When you have almost unlimited funds, a fear of being haunted, and the ability to do what you want, what do you do? For Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, after tragedy befell her, she began to add, modify, remodel, renovate, and anything else she could think of, to her San Jose, CA, home. For over thirty years.
The San Jose mansion was originally an 8 room farmhouse, but from 1886 to 1922 the house grew; there are currently:
- 24,000 square feet
- 10,000 windows
- 2,000 doors
- 160 rooms
- 52 skylights
- 47 stairways and fireplaces
- 17 chimneys
- 13 bathrooms
- 6 kitchens
The house as it is now was built with a price tag of $5 million, approximately $71 million today.
Sarah was born in 1839 in Elm City, CT. Her family was of the prominent local Pardee lineage. In 1862 she married a young man named, William Wirt Winchester. The Winchester family was had taken over the business that would become the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The “Gun that Won the West” the Winchester Model 1873 greatly added to the already substantial fortune.
In 1866 Sarah and William had a daughter, Annie. Sadly she passed away after 5 weeks. 1869, Sarah’s father died. 1881, William passed away from tuberculosis. 1882, Sarah’s mother died, and in 1884, one of her sisters died of cancer. She was left impossibly wealthy, but at the cost of most of her family. She decided to go West.
When she had settled into her new home, she had consulted a medium, who revealed that a curse was upon her family of those who were killed by the Winchester rifle. The only way to escape; constantly renovate and expand her house, to confuse the vengeful spirits. So that is what she did.
Is the house actually haunted?
Both visitors and employees to the house have claimed to see spectral sightings. One such spirit, Clyde, is a mustached man seen pushing a wheelbarrow in the basement, or trying to repair the fireplace in the Ballroom. Clyde is a popular resident at the Winchester Estate.
Other visitors have claimed to feel gentle tugs on their clothing, footsteps on the floors above when nobody was there.
Harry Houdini visited the house in 1924 during his nationwide tour to debunk Spiritualism, other experts have followed. Winchester Mystery House throws out the welcome mat for any paranormal investigators, psychics, or explorers who want to solve the mystery of the Winchester House. During a seance dinner, the medium claimed that Sarah was happy with so many visitors to the house.
The house has many tours and events at the property, you can view their offers and options on their website http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com
Have you been to the Winchester Mystery House? Please share your impressions with me!!
Hunt safely, have fun