Houzz TV: Beyond the Ghost Stories of the Winchester Mystery House

Houzz TV: Beyond the Ghost Stories of the Winchester Mystery House

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Houzz TV: Beyond the Ghost Stories of the Winchester Mystery House

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Kathleen Marineau

I was fortunate enough to go there once and have only one regret. I couldn't linger as long as I wanted to in each room we were allowed to tour. A full day would not be enough to soak up the clever details. The easy riser stairs and the plant rooms with hammered metal flooring impressed me the most.

Not mentioned in the video is the fact that water was not wasted. The plant room drains emptied into a garden at ground level so the overflow from potted plants watered the roses and shrubs.

The tour I was on also mentioned how many people she employed and that she paid them well. Historical evidence indicates that to get a position on the Winchester property was a prized achievement and well worth putting up with her crazy ideas. We see value in much of what she did, but at that time many of her demands were considered bizarre.

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Vanda
Great article and very nice pictures! I am now definitely putting this visit on my bucket list.
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elainerivet

What an amazing woman, and how wonderful that the property has been so beautifully preserved! I'm going to watch the video again...

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mollymdla

This is wonderful. I've lived in CA for 30 years and have never been to this house, though I've been aware of it. I plan to correct that asap!

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kkl5

Fantastic and amazing place. I really enjoyed my time there. Great docents. Put it on your list! Actual Tiffany created windows, some using semiprecious stones. My favorite of the stories is when Teddy Roosevelt was President he came to the door, but she had him turned away...The gardens are also lovely. The well behaved children also enjoyed it (pleasantly scary); the badly behaved never seem to enjoy much of anything.

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Jaki
You wouldn't want to forget where you left your car keys, would you ?
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efpico

The story of Sarah Winchester and the Winchester house has fascinated me since I was a little girl. I have visited twice when I was in CA and loved it. It is a beautiful house and the details are fascinating. I would strongly suggest that if you are in the area, plan a visit.

BTW, there is a lovely Japanese garden in San Jose to visit as well.

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dartanyan

I think this is the house that Ghost Hunters did that Grant Wilson said was the most interesting of all the houses they ever investigated. Their team had trouble in the time they had to investigate, cover all of it and noises were all over.

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Kathy Dunn

I remember visiting there as a child and being fascinated by the fact that she never stopped building, and all the little strange details like doors that opened to a wall and stairs that went no where. I will need to visit again after seeing the video tour on Houzz!

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sfsapp

I was there in 1986. I thought it was very creepy.

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Cathy Lohe
I had an opportunity to tour that amazing house....it is so much more special than you can imagine! If you're nearby, put it on your list!
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S K-K

What a wonderful gift to leave future generations to enjoy!

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girlscotti
We had an amazing trip to the San Francisco area. Our two children had to research and choose one thing they wanted to do. My son, 9 years old, chose the Winchester House. It was absolutely one of our favorite things!
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dlc84

Great film, thanks for sharing, would love to see more like this.



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Joy
My son and I toured this when he was in high school. A fun tour, kind of creepy, definitely beautiful. Interesting woman.
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noanav
Enjoyed the article. Visited the Winchester House several years ago. It was a scary experience. Due to poor lighting and ventilation, I felt like I was trapped and suffocating so I hurried along through a never-ending labyrinth of rooms and secret passages until I was out of the house. Sarah's spirit obviously didn't want me there. :-)
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karlallado

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW - I'm an Architecture student, and this house looks like a summary of history of architecture.

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Carran Manning

I grew up in Calif. and have been to the house several times. One thing they neglected to say was how involved she was in the occult. The reason she kept building is because a spiritualist told her as long as she kept building she kept living. He involvement in the occult was evident all through the house (which they didn't expound on). 13 windows in every room, Lots of stainglass with spiderwebs, with 13 webs. Stairs that went nowhere were continued evidence she had to build to stay alive. Everything is absolutely beautiful, but what a sad and lonely existence. What did she want to stay alive for?

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Deborah Giles

Great video! There's so much in here that I had never heard about Sarah Winchester and her amazing house.

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Julie Johnson

Thank you! That was a fascinating video.

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DJ Thomson
My grandparents lived in San Jose and introduced me to this house when I was 15. I have been there 3 times since. I remember things said in the original tour that are not pointed out now. I'm 58 and it's still one of my favorite places in the world.
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mrsqnbee

How did she come by the enormous fortune to remodel this house? And is the house haunted?

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Dee Ledger

This is an amazing tour. Be sure to take it if you are ever in the area. The history goes far beyond the architecture.

