It’s the creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky home on the corner of Olsen Drive and Winchester Boulevard in San Jose. While the Winchester Mystery House has its own persona, with the tales of rifle heiress Sarah Winchester’s bizarre behavior, the only way to make this mansion even stranger is to take a trip through of the house in complete darkness.
Most people find enough frightfulness touring the home during the day, but those who are interested in things that go bump in the night may find delight in taking a flashlight tour. The tours, typically offered on Friday the 13th, give guests a special look at the mansion – one only lit by the light of guests’ flashlights.
The excursion begins as all tours start, with a brief overview of who Winchester was and why she built her oddball mansion in the middle of Silicon Valley. It then goes through many rooms, much like the daylight tour, only this tour just happens to focus a little bit more on the spirits who have wreaked havoc on the home.
Guests learn about swinging chandeliers and the playful poltergeists who roam the hallways and rooms of the Winchester home. It should be said that there are no special effects or scary characters jumping out at guests. The stories are real – at least those who lived through them believe the experiences to be genuine. The tour guides tell the tales as they would tell any story on a daylight tour. There is no funny business – just because the lights are out, doesn’t mean it isn’t a family-friendly atmosphere.
In about an hour, guests walk a little over a mile – up and down some stairs and narrow pathways – through the $5.5 million mansion; which, according to tour guides, contains 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 52 skylights, 46 fireplaces, 40 bedrooms, 40 staircases, 13 bathrooms, six kitchens, three elevators, two basements, and only one shower.
After walking through the house in the dark, guests are encouraged to meander around the gift shop and outdoor areas where balloon artists, magicians and caricature illustrators are available to continue the fun-filled evening.
In addition to Friday the 13th tours (the next one will be in December), the Winchester Mystery House will offer this special attraction throughout the month of October. Visit http://winchestermysteryhouse.com/specialevents.cfm for more information.