Winchester Mystery House In San Jose, CA

By far one of the strangest places I have written about thus far will be this post on the Winchester Mystery House, of the Winchester rifle fortune. The house is full of mazes, corridors, doors and windows that lead to full brick walls and even a door in a second story room that drops completely to the ground outside of the house. The house is thought to be haunted, there is a seance room, and while she was alive, building never stopped on it. All of that to say this house needs to be experienced to be believed. Here is a little background from their website.

We may never know for sure if Mrs. Winchester built her house to accommodate the spirits, but over the years the story has come down that she believed her life was unavoidably affected by departed souls. Presumably, she wanted to be friendly with the “good” spirits and avoid the “bad” spirits – and the way to be familiar with the “good” spirit, it seemed, was to build them a beautiful place to visit. In any case, for nearly thirty-eight years, the round-the-clock sawing, sanding, and hammering at the Winchester Mystery House never ceased – not even on weekends or holidays. It was never a rush job. Mrs. Winchester had all the time in the world – at least, all the time needed to maintain a steady pace. With her financial freedom, she was content to honor whatever whims came from her imagination and from the spirits she believed were guiding her.”

When you arrive at the house you are immediately struck by the size of this building; there are many different stories, gardens, fountains and doors and that is just from the outside. The cost to tour it when we were there was around 25 dollars (in 2017 I believe it is now $50), and we took the tour that just included the house and not the gardens.

The tour takes you through all of the main rooms including the dining room, seance room and even the room with a door that leads to a fifteen-foot fall. Throughout this eccentric house, there are staircases that go down and then up again, stairs that that lead directly to a ceiling and even windows that open to brick walls.

The tour doesn’t ever drag on as there is so much to see and so many new things that greet you after every new room you enter. She also had a fascination with the number 13 which went into a lot of the work and is explained below.

“Whether or not one believes in Mrs. Winchester’s superstitions about spirits, it’s harder to dismiss occurrences of the number 13 throughout the house. Many windows have 13 panes, and there are 13 bathrooms, with 13 windows in the 13th Bathroom. There are also 13 wall panels in the room before the 13th Bathroom, and 13 steps leading to that bathroom. The Carriage Entrance Hall floor is divided into 13 cement sections. There are even 13 hooks in the Séance Room, which supposedly held the different colored robes Mrs. Winchester wore while communing with the spirits. “

One of the oddest things I heard on the tour was that the guide said that she believed she would die if she ever stopped building. This is why there are so many random additions to the house because she thought that her life depended on the work never stopping.

This is truly a unique place to visit. We had so much fun on the tour that when it ended, they told us we had walked a mile through the corridors of the house.

Winchester Museum

There is also a museum with many different Winchester Rifles from various points in its history that you can check out when the tour completes.


The gardens are free to tour when you finish the paid tour. You can grab a map from the gift shop and set out to see what you can find.

I explored the outside area for about 45 minutes just walking around and taking it all in.

I would recommend this to anyone looking to see something new on a road trip or even if they have lived in the area their whole life and not done it. Check out the rest of the pictures below and let me know what you think in the comments.

Why to go

  • Eccentric house full of crazy rooms and architecture
  • Lots to look at even if you do not take a tour
  • Winchester rifle museum there as well

Why not to go

  • Do not like the idea of entering a haunted house
  • Walking a mile is not your cup of tea
  • Cost of 25 dollars a person quickly becomes a lot for families

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.

  • Carole Collin

    I have the Manchester House on DVD. It is a movie based on Mrs. Winchester. She believed her home was haunted by all the spirits of people who have died due to one of their guns. To protect herself and fool the spirits she build annex after annex, secret rooms, odd staircases, doors/windows leading to brick walls etc… She never stopped building as a result. Fascinating biography and insight into a mind pushed to do amazing things to divert her fears of the dead.

    • Thanks for the additional information! I want to check out that DVD now!