The Winchester House

A

Anonymous

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#1
I first read this in an Alan Moore Swamp Thing (where the rifle concerned was called Chesterfield, I think) but my brother claimed it was based on the Winchester Rifle.
The story is that after Mr Winchester died, his widow kept seeing visions or ghosts of everyone who had been killed by a Winchester Rifle, and they demanded that the widow build a mansion to house their spirits. Which she did.
Apparently the ghosts had a bizarre taste in architecture, and the house has many quirks like stairs leading nowhere, doors opening onto brick walls, corridors that get thinner and thinner until they were impossible to get past. My brother said the house is still there in California.
So is my brother telling the truth, or was he just messing with the mind of an impressionable teenager?
 
A

Anonymous

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#2
There is a house like that, can't remember where it was now but the lady kept building and building and building and building onto it until she died, and yes she was an heiress of some type that dealt with guns..........

I just did a quick search and came up with This.

It's the Winchester House and Winchester does come from the make of the creator of the rifle............
 

mejane

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#3
A link to the Winchester Mystery House home page is here

Hope that works... (not quite up to speed with these new-fangled computer thingies - despite having used them for about 15 years... there's probably no hope now :) )

Mr Chopper - not sure about the British King, though it does ring a bell.

J.
 
A

Anonymous

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#4
I've visited the Winchester House in San Jose, California. It's really interesting and a fun tour to take. If you're ever in that area of California I would reccomend it!

sureshot
 
A

Anonymous

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#5
It's an interesting story, and I remember the Swamp Thing story really making an impression on me when I read it. Mind you, as anyone in the know can tell from my username, Alan Moore's writing tends to make an impression on me :D
 
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Anonymous

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#6
I've just read from Hell again. I've only read the first graphic novel of Swamp thing - very good. I noticed lots of references to urban legends/folklore in graphic novel, I think it's a good medium for modernising the stories:)
 
A

Anonymous

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#7
I live about 10 or 15 minutes away from the Winchester Mystery House and my friend literally lives about a mile away. The house is right next to highway 280 which goes from east to west through San Jose California. I took my cousin there about two years ago because he's never been there. The property is huge and is enclosed in a large fence. Next to the house is the freeway, a movie theatre and a Toys R Us. Sarah Winchester was the heiress of the Winchester Rifle fortune and moved to San Jose from back east when her husband died. She was plagued by the ghosts of those who had been killed by Winchester Rifles. She kept building rooms to hide from the ghosts. She would never sleep in the same room 2 nights in a row. There is even a staircase that leads to the ceiling. The weirdest part of the house is her seance room. It is up stairs and right in the middle of the house. There are like 5 or 6 doors from other rooms leading to the seance room. Through every door you have to step down into the seance room. The room is painted green and the entire ceiling is made of glass. Its kind of like a green house. Legend has it that she used to talk to her dead husband and other spirits in there. There is a huge errie garden and lots of gargoyle type statues. Modern Psychics believe a former gardener who lived in the guest house in the late 1800's - early 1900's haunts the property. Sarah Winchester died soon after the great earthquake of 1906 and I think her house went to the city because she had no children and refused to leave it to anyone else. There are tours everyday and on Halloween they have a midnight tour. When I took my cousin we were in the garden and the tour guide was pointing to a balcony that Sarah used to like to sit on and all of a sudden a bunch of pigeons flew down right at us, my cousin practicly jumped on me in terror. I suggest visiting there if you are ever in the area, its a scary and errie place. :eek!!!!:
 
A

Anonymous

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#8
Saw a segment on the Winchester House on the History Channel a couple of days ago...it was part of a show called "Secret Passages" (or something like that).

sureshot
 
A

Anonymous

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#9
A certain fellow who's coming to visit for the Holidays asked about going to the Winchester Mystery House while he's here, so this thread is officially resurrected.

Yes, the House is still standing. It's a cool place even if you are a skeptic, as it has beautiful Victorian architecture, and great stained glass windows.

My sister, who has always been the "sensitive one" in the family had a bad turn there. My mother and she were in one of the rooms that were being renovated and Merry turned white and said "something's wrong, I need to get out of here. This is a bad place, I need to get away from here now".

