Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Winchester Mystery House

After the death of William Winchester, the famous inventor of the Winchester rifle, his wife Sarah Winchester was inconsolable. Not only had she lost her husband, but also their daughter only a short time before. A close friend told Sarah that she should talk to a medium about her dead daughter and husband. The medium told Sarah that her family was cursed because of William's invention of the Winchester rifle. Her family had been cursed by all the people that had been killed by Winchester rifles and they wanted vengeance, so they had killed Sarah's baby and husband. The medium told her that the only thing she could do was to move out west and to start building a house. The catch was that she had to keep production of the house going at all times or she would die.
Sarah followed the medium's guidance and moved to San Jose, California and began construction on her house. She had inherited $20 million dollars after her husbands death and made $1000 a day from gun sales, so she had no problem hiring a bunch of people to build the house. This all started in 1884. Sarah required that production never halt, so workers were cycled in an out constantly. As would any house that had to be continually built, the Winchester House started to look a little funny. Staircases went to nowhere, doors opened to brick walls, hallways doubled back, and many doors led to the outside no matter which floor you were on. Sarah also had a thing about the number 13 and had it incorporated in many aspects of the house. Candelabras, window panes and stairs steps all came in thirteens.

While the house appears to be chaotic to a normal person, the house made sense to Sarah, as she had it made maze-like to confuse the evil spirits that haunted the house. Construction of the house went on for 38 years until Sarah died in her sleep. Construction abruptly stopped, with the house taking up about four and half acres of land. After 38 years, the house had cost $5.5 million dollars to build ($71 million in 2010 dollars). The confusing house was deemed worthless and ended up selling for $130,000 to a local investor. The house is now owned by Winchester Investments LLC and is deemed a Historical Landmark where tours can be taken of the supposedly haunted house.

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