The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, has a fascinating backstory that continues to draw visitors today. The spacious home has 160 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, 40 staircases and three elevators. However, there are many odd things about these rooms and those are the things that draw the visitors.
For 38 years, workers didn't stop making structural changes to the house, which existed in a state of constant construction. An example of the odd construction can be found in one of the kitchens, which was built with three doors. One went into a cupboard with a secret room behind it, another just dropped to a kitchen below and the third actually allowed people to exit the room.
"Tour guides must warn people not to stray from the group or they could be lost for hours!" the official website for the Winchester house reads.
Why does this house have such strange and mysterious pathways inside it? It was a lifelong project of the wealthy widow Sarah L. Winchester, who was the heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune. The home was ahead of its time when it was first built, with modern heating and sewer systems, as well as gas lights, none of which were common in new home construction at the time the house was first built, or at least first began the long construction project that would last 38 years, in 1884.
Winchester believed that the ghosts of those who had died at the hands of a Winchester rifle were haunting her. She believed that the only way to calm vengeful spirits was to build a home that would confuse them, so she just continued building the house throughout her life.
Among the oddities of the house are a staircase that descends seven steps and then rises eleven. There are also miles of twisting hallways that contain secret passageways in the walls, supposedly so Winchester could travel circuitously through the house and confuse any spirits that might be following her.
Sounds like an interesting place to visit!
Video excerpt of a documentary on the Winchester Mystery House.
This article is copyrighted by Travelers Today, the travel news leader