Based solely upon its exterior, the Winchester Mystery House looks like any other sprawling northern California mansion. The house’s sea of red roofs and beautiful gardens may even appear inviting. Yet take a tour through the nearly 160 rooms and you’ll see why the Winchester Mystery House, built for 38 years by Sarah Winchester, has been dubbed one of the creepiest homes the world.
Sarah Winchester, born around 1840, grew up in a world of privilege. She spoke four languages, attended the best schools around, married well, and eventually gave birth to a daughter, Annie. However, tragedy struck in her late twenties when Annie died, followed by the death of Sarah’s husband William more than a decade later.
As the story goes, Sarah Winchester sought advice from a spiritualist who warned that spirits would haunt her unless she built a home for them. He assured her that as long as she kept building, she would be safe. Luckily, Sarah had plenty of resources to take on the monumental project since she inherited millions of dollars and stock shares following her husband’s death.
Fueled by grief and fear, Sarah left Connecticut in 1884 and ended up in San Jose, where she began building the Winchester Mystery House. Sources say that Mrs. Winchester came up with her ideas for building the house after a daily séance in which she consulted “good spirits”. Sarah was known for her capricious nature, which resulted in haphazard remodeling, building over old rooms, or sealing off unused spaces. For instance, the Winchester Mystery House contains multiple stairways that end abruptly and lead nowhere.