Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, this 160-room mansion is a startling anachronism which has become a popular tourist site due not only to its eccentricity, but also “its startling modernity for the time it was built”. One of the three elevators has a unique design for the house and there is also a system of button-operated gas lights.
Started in 1884, construction work by a team of 16 men was carried out daily for almost 38 years, although “there was no plan for the house overall” – much of it was done according to the strange quirks of Sarah Winchester and has resulted in such features as a door leading to a wall, and a stairway leading to a ceiling. There have been reports of “various strange sounds heard and sensations felt around the house” and it is possible to partake in the special flashlight tours offered on Halloween and any Friday the 13th at the Winchester Mystery House.
The Winchester Mystery House is a well-known California mansion that was under construction continuously for 38 years, and is reported to be haunted. It once was the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester, but is now a tourist attraction. Under Winchester’s day-to-day guidance, its “from-the-ground-up” construction proceeded around-the-clock, without interruption, from 1884 until her death on September 5, 1922, at which time work immediately ceased. The cost for such constant building has been estimated at about US $5.5 million (if paid in 1922, this would be equivalent to almost $70 million in 2008 dollars). The mansion is renowned for its size and utter lack of any master building plan. According to popular belief, Winchester thought the house was haunted by the ghosts of individuals killed by Winchester rifles, and that only continuous construction would appease them. It is located at 525 South Winchester Blvd. in San Jose, California. (Wikipedia)