A little history…
Often in the paranormal we are lucky enough to have several adventures in amazing locations seeking out various oddities. On occasion some of these locations are a little odd all by themselves. It’s not common place to find a location that is simply odd throughout and raises a tonne of questions all on its own. However the Winchester Mystery House does exactly what it says on the tin, providing its visitors with quite a bit of confusion as they navigate its hallways.
However this particular story of a haunted location is less about a location becoming haunted and more about how one fascinating woman dealt with the loss of her close family. The woman was Sarah Winchester, wife of William Winchester, the only son of Oliver Winchester; owner of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Basically back in 1862, the Winchester’s were ‘big money’.
What should have been the beginning of an amazing life for Sarah soon turned a dark corner when she lost her only daughter at only one month old in 1866. In 1880 Sarah’s father in-law Oliver died and William inherited half of his fathers huge empire. Barely a year past and Sarah lost her husband William too, which meant his share of the family business went to Sarah.
It was this sequence of traumatic events that Sarah lived through that possibly became the basis for the understanding that she may be cursed. A curse that Sarah possibly believed originated in the fact that the Winchester’s were responsible for creating weapon’s that had claimed possibly thousands of lives over the years. Fixated on this Sarah looked for a way to break the curse, which lead her down a more spiritual path. It was while exploring this path it’s believed a psychic medium advised her that the only way to combat the curse would be to build a house the spirits and her could both live in. The psychic went on to advise Sarah that if she stopped building the house, the curse would bring about her demise too.
It’s probably a good time to mention that although Sarah consulted with mediums and took those consultations very seriously, to the point of changing her life. This was likely driven by her grief, but it does leave us questioning things just a bit! Why would a highly intelligent, upstanding community member such as her be guided by such elaborate suggestions? Grief can certainly drive belief in such situations.
Sarah brought a six bedroom house in San Jose, which was still being built. A team were hired to carry out the work and the continuous construction of the Winchester House began.
A 1906 earthquake changed the seven story building at that point, making it only four stories. The earthquakes damage to the house was equally tied into the curse by Sarah, which highlighted that too much focus had been on the front of the house. Worked stopped on the front of the home and it has remained boarded up ever since.
A few of the Winchester House’s features…
It’s said that the number thirteen features heavily throughout the house and this could be due to Sarah’s obsession with the number. Something that may have even been a feature in her Will, which was believed to be written in thirteen sections and signed thirteen times. I always wonder how much truth there is in these numerical links; is it something that really was intended or perhaps something people have read into it after the fact? I guess the Will might help define this a little.
It is believed that in order to understand what was needed to be built next, Sarah would conduct a séance every night at midnight in the Séance Room. Perhaps this was where the design for such a collection of random and mind-boggling layouts evolved, but the why and even the how quickly returns. Was Sarah actually in communication with spirits advising her how to build her house? Were the layout designs simply from Sarah’s imagination, hence their complex random designs? Is there a possible method to the madness of the layout of the Winchester House.
The work on the Winchester House contained for roughly thirty-eight years under Sarah’s and possibly spirits instructions. Sarah died at the impressive age of 83 in her sleep from natural causes and went on to finally join her husband and daughter in the cemetery.
The Winchester House was auctioned and the new owners opened it as a tourist attraction. The house attracts many ghost hunters and paranormal investigators seeking the answers that the house has hidden in its walls. The place is certainly on my top ten list of places to investigate, after all I love a mystery.
The haunting of the Winchester House…
As far as paranormal activity is concerned, Winchester House presents its fair share too. Visitors have reported full-blown apparitions, odd sounds, cold spots, footsteps, strange feelings and even Sarah herself!
There is without doubt some strange things occurring at the Winchester House, some paranormal and also many secrets tied to its design too. Perhaps Sarah Winchester found a way to connect with spirits better? Maybe the whole house is some kind of psychical amplifier? One thing is certain in regards to the Winchester Mystery House, Sarah’s séance secrets remain well hidden within its walls. Walls which surround rooms that confuse, hallways to nowhere, hidden doors and a staircase into the ceiling!
Would you risk getting a little lost in the Winchester House…
The Winchester Mystery House is one of those fascinating locations that takes things far beyond the norm and most definitely into the paranormal. Although there is a part of me that wonders about the psychology here too. The very confusing ‘fun house’ layout of the house and its interesting history may just be generating the appearance of activity! However it could be genuinely haunted; after all it experienced over thirty years of continuous renovations, which has been associated with probable paranormal activity in the past too. Not to mention the nightly seances held by Sarah too. There are certainly all the ingredients for a traditional haunted house here. Why Sarah Winchester spent so much time and money putting the house together as it is will no doubt remain a mystery for years to come. In my opinion its one pretty interesting mystery too…