Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Spirited Tale

I am anti-gun. Extremely anti-gun. Don't bother arguing with me about it because my opinion won't change. Just ask my husband. He owns several guns; none of which are allowed anywhere but our cellar. And I only allow them in the house at all so I can at least have a leg up in the event of a Zombie/Robot/Tween Vampire apocalypse.

I bring this up because today's blog is about a woman who was also anti-gun...Sarah Winchester.

Yeah, that Winchester.

Born Sarah Lockwood Pardee, Sarah married William Winchester- heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company- in 1862. The couple had one daughter who died a few weeks after childbirth. Sarah was understandably distraught.  About 15years later, William's father, Oliver, died. THEN, less than a year later, William died. Sarah was now all alone. But, she was now held 50% ownership of the Winchester Arms Co and earned about $1000 a day (that's about $22,000 a day in today's money).

Here's the thing about Sarah- she was...."unstable" to say the least. So, she consulted a psychic and the psychic told her that she lost her daughter, father-in-law, and husband as retaliation for all the lives that were lost at the other end of a Winchester rifle. Basically, her inherited fortune caused the death of her family....according to the psychic. The psychic also advised her to move to California and build a house that will confuse the spirits of those killed by Winchester guns. If she stopped building the house, she would die. 

Hmmm. I'm not sure that this psychic was completely on the level.

But, Sarah believed it and moved to what is now San Jose, California. She started renovations on an existing house and had construction crews working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. She did wonders for the construction economy in San Jose.  

Sarah was also obsessed with the number 13. The house had 13 bathrooms; windows had 13 panes, etc. Sarah didn't quite have a rhyme or reason behind her renovations. She would add rooms wherever she wanted. Sometimes a door would open into a wall, or a staircase would be built and end at a ceiling. She believed this would confuse the spirits that were haunting her. The house was so expansive and confusing that the servants needed maps to navigate the grounds.

 After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Sarah was trapped in a section of the house for 7 hours. She believed that this was the spirits telling her to work on the front of the house, so she left the earthquake damaged section in disrepair and focused her efforts on the front of the house. 

Oh, and she also had a houseboat. It was called Sarah's Ark because she was afraid of a flood that would wipe out humanity.

Construction on the house ended on September 5, 1922 when Sarah passed away in her sleep. The estate was left to her niece who took what she wanted and auctioned the rest off. The home went to the highest bidder who turned the house into a public attraction. 

So, if you find yourself in the area, you can take a tour of the Winchester Mystery House, as it is now called.

Use coupon code BLOG15 for 15% off your total purchase in my etsy shop.

1 comment:

  1. I had read some about this house years back somewhere, but not in this much detail. What a cool story, and as always, love the necklace!!