One of the World's Creepiest Attractions Just Got Creepier

By Melanie Lieberman |

Bryan Hughes via Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This piece originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.

In the 1800s, Sarah Winchester—the peculiar heir to the famed rifle company fortune—began building a labyrinthine Victorian mansion in San Jose, California. The story goes she spent four decades transforming the eight-room farmhouse into a sprawling 161-room complex hoping to outrun the ghosts of the people killed by a Winchester rifle.

And now, just in time for Halloween, a new room was discovered by preservationists.

The attic space, boarded up before Sarah Winchester’s death in 1922, contained artifacts like a sewing machine, dress form, antique rifles, and a pump organ.

It’s suggested that Winchester sealed off the room after she was trapped here during the earthquake of 1906. Angry spirits, she supposed, were responsible.

Reports of paranormal activity aren’t unusual at the estate, which is now known as the Winchester Mystery House and is considered one of the creepiest attractions on earth. In addition to 10,000 windows and 47 fireplaces, the manor has at least three ghosts.

Inside the maze-like estate, visitors may hear that unsettling organ play, or see ghostly figures trapped on dead-end staircases or meandering down twisting hallways. Like any good haunted house, the Winchester estate has its fair share of secret passageways, as well as a dedicated séance room.

The mansion is open almost every day, save for Christmas, and offers tours of the house, as well as the entire state (extra-spooky basement included). Prices start at $25 for children and $30 for adults. 

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