She was very upset and shaky for the better part of an hour, Mom says. Afterwards she could not say what exactly she felt, or what the source was, only that she was very afraid and wanted only to get away. She did not feel threatened in a physical sense, but said it was a threat sort of on the same level as feeling someone watching you. She felt watched, and felt panicked by it, in that room.

She's never gone back, as far as I know.
 

Philo_T

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#10
A certain fellow who's coming to visit for the Holidays asked about going to the Winchester Mystery House
Santa?!!
He must hate that place!
 

lopaka

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#11
When I visited there a few years ago I was definitely impressed by the house. It is truly an amazing thing. And of course the story of Mrs. Winchester is great and also an example of 19th century American Spiriualism taken to its extreme.

HOWEVER...the teenage (?) kid who was our tour guide really disappointed/offended me. He was very jokey and downright disrespectful to Mrs. Winchester. You don't have to believe what she did (and she clearly seems to have been "touched" and more than a little disturbed) but the tone of this person was just rude and inappropiate
IMHO. So I hope y'all get a better guide, but still worth a visit, for sure.
 
A

Anonymous

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#12
The article in the FT this month was quite disappointed with the tour guides and said that they were obviously bored and couldn't be bothered to make an effort. That aside though, they seemed quite impressed.

Definitely somewhere I want to see :)
 
A

Anonymous

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#13
Ah... My first Winchester was the 1890, but aside from that, the total production figures for the 1894 alone are I believe well over those of the M1 carbine produced for WWII. I won't deny it's a pretty freaky house, but if the ghosts of everything (or even everyone) killed with a Winchester were in there, every room would be like a telephone booth full of undergraduates, as far as I can tell... although as someone who has had to strip and clean several of the non browning designed '50s era shotguns, I look foreward to haunting the bastards that designed them. I fully intend to do that "the shining" bathtub hag thing on them for making me hunt for that pin on the '52 like that.
 

BaronVonHoopla

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#14
The Winchester Mansion

Does anyone know anything about the Winchester Mansion? I did a quick search but didn't seem to come up with anything, although I thought it would be prime Fortean material . . .

I remember seeing a program on television a few years ago about the house. Supposedly the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune felt she was being haunted by the the dead sould who had been killed by Winchester rifles and was told by a psychic to build onto her mansion so the ghosts couldn't find her. I think that is the story anyway. At any rate, she began building onto the mansion, and continued to do so until she died. Reportedly there are hallways that wind around themselves, some leading back into rooms they branched off from, staircases that lead to nowhere, doors that open into empty space on the second floors of large rooms like libraries, and other strangeness.

Anyone know anything further?

-Fitz
 

darrenxyz

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#15
It's most often called the Winchester Mystery House, and you'll find more if you search for that.

edit: It seems this two-post thread has been joined onto a larger one now, so my comment above seems a little silly out of context![/i]
 

marslight

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#16
A Winchester House story from the guide that took us through it a few years ago.

Sarah Winchester had a beautiful front door installed which she opened only once in her life, and that was to test it immediately after its installation. She then lay down for a nap, and was awakened by what we all know now as the great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

The house suffered considerable damage, including the toppling of a brick chimney onto the door to her room, jamming her door shut for about 20 minutes. Her servants responded to her terrified screams and finally managed to rescue her. Shaken badly, she told them of a vision she had while they were trying to open her door.

The spirits, she said, were angry with her for wasting money on such fripperies as a fancy front door, when the funds could be used to create more rooms for the spirits to inhabit. This earthquake was her only warning she said. If the front door was not closed up immediately and sealed so it could not be used again, another quake would strike within 24 hours; one that would dwarf the first one for severity.

The door was sealed and never again opened in her lifetime, sparing San Francisco from an even more devastating quake.
 

Leaferne

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#17
Stumbled across a blog post with some lovely recent photos of the house here.
 

sherbetbizarre

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#18
Oh yes - here's Yvette to sort it all out...

