The Winchester Mystery House was once the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Winchester. She commissioned the house to be built in 1884, and construction continued under her guidance for the next 38 years, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year until her death in 1922.
The mansion is now opened as a tourist attraction in San Jose, California, and draws thousands each year to explore the most unusual architecture. What draws people to this mansion is the bizarre phenomenon in its construction. Legend has it that Sarah visited a psychic after the deaths of her husband and daughter; the psychic convinced her that her family was cursed due to the deaths from the Winchester Rifle; the only way to appease the spirits of those killed by the gun was to continuously build a home for their spirits to find rest. It is believed that she was told if she stopped building, she would die.
She was obsessed, whether the legend of the medium is true or not, and she believed she was haunted. A blue print was never drawn for the mansion; many of the 160 rooms were drawn by Sarah herself, making you wonder what thoughts were crossing through her mind. The house gains its fame from the staircases leading nowhere and a chimney rising four floors. There are doors that open onto blank walls and the upside down posts may astonish you as well but then again, what would you feel looking at a window that is built into the floor?
Sarah Winchester considered the number thirteen and spider motifs to be lucky, and these beliefs reappear around the house. She had a very expensive imported chandelier altered to accommodate 13 candles instead of 12, there are clothes hooks on the walls all equalling 13, and there are 13 coloured stones on a spider web patterned Tiffany window in the home. There are 13 bathrooms, 13 fireplaces and even 13 California Fan Palms lining the front drive. Of the 160 rooms, 110 are open to the mansion tour, allowing you to experience the mysteries of the Winchester Mystery House for yourself.
After enjoying the architectural marvels that can be found in the mansion, you can retire to your room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The hotel is located in downtown San Jose, across from the San Jose McEnery Convention Centre, the Centre for the Performing Arts, the Tech Museum of Innovation, Adobe headquarters and within walking distance to the HP Pavilion. The hotel offers cosy guest rooms that are well furnished and equipped with modern amenities. The Mediterranean style restaurant, at the hotel, serves a variety of delicious delicacies for your pleasure. All in all, the Crowne Plaza Hotel is the perfect location to relax and enjoy all that San Jose has to offer.