Most of us would love to inherit the equivalent of 500 million US dollars, not to mention making the equivalent of 30,000 US dollars per day on top of that inheritance. But Sarah Winchester’s fortune didn’t make her life any better.
Her husband William’s father founded the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, which still produces
Winchester rifles today. William, who married Sarah in 1862, served as the company’s treasurer until he died of tuberculosis at age 44.
Her husband’s death was just one of many misfortunes that Sarah Pardee Winchester felt plagued her. For instance, the couple only had one daughter, Annie, who died just nine days after her birth.
After her husband’s death, Sarah Winchester started to believe that her family was haunted by the ghosts of those the Winchester rifle had killed. The Winchester, after all, is still referred to as “the gun that won the West.” Without it, American expansionism after the Civil War wouldn’t have been as successful although the Remington and Colt rifles certainly played their part.
The psychic who told Sarah Winchester her family was cursed also told her there was only one way to appease the uneasy spirits of those the rifle had killed: Sarah should move from Connecticut to the West and use her fortune to construct a massive home. She had to do more than just build a large house, though-the psychic told Sarah that if she ever stopped working on the house, the ghosts would be furious with her.
What Makes the House Unique?
Apart from the mansion’s sheer scale-before the earthquake of 1906, the house probably had 300 total rooms and stood seven stories high-it’s also an endlessly fascinating exercise in bizarre architecture.
Supposedly, Sarah spent each night communing with spirits to get their guidance in building the house. Each morning, Sarah would meet with her construction crew and inform them of any changes she wanted them to make to the current building plan.
The rooms were endlessly built and rebuilt, and the crew, who were paid more than half what construction workers were typically paid at the time, simply made the changes Sarah wanted without questioning her. As a result, the home is a tangled maze of crooked staircases, upside-down pillars, and doors that open into thin air or brick walls.
The house is so unique and puzzling that new rooms are still being unearthed. For instance, in early October of 2016, historians cleared a room Sarah boarded up. Among other things, they found sewing machines, couches, and a pump organ. The room is now open to public viewing.
What’s So Significant About the Glass in the House?
Everything about the Winchester Mystery House is fascinating, but the windows are worth paying extra attention to. During the entire 38 years she worked on the house, Sarah spared no expense. For instance, she ordered beautiful, custom-made, Tiffany stained-glass windows and put them up as soon as her crew finished another room.
Sarah was fascinated with the number 13, so almost every single window in the home has 13 panes of glass in it, and many rooms contain 13 windows.
Many doors in the house contain windows, which works as a helpful safety measure. The many doors leading to nowhere were meant to confuse the ghosts following Sarah around, but doors opening into air above a twostory drop certainly posed a threat to the home’s human inhabitants.
Finally, Sarah was also worried that her staff was untrustworthy, so she had several windows installed in the servants’ quarters so she could watch them work and listen in on their conversations. For instance, one of the window-paned doors that opens into thin air was placed two stories above one of the home’s six kitchens.
Keep Your Windows Spook-Free
There’s one aspect of Sarah Winchester’s windows that is spookily amazing rather than just plain spooky: although the last bit of construction performed on the house was done in 1922, the original glass still stands. You can see the original custom-made Tiffany stained-glass windows Sarah installed nearly a century ago, including those with Shakespeare quotes and those with her favorite eerie spider-web designs.
Fortunately, you don’t need a haunted house to invest in beautiful, long-lasting windows. Whether you’re working on some fall renovations, want a more energy-efficient home, or simply feel tired of your old, drab windows, contact Go-Glass for residential window services. We’ll help your home look scarily gorgeous in no time at all.