Most Haunted US

LivingTV 21:00 - 23: 00 Tuesday 12th Feb 2008

Brand new. The Most Haunted team present another dramatic show from the US. The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, is full of architectural riddles - is it also full of haunting spirits?.
 

cassandra78

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#19
I was surprised nobody had mentioned MH yet. It's an episode worth watching, just to see the house of course- It's awesome & very scary looking.
 

sherbetbizarre

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#20
You've seen it already? It's new to the UK tonight.

As the website calls it "USA Almost Live" I'm guessing it was shown live in America?

MOST HAUNTED USA: ALMOST LIVE

12TH FEBRUARY AT 9PM


The Most Haunted Team are back with a bang this week as they head to America for a spooky investigation into what was once the home of Sarah Winchester, the heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune.

The Winchester Mystery House in California is often cited as one of the most haunted buildings in the US, and has also been referred to as 'the house that fear built'. Yikes!

Presenter Yvette Fielding and medium David Wells, venture inside this mysterious building in the hope of communicating with some of the myriad spirits which are said to haunt the house.
 

sundance67

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#21
Yes, it was broadcast live here in the US last Halloween. Didn't get to see all of it, though, so I couldn't tell you much more than that about it. What I did see wasn't terribly impressive.

sherbetbizarre said:
You've seen it already? It's new to the UK tonight.

As the website calls it "USA Almost Live" I'm guessing it was shown live in America?

MOST HAUNTED USA: ALMOST LIVE

12TH FEBRUARY AT 9PM


The Most Haunted Team are back with a bang this week as they head to America for a spooky investigation into what was once the home of Sarah Winchester, the heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune.

The Winchester Mystery House in California is often cited as one of the most haunted buildings in the US, and has also been referred to as 'the house that fear built'. Yikes!

Presenter Yvette Fielding and medium David Wells, venture inside this mysterious building in the hope of communicating with some of the myriad spirits which are said to haunt the house.
 

cassandra78

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#23
I watch MH on youtube, I don't have sky. Providing someone puts it up there, you can almost keep up with new episodes & see those not aired over here yet ;)
 

decipheringscars

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#24
I visited the Winchester Mystery House on Tuesday, and took LOTS of photos. I'm working on uploading them to Flickr, and I will post a link when I have a substantial enough amount of them there.

I took both tours - the mansion, and the "behind the scenes". Both were too rushed for photography, especially with my camera, which seems to take forever to recharge the flash - so I unwisely took a disproportionate amount of photos without flash (these ended up with poor color balance and some blurriness [mostly people walking by], though I always rested the camera against a door jamb or some other stable object).

Anyway, the two tour guides I had were both fairly new to the place, but still very knowledgeable, and both seemed to really enjoy what they were doing.

However, taking photos left me no time to really "feel" the place (in the sense that you'd experience any place you visit).

I also didn't think there were as many oddities as I expected based on reports. Yes, there were cabinets that opened to nothing, or to the other side of a wall; there were lots of internal windows; there was a window in the floor; but these are all fairly minor oddities IMO. But there were lots of beautiful details, which is what I was so busy photographing!

Overall, I think it was worth a visit, but was definitely a bit over-hyped, and also did seem pretty touristy. The "gardens" were nothing special, although I did take lots of photos of them. But the current owners don't own all the property Mrs. Winchester owned, and she was a professional fruit-grower, too, so her gardens were probably well worth a visit back in her day. Today they're no more or less special than any of the front-yard gardens you see here in California taking a stroll, say, in a neighborhood in Oakland or Berkeley.

The focus of the tours, BTW, was more about her money and quirks than about ghosts. The "spirits" who guided her decisions were mentioned, but more often, the "blame" for odd architectural details was placed on her tastes and her errors in judgment (e.g., a beautiful stained glass window that was placed where sunlight would never hit it). It also didn't seem like anyone on the tours with us were all that interested in the ghost aspect.

Overall, I don't feel like I adequately experienced the place, but that was due to the fact that the tours are so rushed you have to choose between looking around and experiencing it, OR taking pictures. And how well can you really experience a place in a tour group, anyway, especially when most of the spaces got pretty crowded with the tour group in them...
 

decipheringscars

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#25
Photos!

