Monday, August 18, 2008

Insane or Haunted: The Winchester Mystery House

Can the means in which we acquire our fortunes come back to haunt us? The heiress of the Winchester Rifle fortune certainly believed this.
Sarah Winchester’s husband, William Winchester, was the man behind the Winchester Rifle, and in 1881 he died of tuberculosis. Though this was unfortunate for the Winchester window, it would not be the only misfortune she would have in her life. The couple’s only child also died at only 6 weeks of age.
Distraught by these tragedies, Sara sought the advice of a psychic, who advised her to move out west and build a house in memory of all the victims of the Winchester Rifle. This psychic had convinced Sarah that all her misfortunes were due to the deaths of the many people killed by the Winchester rifle, and in order for her not to fall victim to misfortune herself, she would have to continue adding onto her house until the day she died.
This is exactly what Sarah did, after moving to California she began construction on the famous Winchester Mystery House, and work would continue on this house for 38 years. Throughout those 38 years, work continued day and night, and on every day of the week, including holidays.
By the time Sarah had passed away, the house had a 164 rooms, and some very strange features, such as staircases that lead to nowhere, windows that open to brick walls, etc. It is said that Sarah did this in order to confuse the ghosts that were haunting her.
One room in the house was set aside so that Sarah could continue to communicate with the spirits, and do their bidding in the construction of the house.
So was the Winchester widow insane, or are there actually ghosts in the huge Victorian mansion. Many visitors of the Winchester Mystery House have claimed to hear strange noises, and workers swear that windows and doors slam by themselves, and voices can be heard when the house is empty.
Both psychics, as well as paranormal investigators have claimed that there are indeed, ghosts in the old mansion, but are they long forgotten victims of the Winchester Rifle, or those who spent their life constructing this house?