The Winchester Mystery House has captured the attention of true-crime and horror buffs for decades. The house is even the inspiration behind the 2018 film, “Winchester”. The movie tells a fictionalized version of the story behind the mysterious mansion.
“Mythbusters”, “Ghost Adventures” and “Ghost Brothers” have all produced episodes of their respective television shows about the mansion.
The truth behind the Winchester Mystery House is far more interesting than any film or T.V. show will lead you to believe.
According to SF Travel News, when Sarah Winchester’s husband, William Wirt Winchester, died in 1881, she became one of the wealthiest women of that time. Sarah later came to believe that she was cursed.
SF Travel News reported that Sarah Winchester believed the only way to escape the curse was to relocate. In 1886, she left her New Haven, CT home and found a new home in San Jose, CA. Winchester purchased an eight-bedroom farmhouse that she transformed into the 160-room mansion that we see today.
Some facets of the mansion are allegedly very odd, and you can find yourself in trouble if you are not careful. There are more than 2,000 doors in the mansion and one door opens to a 15-foot drop into an outdoor garden. Another door lands 8 feet below the sink.
Sarah Winchester created several secret passages during her remodeling of the mansion. A cabinet door opens to 30 additional rooms. There are more than 10,000 windows and some of the most fascinating windows are hidden way where no light can reach it.
According to SF Travel News, there are several working theories as to why Winchester decorated such an odd mansion. Some believe she thought she would die as soon as the house was declared complete. Others think she created a labyrinth to confuse and evade spirits that followed her.
Atlas Obscura News reported that Winchester believed she was being haunted by the spirits of those that were killed by the Winchester rifle, which her late husband’s company had created.
A psychic allegedly told Winchester in order to evade the spirits she would have to move out west, buy a home and build nonstop. The theory states that to avoid the spirits she would have to sleep in a different bedroom every night.
According to Atlas Obscura, after ongoing claims of ghostly encounters, in the early 1990’s the Winchester management had a parapsychologist and paranormal investigator named Christopher Chacon conduct an investigation. The month-long investigation included interviewing over 300 people regarding their experiences on the property.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, in 2016 preservationists unearthed a previously unknown and unexplored attic room where Winchester allegedly took refuge in during the Bay Area earthquake of 1906.
Winchester, who allegedly believed that the spirits were responsible for the earthquake, boarded up the room and never entered it again.