You’ll probably find this as hard to believe as I do, but there’s a six-acre haunted house in Silicone Valley built by the widow and heiress of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, and it hasn’t been the topic of one single episode of Supernatural. According to show creator Erik Kripke, the Winchester haunted house was the inspiration for the series. Well, now they can maybe stage a shoot there overnight.
Sarah Winchester lost her only child in infancy, and then her husband William 15 years later. Instead of chalking this up to life in the 1880’s, Sarah took to consulting a psychic, who told her she needed to continually build a house to confuse the evil spirits — victims of the rifles her family made — forever. The result is a 160-room mansion with stairways to nowhere, walls behind doors, the number 13 repeated everywhere (thirteen windows per room or thirteen lights per room… you get the idea), and of course a secret seance room.
A lot of work went in to building a giant creepy house to distract the dead. Nowadays you can just leave an iPad with Flappy Bird on it running and they’ll be plenty occupied, but Sarah was old-school. Which means she was kinda racist:
It appeared that there were both good and evil spirits and that only the bad ones were to be dreaded. If she could make her surroundings congenial to the better class ghosts, they would keep the others away. [sic] All Sarah Winchester need have done, therefore, was to have built a cheval glass in all four sides of each room… But that would not do at all. It would have freed the place of the spooks of Indians, low grade white men, fire and water “elementals” and other undesirables, but it would also offend the respectable citizens of the spiritual world with whom she hoped to associate.
Previously, if you were interested in seeing the house and trying to catch yourself a honkey ghoul, your only chance would have been during a guided tour. But as of March 5th, the San Jose planning department approved a permit that would allow overnight guests at the mansion, as well as the consumption of alcohol on the premises. A cafe already onsite (no word if it’s from one of the five original kitchens built to segregate the work staff / spirit world) will be expanded to serve as a full restaurant for guests.
So what you want to do is: you want to book a night at this hotel, get good and liquored up, and hope to tell some highfalutin ghost that the president’s a black guy.