Exploring the famous must-see areas of Sarah Winchester’s Victorian-Style mansion
Construction lasted for thirty-eight years on the Winchester Mystery House, one of North America’s most unusual and eccentric homes located in the heart of San Jose, California. Through the 160-room labyrinth-style mansion built by Sarah Pardee Winchester, there are many beautiful and extraordinary examples of the Queen-Anne Victorian Style architecture. Ever since doors opened for tours in 1923, guests have traveled from all over the world to marvel in the beautiful and the bizarre. While visiting the Winchester Mystery House, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the must-see rooms inside of the world-famous mansion.
The Grand Ballroom in the Winchester Mystery House is the most expensive room in the house. The construction cost more than $9,000 when it was built in the late 1800’s, about 3.5 times the cost of an entire home during that time. Millions of guests over the years have raved over the many detailed instances of thirteen, the famous Shakespearean-inscribed windows (from Troilus and Cressida & Richard II), and the haunting tale of the safe hidden behind multiple layers. Not only is this one of the most well-preserved rooms in the house, it also inspired the ballroom design at Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride.
Once referred to as an “important” room to Sarah Winchester by world-renowned psychic-medium James Van Praagh, the Witches Cap had it’s doors opened on the Explore More Tour in 2017. Famous for its alleged paranormal activity and the odd shape, the Witches Cap is a popular favorite amongst guests. Some staff members and guests have refused entry into this room, claiming a high amount of spiritual energy. Crowded feelings from an unusually shaped room or paranormal happenings? You’ll have to answer that for yourself.
Twin Dining Rooms
Over the past two years, the Winchester Mystery House has completed restoration projects on two of the oldest rooms in Sarah Winchester’s San Jose mansion. The Twin Dining Rooms are believed to be the original dining area of the modest farm house that Sarah bought when she moved to San Jose in the mid-1880s. The renovated rooms have become a popular sight to see on the Mansion Tour.
Sarah Winchester’s main bedroom in the Winchester Mystery House is a favorite stop on the Mansion Tour. From the original Luncrusta Walton Wallcovering, to the ornate ceilings perfectly preserved after nearly 97 years of tours. Sarah passed away in this room in her sleep in 1922 at the age of 83. Sarah relocated to this room after getting trapped inside of the Daisy Bedroom during the 1906 earthquake. One legend says that Sarah felt the earthquake was a warning from the spirits that she had spent too much money on the front section of the house.
What many consider to be the heart of the mansion, the séance room was once the very private and off-limits room to everyone but Sarah Winchester herself. Legends say that nearby residents heard the bell tower (located outside of the séance room) at midnight and again at 2am. Was this to summon and release spirits to communicate with them? There is one entrance to this room, and three exits. One exit is through the entrance door, another leads to an 8-foot drop into the kitchen below, and the final is a one-way door that resembles a secret passageway. You’ll have to come see for yourself what lies on the other side.