Winchester Mystery House | Museum | San Jose

Winchester Mystery House – – 525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose, California, USA – MAP

Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House remained “under construction” for over 38 years.  Sarah Winchester, widow to gun magnate William, kept changing it through construction from 1884 until her death in 1922.  Done to confuse the victims of her family’s invention, so she can hide from their ghosts.

Sarah’s Insane – – 
Many thought Sarah was insane.  Even beyond the eccentricities being rich may allow.  But still her friends, neighbors and servants laughed it off and left her to it.

A seemingly normal woman until 1866 when her infant daughter died.  It’s said she never recovered, only made worse by her husband’s death in 1881.  No child, no husband and she was only in her 40’s.

Winchester Mystery House - - Current Day
Winchester Mystery House – – Current Day

Maybe this led to an obsession with the paranormal during the days of true spiritualism.  Legend says she talked with a psychic from Boston named Adam Coons.  He told of a curse on the family.  Ghosts of victims killed by the Winchester rifle.  How the curse can’t be stopped, but she needs to run.  Go west to where most of victims once lived, build a house and never stop building.

There is no evidence this legend is true, but it’s the same result.  Sarah moved to San Jose, bought a farmhouse and started to build.  Other than a couple of breaks, the workers continued for 38 years.

Her insanity makes sense.  Why else would a home have stairways to nothing, doors opening to brick walls, the number 13 throughout and confusing hallways and rooms?  Except that Sarah Winchester did believe ghosts were after her soul.

Hopefully they didn’t find her when dying of heart failure inside the house in 1922.


Guests were constantly turned away from the Winchester Mystery House, including then President Theodore Roosevelt.  He was a fan of the Winchester rifle, wanted to meet Sarah but was told “Winchester was not opened to strangers” when trying to pay a visit.

Sarah Winchester - - portrait done circa 1865
Sarah Winchester – – portrait done circa 1865

The only guests she entertained were dead ones.  Every night at midnight a servant’s bell was rung to summon the ghosts to her.  It’s a mystery to all what Sarah did until the second bell rang at 2 am.

Servants reported hearing her talk and play the organ inside the main parlor.

She’s not Happy about Visitors – – 
During a tour of the house, a tour guide named Samantha walked the group into the “Daisy Bedroom”.  Telling the people how Sarah was trapped in here during the great earthquake of 1906… she heard a noise in the hallway.

Samantha looked around and was sure everyone was present.  Just in case she called out, “come on in” as the confused group looked at each other.  No one came in.

She excused herself and walked into the dark and empty hallway.  Her eyes adjusted to see a shape, like a small woman, quickly walk around the corner.  She followed it to find no one, as a final noise that sound like a woman sighing.

And Sarah enjoyed wine until the ghosts stopped her.  One night going to the cellar to retrieve a bottle and she noticed a black hand print smeared on the wall.  She ran from the cellar and refused to go back in.  She believed it was some sort of warning.

Years ago the famous psychic Sylvia Browne performed a seance at the mansion.  The message from Sarah Winchester was clear,

“Who are these people and why are they in my home?”

Documentary from 1963 about the Winchester Mystery House

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