Winchester House (2016)
Since its construction in 1884, the property and mansion were claimed by many to be haunted by the ghosts of those killed with Winchester rifles.
Under Winchester's day-to-day guidance, its "from-the-ground-up" construction proceeded around the clock, by some accounts, without interruption, until her death on September 5, 1922, at which time work immediately ceased.
After her husband's death from tuberculosis in 1881, Sarah Winchester inherited more than $20.5 million (equivalent to $521 million in 2017). She also received nearly fifty percent ownership of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, giving her an income of roughly $1,000 per day, equivalent to $25,000 a day in 2018.
Tabloids from the time said that, at some point after her infant daughter died of an illness known as marasmus, a children's disease and her husband died of pulmonary tuberculosis, a Boston medium told her (while supposedly channeling her late husband) that she should leave her home in New Haven and travel West, where she must continuously build a home for herself and the spirits of people who had fallen victim to Winchester rifles.
Winchester left New Haven and headed for California. Though it is possible she was simply seeking a change of location and a hobby during her lengthy depression, other sources say that Winchester came to believe her family and fortune were haunted by ghosts and that only by moving West and continuously building them a house could she appease these spirits.
In 1884 she purchased an unfinished farmhouse in the Santa Clara Valley and began building her mansion. Carpenters were hired and worked on the house day and night until it became a seven-story mansion.
She did not use an architect and added on to the building in a haphazard fashion, so the home contains numerous oddities such as doors and stairs that go nowhere, windows overlooking other rooms and stairs with odd-sized risers. Many accounts attribute these oddities to her belief in ghosts.
The home itself is built using a floating foundation that is believed to have saved it from total collapse in the 1906 earthquake and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
This type of construction allows the home to shift freely, as it is not completely attached to its brick base. There are roughly 161 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms (one completed and one unfinished) as well as 47 fireplaces, over 10,000 panes of glass, 17 chimneys (with evidence of two others), two basements and three elevators. READ MORE
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