Winchester Mystery House Puts a Paranormal Twist on the Holidays With Its ‘Spirit of Christmas’ Event
Are you looking for something a little different to do this holiday season?
If so … Well, given that one of the more popular tales to tell this time of year (i.e., Charles Dickens‘ “A Christmas Carol“) is just loaded with ghosts, maybe you’d be up for a visit to one of America’s most haunted homes?
To be specific, the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. Which — earlier this month — kicked off a brand-new “Spirit of Christmas” event that allows people to tour its infamous 160-room Victorian mansion and gives them a glimpse of what the holidays would have been like back in the Gilded Age.
For those of you who don’t know the sad story behind of the Winchester Mystery House, it all basically swirls around one Sarah Lockwood Pardee. Born in 1840, Sarah was the daughter of a wealthy carriage manufacturer from New Haven, CT. As they used to say, Ms. Pardee married well. In 1862, Sarah became the bride of William Wirt Winchester. Who was the son of Oliver Fisher Winchester, the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut and manufacturer of the Winchester repeating rifle. Which was this hugely popular firearm that — according to legend (as well as the slogan that Winchester used in all of its advertising) was “The Gun That Won the West.”
lar firearm that — according to legend (as well as the slogan that Winchester used in all of its advertising) was “The Gun That Won the West.”
So — following the popular custom of that time — Mrs. Winchester reached out to a spiritualist. Who then told her this fantastic tale about how all of the bad things that had ever befallen her family could be traced back to the Winchester repeating rifle. To be specific: It was all of the Native Americans & Civil War soldiers that had been killed by this easy-to-use firearm that were now targeting the Winchester family from the spirit realm. According to this Boston-based medium, it was these thousands of vengeful ghosts that had caused Annie & Williams’ untimely deaths. More to the point, this spiritualist supposedly suggested that all these restless spirits had now set their sights on Sarah.
So what could be done to prevent Mrs. Winchester from sharing Annie & Williams’ fate? This medium from Boston had a bizarre suggestion. Sarah was to first move west and then attempt to appease these vengeful spirits by building a great house for them. According to this spiritualist, as long as construction continued, the ghosts who wandered the halls of Mrs. Winchester’s home wouldn’t then go after her.
Fearing that her eternal soul was stake, Sarah followed this Boston medium’s advice to the letter. She first moved from Connecticut to California. And then — in 1884 — Mrs. Winchester purchased an unfinished farmhouse just three miles outside of San Jose. And over the next 38 years, with the help of hundreds of workmen & artisans, Sarah transformed this eight-room home into a seven-story mansion.