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Winchester Mystery House

Out of the many interesting and exciting things to see in California one of the most amazing, and mysterious is the Winchester mystery house. This 160-room mansion is built more in the style of a labyrinth than an actual house. It was built over the 38 year period in which Mrs. Winchester lived there, during this time there was always someone, somewhere in the house building something 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

Mrs. Winchester moved to the Bay Area from New Heaven Connecticut after the death of her husband, wealthy gun mogul William Wirt Winchester. Supposedly she moved after a Boston medium told her that a curse had been placed upon her by the spirits of individuals killed by her husbands company's guns. The medium told her that she must move west and build a house, if she never stops building she would live forever, Mrs. Winchester took this advice to heart.

In 1884 Mrs. Winchester purchased 162 acres of land in the bay area and started building her mansion. Money was no issue to Mrs. Winchester who inherited $20.5 million after her husband's death and 50% of his gun company Winchester Repeating Arms Co. giving her an additional $1000s a day(equivalent to receiving about $22 000 a day today). With this money Sarah Winchester carried out some of the most outrageous and unorthodox construction in the history of the world. In the 38 years she lived in, and built the mansion she added 160 rooms (including a room she held daily seances in), 47 fireplaces, 10 000 window pains, 17 chimneys, 2 basements, and 3 elevators. The house was constructed in a way far more modern then most houses of the era where, the house had steam forced air heating, a sewer system, and gas lights. She also added several very peculiar features such as doors that open into thin air, stairs to nowhere, windows facing walls, and a closet with half an inch of space. Other curious features in the house that reappear continuously are the number 13, and the spider web both of which seem to have had some sort of spiritual significance to Mrs Winchester. For example the clothing hanger hooks in Closets are arranged to be in multiples of 13 and a 12-candle chandelier was modified to hold 13 candles. The spider web also is found repeatedly in the house, most windows are arranged in the shape of a web. It is unsure as to why Mrs. Winchester added these strange features to her house, but most people believe they where meant to confuse the angry spirits of persons killed by Winchester rifles.

Mrs. Winchester died on September 5th 1922 at the age of 83. Upon her death the work on the house ceased immediately. In her will Mrs. Winchester left most of her money to her favorite servants, however she seemed to not find it necessary to specify who she was leaving the house for. The strange mansion was auctioned of by the state of California and later became a tourist attraction. The Winchester mansion is open everyday except Christmas. Every Halloween and 13th Friday there is a nighttime flashlight tour.

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