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The House of Mystery

If you are ever in San Jose, California, the Winchester House is definitely a must see.  From 1886 to 1922 it was home to Sarah Winchester, the widow of William Winchester and the heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune – the “Gun that won the West.”  What started out as an eight-room farmhouse grew to what is known today as the Winchester House of Mystery.  The mysteriousness of this house which has led it to become an “architectural wonder” is it’s oddities and unusual features.  For example, there is a stairway that leads to a ceiling, a repeating motif of the number 13, and a second-story door that opens out to nothing.  Another mystery is why construction never ceased from the time she moved in until her death.



Some wonder why Sarah Winchester never stopped renovating her home.  What motivated a well-educated socialite to build and continue to build such an eccentric and bizarre mansion?  Well, as legend has it, Sarah was tortured by the horrors brought by the ghosts of the people who were killed by the Winchester guns.  The only way to keep her safe from these ghosts was to continue construction.  The noise of the construction 24 hours a day kept the spirits away. Even though this is a memorable explanation, others believe that Sarah kept building because of the economic climate.  If she kept renovating and constructing, it kept locals employed.  In her unusual way, it was an act of kindness.


Are there spirits lurking in the corridors?  Even Harry Houdini himself, when visiting the house in 1924, could not shake the fact that something was wrong inside the walls.


Whatever you believe, this “monument to madness” should not be missed when visiting San Jose.  Remember to take lots of videos and send them to your friends on a Penless postcard.  Everyone loves to get Penless postcards, especially when it comes with a little mystery!

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