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You get to live forever but you have to keep building? Would you take it? or let it go and get haunted by spirits, Winchester Mystery house never stopped building, day in day out, year after years up to 38 years until Sarah Winchester died, built over 24000 sq ft, Winchester House is a puzzling mansion with over 161 room and a perplex bizarre design-build by Sarah Winchester.

The mysterious house that never stopped building over a period of almost 4 decades. Since it’s construction in 1884 the mansion was claimed to be haunted by the ghosts of those killed with Winchester rifles.

Sarah Winchester and Story of Winchester House

Sarah Lockwood Pardee was a fifth of seven born children to Leonard Pardee and Sarah Burns, her birth year is still unknown but with available records, she was born somewhere around 1839-1841. Sarah was bright and well educated, she could speak four languages and played three instruments.

1862

On 30 Sept 1862 Sarah Lockwood Pardee in her early 20’s married William Winchester, the only son to Oliver Winchester who founded the company that made Winchester Repeating arms Company rifle which made Winchester rifle and the best one, the Winchester 73 also known as the “Gun that Won the West”, as it didn’t require reloading like other rifles. Winchester rifles surely changed the results of many wars.

1866

Sarah and William were blessed with their first child, Annie Pardee Winchester, unfortunately, Annie died 40 days later due to Marasmus or malnourishment generally caused by calorie and protein deficiency. The same year Winchester Repeating arms company started.

1880

Oliver Winchester died, leaving Winchester repeating arms to his only son William.

1881

William shortly died in march 1881, after his father’s death, due to Tuberculosis at the age of 43.

1884

Last know portrait of Sarah Winhcester
Last know portrait of Sarah Winchester.

Sarah traveled to California purchasing an 8 room farmhouse in San Jose and began the work that will never stop until the day she died. After William’s death, Sarah was left with 50% of the company and over $20 Million (over $500 million in 2019) in the inheritance of Winchester arms company which left her with a continued income equal to $1000 dollars per day for the rest of her life, which as result making her one of the richest women alive.

The Winchester mystery house

William’s death was unbearable to Sarah, so she reached out to mediums in Boston to help her understand the deaths of her daughter and husband. While doing so a medium told Sarah that her family was being haunted by the spirits of those killed by Winchester Rifle and her family member’s death was mere punishment.

The medium also told Sarah that her family was the cursed and the only way to lift the curse was to move to the west and build a house and never stop building. The good spirits would guide her on what to build and if she continued doing so she would live but if she stopped she will be haunted by the evil spirits of those killed with Winchester Rifle.

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Sarah followed the medium’s advice and moved to East coast where she purchased Dr. Caldwell’s house along with 161 acres of farmland. Sarah hired 22 carpenters and began the never-ending Winchester House with Sarah being the only architecture.

Sarah sometimes even paid triple the amount of money to workers to keep working 24 hours a day, every day and every year till the next 38 years, hammers must never cease as the spirits told Sarah.

Winchester house before 1906 earthquake
Winchester House before the 1906 earthquake. Photo: Courtesy WINCHESTER MYSTERY HOUSE

The Winchester House house eventually stood 7 stories tall featuring over 500 rooms but due to earthquake, house reduced to 4 stories and by constant remodeling it only has 161 room with most recent room found in October 2016, the house has 2000 doors and 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 17 chimneys, 6 kitchens, 3 elevators, 13 bathroom, and only one shower, 13 coat hooks in the seance room.

Bathroom with a window which nurses used to check on Sarah
Bathroom with a window.

The oddity of this mysterious house is such that it has stairs that go up to 3 meters only but it has 7 turns and 44 steps, switchback stairs. Even though Sarah was secretive about herself, she had a window on the bathroom door from which nurses were supposed to check on her. Storage cabinets with half-inch storage space and skylights emerging from the floor.

