Monday, October 10, 2016

Scary October: Winchester Mystery House

It's October, which means I'm sharing spooky stories every week this month. Today's post is about this beautiful house, owned by the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester.



Sarah Winchester's story starts with tragedy. Her daughter died in infancy and her husband died of tuberculosis. Sarah decided to visit a psychic for guidance.


Sarah Winchester

Sarah's husband was best known for "the gun that won the West."




And her "misfortune," the psychic said, was because of all the lives that Winchester rifle had taken. The psychic told her to make her surroundings attractive to kind spirits. Those spirits would keep the evil spirits away. Sarah traveled to California and purchased an eight-room farmhouse. She hired workers who began building.



If you ever tour the house, you'll see how little sense it makes. There are stairways that lead nowhere and doors that open with nothing but solid walls behind them. The house is just a huge maze.



For 38 years, Sarah directed construction as guided by spirits through seances she held. She died in 1922 but some say her spirit remains with the house. Psychics have reported hearing organ music. There is an old organ in the house, but it doesn't work.




Visitors hear footsteps, slamming doors, and strange voices. People have also reported seeing "fog people" in the house.



Do you think the Winchester Mystery House is haunted? Or just an oddly confusing maze of a home?

Check out last week's post on the Waverly Hills Sanitorium. And be sure to come back next week for the next stop on my ghost tour:


58 comments:

  1. From the 1st photo the house looks pretty with nice garden. I would think it is because of the confusing maze and the way the house was built e.g. stairs leading no way and doors opening to solid walls. She must have been in a confused state!

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    1. She was the crazy rich lady of her time, I guess! A woman who cleans houses was telling me about one of her clients who is a "rich hoarder." We don't realize that rich people can have some serious issues behind those pretty walls.

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  2. That would be such a great place to tour. This is what happens when crazy people have money.

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    1. Exactly! I wonder what she would have done if she hadn't had the money to do all that?

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  3. The one who should be doomed to walk the earth is her psychic. What a terrible burden to put on someone who was vulnerable and grief stricken.

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    1. I agree. How awful! Makes me wonder if that psychic didn't have some sort of reason to tell her that.

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    2. Absolutely. I've often thought that, too, but all of that seems to get lost with all the stories surrounding the house. And while I don't know if the house itself is really all that haunted, I do know that spirits exist. The psychic's story to her, about the rifles and ghosts... irresponsible and completely made up if you ask me.

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  4. Can't you just imagine a horror movie set in this house? Let's run up these stairs to get away! But no, they just go up to the ceiling. This door leads to a wall, oh noooo! ;)

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    1. I agree--how fun that would be! But fun fact: the Stephen King book Rose Red (which also became a miniseries) was based on this house's story...although it went in a completely different direction from the real story, of course!

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  5. The Winchester Mystery House is in San Jose, about 50 miles from where I live. My mom's cousins from Oregon came to visit one year and asked to go to the Mystery House. It was my first time there.

    Once at my uncle's house, a friend of his saw a door in the wall that opened to a solid wall. The friend jokingly called it the "Winchester Mystery House." In reality, it was a closet that had been adjacent to the kitchen and to be knocked out when my aunt and uncle expanded the kitchen. The blank space behind the door was decorated with a Bart Simpson poster.

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    1. I definitely want to go someday. I already looked up how far it is from L.A.--so I think our next L.A. trip will include a drive up to San Francisco with a stop in San Jose.

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  6. I've heard of that house but I didn't know the story behind it. I wouldn't be surprised if it were haunted. It looks haunted! ;)

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  7. What a gorgeous house! Not sure why the spirits would be happy with stairs that go nowhere unless they wanted to show off by going through the walls?

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    1. Right? Seems like a place I wouldn't want to be trapped if I were stuck somewhere for an eternity. But then, I'm a bit claustrophobic!

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  8. Of course it's haunted. Way too much talking to the dead there.

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    1. A bit creepy that she had seances constantly.

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  9. this is an excellent ghost tour stop. Yes, the maze of her mind mirrored in the house and the lost souls shot by Winchester guns. Absolutely - I believe there are ghost there

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  10. I believe that environments can reflect spirits of the past. Houses can retain the spirit of previous owners, especially when their time had been surrounded by things that had special meaning. It's also the living who contribute to keeping the spirits alive and the ambiance of the past. It's a mixture of the two.

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    1. I believe that, too...I know people have said residual hauntings are just trapped energy. That's when you see a figure moving down the steps at the same time every day or hear voices. It's just trapped in the space somehow. Not sure how all that works, but most of the hauntings I hear about are residual. The other type of haunting, intelligent, is when the ghost interacts and seems to be aware of its surroundings.

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  11. She was an odd lady but I'm so glad she had the money to build something so wild. I would love to visit this place but, for some reason, every time I see it I pictures or on tv, I feel unsettled. It creeps me out so I don't know if spirits roam the halls but I wouldn't doubt it.

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    1. In a way, maybe that was also all she had to occupy her time. She was a rich widow...and during that time, I doubt she would have had a job unless she had to. So managing this construction was her passion, I guess.

