4# Creepiest Places...

4# Winchester Mystery House


 In San Jose there is this house. It is a gigantic, sprawling 160-room complex designed like a maze, with mile-long hallways, secret passages, dead ends, doors opening to blank walls and staircases leading to the ceiling.

It's the work of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune. In the late 19th century, deeply saddened over the death of her husband and daughter, she visited a Boston medium who told her she was haunted by the spirits of all the victims of Winchester rifles. She needed to make peace with them by... always be building a house. As in, never stop building a house, or else she will die. What a nice thing to say to someone who has just lost her family. There is no way this could end with Sarah building a real life version of the Addams Family household.

In 1884, Winchester started construction of her new San Jose mansion, which has gone on non-stop for 38 years right until her death. Despite modern contractors taking about that much time to put in the wooden paneling in your kitchen, the Winchester mansion eventually grew so big you could, in all seriousness, get lost in it. And getting lost was the idea, the crazy twists and turns and dead ends were intended to confuse the ghosts. Sarah was kind of a jerk like that.

Oh, bitch!

But pissing off vengeful spirits was just one of the many architectural choices for the mansion. The entire Winchester Mystery House was decorated with a constant spiderweb motif--which Sarah believed had some spiritual meaning--and everything from the hooks on the walls to candle holders has been arranged around the number 13, supposedly for good luck. Yeah... for someone trying to free herself from ghosts, Winchester did everything but sacrifice a baby goat to Satan to assure her house will be haunted.

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