The Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion in San Jose, California. Built in 1886, the home was expanded until 1922. The home has been open to tours for almost one hundred years– beginning in 1923.

C: There’s like, the Winchester Mystery House. There’s this married couple, um. Forgot their names, but the guy made a very popular type of gun– I don’t remember the story exactly, but it’s the famous one. He died and left the house to his wife. And they made guns, which killed a lot of people and she felt really guilty about it. And it’s like “Oh, the ghost of the people whose my husband’s invention killed haunt this place,” so how she thought like, the ghost wouldn’t be able to get her is if she kept expanding the house. So it led to all, like, the weird staircases that lead to nowhere cause she’s trying to confuse the ghosts. And like, stairways that lead to pits and to walls and stuff like that, because she never stopped expanding. Until she died.

It’s like, going there, Oh if you go there, and they give like, haunted tours and stuff on Halloween. It’s just a cool place. It’s like, whoo, yeah, I’d feel guilty too if my husband made a weapon of small scale destruction.

While the Winchester Mansion has become a kitschy tourist trap over the past 100 years, the myths and rumors surrounding it are just as real and haunting as the story of a woman continuously building up her home to escape the ghosts murdered by her husband’s invention. Originally, the house was a symbol of guilt and the fear of mortality. However, as the house became famous and more tourist-y, that symbolism has been softened. Ultimately, the fear of mortality is more approachable in Halloween tours.