Want to hear a ghostly tale of construction? Of the many haunted locations across the world, none have quite the same air of mystery as San Jose’ Winchester Mystery House.

History of the Winchester

The story of the Winchester Mystery House began 1881 with the death of William Wirt Winchester, the son of the founder and treasurer of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. He left behind his wife, Sarah, and his infant daughter. Unfortunately, their daughter would soon contract marasmus, resulting in her death. Bereaved, Sarah Winchester visited a medium in Boston. The medium told her that she was haunted by the spirits of people killed by Winchester rifles. Winchester then moved from her family home in New Haven, Connecticut, to San Jose, California. In 1884, she purchased a plot of land with an unfinished farmhouse and began construction on the now-infamous mansion.


Supposedly, Winchester was lead to believe that as long as she continued construction, the ghosts she feared would be kept at bay. This theory explains the confusing, nonsensical architecture of the house. The mansion is filled with sharp turns, narrow staircases, and doors to nowhere; all allegedly built to confuse any vengeful apparitions. Other reports claim that Winchester herself was in constant communication with the spirits, conducting seances in her home in order to receive building instructions from the other side.

The odd mansion is 24,000 square feet and features 6 kitchens, 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, and 10,000 windows. Winchester continued to build, tear-down, and rebuild sections of the house until her death in 1922. These days, the house a popular tourist attraction and hosts frequent paranormal investigations.


Winchester Ghosts

The Winchester Mystery House has long since been considered very haunted. In fact, the mansion and its ghosts were the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion. The mansion has topped numerous most haunted lists, including but not limited to USA Today, MSN, Travel Channel, and Time Magazine. Visitors to the mansion report cold spots, sounds of ghost hammers through the night, and even sightings of Sarah Winchester herself wandering the grounds.

The Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures conducted two separate investigations of the house: first in 2011 and again in 2016.

Ghost Adventures returned to the mansion in 2016 to conduct a groundbreaking experiment. In this investigation, the team set up a virtual link between three locations; from the Winchester House in San Jose to the Washoe Club in Virginia City to Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Wilder. All locations were areas where spirits called out to members of the team by name after their initial investigations. The experiment was a qualified success with the crew catching movement and EMP spikes throughout all three locations. However, the investigation was called off early due to the potential possession of Aaron Goodwin, one of the team members.


The Winchester Mansion has a long history of tragedy, fear, and spirits. The fascinating architecture and history make it a must-see for anyone traveling through the area.