Holidays

The World's Creepiest Places

by Ralph Martin

Winchester House, San Jose, California

The Winchester "Mystery" House is a colossal construction built on a foundation of superstition. It's said that Sarah Winchester, heiress to the arms company, was told by a soothsayer that the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles would haunt her unless she moved from Connecticut to the West and built a house that could never be finished in her lifetime. Construction started in 1884 in San Jose, California, and kept going nonstop for 38 years until her death. Now the house's 160 rooms are haunted by her madness and packed with bizarre details: Staircases go straight into the ceiling, doors open onto blank walls, spider motifs abound, and candelabras, coat hooks, and steps are arranged in multiples of 13. Reports of banging doors, footsteps in the night, moving lights, and doorknobs turning of their own accord have been occurring since the house was opened to the public. Tour options include Flashlight Tours every Friday the 13th and Halloween. But you don't have to believe in ghosts to be blown away by the scale and intricacy of the place, or the folly involved in building it.

Winchester House
Tel: 408 247 2101

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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