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The House That Sarah Winchester Built

October 02, 2017

Shirley Jackson once wrote “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.” Although “The Haunting of Hill House” was not published until 1959, Sarah Winchester seemed to take to heart a bit of similar advice, doled out by a spiritualist she consulted following the death of her husband and young daughter. The heiress to the vast firearm fortune was told that she was haunted by the souls killed by the use of the Winchester Repeating Rifle, and the only way to appease their spirits was to maintain almost constant construction on a huge mansion now known as The Winchester Mystery House.

Her efforts resulted in 160 rooms with such architectural details as a window built into the floor, doors that open onto blank walls, stairs that lead to ceilings, and a reputation as one of the most haunted places in the U.S. The house is regularly open for tours, and one of the most popular is the Halloween Candlelight Tour, when the only illumination through the dark mansion is by candlelight. These are available on October 13-15, 18-22, and 25-31. These tours usually sell out quickly, so call (408) 247-2000 to get tickets, or click here.