The Real Life Disney Haunted House

With a maze of rooms with stairs and doors that lead to nowhere its not hard to see why this would be the perfect inspiration for the famous Disney Haunted Mansion - its history could be taken from the plot of a film....

Disney visited the house during the 1950's whilst researching ideas for the Haunted House feature at Disneyland, he was amazed with what he saw - stairs leading to the ceiling and doors opening onto bricks, it was a cornucopia of mysteries.

Organ in the Grand Ballroom -

The mansion was constructed in 1884 and was never finished despite building work lasting for 38 years, but then it was never supposed to be finished instead it remained in a constant state of change to placate the spirits. 

Strange Stairs - Going nowhere. via
Its haunted history started at construction when it was commissioned by gun magnate widow Sarah Winchester. Sarah sought spiritual guidance following the death of her two daughters and was warned that the family was cursed. 

The family had made their money with the invention of a rifle and were being haunted by the ghosts of all those who had lost their lives at the hands of the firearm. What did they want? A house to be built for them - with one stipulation - it must never be finished or death would follow.

Collection or glass and Tiffany windows -still in storage via

And so it began, construction started and continued until Sarah's death in 1922. Sometimes entire rooms once finished were torn down and rebuilt and it is even said that the stairs that lead to nowhere and the windows behind bricks where built as such in order to confuse the spirits.
 During these years Sarah would retreat to her seance room of an evening to consult the spirits on what was needed next to keep them at bay. 

At the time of Sarah's death the sprawling mansion contained 160 rooms and 2000 doors, the constant state of building, tearing down and rebuilding is said to have cost around $75 million in today's money. The house has been open to the public since 1923, it is advised not to stray from the path though as some visitors have gotten lost and thousands of ghost sightings have been reported during its existence. 

You can tour the mansion and rumour has it that guests will soon be able to stay overnight. 

Winchester Mystery House


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Taking a look at the beautiful and the strange in history, art, people and places.