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zeeplace

Fascinating video and so many pure genius ideas incorporated in to this home.would dearly love to visitione day and take the tour!!!!



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Michelle Sogn
Love this!!! So excited to go visit there again someday.
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bodhidesigns
Mrsqnbee, she got her money from the Winchester Rifle fortune.
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Woody Woodard

I went to this house in 1948.. It was way out in the country all by itself. No restoration work had been done at all and an elderly gentleman caretaker gave tours at no charge. Now it's just seems like another rather ornate tourist attraction.

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Kathleen Marineau

mrsqnbee: perhaps you're too young. Us old farts remember when the Winchester rifle ruled west of the Mississippi, was featured in every old western movie, used by Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy and The Lone Ranger, not forgetting the very real Texas Rangers and U.S. Cavalry. Weapon making still is big business and government contracts can be quite lucrative. Samples and history are displayed in a museum next to the house.

As mentioned in the video, she married a Winchester (in the 1800s) who was the last male in the family business. After he died, she moved as far away from the rifle factory as she could, but still had income from the business. She feared ghosts of Indians, Cowboys, Outlaws, soldiers, and eschewed any association with the rich and powerful that she and her husband used to see socially. She may have been overly superstitious, but she wasn't uneducated in money matters and studied building contstruction on her own.

There's a lot more to learn if you can go there personally. We get to admire the results of her paranoia, which wasn't helped by the fact that she was trapped in a room, by herself, after The Earthquake, until some of her staff were able to break through a jammed door. For those who don't live in California, her house is in San Jose, about 60 miles from San Francisco and still had damage as did most buildings in the area.


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Ron Wade

As I recall from a visit there many years ago, they were quite wealthy from the Winchester gun production. Seems like there was also mention of haunting or guilt from all those killed by the Winchester guns ???

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ashllynda

I visited the house in the early 90's I think and the thing that impressed me the most was a lot of the rooms were made out of redwood and she bleached the redwood. The effect was absolutely beautiful.


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magretbioye
this is great
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jstitcher

Bring back corner pieces! I can't wait to tour this house.

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Nancy Schnur of Universal Interiors, LLC

I too had the opportunity to see this place in person, but first learned about it on A&E's America's Castles series that ran in the 1990's. I loved that series, I wish it were available these days. But nothing you see or hear can do the Winchester house enough justice. Like Kathleen's first comment, you need to be able to linger in each room for a long time to absorb every detail.

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Jan Campbell
Great video that makes you want to visit Sara's house. Loved it!
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coni7box_home

I visited the Winchester Mystery House several times. Whenever my East Coast family visits me they insist stopping there. I love it and learn something every time.

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Mayfair Homes

Really impressive. For sure her approach was on head of time.

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Zinn Rutherford
Wow, amazing...amazing woman, amazing home, amazing legacy. Thank you. Now on my bucket list.
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Paint Me Gourmet
Oh do I want to see!
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sammyk1ns

I would love to visit this house though I feel I would want to stay for days just to absorb it all. Up until now I have only heard about her need to keep building described in an erratic way and I had no idea she had so many amazing new fangled features - and why o why didn't those stair corner thingies not become popular - I'd love those now.

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Marta Pineda
I enjoyed your post thoroughly, Thank you~
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Marcus Dickinson
We have been there twice. Looking forward to the movie!
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Nancy Vasquez
I have visited several times and marvel at the house and it's great construction. ❤️
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Kathy Lambert
Have tour the house twice it is beautiful. Did the tour on Halloween night, especially scary but fun. Fabulous and truly informative video. Thank you.
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mmzsd57
I was amazed by the simple invention that were so thoughtful of her servants and so in advance for the time. Personally I would love to explore the whole building.There is so much we can't see
in the tours. Hertz castle would also be added to the list. The film was great & makes me want to go back and see the house again.
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Lia Allen
Inspiring, innovative, fascinating...the best of Houzz. Please, more stories of this quality.
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Jo Ann Aiello

Excellent video! Haven't been to the house for many years. Hope to visit again next time I'm in the area.

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scarbowcow

Thirty-six dollars for an adult to tour the house? Wow. Glad I went there as a kid in the '70s. It can't have been that expensive (relatively speaking) or we could never have afforded to go there with a bunch of kids.

I remember the explanation that Winchester thought she needed to keep building or she would die. Seemed strange to me as a kid and strange now. As someone suggested above, if living means being enslaved to a kind of mania, what's the point? Even as a kid, I remember having a kind of sad, oppressed feeling in that house, thinking of the woman who was literally trapped in a cage she was building herself. Looking at the pictures - quite apart from the architectural wonders - still gives me the feeling of a sad, trapped, person. Very unsettling.

