Located in San Jose, CA, the Winchester Mystery House is a chilling real-life haunted house story. The eerie and labyrinthine Victorian mansion was built by practicing spiritualist Sarah Winchester, the widow of William Winchester and heiress to the Winchester rifle (mis)fortune.
Legend has it that after the tragic deaths of many of her close family members (including her husband and infant daughter), she consulted with a medium who told her that she needed to buy a house and never stop its reconstruction in order to appease the ghosts of all the people who had been murdered by Winchester rifles. She promptly hired a crew who proceeded to work nonstop on her house from morning until night, building continuously for 38 years until her death in 1922. As a result, the mansion contains many odd features such as doors that lead to nowhere, indoor windows, trapdoors, and stairs that lead into the ceiling - all with the goal of "confusing" the spirits.
Creepy stories about the Winchester Mystery House abound from its tour guides to a ghost named Clyde in the basement to mysterious footsteps on the third floor, and even a haunted staircase - as seen on the show Ghost Adventures. Read on to learn 13 (Mrs. Winchester's favorite number) spine-tingling facts about the Winchester Mystery House.
There Are Doors And Windows That Lead To Nowhere
Doors and windows that lead to nowhere are a common occurrence in the house, but perhaps the most chilling of them is located on the second floor where there is one particular door that opens directly outside to a two-story drop.
The Seance Room Has One Entrance - But Three Exits
According to legend, Sarah carried the only key to her beloved seance room where she would commune nightly with spirits in order to receive new instructions for designing her house. However, the spookiest part about the room is that it has only one entrance but three exits. One of these exits is even through the closet, but once you've left, the doors shut behind you and you can't get back in.
Everything Is Topsy-Turvy
One of the eeriest qualities of the mansion is the completely topsy-turvy nature of its design. There are cabinets and doors that open up into walls, balconies and windows are found indoors, and some floors even have skylights. Other Alice in Wonderland-esque features include a linen closet the size of a small apartment next to a cupboard less than an inch deep, and one room with a normal-sized door next to a child-sized one.
There Are Some Pretty Unusual Staircases
There are a total of 40 staircases located throughout the Winchester House, and one set of stairs - for reasons unknown - goes straight into the ceiling. The show Ghost Adventures even caught a small, green thumb on camera at the base of these stairs, which appeared to "thumb a ride."
Additionally, due to her arthritis, Sarah had her workers create some staircases with tiny risers built in, each one barely more than an inch off the floor, so that she could get around the house more easily.