The next time you are visiting San Jose, California, there is a mysterious house built upon a foundation of mystical beliefs. Sarah Winchester was the widow of William Winchester, who after his passing, left Sarah the Winchester Repeating Arms Company fortune. The legacy she left behind was a huge mansion that she constantly altered in an effort to keep evil spirits away. What possessed this woman to feel consumed with this mansion?
One day, Sarah saw a psychic, who informed her that she needed to build a house that would be big enough to hold the souls of all of the people and animals that were killed by a Winchester gun. Sarah took this advice and ran with it, building a monster of a house throughout the last 36 years of her life. She was so frantic about expanding the house, that she is said to never have given her employees a day off. Sarah believed that if they stopped working on the house, then she would die. Rumor has it that after many protests, she finally allowed her staff a day of rest, which also turned out to be her final day.
The mansion was built upon Sarah’s preoccupation with the number 13. The house featured many elements in sets of 13 or multiples of the number. For example, in the 13th bathroom, there were 13 windows, as well as a sink with 13 drain holes. Oddly enough, this was the only bathroom to have a shower. The rest of the house embraced the number 13 with is 52 skylights, 13-step grand staircase, as well as the 13 palm trees lining the driveway. Even her final wishes were divided into 13 parts and signed 13 different times.
With an even mysterious twist, there was a hedge in her garden that was in the shape of a crescent moon. At the time of her death, the hedge was pointing toward the room that she passed away in. When Sarah passed away, 160 rooms were built within the house. Some of the rooms were completed, while others were in various levels near completion. Some say that the house had more than 600 rooms built during its existence, which had been destroyed at one point in time to “make the spirits content.”
It is said that Sarah would enter her Seance Room and receive instructions on what should be done to the house. Strange additions to the mansion included doors that revealed nothing but a wall behind it; tiny hallways and stairs that led to nowhere in particular. The mansion featured secret rooms and passages that were only large enough for the small-framed Sarah to enter and travel through. There were elevators that reached only one floor. It is said that she had the house built in this way because she wanted to “confuse” the spirits, so that they could not locate her. The mansion was also decorated with 10,000 windows, as well as 47 fireplaces.
Today, the mansion has since been restored and is available to the public for a visit.