One of America’s legendary haunted mansions is offering a ghostly new nighttime tour this Halloween season…
The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California has long been the subject of ghostly lore and legend. Built by Mrs. Sarah Winchester, the heiress to the Winchester repeating rifle fortune, the Queen Anne-style, Victorian mansion is an extravagant maze of eccentric architectural oddities – including miles of twisting hallways, secret corridors, upside-down columns, staircases that lead to nowhere and numerous occurrences of the number 13 to name a few.
The story goes that after her husband’s death, the grieving Mrs. Winchester consulted a spiritualist medium, who told her that due to the many deaths caused by Winchester rifles, she and her family were cursed. The only way to keep the vengeful spirits at bay would be to move west, build a house, and never, ever, stop building it. And so, from 1884 until her death in 1922, construction on the Winchester Mystery House never ceased.
According to legend, Mrs. Winchester enacted a nightly séance to help with her building plans (as well as for protection from “bad” spirits). Known as “the house built by the spirits,” many people have reported experiencing ghostly activity within its walls. In recent years, the house has been featured on SyFy’s Ghost Hunters series, as well as an episode of Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures.
Tours are offered year-round at the Winchester Mystery House, but this October, a brand new candlelight tour is being offered for those looking for a spookier experience. What better way to explore a haunted mansion than at night, and by flickering candlelight? And what better time than Halloween month for a little spirited fun? Although we wouldn’t mind seeing the candelight tours as a year-round experience, they do say ‘the veil’ thins around Halloween, so this could be a good way to catch a glimpse of those spirits Mrs. Winchester believed in.
See the press release below for all the details… it’s sure to be a hauntingly good time:
As autumn winds swirl, full moons rise, and black cats come out to play, it’s time to book a visit to the legendary Winchester Mystery House, one of America’s most legendary haunted mansions, as it introduces Halloween Candlelight Tours. In a chilling and Gothic atmosphere, guests to this all-new immersive experience have just themselves, flickering candlelight and their imagination to guide them through the storied 160-room Victorian mansion noted for its “activity.”
Brave souls can experience Halloween by candlelight at Winchester Mystery House during only 10 evenings in October 2016 (Oct. 7 & 8, 14 & 15, 21 & 22 and 28 – 31). Ticket prices vary from $35 – $49 and go on sale Friday, September 2nd at winchestermysteryhouse.com.
On this new guided tour, candlelight provides the only illumination through the bewildering maze of rooms, frozen in a state of arrested decay or still resplendent in Victorian grandeur. Although touches of festive Halloween abound, the atmosphere is heavy with foreboding as an unseen presence seems to be watching at all times.
Unnerving? Perhaps, but after all, what can one expect from a home that is 132 years old, shrouded in legend and has played host to well over 10 million people from around the world (including the great Harry Houdini himself)? You never know who has decided to permanently stay behind or what may materialize.
“There are numerous Halloween attractions that pop-up in October but we’re the year-round, real deal,” states Walter Magnuson, General Manager of Winchester Mystery House. “TIME magazine has called us one of the ‘Most Haunted Places in the World’ and this Halloween we’re enhancing what’s already here with an all-new macabre, atmospheric, and truly creepy overlay with our limited time only Halloween Candlelight Tour offering.”
The nighttime tour of the intimidating mansion will give visitors the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild. Guests are sure to punctuate their visit with nervous exclamations of “Did you hear that?”, “What’s that in the corner?”, “Do you see what I see!?”
“During the candlelit visit some kind of paranormal force will definitely be awakened within the house, much to the shock of guests on the tour,” states Peter Overstreet, one of the successful directors at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco. “This all-new experience for guests to the Winchester Mystery House will be both a physical visit and a great example of ‘theater of the mind’ where your imagination is coerced to fill in the blanks to even more frightful effect.”
For nearly 100 years the Winchester Mystery House has stood as a testament to the ingenuity, persistence of vision and lore that surrounds its namesake, Sarah Winchester (heir to the Winchester Repeating Rifle fortune). A true pioneer who crisscrossed the United States via steam train many times during the waning days of the “wild west,” Sarah Winchester lives on in legend as a grieving widow who continuously built onto her small farm house to appease the spirits of those killed by the guns manufactured by her husband’s firearms company. The mansion is renowned for its many architectural curiosities and paranormal activity. From 1884-1922 construction never ceased as the original farm house grew into the world’s most unusual and sprawling mansion (24,000 square feet built at a then astronomical cost of $5 million), featuring: 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 9 kitchens, 13 bathrooms, plus 47 stairways and fireplaces. The estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a California Historic State Landmark, a San Jose City Landmark and one of the leading attractions in the Bay Area. Additional information may be found at WinchesterMysteryHouse.com.