February 24, 2011

History Lessons: The Winchester Mystery House

My history lesson today  is courtesy of the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast from How Stuff Works. I thought it was super interesting and wanted to share it with you. 

It is about the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA. The House was built over 38 years by Sarah Winchester. It is said that the House is one of the most haunted places in California and the U.S. Sarah Winchester was the wife of William Winchester, the heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The company developed the "gun that won the west" and helped the North win in the Civil War. 

Sarah and William had a daughter who passed away soon after birth. William passed away afterwards and Sarah never recovered from the deaths. She was told by a medium that there were spirits haunting the Winchester family who were killed by the Winchester rifles. She told Sarah that she was to move out west from the east coast. She was to build a grand house for the spirits to reside. She left and found a place in the Santa Clara Valley where she began construction on the house.

The original house was 6 room farmhouse that sat on 162 acres of land. Sarah turned this house into a 7 story mansion. Construction went on for 38 years, 24 hours a day. She thought that if she stopped building on the house she would die, which is why construction on the house was continuous. Legend has that the construction and planning of the house was to thwart off the evil spirits and confuse them but provide the good spirits with a home. It is said that the house was supposed to have over 500 rooms but only 160 were finished.

What makes this house strange and a mystery is there are hallways that lead to nowhere, doors that open to drop-offs, extremely narrow stairs that lead to ceilings and walls. There is a staircase in the house that is seven flights, contains 44 stairs, but is only 9 feet tall. Each step is only 2 inches high. It is thought that this staircase was built to accommodate Sarah's arthritis. One of the rooms contains four fireplaces and a drop-off leads to a sink several floors below.

Now I'm sure you're wondering where in the heck she got all of this money to build the house. She had inherited $20,000,000 after her husband passed away and half the stock from the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. That have her $1,000 to live off of per day!

This place is definitely on my list of places to go. Visit www.winchestermysteryhouse.com for more about Sarah Winchester, the Mystery House, and the legends.


1 comment:

  1. Very cool. I've always been a fan of the paranormal, and have always wanted to visit the Winchester house. This is just as good! Thanks Karlie!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...