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Why does the Winchester Mystery House have stairs leading nowhere?

        Science | Afterlife

Winchester Mystery House: Author's Note
Molly Edmonds, Staff Writer
Molly Edmonds, Staff Writer
HowStuffWorks 2009

Just before I accepted my job at, I took a cross-country road trip. I was spending a few days in San Francisco, and I kept seeing advertisements for the Winchester Mystery House. I was so intrigued that I made a detour into San Jose to see the famous home, and I was very glad I did. The ghosts, the steps leading nowhere and the recurring motif of the number 13; what's not to love? Then, a mere four months into my tenure as a writer, I was assigned this article. No one on the staff knew that I had just been to the Winchester Mystery House, so I have to think that some mysterious force was behind the coincidence -- Sarah Winchester herself, perhaps?

The thing that struck me on my tour was how respectful the tour guide was of Mrs. Winchester. It would be very easy to tell the story of this house and paint Mrs. Winchester as insane or stupid. But the tour guide introduced me to a complex, grief-stricken woman, and I tried to keep that image of Mrs. Winchester in my mind as I wrote this article.


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  • Taylor, Troy. "The Winchester Mystery House." Ghosts of the Prairie. (March 26, 2008)
  • Winchester Mystery House. "Amazing Facts." (March 26, 2008)