The Winchester Mystery House

  The Winchester Mansion is located in San Jose California.  Tours are given 
on a daily basis, and on Halloween and every Friday the 13th there are 
flashlight tours.  The Mansion has a very interesting history.
   Sarah Winchester was once a prominent member of the Boston elite society. 
After the deaths of her only child, a girl, and Sarah's husband who was the 
son and heir of the man who produced the Winchester repeating rifles, Sarah 
thought the reason her child and husband had died was because the spirits of 
everyone killed by the Winchester rifle had taken them and placed a curse on 
the Winchesters.  The only way to appease the spirits was to build a mansion 
and keep building it forever. Thus began a 38 year quest by Sarah Winchester 
to not only appease the spirits but confuse them as well so they couldn't 
find her.
    The wealthy Mrs. Winchester at the age of 44 travelled alone to San Jose 
California to build a mansion and kept the construction for the next 38 years 
until her death.  The house at one time rose 7 stories and contained a maze 
of rooms, hallways, staircases and doors.  She named her mystery house Llanda 
Villa.  It was a 160 room mansion although Sarah closed off the front 30 
rooms .  She boarded them up after an earthquake in 1906.  She took the 
earthquake as a sign that the spirits were unhappy with the way the 
construction was going.  However estimates point to over 600 rooms built and 
demolished over a 38 year time frame.
    One feature of the Mansion was a bell tower, where the bell was rung 
every night at about midnight to summon the spirits.  Sarah would then ask 
the good spirits how they wanted the mansion constructed.  The bell would 
again ring out at 2 am. to signal the spirits that it was time to leave.  
Sarah would emerge from the seance room with new plans for the construction 
workers.  She claimed the good spirits gave her the plans to help her confuse 
the bad spirits so they couldn't get to her.
   Many psychics have spent the night at the Winchester Mansion hoping to 
contact the spirits that reside there.  They were not disapointed.  
Experiences include organ music being heard in the Blue Room where Sarah 
died.  In Sarah's bedroom cold spots are felt and red balls of light are seen 
that seem to explode and fade.  Apparitions of a couple lingering in the 
corner of the bedroom clothed in servants garb dating to the early 20th 
century.  The sense of being watched is also felt in many parts of the house.
    During one seance a psychic appeared to age dramatically and take on the 
physical appearence of Sarah.  Although most people who have felt Sarah have 
said she is a kind and gentle spirit.
    A caretaker who worked at the house for several years said he heard 
breathing in one room, and once had followed the sound of footsteps to the 
doorway of Sarahs bedroom.  Both instances he was alone.  Another worker in 
the house claimed to have heard his name whispered.  While still others have 
sensed being watched, hearing footsteps, and perhapes the strangest of all, 
the smell of chicken soup coming from the front kitchen that had not been in 
use for several years. 
    Apparitions of Sarh have been seen and photographed as well as a man in 
overalls.  Many episodes of lights turning off and on by themselves when the 
house is empty and locked up for the night.  Also a room in the house was 
flooded, every item in the room was soaked.  Upon further inspection of the 
room the floor, the ceiling and the walls were completely dry.
    Although Sarah Winchester lived her life in solitude and reclusive for 
the last 38 years of her life, it would seem she enjoys putting on a show for 
the workers and tour groups who visit her unique home now.

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