*The Unexplained is a weekly series documenting strange and unusual phenomenon that inspire my writing.
The year is 1857 and Oliver Winchester developed the volcanic repeater rifle. It was a revolution for firearms at the time and vastly improved his company which went on to further evolve rifles. Oliver’s son, William, inherited his father’s company and wealth. In 1862 William and Sarah Pardee wed. After nearly two decades together, in 1881 William died of tuberculosis which was the start of this strange tale.
After William’s passing, Sarah consulted a medium due to her heartache and was told news she unlikely expected. Sarah was essentially told she must atone for the weapons her husband was responsible for by building a home for the spirits of those whose lives were cut short by Winchester rifles. The Medium informed Sarah that her family was under a curse which was why her husband and one of her children’s lives ended so tragically. She was to build the home and never stop building lest the curse claim her as well.
In 1886, Sarah bought a farmhouse and began to expand the eight-room home for the next 38 years. Crews were hired to work night and day on the house during that time, and Sarah took the warning she received to heart and did not allow for any breaks in the construction process. On September 5, 1922 the work crews quit on the spot because Sarah had died.
The Winchester Mansion is as one might expect a never-ending construction project to look like. There are stairs that lead to nowhere, strange trap doors, and a skylight in the floor just to name a few of the strange architecture designs of the labyrinthine mansion.
To this day there is reported paranormal activity and apparitions witnessed. Footsteps, and people hearing their names called from invisible sources are just some of the examples of the eerie happenings in the Winchester Mansion.
There are some who say Sarah had a mental break, perhaps due to the despair from losing a child then her husband. Since only Sarah received the supposed warning from the medium, it is impossible to know whether there is truth in it or not. However, Sarah apparently believed the warning since she spent the rest of her life working on the strange house.
It seems reasonable under the circumstances in which the Winchester House was expanded that there would be unusual activity within its walls. It is possible something contacted Sarah and issued the threat through the spiritualist she sought out. It is also possible a malevolent force influenced and terrorized Sarah during that 38-year span, finding delight in manipulating her. Of course, that is speculation, but it is interesting to ponder, nonetheless.
What are your thoughts on the Winchester Mansion? Was it just a crazy lady who obsessively worked on a home due to a delusion, or was there something more sinister going on?
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