EppsNet Archive: Spiritualists

The Winchester House Effect

Background The Winchester House in San Jose was built by Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester (“The Gun That Won the West”) Repeating Arms Company fortune. After her daughter and husband died, she came to believe that the family was haunted by the ghosts of people killed by Winchester rifles. She consulted a medium in Boston, who told her to move west and build a mansion that would never be finished. As long as she kept building, she would never die. (Whether or not you believe in spiritualists, you’ve got to give high marks here for originality.) In 1884, Mrs. Winchester moved to San Jose, which was then a rural community, and bought an eight-room farmhouse. She kept builders employed at the house 24 hours a day for the next 38 years, until her death in 1922. By that time, the house was four stories high (it had been seven… Read more →