By Sarah Khan
WINCHESTER MYSTERY HOUSE
Located in San Jose, California, this seemingly never ending Victorian mansion is rumoured to have been built to confuse evil spirits and make a safe home for good spirits. No one is sure exactly how many rooms this mansion has because everything is not as it seems: doors which you think will lead to closets or other rooms will lead to walls while staircases will lead to other staircases or to dead ends. The house reminds us of this print by M.C. Escher.
Sarah Winchester, the lady who took a normal mansion and turned it into this bizarre fun house, was the wife of William Wirt Winchester, whose father invented the famous Winchester rifle. Sarah believed that she was cursed and her belief was cemented first by the death of her infant daughter and later by the death of her husband.
All alone with more than $20 million, Sarah started building additions to her mansion in order to run away and hide from the evil spirits she was convinced were after her. There was construction being done on the mansion every day, all day, without rush and without any blueprints. Sarah just needed the house to keep growing to make it easier for her to hide from the spirits.
Some say that it was the spirits that haunted Sarah Winchester who told her to keep building the house and even told her how to build the house. Sarah had no choice but to obey them in order to keep them happy.
Today the mansion is a big tourist attraction with guided tours. However, even the staff don't know the extent of the house so guests are always advised against roaming off on their own for they may not be found for hours and who knows who (or what) they'll encounter while lost!
Tune in tomorrow for #8 on the Spooky Places Countdown!