Today, I’m focusing on the Winchester Mystery House. Have you heard about this mansion that is located in San Jose, California? Have you been there? It’s claimed that some people are there and they have never left. The Winchester Mystery House is just that – a mystery. It was the residence of Sarah Winchester.
In 1862, she married William Winchester – who came from the family that created the famous Winchester guns. Everything seemed like it was grand and wonderful …for a while.
In 1866, the Winchester’s infant daughter, Annie, passed away from a childhood disease called marasmus. (Marasmus is a form of severe malnutrition and causes a child to look emaciated.) Losing her child caused Mrs. Winchester to fall into a deep depression.
In 1881, Mrs. Winchester’s husband, William, passed away from tuberculosis. Can you imagine watching two of your very close loved ones pass away so early in life? Mrs. Winchester was beside herself and sought help from a spiritualist. Through consulting with the spiritualist, Mrs. Winchester believed her family and her fortune were haunted by the ghosts of the people who had fallen victim to the family Winchester rifles. She was advised that the only way she could appease the ghosts was to move west and build them a house. Not just a house but to continuous build them a house.
In 1884, Mrs. Winchester moved west to San Jose, California and bought an unfinished farmhouse . Work began immediately. Mrs. Winchester would hold nightly seances to speak with the spirits to help guide her in how the house would be worked on the following date. In the morning, she would meet with her construction workers and give them the plans. Did the plans make sense? You decide.
- There are roughly 160 rooms, including 40 bedrooms;
- 2 ballrooms (one completed and one unfinished);
- 47 fireplaces;
- Over 10,000 panes of glass;
- 17 chimneys (with evidence of two others);
- 2 basements with three elevators.
- It has gold and silver chandeliers and hand-inlaid parquet floors and trim;
- There are doors and stairways that lead nowhere and a vast array of colors and materials.
- The home’s conveniences were rare at the time of its construction. These included steam and forced-air heating, modern indoor toilets and plumbing, push-button gas lights and Mrs. Winchester’s personal (and only) hot shower from indoor plumbing.
- The number 13 is repeated frequently in the home – whether in stairs, candles, wall hooks, stained glass windows or even 13 holes in the drain covers. Also every Friday the 13th, the large bell on the property is rung 13 times at 1300 hours in tribute to Winchester. Mrs. Winchester even signed her will 13 times leaving everything to a niece and personal secretary.
Construction continued every day around the clock until Mrs. Winchester died on September 5, 1922. Upon her death, all hammering ceased. When they looked in Mrs. Winchester’s safe they found the things that meant the most to her. Not money. Not diamonds. Not riches. It was two pieces of hair – one from her husband and one from her daughter.
And until this day, it is said that you can still hear the construction work taking place, that you can see the workers inside and outside of the home. And, people still say that Mrs. Winchester herself is still in the home.