The following excerpts and personal accounts are summaries of actual and unexplained experiences of past and present employees, guests, members of the press, and psychic researchers while inside the Winchester Mystery House™. These are but a few of the experiences that continue to evolve from Sarah Winchester's World Famous Victorian mansion.
In a letter written to the staff of the Winchester Mystery House by Mrs. Arlene Bischel of Fresno, California, she wrote of an unusual experience she had while visiting the Winchester Mystery House in 1955. It seems that after viewing several rooms, Mrs. Bischel lost her eyesight. She asked to be taken out of the house but was told there were no exits nearby. Mrs. Bischel was led through the house by her husband until the tour guide could take them out. Once outside, Mrs. Bischel sat on a bench for a few minutes. After several minutes in the sun, Mrs. Bischel regained her eyesight. In 1978, Mrs. Bischel returned to the Winchester Mystery House for a second visit but could not report any strange experiences.
07/29/55, 1:30PM at the Crystal Bedroom by Arlene Bischel
I was taking a tour of the house and when passing a small kitchen saw a small gray-haired lady sitting at a table. After the tour, I inquired as to why we had a tour guide dressed up like Sarah Winchester. She was informed that there wasn’t anyone in costume.
09/11/80, 1:15PM at the Front Kitchen by Sue Sale
I smelled the distinct aroma of burnt toast. The kitchen hasn't even been used in 100 years or so.
10/08/08, 1:00PM at the Post 1906 Kitchen by Rachel
The sun was bright, but the figures that I saw did NOT cast shadows. The sun want right through them, like they were made out of mist. I turned my head to tell my dad, but when I turned it back they were gone. When you go to the Winchester house, you have to pay attention every second or you night miss something.
03/22/07, 10:30AM at the Gardens by Julie
It was worth the price of admission to see unreal inhabitants of the Grand Ballroom. They were having a party like it was 1899.
03/15/07, 10:00AM at the Grand Ballroom by John
Jack and his son John were on the estate early one morning and were just entering the Carriage Entrance Hall. Jack looked down the Back Hallway and saw a man in white overalls staring back at them. The man walked up a flight of stairs about halfway down the hallway. Jack walked over to the stairs but the man was gone. Jack and John were the only two people in the house at the time.
04/22/06, 10:00AM at the Carriage Entrance by Colin James
Allen had locked all the doors in the Gift Shop and went back to the Gift Shop storeroom to turn on the alarms. When he returned to the Gift Shop, he found the glass door leading to the courtyard was unlocked. Allen was the only employee on the premises at the time. (1980)
In a second incident, Allen walked the entire tour route to shut off the lights in the house. After locking up, Allen walked out to the parking lot and turned around to check and make sure all lights were off in the house. He then proceeded across the street to his car. When he turned around and looked back at the house, all the lights on the third floor were on again. (January of 1981)
Allen’s latest experience occurred when he walked into his office one morning and found his desk, paperwork, chair, and floor soaked with water. A pencil holder on his desk was filled with water also. It had rained the night before but not enough to cause the damage that occurred. Also, the ceiling above the desk, the walls, and the paperwork on the walls showed no signs of water damage. From all indications there was no possible way for the water to have gotten where it had.
02/01/82, 8:15AM at the Gardens by Mike Breen
How strange is this???? My name is Crystal and the only place in the entire Winchester Mystery House that I saw a spirit was in the Crystal Bedroom. I not only saw something, but I felt it too.
06/07/09, 2:45AM at the Crystal Bedroom by Crystal
Sylvia Brown, psychic and co-founder of the Nirvana Foundation1, requested and received permission to spend a night in the Winchester Mystery House so she could dispel the stories of ghosts and spirits in the house if she did not encounter any experiences herself. Mrs. Brown, along with four other members of the party, took up residence in the Séance Room. After setting up all the equipment, Mrs. Brown heard organ music. However, the other members of the group did not hear a sound, but definite organ sounds were picked up by the tape recorder.
Later, walking through the house, the entire group saw moving lights for which there were no sources, and they also encountered unexplained cold spots. While sitting in the bedroom where Mrs. Winchester died, Mrs. Brown and Antoinette May, a writer and member of the group, saw large balls of red light that seemed to explode and then fade.
At one point, Mrs. Brown described a couple, a man and a woman, standing across the room and watching the group with “fierce intensity.” Mrs. Brown described the couple as wearing clothing appropriate to Mrs. Winchester’s time and thought they might be the spirits of servants.
05/14/81, 2:15AM at the Sarah Winchester Bedroom by Wendy Jeffries
“As I was thinking how much better I’d feel if there were electric lights on the second floor, I felt a sudden chill. When I moved away from the cold spot, the room was warm again. But when I backed up, the chill was still at the same spot.”
Nancy Osborn, co-author of Haunted Houses, spent a night in the Daisy Bedroom. About 2:00 AM, she heard a piano playing. She quickly woke up Richard Winer, also co-author of Haunted Houses, but he heard nothing. Suddenly the floor started shaking. The shaking lasted about 30 seconds. At about 4:00 AM, Nancy heard the piano playing again. A few seconds later, both Nancy and Richard heard footsteps outside the Daisy Bedroom. When they rushed out to check, they found nothing. An interesting point is that the burglar alarms were on at the time, but none were set off. The two authors also checked the piano in the Ballroom and found the keys to be broken. When the authors checked about the floor shaking during the night, they were told there were no earthquakes reported or recorded.