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qofmiwok

I visited about 30 years ago when I lived in San Jose. I didn't remember anything about the details discussed in this article, so it was very interesting to fill in my memories. The main thing I remember from the tour was being told that she felt she was being haunted by the ghosts of those killed by Winchester guns, and that the sound of pound hammers kept the ghosts away. Now I wonder if this is true or just something they told tourists back then.

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lorcheena

Thank you for this beautiful and different perspective!! This house is on my bucket list of amazing architecture to see. Inspiring and fascinating!!

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alice68

I visited the house the for the first time in the '60's when I had cousins living in San Jose. Over the years we would go to the Winchester house and the Rosicrucian Museum for our "weird fix" for the visit. I am glad to see the house is being restored. For many years it had been simply open to people to walk through and the souvenir takers had taken a toll on the house. It was quite faded and nearly all the wall paper had been stripped away. I also remember that the early guides really hyped the occult and superstitious angles. I do not know if there is any documentation on her actual opinions and beliefs. Does anyone know if she kept a diary or if papers were left? Quite often tours focus on sensational items to make the tour more exciting and encourage return visits. If there is a well-documented biography that would be worth reading. I find true information much more interesting than tour guide hype.

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wallick

We visited the house a few years ago and it was so fascinating. I too had the feeling I was not getting enough air, but chalked it up to the closeness of everything. I did appreciate the low rise steps also. This is not to be missed if you are in the area. Thanks for the article and video.


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Kathy Koletzke

I personally don't see it as creepy. feel sorry for her lonely and sad life but everywhere the movie showed us- her vision, dedication and obvious enjoyment in what she was doing came through. as for walls behind door and staircases that go no where- maybe they all did lead somewhere before the next project needed the space. I wish I could tour this in person. The tour fee is a lot more reasonable than tickets to Busch Gardens! and I am sure anyone would get more out of it. It is now on my bucket list!

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dirtgirl64
This month on local news they told story about house that a room was found that they didn't know of, that's neat to me wish there was more about that in article but I believe it was before they ran it here.
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Angela

Great article and video, since I live on the east coast, if I am ever in CA this will be on my bucket list.

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c w
Loved this. Hearst Castle next!!! Please.
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PIPA Wall Art & Home Decor

Wow, what a fascinating place.

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Rasha Olama

Wow wow wow.


   
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gatotravieso

This is a fascinating and well-written article! Growing up in California, I always assumed the Winchester Mystery House was a tacky tourist trap due to the cheesy roadside billboards for the place. When I finally visited as an adult, I was so surprised to find it was a gorgeous, gracious and thoughtfully restored historic home!

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rainey69

It was a lot of fun to go on a midnight tour!

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zeldadutch
It is a most fascinating and beautiful home. How tragic that she lost her child at 6 months old, and then her husband. She loved the home and continued building as a way of paying back to those who had been killed by the Winchester guns & rifles. A very intelligent woman with a taste for quality and respect for her staff.
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mf3mf

I never new the history behind the Winchester name. Thank you Houzz for the introduction, it is a place that I will visit.

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makeri

Loved visiting "The House" when in the states. What an innovative lady.


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reterink

M.Reterink: This amazing, beautiful House! Especially her unique plumbing & showering ideas, for watering her plants in her indoor garden. I did visit in the 1990's, and I plan to visit it again soon.

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originaljoeyskins
My grandparents who raised me were born in the 1880s & their stories, tastes and different beliefs always fascinated me. I was so happy to see Mrs. Winchester's Victorian motif. I fell in love with her home. She was a genius as much as her inventer husband. Thank sure porch where she devised the floor to lift for a drainage system for her plants was my most favorite room. I also love her so-called seance room., which seriously I believe really was used more to watch her servants than the occult., but I wasn't there to know. The stained glass is incredible. There's nothing mysterious or unexplained in the house, in my opinion. "Stairways that go nowhere" sounds mysterious until you realize the 1906 (the year of my dad's birth) earthquake had toppled the rooms of three floors of the house. I cannot wait to meet Mrs. Winchester in our hereafter where I can help her fix and clean her house & be her friend.
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Protégée Design Company
What a fascinating story about Sarah Winchester! At that time she was already a progressive architect with good ideas and inventive. Eye for detail, with a combination of different cultures. The architecture of the house is fantastic! A must to visit.