A very strange mansion

April 19, 2012 § 3 Comments

Winchester House. Photo Courtesy: http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com

I used to live in the bay area, so the Winchester House in San Jose, California, was like a stone throw away from way. Otherwise, it is less than an hour drive south of San Francisco. I always love to visit historic home and mansions. Old beddings, uncomfortable chairs, well-crafted writing desk, dainty cabinets… all tell the story of how people lived in the past. However, this Victorian mansion is something more than just an old architecture. It is a story of superstition and psychology.

The Winchesters owned the company which manufactured the famous Winchester rifle. When William W. Winchester passed away, his wife Sarah moved from Connecticut to spend the rest of her life California. She was a very superstitious woman. A medium told her that once she finished building the new house in California, the spirits of those who were killed under the Winchester rifle, would come and kill her for what her family created. To counter the vengeful ghosts, Sarah, who was left with an insane amount of money, decided to keep building the house for 38 years non-stop.

Winchester House. Photo Courtesy: www.winchestermysteryhouse.comSarah Winchester ordered that someone must be there hammering and building anything somewhere on the property 24 hours straight. Every morning, Mrs Winchester would think of something and told the man to build it. As you guessed 38 hours is a long time to build a house. So strange and curious features began to pop up everywhere. Walls and doors were put up randomly. Rooms were splits into smaller rooms and even smaller closets, but when you open the closet door, it was actually a secret passageway that led you to the room next door! Some doors were fakes with only a solid wall behind, columns were put in upside down (possibly to confuse the ghosts), stairs were installed that led to nowhere besides the ceiling and staircase were built to descend 7 steps and then rise eleven.

Eerie staircase. Photo Courtesy: http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com

Some beautiful glasses in Winchester House. Photo Courtesy: http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com

This mansion is probably the most curious house I’ve ever visited, full of oddities and very puzzling. There was never a blue print, everything was very randomly added. Till this day, I’m still amused by this out of proportioned residence. Of course, I’m also sad by how much money could be been spend in better ways to benefits more people.


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§ 3 Responses to A very strange mansion

  • Derek4Real says:

    I’ve always been fascinated by the Winchester legend.. that is one of the items still on my bucket list actually, despite my having spent so much time traveling through California. Guess I’ll have to stop in for a visit the next time I return to the west coast.

    • Katharine says:

      Hehe the Winchester house is kind of not close to any other interesting places for visiting. I was lucky to have lived pretty close to it. Other wise I would have never heard about such an odd house. Way too much fun to visit. It is one of the American mansion that I think is a must-see thing.

      And of course, they have a gallery to showcase their guns too.

  • Sarah ended up in the Santa Clara Valley, California where she found a six-room house that was still under construction. She purchased the house from a Dr. Caldwell and began building. She kept building for the next 36 years, drawing on her immense fortune to keep the never-ending project funded. For 24 hours a day, a team of 22 carpenters worked non-stop. She would hire them to build a section just to knock it down later and build it again. Rooms were added one after another until they formed entire wings, doors connected to windows and elevators were installed along with 47 fireplaces. Trap doors, upside-down stair posts, hallways that doubled back on themselves and doors that opened up into midair above the lawn were just some of the oddities included in the strange house’s design. Obsessed with spider web motifs and the number 13, Sarah made sure all the windows contained 13 panes of glass, the greenhouse had 13 cupolas and the staircases had 13 steps.

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