Sarah Pardee Winchester – the wife of William Wart Winchester, whose family created the Winchester Rifle, known as “the gun that won the west.” William and Sarah had one child Annie, who passed away at one month old. A decade later, in 1881, William passed away from tuberculosis.
There are a couple of theories around Sarah Winchester. Some say she was a philanthropist at heart due to the Shakespearean windows and iron gates found in the ballroom. Some suggest she was a member of a mystic society Rosicrucians or the secret society like Freemasons and even both. While others think she was crazy to believe that ghosts were haunting her, this is where our story begins.
Since the death of her husband, Sarah taught out a spiritualist looking for closure. When she found one instead of closure, they gave her a warning that vengeful spirits would seek her out. The Spiritualist advised her to leave her home in New Haven, Connecticut and move west, where she will build a house for herself and for the spirits that have fallen from the rifle. The medium left her with this warning: ” If you continue building, you will live. Stop, and you will die.”
In 1986, Sarah purchased an eight-room farmhouse in San Jose, California where construction began. She hired construction workers who worked on the house day and night, seven days a week for 38 years. The layout was designed to confuse the ghosts, so doors leading to walls, stairs that lead to the ceiling, and windows in the ground. Sarah was obsessed with the number 13. There are 13 paneled windows, 13 paneled ceilings, as well as 13 step stairways. Pièce de Résistance is the thirteenth bathroom that contains thirteen windows of its own. Sarah’s will was in 13 parts to it, and she signed it 13 times.
The Winchester house stopped construction, September 5, 1922, when Sarah Winchester passed away in her sleep due to heart failure. The construction workers left abruptly leaving half hammered nails in the walls. August 7, 1974, the Winchester Mystery House became a historical landmark. The house is home to 950 doors, 10,000 windows, 40 stairways, 52 skylights, 47 fireplaces, six kitchens, at Visitors can take a tour around the house, a trio of elevators, wool insulation, carbide gas lights, indoor showers, sewer drain system and electricity which was groundbreaking in the day.
The Winchester Mystery House is cited to be the most haunted place in America. It is open daily for tours except for Christmas day. This Halloween season the Winchester house is offering a special tour Unhinged, they welcome guests into this bizarre home where they will immerse in this Halloween haunt. Other events they offer are The Second Annual Sarah’s Spirited Supper, The Third Annual Trick or Treat Trail, Pumpkin Peppermints Afternoon Tea, and so much more.