Door to nowhere....

Anne-Marie Bokslag

Haarlem, Netherlands

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The Winchester Mystery House is a well-known California mansion that was under construction continuously for 38 years, and is reputed to be haunted. It once was the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester, but is now a tourist attraction. Under Sarah Winchester’s day-to-day guidance, its “from-the-ground-up” construction proceeded around-the-clock, without interruption, from 1884 until her death on September 5, 1922, at which time work immediately ceased. The cost for such constant building has been estimated at about US $5.5 million(if paid in 1922, this would be equivalent to almost $70 million in 2008 dollars).
The mansion is renowned for its size and utter lack of any master building plan. According to popular belief, Sarah Winchester thought the house was haunted by the ghosts of individuals killed by Winchester rifles, and that only continuous construction would appease them. It is located at 525 South Winchester Blvd. in San Jose, California.
Deeply saddened by the deaths of her daughter Annie in 1866 and her husband in 1881, and seeking solace, Sarah consulted a medium on the advice of a friend. According to popular history, the medium, who has become known colloquially as the “Boston Medium”, told Sarah that she had the feeling that there was a curse upon the Winchester family because the guns they made had taken so many lives. She told Sarah that “thousands of people have died because of it and their spirits are now seeking vengeance.”
Although this is disputed, popular belief holds that the Boston Medium told Sarah that she had to leave her home in New Haven and travel West, where she must “build a home for yourself and for the spirits who have fallen from this terrible weapon, too. You can never stop building the house. If you continue building, you will live. Stop and you will die.” The last two statements are problematic at best and out right fiction at worst. If the statements were really made, why would Mrs. Winchester leave an extremely well documented and very detailed will? What is true is that Mrs. Winchester did move west, settling in California, where she began construction on her mansion.
Sarah inherited more than $20 million upon her husband’s death. She also received nearly 50 percent ownership of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, giving her an income of roughly $1,000 per day, none of which was taxable until 1913. This amount is roughly equivalent to $21,000 a day in 2008. All of this gave her a tremendous pool of wealth from which to draw to fund construction on the mansion.
Source: Wikipedia

Featured in the California Sound group.

Artwork Comments

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