If you’re like me, you just can’t pass up a good ghost story, mystery, historical oddity, or any combination of the three. The Winchester Mystery House definitely contains the trifecta, and every time there’s a special on television, my booty is on the couch.
The home was constructed by Sarah Winchester, the widow of William Wirt Winchester, who invented the Winchester Rifle.
Sarah Winchester lost both her husband and daughter tragically, and turned to a medium to help her understand what had happened and where she could find meaning in life again.
The medium informed Mrs. Winchester that her family was haunted and killed by the spirits of those who lost their lives on the wrong end of a Winchester Rifle. They demanded reparations – in her case, a house of their own where construction never stopped.
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Sarah took the medium’s (strangely specific) advice to heart. She moved west and began construction on what would become the Mystery House – construction began 1884 and didn’t stop for the next 38 years, until Sarah finally passed away herself.
Since a normal house with normal parameters eventually comes to a natural conclusion during construction, the Winchester House contains oddities galore – there are secret passages, stairs that go into the ceiling, doors that open up into stories-high drops, and others that open into brick walls.
The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains 2,000 doors, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 6 kitchens, 10,000 windows, and now 161 rooms.
The new room was discovered off the home’s attic, and contained a pump organ, a dress form, a sewing machine, a Victorian sofa, and several paintings.
The house’s caretakers believe that the “new” room might have been one boarded up by Sarah herself after the house was damaged in a 1906 earthquake.
If you didn’t happen to catch the movie about Sarah Winchester and her house, which starred Helen Mirren, well, you’re not alone – but Winchester is out there, for any who dare find it.