Do you believe in the ghosts? Are you a fan of ghost stories? If so, I highly suggest a trip to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. During a trip to Northern California, my family and I ventured into this mystery house. I have always been a scaredy cat, but didn’t want to miss out on the adventure.
The Winchester House was home to Sarah Winchester, a mourning woman obsessed with the paranormal. The widow and heir of William Winchester, the wealthy man known for inventing the rifle, Sarah spent 38 years building a home to pacify the ghosts of individuals killed by Winchester rifles. After the death of her infant daughter followed by her husband, Sarah went to a psychic who told her to start construction on a home but never finish. Motivate to quiet the spirits, she purchase an eight-room farm house in San Jose, California. She hired construction workers to work on the building up the house 24/7, 365 days a year for 38 years. Rumor has it that the day a servant found her dead in her bed, a bell was tolled and all workers placed down their tools and walked off the property.
This mansion is far from your typical extravagant mansion. Filled with doors that lead to nowhere, stairs that lead to the ceiling, windows in the floor, as well as motifs of cobwebs, daisies and the unlucky number 13 are hard to ignore. Take your chances in the house by going on a tour!
The Winchester House offers tours seven days a week during sunlight. The Mansion Tour is a 65-minute tour through the main areas of the house. Prices are $20.00 for children, $32.00 for seniors and $37.00 for adults. Be sure to check online for coupons though because my family found a great deal on Groupon!
A new Explore More Tour was recently launched. This tour is an additional $40 and involves an additional hour in the mystery house. You are led through some of the most haunted rooms of the house, including the basement! Due to the tight and unfinished spaces you squeeze into, guests must wear hardhats for a good portion
of this tour. This extra tour was my favorite part of the trip! I highly recommend adding this on if you plan to visit the Winchester House.
- The house stood 7 stories tall until the 1906 earthquake. At that time, Mrs. Winchester closed off part of the house and tore down the top three stories. It now stands 4 stories tall.
- While there are 13 bathrooms in the house, there is only one shower.
- Due to her severe arthritis, Mrs. Winchester filled the house with “easy risers,” short steps that allowed her to move from story to story without significant pain. (These stairs are very awkward to walk on for those without arthritis. I tripped several times so be sure to watch your step!)
- A seance room in the house was used by Mrs. Winchester to spy on her servants. Kind of creepy!
- Even though she may have spied on her servants, Mrs. Winchester treated them well. She paid them double the rate of the average servant’s wage for the time. She allowed the single women to live in the house, and single men to live in other houses on the property. For servants with families, she would build them a house near the property.
- The driveway at the main entrance is lined with 13 palm trees.
- All of the columns in the house are upside down. It is said that one upside down column is good luck, but Mrs. Winchester went a little overboard.
- The motif of daisies are seen all over the house. Experts believe that daisies were her favorite flower. It is said that the perfect daisy has 13 petals.
Are you feeling brave? For those curious souls, I definitely recommend a trip to the Winchester House. Check out this eerie wonder for yourself. Comment below if you have any questions regarding my experience!
Until next time,