Many haunted locations also have a historical significance. Over the next few months, I want to highlight a few places that I feel are worth visiting. Feel free to comment if you have had any experiences of your own or recommend visiting somewhere. I’m always looking for a new place to explore!
First on my list is the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA. I was in my teens when I heard this story, and I made it a goal to visit. Two years ago I finally had the opportunity, and it didn’t disappoint.
For those who are unfamiliar with the tale, the Winchester House was remodeled by Sarah Winchester in the 1800s. After the death of her daughter and husband (the Winchester rifle manufacturer), she met with a psychic who told her to move west and build a house. By doing this, it would keep the spirits who attached themselves to the family (from the deaths of those killed by the Winchester rifles) happy. She took the psychic’s advice to heart and moved completely across country and purchased an 8-bedroom house. She immediately began construction on the property, and it continued until her death. She would overlook all renovations, changing the floor plans numerous times after consulting with the spirits in her séance room. In 1906, an earthquake shook San Jose and Mrs. Winchester became trapped in her bedroom. She felt that she had somehow angered the spirits, and closed off part of the mansion; it wasn’t until after her death that this section would be reopened.
The unique architecture now has 160 rooms, doorways to nowhere, stairways that go straight to the ceiling, a master ballroom, and Tiffany windows (only to name some of the features). This place boasts some of the most exquisite and random designs that I’ve ever seen, but every room adds a little more to the origin of how it became what it is today.
The Winchester Mystery House is best experienced in person. Nothing can prepare you for this monumental structure and its gardens. Honestly, I was expecting it to be off by itself surrounded by acres of land, but the area is actually very commercialized. Once we entered through the gift shop, the grounds and buildings on the property distracted from the noise outside the gates; the beautiful trees and gardens damper much of the sound from the outside.
We were able to take a tour through the gardens and outbuildings, the main house, and the basement. This “Grand Estate Tour” doesn’t look to be offered anymore, but there is a tour that might take you through all of these these places. We weren’t able to take photos inside the house but it is something that I will never forget. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and they didn’t mind answering questions. The rooms were amazing and many of the hidden features or little details were intriguing. By the end of the tour, we walked over a mile through the many rooms and corridors.
This location is said to be haunted, but during the tour we didn’t experience anything paranormal. However, there was a feeling in the house that had me looking over my shoulder; it felt like there was something present that caused me to be on guard at all times.
The Winchester Mystery House has been featured on many different Paranormal Investigation shows over the years, my personal favorite being Ghost Adventures where it’s been showcased on multiple episodes.
If you are in the San Jose area, this is definitely a place worth touring.
You can visit the website at http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com to get more information the tours that are offered or more on the history of the building itself.