Sarah Winchester was the heiress to the Winchester estate after her child and husband died. She was born in the 1840s in New Haven, Connecticut. She married in 1862 to William Winchester, son to the family famous for the Winchester rifle. After the death of her child and husband, Sarah felt she was being haunted. On a visit to Santa Clara Valley in San Jose she bought a farm that was unfinished. After 38 years of reconstruction, she left the Winchester Mystery House as her legacy.
The house is a bizarre compilation of twists and turns, hidden stairways, rooms, and much more. Servants had to pair up, so they would not get lost. Today it is possible for visitors to San Jose to tour the house with a guide. Visitors are taken along the twisting corridors, up stairs and down stairs, and through the gardens. Tours are $33 for adults, $30 for children (6 to 12). It includes the entire estate tour. It is also possible to take just the mansion tour for $5 less. There is also a behind the scenes tour for $25. Hours of operation are 9am to 5pm Sunday through Saturday in winter, and 8am to 7pm in the summer months.