Following the death of her husband in 1881, Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester, moved West. She bought an unfinished farmhouse in Northern California and began to construct her mansion in 1884. Except the construction never stopped. She insisted the building continue day and night until her death in 1922.
It is said that a medium told Sarah to do this as the only way to appease the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. Many features were built into the massive house to confuse or trap ghosts, such as doors and stairs leading nowhere, as well as windows looking into other parts of the house.
Before the 1906 earthquake the house was seven stories tall. Now it is four stories, with 160 rooms including 40 bedrooms and two ballrooms.
Construction ended immediately upon Sarah’s death. Five months later the mansion was opened to the public. It is located at 525 South Winchester Blvd. in San Jose, California and is still open for tours daily.