Have you ever dreamed of walking through a real-life haunted house? Maybe you don’t have easy access to any of the notable landmark haunting sites in the country. Maybe you’re too afraid to actually step foot inside, for fear of ghostly encounters. Or maybe you’re simply quarantined—like the rest of us—for the foreseeable future and are hungry for some new form of entertainment, preferably of the spooky variety.
If so, you’re in luck! You can take a tour of the Winchester Mystery House, one of the most famous allegedly haunted houses in the United States, for free on the official website here. The 41-minute exploration of the house not only takes you inside its endless supply of odd rooms, but it also offers an in-depth narrated history of the home and the Winchester family.
Winchester Mystery House
The Winchester Mystery House was originally a modest eight-bedroom farmhouse in San Jose, California. It was purchased in 1886 by Sarah Winchester, widow of the William Wirt Winchester, who founded the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The notorious rifles produced by Winchester’s company made him a millionaire, and were used prominently in World War I and other deadly events. According to legend, Sarah Winchester—who grew immensely superstitious after her husband’s passing—visited a psychic who told her to move West and build a home to contain the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles.
In time, Sarah used her extraordinary wealth to grow the farmhouse into a true labyrinth of oddities. She continuously built the house from the moment of purchase, with round-the-clock construction that lasted 38 years, until her death in 1922. The end result was a home of mazes and mistrust, with doors leading to nowhere, staircases that reach straight to the ceiling, strange windows and courtyards, and other bizarre artifacts. Sarah’s hope was to confuse the spirits of her family’s victims, but she was also curious about them, and was said to hold nightly seances. (There’s even a seance room in the house.)
The legend of the Winchester Mystery House continues to live on thanks to the preservation and restorations of the house, daily tours, and pop culture, like the 2018 feature film Winchester starring Helen Mirren as Sarah. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak means the house is currently closed to the public, which is why this virtual tour and mini history lesson are such a wonderful treat.
The virtual tour is available now through April 7, 2020. You can also purchase discount tour vouchers for when the house reopens, for use at any time in the future with no blackout dates. These vouchers— available for $26, which is $13 off the normal price—help the staff of the Winchester Mystery House in these uncertain times.
There’s no better way for horror lovers, or any curious spectators, to spend their time in isolation. Maybe you’ll even spot a ghost along the way.
Featured Image: Winchester Mystery House