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The Haunted History of One of America's Strangest --- & Most Haunted --- Houses
(Courtesy of 1983sarah)
(Addition by TheLostWinchester)

It once was the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester, but is now a tourist attraction.
In 1857, William took over the assets of a firm which made the Volcanic Repeater, a rifle that used a lever mechanism to load bullets into the breech.In 1860, the company developed the Henry Rifle, because it was easy to reload and could fire rapidly, the Henry was said to average one shot every three seconds. It became the first true repeating rifle and a favorite among the Northern troops at the outbreak of the Civil War.

ON July 15, 1866, Sarah gave birth to a daughter named Annie Pardee Winchester. Just a short time later, the first disaster struck for Sarah, as her daughter contracted an illness known as "marasmus", a children’s disease in which the body wastes away. The infant died on July 24. Sarah was so shattered by this event that she withdrew into herself and teetered on the edge of madness for some time. In the end, it would be nearly a decade before she returned to her normal self but she and William would never have a another child.


Not long after Sarah returned to her family and home, another tragedy struck. William, now heir to the Winchester empire, was struck down with pulmonary tuberculosis. He died on March 7, 1881. As a result of his death, Sarah inherited over $20 million dollars, an incredible sum, especially in those days. She also received 48.9 percent of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and an income of about $1000 per day, which was not taxable until 1913.

A short time later, a friend suggested that Sarah might speak to a Spiritualist medium about her loss. "Your husband is here," the medium told her and then went on to provide a description of William Winchester. "He says for me to tell you that there is a curse on your family, which took the life of he and your child. It will soon take you too. It is a curse that has resulted from the terrible weapon created by the Winchester family. Thousands of persons have died because of it and their spirits are now seeking vengeance."She needed to make peace with them by... always be building a house. As in, never stop building a house, or else she will die.


In 1884, Winchester started construction of her new San Jose mansion, which had gone on non-stop for 38 years right until her death. Despite modern contractors taking about that much time to put in the wooden paneling in your kitchen, the Winchester mansion eventually grew so big you could, in all seriousness, get lost in it. And getting lost was the idea, the crazy twists and turns and dead ends were intended to confuse the ghosts. The entire Winchester Mystery House was decorated with a constant spiderweb motif--which Sarah believed had some spiritual meaning--and everything from the hooks on the walls to candle holders has been arranged around the number 13, supposedly for good luck.
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