Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Winchester Mystery House

The Buzz Girls have gone on a relaxed schedule for the summer, giving us all more time to write and read and just...hang out. So I thought I'd pop in to mention one of the more unusual things I have done with my summer so far...

Last weekend I was in San Jose, California, and at the advice of a friend, visited the Winchester Mystery House, a seriously odd and fascinating mansion that was under 24/7 construction for 38 years.

Purchased by Winchester gun magnate widow Sarah Winchester in 1884, she paid for round-the-clock renovations and add-ons until her death in 1922. She had been told my a psychic that a curse was on her family from all the lives that had been lost to Winchester guns, and that only way to be safe (and possibly live forever) was the continuous building of what turned out to be a somewhat crooked and very confusing (though lovely) house!

Before the 1906 earthquake, it had boasted 7 stories, but these days, it's 4 stories high with 160 rooms. But it's the rooms themselves that are so odd and one merely fold into the next, with doors and staircases that lead nowhere. One door opens to the second floor air! One of the first things the tour guide tells you as you embark on the one hour tour is that if you need to leave, he'll have to walkie-talkie to get you a escort out, otherwise, you'd never find your way!

Here is a staircase that leads you into a roof:

I ended up calling it "Hearst Castle meets Ripley's Believe It or Not!"

Although this was not mentioned in the tour, I have since heard this house was the setting for the 2002 Stephen King movie, "Rose Red," and I know of at least TV program on the house, claiming that it is haunted to this day.

And yes, I did immediately send our resident Ghost Huntress, Marley Gibson, a message to ask if she'd been there. She said no--not yet, but it was definitely on her to-do list!

I thought I'd share the details with our readers here, to see if any of you have visited, or to possibly put on your to-do list for an interesting sightseeing adventure!


Tina Ferraro
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Janie Emaus said...

I've never been there, but it sounds like an interesting place to visit.

Marley Gibson said...

Sooooo cool! A lot of my ghost hunting friends have been there and said it's quite the adventure. We were RIGHT there back in January, but didn't have time to go. It's DEFINITELY on the list! = )

Winchester Mystery House® said...

Thanks for visiting and writing about your experience!

We shared your blog on Facebook: and retweeted it:

By the way, Rose Red did not take place at the Winchester House, but according to Stephen King he was inspired by it when he visited the mansion during a cross-country book tour, and he wrote Rose Red using the idea of a house constantly under construction.

Witchywen said...

My daughter and I were there and she is quite the medium. She said she felt "things" all over the house and when we returned home to look at our pictures, there were orbs surrounding her. The home is beautiful and mysterious! The grounds alone are worth a peek.

TinaFerraro said...

Winchester Mystery House--wow, thank you for linking and commenting! Also, for clearing up what I had heard about Red Rose being filmed there! And for the record, as a novelist myself, I spent the entire hour tour plotting ideas, too. How much do I love it that Stephen King and I think alike???

TinaFerraro said...

Marley, do not miss it next time!

Witchywen, fascinating perspective on the orbs and feelings. Thank you!

nymfaux said...

Totally agree about the Hearst/Ripley's comparison--I saw the Winchester Mystery House and Hearst Castle both on my first trip to CA, and will forever have them intertwined!!!

I've been there a couple of times since, and it has always stuck with me, with all the winding staircases and closets that turn into rooms, doors that open into walls, staircases to the ceiling, and the door to nowhere...

Glad you got a chance to visit!!! :D