Secrets of the Winchester Mystery House
October 12, 2005 12:49 PM   Subscribe

Secrets of the Mystery House. If you like the Winchester Mystery House, you might be interested in a tour guide's insider view, presenting fascinating tidbits that you don't see on the official tour. Or these old-timey photos of the house, allegedly dating as far back as 1906. The less skeptical among you might enjoy these guaranteed authentic ghost photographs taken in the House, as well.
posted by agropyron (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
On oldie but a goodie.
posted by caddis at 1:00 PM on October 12, 2005

Can't wait to visit it once I move to California.

The House on The Rock is quite the amazing house as well.
posted by AMWKE at 1:00 PM on October 12, 2005

I remember seeing this story on "Unsolved Mysteries" when I was a little kid! Loved it then, love it now. Thanks, agropyron.
posted by fossil_human at 1:12 PM on October 12, 2005

I like the door that opens to reveal - a wall.
posted by caddis at 1:18 PM on October 12, 2005

Can't wait to visit it once I move to California.

The House on The Rock is quite the amazing house as well.

I've been to both, and I'm afraid the mystery house pales in comparison. I think the mystery house is much more interesting in the abstract than in person - most of the house hasn't been restored, so a lot of the time you're just walking through empty hallways of somewhat odd construction. It was just very anticlimactic after all I'd heard about it. (btw I don't mean to disparage the post - it is a good one.)
posted by advil at 1:20 PM on October 12, 2005

I live in the Bay Area and I can't believe I've only visited that place once. I keep meaning to round a group of friends and go on a midnight tour on Halloween, but I never get around to it.

My favorite feature when I went there was a flight of very shallow stairs that had something like 20 plus steps but only went up for about three feet total.

I was also very much into haunted places and ghosts as a kid, and I was about ten or eleven when I visited, so I had the time of my life there. :D

I'd also love to visit The House on the Rock at some point in my life.
posted by kosher_jenny at 1:25 PM on October 12, 2005

The Mystery House was the most boring 2 hours of my life. And the tour guide said, "Look at the thing onto your right," about a million times and each time I wanted to cry.
posted by mullacc at 1:26 PM on October 12, 2005

mullacc, I went twice within a few months, and I was amazed at the difference the tour guide made. Our first tour guide was fun and entertaining. Then I brought my SO to see it, and we got a disappointing, boring tour guide. Of course, I found the house itself fascinating, so even the bad tour guide didn't ruin it entirely for me.
posted by agropyron at 1:33 PM on October 12, 2005

After a lifetime of buildup, I was totally disappointed in the winchester mystery house. It's been a running joke with my wife ever since -- iif something sucks really bad one of us will compare it to the winchester mystery house or quote some dumb line from the tour.
posted by mathowie at 1:38 PM on October 12, 2005

Different people like different things! Shh!
posted by keswick at 1:42 PM on October 12, 2005

Thankfully the Winchester Mystery House is right next to Santana Row, so after the tour you can slake your boredom by acquiring luxury consumer products.
posted by mullacc at 1:53 PM on October 12, 2005

Man it's amazing how much ghosts look like artifacts of shitty cameras, lenses and quick and dirty developing machines. In the afterlife, I will be a bit of lens flare or a tiny corner of a cornchip shooting around the developer in a CVS in Santa Cruz.

The Winchester house was kind of disappointing but that lady sure was crazy, and they have a pretty cool gun museum and that stamp a penny machine, which improves the most lackluster of attractions.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:58 PM on October 12, 2005

Which was the one in American Gods?
posted by smackfu at 2:02 PM on October 12, 2005

The House on the Rock, smackfu.
posted by Zosia Blue at 2:17 PM on October 12, 2005

Yes, I must admit I found the Winchester Mystery House rather a let down, if not down right boring. It's just an empty house, run down. If it still had the original furnishings or if it had been refurnished with pieces from the period it would be a lot more interesting. I lived near it for years and after my initial visit I always felt it could be a whole lot more interesting, that there was great potential there.
posted by bat at 3:47 PM on October 12, 2005

I've lived in the Bay Area off and on for twenty years and my current home is about a mile away from the Winchester mystery house, and I've visited it.
posted by Devils Slide at 4:32 PM on October 12, 2005

I've never visited it.
posted by Devils Slide at 4:33 PM on October 12, 2005

I suspect that the Winchester Mystery House appeals to those who are interested in discordant architecture. Perhaps one must have an appreciation of the absurd cast within grandiose decor. That was the appeal of it to me when I first saw the House on my fifth birthday. Back then, I was still a skeptic and I didn't buy the ghost stories. But I thought it was really fantastic that someone was batty enough to build stairwarys leading to nowhere and that someone else was batty enough to preserve it.
posted by ed at 5:01 PM on October 12, 2005

Oh come on, everyone believes in ghosts when they are 5.
posted by basicchannel at 5:09 PM on October 12, 2005

I'll take "for the less sceptical among you" to mean "for the completely brain dead."

here's a tip, regarding that first photograph.

incandescant objects don't have shadows. especially not neatly identically sized and shaped drop-shadow like shadows. they make shadows for OTHER non-incandescent objects.
posted by shmegegge at 8:53 PM on October 12, 2005

We'll build a stairway to paradise nowhere.
posted by Cranberry at 11:24 PM on October 12, 2005

Here's a way to enjoy the Winchester House.

First read the decent sci-fi book Vanishing Point and then go visit the Winchester House.

The book is based there, so you'll be able to enjoy imagining, "oh this happened here, this happened there".
posted by billder at 6:41 AM on October 13, 2005

I haven't made it there yet, but I'm fascinated by the Winchester Mystery House. Not because I'm a big believer in ghosts, but because it's an interesting story about a terrified woman. And, I imagine, architecturally fascinating to see up close and personal. Although I am disappointed to hear that the house is unfurnished.
posted by amro at 9:50 AM on October 13, 2005

Not quite the same though possibly just as interesting is Korner's Folly in Kernersville, NC.
posted by lyam at 1:46 PM on October 13, 2005

The Haunted House and Other Spooky Poems and Tales mp3s
posted by pantufla at 10:36 PM on October 24, 2005

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