The Winchester Mystery House is one of the most incredible sights in all of North America. Located in San Jose, CA, this haunted house features 160 rooms and a whopping 2,500 doors – making it the largest home ever built. However, what makes this place truly unique is its legend. The home was allegedly cursed by Sarah Winchester, a wealthy widow who used to pour her fortune into building additions to the house. Whenever she would complete a new room or add-on she said it would be haunted by the spirits of those killed by Winchester star rifles. As you can imagine, her husband William died at the hands of a Winchester and Sarah blamed the family rifle.
The house was built by William. Winchester’s fortune came from US manufacture of firearms and rifles. At some point, Sarah became concerned that her children were in danger and began to transfer the family fortune to them. In 1881, she commissioned Stanford White, a famous New York architect and designer, to build a new wing onto the already extravagant home.
9 Things About Winchester You Have To Experience It Yourself :
1. The House moved 4 Feet North
Over the course of building additions for the rest of her life, the house moved approximately 4 feet to the north. The house was built on a foundation of steel and wood beams. A multitude of workers were hired to dig holes and pour concrete footings in order to secure the home’s foundation. It was said that Sarah placed a curse on anyone who attempted to move or alter any part of the home. Most workers refused to continue working when they heard she had placed a curse on them. As a result, construction stood at a halt for many years and nearly bankrupted William’s company.
2. There’s an Active Ghost
The Winchester Mystery House is perhaps most famous for its ghosts. In 1906, Sarah had a stroke, which left her paralyzed. Two years later, she died on September 5, 1922. It has been said that she never stopped working on the house until she passed away. The home is haunted by the many workers who lost their lives when they were run over by a wagon carrying hunks of steel and concrete during construction. It is also said to be haunted by Sarah Winchester herself and the spirits of Native Americans who were killed by John Henry “Doc” Holliday who was friends with William at one point in his life and often visited the mansion when he came to San Jose.
3. How the House is Kept
Sarah Winchester spent most of her life building additions to the house. As it grew she began to hire a staff to help her with the upkeep. She had many people, who were either of low or no status, work for her. Some estimates put the number of employees at up to 600 and even though she was a woman of means, she was known for charity and being kind to workers.
She may have even been considered a little crazy herself because all of her workers lived in horrible conditions in the mansion without sufficient food or water. They lived in dark rooms that were quite small with no windows and few if any bathroom facilities for very long periods of time.
4. One of the Widest Staircases in the World
One of the most impressive features of this house is its staircase that is made entirely out of iron. The staircase alone weighs over 1/3 ton and it can fit nearly 90 people on each level side by side! If you tried to do that with a typical staircase it would most likely collapse under its own weight. The carpeting on the stairs was added later after Sarah’s death, as she believed that it would help trap spirits out of her house permanently. It also helps to add a little bit of cushion for anyone who might fall down the stairs.
5. A Bedroom of Doors
Sarah Winchester’s bedroom was perhaps the most restrictive in all of the house. Not only did she have 27 doors put into her room, but there was an additional door made from steel called a “trapdoor” that allowed her to escape should anything happen during her sleep. It is said that she also had holes for guns so that she could defend herself from the spirits that stalked her at night.
6. A Doll Made From a Rifle
During her later years, Sarah Winchester had a doll made from one of the rifles that killed her husband which she placed on a shelf in her room. The toy was modeled after Mary Lyman who was the wife of John H. Hopkins, the man who founded Winchester rifle company.
The doll even has the same features as Mary. She also ordered that any workmen who entered her room were to leave a toy for her as well. They also did not enter and dismantle any of the additions at all until they left it there – she wanted them to leave something so she could tell if they had gone through anything she wanted removed while they were there.
7. One of a Kind
The Winchester House is one of a kind. There are no other buildings like it anywhere in the country and there may never be any others ever built. The home is so unique because the additions were made in such a haphazard way that it makes it impossible to replicate the design of this mansion. Many people have tried, but none have succeeded.
The main reason for its uniqueness is that Sarah Winchester wanted every room in her home to have a different purpose and be unique from every other one, even if she did have them serve similar functions. Such as having 14 staircases throughout the house when most houses only had two or three at best and not all rungs connecting to the same place.
8. A Time Capsule
Most of the Winchester Mansion was designed with a specific time capsule date for when it was built and then locked away forever. Sarah is thought to have placed a time capsule inside the house on July 4, 1901 which she hid in some kind of malfunctioning clock mechanism that was found after her death but still allowed her time capsule to be safely preserved.
The clock also reportedly worked perfectly when it was carried out of the house as if nothing had happened. Even if that is true, the time capsule still remained locked away for some 80 years! Nobody knows what it may contain, but that location has never been found.
9. Tragic Fire
In June of 1914 an explosion took the lives of Sarah Winchester and several other people who worked there at the time. A fire started in a dolly which was being used to move furniture and it ignited several other items throughout the house. The official cause of the fire is still unknown and it is alleged that there may have been an outside source to the fire as well.