OK, here's my link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/churchgeek/sets/72157604705759441/

Now, a few caveats:

--My camera unfortunately takes a long time to recharge the flash, and I quickly found that, because the tours are so rushed, if I used my flash, I couldn't take more than one or 2 photos in a given space before the tour moved on and I was left behind (not in the apocalyptic sense ;) ). So I took as many as possible without a flash, which means (1) the color balance is off (again, I only had time to leave it on "auto"); (2) sometimes the shots are a little blurry; and (3) I could only photograph things from the vantage point of a door jamb or similar hard surface to rest my camera on - my hands just aren't steady enough for a long exposure!

--My lens is a little dusty. Hence a few spots some might be otherwise inclined to call "orbs" - but really very few.

--I don't remember what everything is.

--I'm not done yet! I've uploaded over 90 photos, but have at least a couple hundred more to go (a fair number of those are outside in the gardens). Plus I may try to improve the quality using flickr's editor, and I'll definitely write more captions.

Hope you enjoy these! You might click on the tag "Winchester Mystery House" which I applied to each photo to see if anyone else has photos up. I haven't done that yet.
 

McAvennie

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#27
decipheringscars said:
I visited the Winchester Mystery House on Tuesday, and took LOTS of photos. I'm working on uploading them to Flickr, and I will post a link when I have a substantial enough amount of them there.

I took both tours - the mansion, and the "behind the scenes". Both were too rushed for photography, especially with my camera, which seems to take forever to recharge the flash - so I unwisely took a disproportionate amount of photos without flash (these ended up with poor color balance and some blurriness [mostly people walking by], though I always rested the camera against a door jamb or some other stable object).

Anyway, the two tour guides I had were both fairly new to the place, but still very knowledgeable, and both seemed to really enjoy what they were doing.

However, taking photos left me no time to really "feel" the place (in the sense that you'd experience any place you visit).

I also didn't think there were as many oddities as I expected based on reports. Yes, there were cabinets that opened to nothing, or to the other side of a wall; there were lots of internal windows; there was a window in the floor; but these are all fairly minor oddities IMO. But there were lots of beautiful details, which is what I was so busy photographing!

Overall, I think it was worth a visit, but was definitely a bit over-hyped, and also did seem pretty touristy. The "gardens" were nothing special, although I did take lots of photos of them. But the current owners don't own all the property Mrs. Winchester owned, and she was a professional fruit-grower, too, so her gardens were probably well worth a visit back in her day. Today they're no more or less special than any of the front-yard gardens you see here in California taking a stroll, say, in a neighborhood in Oakland or Berkeley.

The focus of the tours, BTW, was more about her money and quirks than about ghosts. The "spirits" who guided her decisions were mentioned, but more often, the "blame" for odd architectural details was placed on her tastes and her errors in judgment (e.g., a beautiful stained glass window that was placed where sunlight would never hit it). It also didn't seem like anyone on the tours with us were all that interested in the ghost aspect.

Overall, I don't feel like I adequately experienced the place, but that was due to the fact that the tours are so rushed you have to choose between looking around and experiencing it, OR taking pictures. And how well can you really experience a place in a tour group, anyway, especially when most of the spaces got pretty crowded with the tour group in them...
I'd agree with a lot of that. Nowhere near as mysterious as I had expected it to be. The odd door to nowhere and the weird mini stairs but I recalled it on TV as being a real maze of madness.

Was still very interesting to visit but not at all scary, probably due to there being near no furniture in there. I guess the flashlight tours at night are more creepy.

One thing I found amusing, Winchester was so disturbed about the people killed by the Winchester rifles yet she was more than happy to take a lavish daily allowance from the ongoing profits.

Also all this was done off the back of a medium telling her the spirits were angry. What odds that the spirit had a friend/relative killed by gunshot and just wanted a little measure of payback.

I think it is safe to saw Winchester was batshit crazy but I guess such money spent on a building is more palatable if you think the builder is just wacko than compared to the Hearst Castle project where it was just gross opulence.

Defo worth a visit tho if you are in California.

EDIT: No photos for me as they had a ban on photography inside the house.
 

locussolus

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#29
I see exactly what you are talking about, but I believe it's a warped reflection of the side legs for the sewing table that is up against the window farthest from the foreground.
 

sherbetbizarre

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#30
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