts told her that she was cursed and that she needed to move west and build a house for them. So in 1884, Sarah packed up her daughter and her belongings and headed to California.
When they arrived in San Jose, Sarah bought an unfinished farmhouse on 162 acres of land and began construction on what would become the Winchester Mystery House. For 38 years, Sarah continued to add on to the house, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a result, the house now has 160 rooms, 2160 windows, 47 fireplaces, 10 thousand website feet of plumbing tubing ( enough to stretch from San Francisco to Los Angeles), 13 bathrooms, 6 kitchens, 3 elevators , 9 stairways ( 8 of which lead to dead ends), and 2 basements.
Due to its haphazard construction , the house is full of oddities and curiosities , such as doors that open onto walls , staircases that go nowhere , skylights positioned over/*in*/ closets , and windows overlooking other rooms . It is said that Sarah built these odd features to confuse and mislead the ghosts who were haunting her .
The Winchester Mystery House is truly a one-of-a-kind destination . If you are ever in San Jose , be sure to take a tour !
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