B1 Intermediate US 123 Folder Collection
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Picture a mansion with 160 rooms, 10,000 panes of glass, 17 chimneys, 47 fireplaces, doors
that lead to nowhere, stairs that lead to nowhere and even a wardrobe that opens into
30 extra rooms. While it may sound like something out of a strange fantasy movie, it actually
exists in San Jose, CA and the story behind the person who built the house is just as
strange as the house itself.
Sarah Winchester was the wife of gun tycoon William Winchester of the Winchester Repeating
Arms Company. The company was famous for its rifles, especially the Model 1873, which became
known as “The Gun that Won the West”.
When William died of tuberculosis in 1881, Sarah inherited around $20 million dollars,
which is around $500 million dollars today and also inherited 50% ownership of the Winchester
Arms Company.
Sarah had already been struggling with depression over the death of her infant daughter years
ago and her husband's death seemed to send her over the edge. She was obsessed with the
notion that she was cursed by people who had been killed by Winchester rifles. She sought
the help of a medium named Adam Coons, who held a séance and claimed to channel her
husband when he told her that she needed to move West and build a home for the ghosts
of people who had fallen victim to Winchester rifles.
Even though the psychic was likely a scam artist, Sarah believed him wholeheartedly.
So in 1884, she packed her bags and moved to San Jose, CA and began construction on
her ghost house. 22 carpenters worked year round, 24 hours a day for 38 years to placate
Sarah's every wish. They worked with a floor plan, following her directions to a T, even
if they made no sense, like building a door upstairs that lead nowhere and that would
plunge you to the ground below you stepped through it. At one point the house was 7 stories
tall, but the 1906 earthquake knocked 3 stories off.
You have to wonder why Sarah Winchester was hellbent on tirelessly adding to her house.
She believed that the spirits would curse her if she ever stopped, and indeed, she took
the earthquake as a sign of their anger. Some believe that she built the house as a labyrinth
of sorts, trying to confuse the ghosts so that they would have trouble finding her.
It's rumored she slept in a different bedroom every night. There are over 40 bedrooms in
the house, so she had plenty of choices.
Sarah died on September 4th, 1922 and only then did the construction on the house cease.
She was 83 years old.
The Winchester Mystery House is now open to tourists who wish to witness firsthand the
strange architecture of the building, and, if you're a believer, maybe even catch a glimpse
of some scary apparition. But remember, if you ever visit the house, down wander away
from the group. If you get lost, you may never find your way out.
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The Winchester Mystery House (Odd History)

123 Folder Collection
Amy.Lin published on February 19, 2018
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