Winchester Mystery House

5 Things to Know About the Winchester Mystery House

Do you believe in ghosts? If you do, and if you happened to have oodles upon oodles of disposable income (I’m talking millions of disposable income),  would you build a sprawling dwelling to confuse and baffle the spirits that could be haunted your home?

Mrs. Sarah L. Winchester did just that. The heir of the Winchester gun fortune tried desperately to appease the ghosts she was convinced were out to get her by building a huge mansion in San Jose, CA a must-see destination now known as the Winchester Mystery House.

Intriguing, no? Yes, yes it is. If you’re unfamiliar with the house that crazy built, here are a few things you should know.

What ghosts were haunting Mrs. Winchester?

Mrs. Winchester was under the impression that the spirits of American Indians, Civil War soldiers, and others killed by Winchester rifles were haunting her. While living in New Haven, she went to a medium who advised her to move out west and to appease all those pesky spirits by building a home for them (and her) giving the instructions that as long as construction of the house never ceased, she would be safe. The building continued every single day until the day she died.

Winchester Mystery House

How big is the Winchester Mystery House?

There are about 160 rooms which includes 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms, a Séance Room, two basements and three elevators, plus there are 47 fireplaces and over 10,000 panes of glass. Also on the grounds there are lush gardens and various buildings. The home isn’t just big, it is opulent with European touches, polished wood, and stunning Tiffany stained-glass windows.

Wacky Winchester Touches

The whole mansion is like one glorious, elegant maze, hence why you can’t explore on your own; you need a guide to visit the building. There are stairways that lead to nowhere, a door that opens to a brick wall, and then there is the Switchback Staircase, “which has seven flights with forty four steps, rises only about nine feet, since each step is just two inches high,” (which also helped Mrs. Winchester arthritis).

Winchester_Mystery_House_Grand Ballroom

The Number Thirteen

The number thirteen, as well as various spider web motifs, are found all over the estate. Both had a deep spiritual significance for her. A few of the places where you’ll find the number 13 represented include a pricey chandelier that once had 12 candle-holders which was altered to hold 13 candles, clothing hooks on the wall are in multiples of 13, and beautiful spider web-patterned stained glass windows contain 13 colored stones. Even the sink’s drain covers  have 13 holes.


Winchester Mystery House

Take a Photo Wearing Green!

First off, we did not plan on this happening, it was just a happy, albeit spooky, accident. Before you go on the tour, they take a photo of you in front of a green screen. My daughter happened to be wearing a green dress that day and her body disappeared, a spooky touch for a spooky place.

You can see all the eerie grandeur of the Winchester Mystery House yourself. They host a variety of tours from the 2 1/2 hour Grand Estate Tour to the flashlight tour (which is given every Friday the 13th and on select evenings in October).

5 Things You Need to Know about the Winchester Mystery House

Photos: Winchester Mystery House





Wonderful Objects Mystery Box + Magical Teasers
Wonderful Objects Mystery Box + Magical Teasers


Sunny Chanel is a full time content provider/blogger/writer/word stringer. Her work has been featured on Brit + Co, Disney’s,, Fandango’s Family Room, BuzzFeed, Mommy Nearest among others. Beyond all the writing, her best gig is hanging out with her husband and 10-year-old daughter, exploring the always fun and fascinating streets of San Francisco.

Wonder and Company is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, or other properties featured. All copyrights belong to their respective owners. Although we occasionally partner with other creative properties, all opinions are our own. Have questions? Contact us.

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