Review: The Famous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose

Doors to nowhere, windows that open to a hallway, secret passageways and a seance room … these are just some of the oddities that you will see when you visit, The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, Ca.

It was a judgement call on whether I should bring along my six-year-old daughter to the Winchester Mystery House. Thankfully, she seemed comfortable navigating extremely–and I mean extremely–narrow corridors and treacherous stairways. Not to mention, I was about to drag her and her eight-year-old brother along to a house with a freaking seance room in it.

And speaking of judgement call, it’s yours whether you want to spend $33-a-pop for adults and $27 for kids under 6 years of age. This is ONLY for one of the three tours, the 65-minute one that winds through 110 of the 160-rooms that the spirits built. Personally, I had some sticker shock, but in the end, curiosity got the best of me.

Tip: Admission is free to the gardens, gift shop, Winchester Products Museum, the Cafe and Wine Annex Tasting Room. Tell Julien that I said hello if you visit the Wine Annex Tasting Room. 

It’s my belief that this house would not be standing if Sarah Winchester had seen a therapist instead of a psychic. Here’s some of the backstory:Sarah Winchester married into the Winchester family known for the rifle that “Won the West.”  After Sarah Winchester lost her baby daughter to a childhood illness, the Winchesters never had another child. Then tragedy struck again in 1881 when William Winchester suddenly died of tuberculosis.

Tip: Avoid the crowds and opt for a tour in the middle of the week. 

After visiting a psychic at the urging of her friends (it was the turn of the century, after all, and the NRA wasn’t around) Sarah was told that she was paying the price for anyone that was ever killed by a Winchester gun. Pretty heavy stuff, right?

Fun Fact: Sarah Winchester’s inheritance included a 50 percent ownership in the company, which gave her $1,000 a day or the equivalent of $22,000 today. It’s no wonder that most of the stained-glass windows were designed and created by Louis Comfort Tiffany. 

Mrs. Winchester spent her inheritance (in the millions) on 38 years of building that was carried out 24 hours-a-day until her death in 1922. Mrs.Winchester claims that the home was constructed based on what the spirits told her to build during daily seances in a secret room.

Wanna see more? Check out Travelingmom.com YouTube video of the Winchester Mystery House. 

Author note: I did not receive any compensation or special rate during my visit to the Winchester Mystery House.