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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Folly

Sarah Winchester, widow of the gun manufacturer, considered herself cursed after the death of her baby daughter and, soon after, several members of her family. She consulted a psychic who told her that she was being haunted by the spirits of all those who had ended up at the wrong end of a Winchester rifle.

The only way to appease them was – obviously – to build a house. And keep on building, adding rooms and annexes constantly for the rest of her life.  The result is a sprawling, chaotic mansion with crazy features such as a staircase from floor to ceiling, leading nowhere; a door that opens on to a brick wall; a window with crystal insets designed to diffuse the sunlight, installed on a north-facing wall.

Whether these incoherent features were the result of Sarah's incompetence as a designer, or of her desire to confuse the spirits she believed were haunting her, is a matter of speculation.

As our bubbly tour guide at the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose told us, you can decide which version is true.

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Be nice :-)