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  12. Either way it definitely sounds like a confusing maze of a house. Seances are clearly not meant to be used as a construction guide for building anything.

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  13. Fascinating! I hadn't heard of this house. I love stories like this. :)

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  14. My sister has been there. It was either that house, or the Whaley house, which she said she didn't feel any energies present. I honestly can't recall which house it was though. I think the story behind the Winchester House is amazing though. (Very unique, to say the least). It certainly proves how easily influenced some people can be. The human mind... it's powerful!

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  15. Oh I do believe it is haunted! Everything about the lady and how and why she built the house just begs for a resident ghost or two:-) She seemed fond of the number 13 as well; bathroom #13 has 13 windows, one of which looks right into a bedroom window and there are 13 drain holes in the kitchen sink!

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  16. It certainly sounds haunted, I love stories like this, especially with Halloween approaching!

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

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  17. I love your spooky October stories!
    This was a good one. I'm voting for haunted:)

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  18. How interesting that the house was kind of like a maze. I can see how that could be spooky to visit. Plus- knowing every staircase or hallway could end no where would be scary (kind of like how people get scared in corn mazes). Always love these spooky stories. :)

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  19. I think a medium also told Mrs. Winchester that as long as construction of the house never stopped (continuing day & night), her life wasn't in danger. Building the house was even supposed to bring her eternal life. Interesting note: When the workers heard she had died, they stopped work immediately even leaving nails half-driven. I believe I read that the maze-like construction was supposed to confuse bad spirits. I'd like to tour it some day. I vote for haunted. Great blog!

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  20. I love the Winchester name. I mean, after all....Supernatural!!!

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  21. It's strange what some people will do. Sounds like a unique place to visit.

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  22. Oh this house sounds divine... in a creepy, ghost-y way. I've heard of this house, but don't think I've ever seen photos of any of the pointless staircases. Truly trippy.

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  23. Stories of haunted houses fascinate me. I think this one is haunted. Would love to see it.

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  24. How spooky and fascinating!!! I've heard of this house!!! I tend to believe it could be haunted...

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  25. I saw on the news today that a new room was found in the Winchester House! Can you believe there are still rooms unknown in there?! http://www.kansascity.com/news/nation-world/national/article107580927.html

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  26. That's why I'd never do seances in my house. It's like throwing out a welcome mat for the other side.

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  27. I've toured this place a few times--it's definitely creepy. A bit of a tourist trap these days, but I guess they just found a new room? Rather interesting!

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  28. Certainly looks eerie - beautiful but spooky. Fascinating history. Looking forward to the next post already - keep 'em coming :)

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  29. I had not heard of the Winchester house, how fascinating. What a strange, spooky place it is. I would like to visit but only in daylight hours!

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  30. What a strange house! So odd to have stairways and doors that don't lead anywhere.

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  31. That would be an amazing house to visit. I saw it highlighted on an episode of Ghost Adventures once, but I can't remember if they caught much evidence.

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  32. Hi, thanks for leavign a comment on my blog.

    That is a really interesting story about the Winchesters. Like Military Pug Wife, I thought Supernatural. Maybe someone should get Sam and Dean on the case there!

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  33. I had read about this house before...fascinating. Looking forward to your next installment.

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  34. Wow! From looking at thi from the outside, the house looks large and inviting. i would have been totally surprised to walk in there and see stairs that actually led nowhere, which is a strange concept. I actually have a friend who visits a psychic 3 times per week. Really enjoy hearing about these tales of trivia. Hugs...

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  35. Just pit stopped by to say hey.
    Can't wait for the next spooky story.......

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  36. I remember seeing this house featured on a few spooky-themed shows. Mostly, I feel so sad for its owner, burdened with the grief and guilt from that psychic. What a lousy thing to live with (for both of them, actually)!

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  37. This is one I want to see. Someday.

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  38. I've always wanted to check this place out. Literally all of my siblings have been to it at some point and I'm the only one to not visit it now.

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  39. It sounds like those spirits who guided her in the design of that house had wicked senses of humor. It seems only reasonable that some of those jokesters are doomed to haunt the place.

    The original psychic was horribly mean. Why should the grieving widow be held accountable for deaths caused by a weapon her husband invented? For the widow to buy into it tells me she already felt bad about it, so the psychic just preyed on her vulnerabilities.

    Sad story, but cool house. I'd love to see it in person.

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  40. I lived in San Jose and I am still kicking myself for not touring this house! This would make such a great setting for a story (and I'm sure there have been many already).

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    1. The one I know best is Stephen King's Rose Red...but I'm sure there are SO many more stories to tell. If you're ever back there, give it a visit and let the inspiration flow!

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  41. I've heard about this house. Very strange.

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  42. Why would anyone build such a weird house?

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  43. Hope you had a great weekend.
    Anxiously awaiting the next story.

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  44. I've been there, years ago on a family trip. It was definitely interesting, but somehow, it didn't feel haunted or spooky, just unusual. Then again, I was there with a big tourist group, so maybe it would have felt different if I'd gone in alone or something.

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  45. We live less than an hour away from the house and haven't been. This kids and I only remember about come Halloween. ARGH!

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