Winchester Mystery House

Few buildings in the U.S. conjure the mystique of the Winchester Mystery House. One part architectural puzzle and one part haunted house, the structure has stood for well over 100 years, but it was the house’s most famous resident and her penchant for unusual designs that literally put the location on the map.

Thousands flock to the historic home each year, and now, in answer to global quarantines and self-isolation, the estate holders have put a free virtual tour of the massive home online.

From the official website:

“All though [sic] we are currently closed to the public, we welcome our guests to experience the Winchester Mystery House from the comfort of your home. Please enjoy this free Video Access Tour of the Winchester Mystery House now until April 7th, 2020.”

A Brief HIstory

Photo via the Winchester Mystery House

Located in San Jose, California, the Winchester Mystery house was a simple eight room farmhouse when it was purchased by Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester in 1886.

The widow of William Winchester, inventor of the Winchester repeating rifle, was in mourning over the loss of her young daughter and her husband and saw the property as a new lease on life.

Apocryphally, the story is told that Sarah felt she was haunted by the spirits of those killed by the rifle created by her husband, and she was instructed by a psychic to build this massive home in an attempt to confuse those spirits in an effort to protect herself.

From 1886 to 1922, that eight room farmhouse grew and grew and grew.

According to the official website, the property is now 24,000 square feet with some 10,000 windows, 2000 doors, 160 rooms, 52 skylights, 47 stairways and fireplaces, 17 chimneys, 13 bathrooms, and six kitchens.

Its doors that open onto two-story drops, stairways that go nowhere in particular, and rooms and hallways built with perspectives meant to confound are a marvel, have sparked the imagination of authors and filmmakers alike, most recently with the film Winchester starring Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren.

The Paranormal

Visitors to the Winchester Mystery House have reported numerous paranormal occurrences over the years.

Some are simple as a tugging at their clothing. Others have reported hearing phantom footsteps and run-ins with the apparition of man called Clyde, a rough type seen pushing a wheelbarrow in the basement or working to repair fireplaces within the structure.

Because of its colorful history and reported activity, paranormal investigators and psychics have visited the location over the years including Sylvia Browne, James Van Praagh, and the crew from Ghost Adventures including Zak Bagans.

You can check out the virtual tour of the Winchester Mystery House by CLICKING HERE. Who knows? You just might find something spooky on the video!