(ODD)yssey, Blog Post

Guest Blog: Why you should put Winchester Mystery House on your bucket list

Today’s blog post was written by Wil Elrick, the Sweetums and hubby of blogger Kelly Kazek.

It is so great when Kelly asks me to be a guest contributor to her website. You often get to hear about me and/or my exploits from her point of view, but rarely from mine. But this post is not about exploits I have had but exploits that I hope to have with Kelly in the future.

I am sure you have read on this blog that we recently had the opportunity to explore The Crescent Springs Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which is known to be the most haunted hotel in the United States. This trip got us talking about other places that should be on our list to visit and one place immediately jumps to the front of our conversations. The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California.

If you have yet to hear of the Winchester Mystery House, here is a brief explanation. It is a house built for spirits. It was built without plan or pre-amble by the owner, who continued construction 24 hours a day, every day, until her death. If this sounds like a movie, you are correct. The house in the television mini-series “Red Rose” was based on the Winchester Mystery House.

Sarah Winchester was the wife of William Wirt Winchester, the creator of the Winchester Repeating Rifle and owner of the company. After the death of the couples’ infant daughter and then her husband, Sarah visited with a medium. The medium (supposedly channeling William Winchester) told her that spirits of people killed by Winchester rifles were unhappy and she should leave New Haven, Connecticut and head west to build a house for herself and the spirits of those killed by the rifles. And, she was never to stop building.

Winchester Mystery House (Gentgeen | Wikimedia Commons)

Sarah, who inherited a lot of money from William’s death and was still making  money from his company, promptly packed up and moved to San Jose, where she purchased an unfinished mansion and set out to build her house for the spirits. Legend says that she had no formal design plan but she had construction people building in shifts 24 hours a day from the time she purchased the property in 1884 until her death September 5, 1922. For those not wanting to do the math, that is 38 years of construction without rhyme or reason. You can build a lot of house in that amount of time.

The house today is four stories high and consists of approximately 161 rooms. It was reported that the house was severely damaged in the 1906 earthquake and before that event, the house consisted seven stories and many more rooms. The earthquake also caused the property to be valued at next to nothing by tax accessors and it was sold after Sarah’s death to John Brown. Brown had work on the property finished and opened the home as a museum in 1923, which it remains to this day.

The house is known around the world as a hub for spirits and many things in the house were designed to confuse the spirits, such as only one working bathroom in the house with the others being decoys for the spirits. Weirdly designed rooms, doors that lead nowhere and multiple adornments were built to confuse the spirits. It is even said that Sarah slept in a different room of the house each of her nights there. I could go on and on with the creep factor of this house, but I think that you get the picture of why this would be a perfect place to visit.

Skylights atop Winchester Mystery House (Lary McElhiney | Wikimedia Commons)

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