Winchester Mystery House


The Winchester Mystery House was designed by the Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune. The home feature a maze of Victorian craftsmanship and when groups are touring the home, everyone in the group must stay together because it is very easy to get lost. The home features a Switchback Staircase with seven flights of forty-four steps that are each two inches high. The stairs accommodated Sarah's severe arthritis, enabling her to climb the nine feet without ever having to lift her legs too high. The miles of hallways in the home feature secret passageways and were designed this way so Sarah could move throughout her home without being followed by any of the mysterious spirits she believed lived with her. Many of the features in the home, including upside down columns, were installed in an effort to confuse the spirits, leading to the house eventually being called "the house built by the spirits." Sarah filled the home with ornate furnishings including Tiffany art glass windows, silver and bronze inlaid doors from Germany and pieces made of mahogany and rosewood. Sarah did her best to accommodate the spirits she felt were friendly and throughout the home are many instances of the number thirteen, including panes of glass in the windows, thirteen bathrooms and thirteen hooks in her séance room. Today, visitors can explore the home with tour groups, the gardens and the Winchester museums.

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