Legend has it that when her husband and daughter died, Winchester Rifles heiress Sarah Winchester went to a spiritual medium to communicate with her loved ones. She was told that the people who died due to the rifles they were selling would continue haunting her for revenge. Thus, Sarah built the Winchester Mystery House.
Located in San Jose, California, the Winchester Mystery House has become one of the most popular attractions across the world. Various tours of the home are offered, explaining the history of the home and the legends that accompany it. Here are some of the details that you should know about the house:
|Photo Credit: All That's Interesting|
The House Was Under Constant Construction for 38 Years
For more than three consecutive decades, Sarah built the mansion. She hired a crew of carpenters who split shifts so construction could go on day and night, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, for 38 years. It stopped only when Sarah died in her sleep. It is believed that the carpenters quit their work so abruptly upon hearing the news of her death that they left half-hammered nails protruding from walls.
|Photo Credit: Penn State News|
The Mansion Was Designed to Confuse Ghosts
According to Mental Floss, an online magazine with a related American digital, print, and e-commerce media company focused on millennials, the Winchester Mystery House has 950 doors, 10,000 windows, 40 stairways, 52 skylights, 47 fireplaces, six kitchens, plus a trio of elevators, and once-groundbreaking elements such as an indoor shower, electricity, carbide gaslights, and wool insulation.
|Photo Credit: India Times|
Obsession With the Number 13
For some people, the number 13 has unlucky connotations. However, Sarah had some sort of fortuitous meaning to it that the number 13 can be found almost everywhere in the house. For instance, there are staircases with 13 steps, rooms with 13 windows, walls with 13 panels, chandeliers that can hold 13 candles, 13 bathrooms (with 13 windows in the 13th bathroom) and many more.
|Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons|
Doors and Windows Lead to Nowhere; Odd Staircases
The mansion is also known for its doors and windows that lead to nowhere. In fact, there is one particular door on the second floor that opens directly outside to a two-story drop. Aside from that, one set of stairs in the mansion goes straight into the ceiling. According to Ranker, a digital media company that features polls on entertainment, brands, sports and culture, Sarah had her workers create some staircases with tiny risers built-in since she had arthritis. Each step of the stairs is barely more than an inch off the floor.
|Photo Credit: CBS San Francisco|
New Rooms Are Still Being Discovered
The Winchester Mystery House is so huge, people keep on finding new rooms. For instance, workers discovered a room inside the house in 1975, latched closed by a 1910 lock on the door. The forgotten room had two chairs and an early 1900 phonograph speaker hidden inside. The most recent discovery of a new room was in 2016.
|Photo Credit: Atlas Obscura|
Staff That Never Left
Sarah treated the staff of her mansion well, although some reports say she didn't. Some even continued working on her house after she died, refusing to leave their jobs even in death. Countless reports of servants and workers being sighted have been reported by both visitors and staff since the mansion has been opened to tourists.
|Photo Credit: The Mercury News|
The Mansion Used to Be Larger
In 1906, a massive earthquake hit Northern California. One of the most affected was the Winchester Mystery House. Since the mansion was not immune to devastation like this, it caused three floors of the then seven-story house to cave in. Sarah was trapped in her room for hours before she was found and rescued. Being the superstitious woman she was, Sarah took the earthquake as a sign of higher intervention from displeased spirits.
|Photo Credit: Biography|
Sarah is Still Home
Many people believe that Sarah still resides in the mansion. After all, this was all her idea. Tour guide staff and visitors have reported seeing her apparition in several parts of the house. She is usually seen wandering close by what was her bedroom, keeping a watchful eye over her home.