The owner of the mansion, Mrs. Sarah Winchester, was born around 1840. She wasn't born into the Winchester family, but married into it. They had a great and happy marriage until their daughter died in 1866 from Marasmus, which was considered a mysterious childhood disease at that time. Mrs. Winchester went into a very deep depression, and she never fully recovered. Then in March of 1881, Mr. Winchester died from tuberculosis. After this, she went to seek help from a spiritualist.
The spiritualist told Mrs. Winchester that she was being haunted by angry spirits. Spirits that were looking for revenge due to the fact that they died by being shot with a Winchester gun. The spiritualist told Mrs. Winchester that these spirits caused the untimely deaths of Mrs. Winchester's daughter and husband. Mrs. Winchester was told that she was going to be the next to go, well unless she moved west and built a big huge house to make these angry spirits happy.
Well the first thing you know, Mrs. Winchester said to kiss her derrière, and she moved away from there. Said California is the place I will be today, so she went and moved to San Jose. Mrs. Winchester had about twenty million dollars, and they say she used it all to buy and build the Winchester Mansion. It started in 1884 when she bought an eight bedroom farm house.
Mrs. Winchester had basically an endless supply of money, so she hired men to work around the clock on her new home. It was said that she was a very nice lady, she paid more than the going rate, however, she kept her face covered with a veil. It was reported that she would fire anyone that caught a glimpse of her. Mrs. Winchester never slept in the same room twice thinking that it would confuse the spirits that were out to get her. She had thirteen different colored robes that she would wear at different times. She had the Blue Room built in the home which was specially made for her to talk to the spirits, which consisted of a planchet, some pens and papers, a closet, a table and a cabinet. It was also told that a bell would ring at midnight and at two in the morning, said to be the departure and arrival of spirits.
The house has parquet floors, art glass windows and a grand ball room. There are stairs that lead to the ceiling, doors that go nowhere, open onto walls or open to the outside of the house, and chimneys that stop just short of the roof. There were only three mirrors in the house, due to spirits not liking mirrors because they would vanish if they saw themselves. Rooms were built, then torn down only to be built again. Some of the features in the house were built around, dismantled or just plain sealed over.
~*One of the three mirrors*~
The earthquake in 1906 trapped Mrs. Winchester in the front of the house in her favorite Daisy Bedroom. Mrs. Winchester said that the earthquake was a warning from the spirits telling her that she is spending way too much money on the front part of this ginormous mansion. When repairs were done to the damaged sections, Mrs. Winchester demanded that the 30 rooms in the front of the mansion, which included her favorite Daisy Room, the Grand Ballroom and the front doors to be sealed up.
~*Daisy Room, Grand Ball Room and Front Doors*~
When Mrs. Winchester died from heart failure on September 5, 1922, her eight bedroom farm house grew to 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens. When the carpenters heard that she died, they completely stopped building, and there were half driven nails sticking out of the walls.