In San Jose, California, stands a house that saw tragedy and obsession. Within the house stairs came out from the walls and doors lead to nowhere. Additions to the house would be continually added until the death of the owner. That owner was Sarah Winchester, daughter of Leonard Pardee and Sarah Burns, and that house is now known as, "The Winchester Mystery House." Born around 1840, Sarah was known as the "Belle of New Haven" Sara married William Wirt Winchester in 1862, son of Oliver Fisher Winchester. Oliver would become the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut and the manufacturer of the famous Winchester repeating rifle.
The Winchester 1866 was the first reliable lever-action repeating rifle, with a spring-closed loading port on the right-hand side of the frame, directly at the rear of the magazine tube.
The first disaster for Sarah would befall her in 1866 when her infant daughter, Annie would die from a mysterious child hood disease marasmus. Marasmus comes from the Greek word meaning starvation. It causes gradual wasting away of the body due to inadequate absorption of food, or due to severe malnutrition. In March 1881, fifteen years after the death of her daughter, Sarah's husband died an early death from TB, or Tuberculosis, a disease that usually attacks the lungs.
Falling into a deep depression, Sarah sought the help from a spiritualist. The spiritualist told Sarah her family and her fortune were haunted by spirits of American Indians, Civil War Soldiers, and others killed by Winchester rifles. Feeling the spirits killed Sarah's daughter and husband, and she would be next, the spiritualist recommended Sarah build a great house for the spirits to appease them. She was to continually build on the house without stopping. Sarah Winchester moved out west, purchased a home and starting building. The spiritualist told her if she continued to build without stopping she would not only have eternal rest, she would not have any danger from the spirits. Stairs came out of the walls and stopped almost in mid-air, some doors opened leading to another room, while other doors that opened ran into a solid wall. Consulting guidance from spirits for her construction plans, Sarah had a room she would supposedly go to nightly. Set up in the room were pens, papers, and a board used for communicating with the spirits. Fearing the spirits were waiting for her, Sarah never slept in the same bedroom two nights in a row. Eventually the house would grow to become a seven story mansion.
Construction of the house continued day and night until the death of Sarah Winchester on September 1, 1922. At the time of her death, the house spread over six acres, housed 160 rooms, 2, 000 doors, 47 stairways, 13 bathrooms, 10,000 windows, 47 fireplaces, and 6 kitchens.
People today who visit the house claim they often hear voices that are not there, or sighting of spirits from the past. As I walked through the corridors of the house I could almost feel an uneasiness in the air, almost like Sarah is still there, watching over her house.