The Winchester Mystery House is a fantastic place to explore. This house was built under the direct supervision of Mrs. Sarah Winchester after to loss of her husband and daughter and at the advice of a medium. Starting in 1884 she had construction crews working 24/7 for 38 years to build her 160 room home in San Jose for a cost of $5,500,00. She believed that constant construction was the only way to calm the spirits of those killed by the Winchester riffle and to keep herself safe from them. On your tour you will follow a guide through many of the 160+ rooms of Mrs. Winchesters sprawling 25,000 square foot estate. Since construction never stopped until the day Mrs. Winchester died in 1922, there are many areas that are unfinished and some that are unsafe to enter. Some of the oddities you will see are: the stairway to a ceiling, the doorway to nowhere, the $25,000 storage room of Tiffany glass doors (worth 10 times that now), some very tiny steps to help her maneuver her house when her arthritis made it took difficult to get up and down regular stairs, and the seance room where Sarah communicated nightly with the spirits to get the new construction plans for the next day. During your tour you will listen to an audio headset that will explain details of each area you visit. The tour guide is available for questions. There are a few optional add on tours as well. We did the basement tour for and extra $5.00 and boy was it worth it. Under the house you could see the special foundation that helped the house survive many earthquakes, a massive old furnace, the radiators for the heated floors, and the area where a ghost has often been seen. The only downside to the tour was that you were not allowed to take any pictures inside the mansion or in the basement. They grounds however are allowed to be photographed. It was a shame that we could not take picture perfect memories home from the inside, but it was still a wonderful place to visit. It is also not wheelchair or stroller friendly inside due to the nature of the layout inside the home such as the stairways. The home opened for tours shortly after the death of Mrs. Winchester but the furniture inside is now hers as hers was sold in auction right after her death. A few rooms have been furnished in period style however.
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