While our luxury homes get decorated to scare trick-or-treaters on Halloween, there’s a luxury home with no need for any decorations to be spooky. We’re referring to the most famous haunted luxury home, the Winchester Mystery House. This famous haunted house has long been the setting for paranormal activities in the city of San Jose, CA. But what makes this luxury home so strange? And are there really ghosts haunting the famous grounds?
The Winchester Mystery House doesn’t begin in San Jose, CA, but in quiet New Haven, CT. Young Sarah Pardee was a belle in the city and drew the attention of a young man named William Wirt Winchester.
Winchester had just became wealthy due to the success of his Volcanic Repeater rifle. He and his father, Oliver Winchester, re-organized their existing shirt company and became the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Winchester and Pardee quickly married in the height of the Civil War and had a daughter named Annie Pardee Winchester.
Tragedy struck the young family when their daughter contracted a deadly illness and later died almost ten days after Sarah gave birth to her. Sarah was devastated by the death of her daughter and withdrew herself from her husband and the world. It was nearly a decade before she recovered from her devastation but only to be received with more tragedy. Her loving husband contracted pulmonary tuberculosis and died in 1881, thus leaving Sarah as sole heir to the Winchester fortune.
Sarah was utterly devastated by the loss of her husband and baby. A friend suggested Sarah seek a medium to ease her sadness and speak with her loves from beyond. When Sarah met with the medium, they were able to get in contact with Sarah’s husband. He warned Sarah of the curse the family had due to all of the spirits seeking revenge for having fallen from the use of their famous rifles, and she would eventually fall victim to this curse.
The spirit of her husband told Sarah to leave New Haven and head west to a new home. She would know her new home when she saw it. He told her she must build the house for herself and all the fallen spirits who died because of the Winchester rifle. But she must never stop building the house or else she would die.
Sarah quickly sold the house and headed west to avoid the curse her husband warned her about. She wouldn’t stop travelling the west until she found her new house and felt she was being guided by her late husband. Sarah finally found a property in the Santa Clara Valley in 1884 which was under construction. She entered negotiations with the existing owner and tossed any existing plans to the wayside.
She had no architectural plans or style for the luxury home but wanted construction to happen 24 hours a day. Sarah had an enormous group of local workers constructing around the clock on the properties. They would build, rebuild, alter, and demolish various home features. The sound of hammers and saws were heard for hours.
The oddity of the Winchester Mystery House is the fact there are doors leading to nowhere, stairways to the ceiling, and windows covered by doors. While they may seem odd, Sarah served as an architect and would go over the daily plans of construction with her workers every morning. Because they could never stop constructing on the property, rooms became entire wings of the house and the house at one point was about seven stories high.
The construction workers would build skylights on top of skylights, closet doors opening to walls, and a chimney which stopped short to the height of the presumed original height of the house. Sarah believed this construction would confuse evil spirits trying to hurt her. She wanted the house to be a maze of some sorts so it would discourage the spirits from coming for her.
No one knows why Sarah was fascinated by the number 13, but there are many home features containing this number: windows containing 13 glass panels, a greenhouse with 13 cupolas, walls with 13 panels, and rooms with 13 windows. Almost all of the staircases have 13 steps as well to match the theme.
All of the odd construction of the Winchester Mystery House came tumbling down when the San Francisco earthquake struck in 1906. A fireplace where Sarah would sleep collapsed and trapped her in the room. She was sure the earthquake was a sign of the spirits taking their revenge, she began boarding up rooms to trap the spirits in the house.
Months after the earthquake, workers had a hard time repairing the damage it caused and there are portions of the house never repaired. Instead of repairing , they just continued to construct on the existing site. Now there was a total of 25 new rooms and chimneys with no purpose to them. Sarah also had them install two mirrors because she believed the spirits were afraid of their reflections.
Construction finally ended on the property with the death of Sarah in 1922. She died in her sleep at the age of 83 and left all of her possessions to her niece. The Winchester fortune had dwindled due to all the strange construction. However, Sarah might have stashed away some of her fortune in the safes in the house. They forced opened many safes, but they all had oddities within them.
The house sold at auction after Sarah Winchester died and under control by the Winchester Investments, LLC. They manage the property and is now a tourist attraction touted as one of the most haunted mansions in America. People come from far and wide to experience the oddity of the house and the presence of spirits from the great beyond. A popular Halloween activity is to do a candlelit guided tour of the house to see the paranormal activity in the spooky season.
Workers and visitors alike have felt the presence of something when inside the luxury home. People have said to see a handyman-type figure repairing the fireplace in the ballroom, a spirit who has stayed on the property to continue with construction. One man has said to have felt a hand tap him several times while work in the famous Hall of Fires, a room with several fireplaces.
While our homes don’t have 13 staircases and doors opening to nothing, they are still admirable and the pinnacle of luxury. Our luxury home community is an exclusive to the Las Vegas Valley and comes with many home amenities. Visit our luxury home community today!