01/19/80, 2:00AM at the Daisy Bedroom by Richard Winer & Nancy Osborn
I walked into the room and I have never felt so cold. I grew up in Nebraska and this was colder. I had to leave the room and still did not warm up for about ten minutes.
12/08/08, 1:15AM at the $25,000 Storeroom by Tom O.
This is the 2nd time that I have spotted something in this bedroom. The first time, it was just a shadow. On the second visit I saw the outline of a person. It looked to me like a maid, but I'm not sure.
12/20/07, 12:00AM at the Bradley Bedroom by Jill
Everyone in my group stood still. We wanted to find out if we could feel anything. Instead, we heard snoring. It was very distinct. Do spirits need a lot of sleep.
12/23/09, 12:00AM at the Bradley Bedroom by Sasha
Brent Miller, caretaker of the Winchester Mystery House from 1973 to 1981, entered one particular room, and “in the unearthly silence of such a vast, empty place, heard someone breathing. There was no one there.”
On another occasion, Brent heard footsteps and followed the sounds to the room in which Mrs. Winchester died. Again, no one was there.
One night shortly after being hired as caretaker, Brent was awakened by the sounds of someone unscrewing a screw and it hitting the floor and bouncing up onto the carpet runner. When he went to check, he found nothing there.
A friend of Brent’s, Gary Parks, was invited over one New Year’s Eve and was taking pictures with a new camera he had received for Christmas. After developing the film, he found one picture with strange moving lights “and a ghostly figure of what appears to be a man in coveralls in the middle of the room.” The strange images occur only in one negative while the rest of the roll is normal.
10/29/81, 12:00AM at the Sarah Winchester Bedroom by Bill Stroble
On Halloween night in 1975, Jeanne Borgen, of Pinole, California and considered to be one of California’s foremost psychic investigators, conducted a midnight séance at the Winchester Mystery House. The séance was conducted with the help of Joy Adams, a medium residing in the San Jose area, and several members of the press. The séance was held in the bedroom in which Mrs. Winchester died.
As Mrs. Borgen was walking around the room, “it suddenly appeared as if Mrs. Borgen’s face had aged. Her hair appeared to turn gray and deep lines creased her forehead. She felt staggering pain and was unable to walk. It was as if she was having a heart attack, and she started to fall. She screamed for help. Mrs. Borgen woke a short time later breathing normally and feeling no pain.” Mrs. Borgen told everyone that she had felt a tremendous build up of energy and that Mrs. Winchester was an over-powering woman. Mrs. Borgen also stated that there were “no violent spirits, just one very gentle ghost.”
Mrs. Borgen was also in the house a few days prior to the séance when she told the press that “there are definitely spirits in the Winchester House. I saw one this morning.” Describing the spirit, she said it had “just a kind of white face and form. I saw it over against the wall in the hallway.”
10/31/75, 12:00AM at the Seance Room by Alvin T
Everywhere I looked in this room I saw a reflection of an unreal object. I never saw a spirit directly, just their reflections. Creepy.
05/13/08, 12:00AM at the Crystal Bedroom by Tanya
I figure that the ghosts I saw in the laundry room, were just catching up on their work. Strange. Very Strange
07/28/08, 12:00AM at the Laundry Room by Allan
My girlfriend and I felt a cool breeze as I passed the elevator
11/01/09, 12:00AM at the Elevator Shaft by Brooke
I heard footsteps. Sounded like someone walking with a limp.
11/11/08, 12:00AM at the Venetian Dining Room by Sandra
I do not believe in ghosts. However, I found it odd that the moment we touched the front door of the Winchester Mystery House one of the light bulbs burst on the staircase behind us. Glass went all over the wood floor and we learned it was that door which has remained locked since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. While we were just examining the woodwork on the door....the timing was just odd and very, very loud.
11/11/06, 6:15PM at the Hall-of-Fires by MattForde
I didn't experience any paranormal activity until I walked into Sarah's bedroom. As soon as I approached the door, the door knob rattled. I slowly turned the knob and entered the room to find no one.
04/20/06, 2:15PM at the Sarah Winchester Bedroom by Hannah B.
Does the tour go by the bottom of this shaft? Every time I take this tour, I hear voices at the bottom of the shaft and they seem to be agonizing over something... strange.
09/01/09, 1:45AM at the Elevator Shaft by Terry K.
I thought I saw a maid or something carrying laundry. She glared at me and stormed off.
05/01/09, 6:15PM at the Servant Call Station by William R.
There was an eerie odor coming from the room. I asked the tour guide about it and he seemed puzzled. I went back to check it again, and there was nothing.
12/02/07, 6:00PM at the Morning Room by Larry G.
I thought is was cool that the organ was playing itself, but when I mentioned it to our tour guide, the guide told me the organ doesn't play itself. I thought he was kidding, but he was serious.
10/02/09, 6:00PM at the Grand Ballroom by Greg H.