Séance Room

Sarah also had a seance room which only she was allowed to enter, She would go in every night at midnight to talk to the good spirits, at midnight a bell was rung outside the Winchester House to summon the spirits, at 2 o’clock the bell was rung again to tell the spirits to leave. Seance room had only one way in but three-way out, one is disguised as a closet and other just drops down at the kitchen sink below, no one except Sarah was allowed to enter in the room.

Legend has it that good spirits would tell her about the uncanny architecture of the house, which might explain how there are some staircases which lead to the ceiling, not to the upper floor, the door to nowhere and some doors lead to brick walls. The Winchester house was made such that it would help her escape from ghosts haunting her, and confuse them with the uncustomary design of the house.

Winchester Mystery House's Seance room where Sarah would hold spiritual meetings.
Séance room or Blue room.

Sarah’s fascination with the number 13

Sarah was fascinated with number 13, her architectural designed house had 13 bathrooms and only one shower, 13th bathroom has 13 windows, grand staircase has 13 steps, Winchester house has a total of 52 skylights which in turn is a multiple of 13, the driveway has 13 palm trees and one sink has 13 drain holes, some rooms with 13 ceiling panels, 13 windows, and 13 panes in a glass window with 13 stones in a spider web pattern, a German chandelier has originally 12 fixtures but Sarah added 13th to it.

Bizarre design of the Winchester Mystery house

Let’s look at some of the Winchester house pictures that lead many to believe that this is not an ordinary house design that is seen on a day to day basis.

1. Door to nowhere
Door to nowhere

One of the Séance room’s exit door drops straight down to the kitchen sink below.

2. Dead end stairs
Dead end stairs

Stairs to nowhere, what might have caused such a weird architecture some might ask, Sarah had her own answers.

3. Windows opening inside the house

We are used to seeing windows outside the house to get the ventilation right and to get some fresh air but Winchester’s house has windows inside the house.

4. Mirror on stairs
mirror in the midle of stairs.

A mirror placed between stairs in such a position that stairs towards the left can be seen clearly.

5. Another door to nowhere
Door from first floor without balcony.

Doors on second floor opening to thin air, this might be done as to confuse ghosts haunting her and buy her some time to escape.

6. Switchback Stairs
Switchback stairs

These stairs were used for an elevation of just three meters but consisted of 44 steps and 7 turns.

7. Windows to other floors
Windows opening on other floor

Skylights emerging from the window and window on another floor.

Some doors will lead to closets while one opens on a brick wall, the house structure was as chaotic as Sarah’s brain as some believed that she is going crazy with the house construction going on nonstop.

Sarah Winchester being Ahead of time

Sarah was surely ahead to time, 3 elevators, annunciator, window knobs to open shutters from inside which later became very popular, lights using carbide gas, communication pipes which go all the way up to 4th floor to help her talk to her servants and some interior design puts her architecture way ahead of time.

Winchester Mystery House's announciator
Annunciator, Photo Courtesy: Winchester Mystery House.

Annunciator, it was believed that after performing seance Sarah used to sleep in one of her 40 bedrooms, one night in each bedroom, which might confuse servants working for Sarah so she introduced this annunciator which will give her servant a brief idea about her where they can find her.

Sarah had doorbells like buttons that will display the number on annunciator, Although this is not digital this not normal in early 1900.

Sarah later died in 1922 due to heart failure though her life ended peacefully, she was never lived peacefully, the deaths of family members kept her grieving throughout her life along with the fact that she had to keep building The Winchester house in order to keep the spirits haunting her away.

When the worker heard about Sarah’s death they halted the construction, leaving nails halfway through the doors and walls, which is why some people claim about hearing the noise of nails dropping to floors, some claims to hear strange voices and footsteps and some claim to have seen the ghost or spirits both male and female sometimes kids at outside Winchester House or sometimes inside the mansion.

Now that you’ve read about the Mysterious Winchester House, now read about the true story behind the conjuring movie and then read about the cases investigated by the Warrens.

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