Winchester Mystery House flaunts spooky tales

by Sep 26, 2012 11:42 pm Tags: , , ,

[media-credit id=304 align="aligncenter" width="425"][/media-credit]Inside a mansion built from obsession, stairs that lead to ceilings and doors that lead to nowhere leave visitors seriously questioning the sanity of the woman who built it.

Some of the legendary Sarah Winchester's antics, were explained amid the clamor of singing zombies and chatty guests seeking paranormal thrills at San Jose Winchester Mystery House Wednesday evening.

The opening of their second annual "Fright Nights" attracted about 2,500 guests according to Marketing Coordinator Lindsey Huffman.

"It takes a full year for planning," said Huffman, "but this year it more than doubled in size."

Lines of visitors from all over the San Francisco Bay Area served as proof as they waited eagerly to experience the legend of the Winchester Mystery House for themselves.

The event will continue to run on select dates starting on Sept. 28 until Nov. 3.

To start off, the spooky adventure begins with a less than comfortable self-guided flashlight tour.

Guests of the mansion are given personal flashlights and audio sets describing some of the lore revolving around the house's creation.

Aside from the scattered staff posted around the house to ensure safety, the dark and intricately decorated house is open to anyone willing to face the paranormal head-on.

The mansion's creator, Sarah Winchester, was said to have been haunted by the spirits of those killed by her husband's legendary Winchester rifles.

Haunted by her own series of unfortunate events, Winchester was plagued by depression and a deep sense of guilt according to the attraction's legend.

In an effort to please the spirits who haunted her, Winchester began the non-stop construction of her home on South Winchester Boulevard in San Jose in the late 1800's.

The mansion includes everything from a seance room to a room simply filled with various types of glass art windows from Tiffany & Co. of New York.

Winchester's love for the number 13 can also be found around the house in numerous forms as it was said to "ward off the haunted souls."

In her 13 bathroom there are 13 windows and 13 steps on the stairs leading up to it.

Once intrigued by these tales of spirits and ghosts, visitors of the house's "Fright Nights" are eligible to unlimited access including flashlight tours and the Curse of Sarah Winchester Maze with general admission.

According to Huffman, while the flashlight tours still give guests the story behind Winchester's madness, the maze is what truly keeps guests on their toes.

Halloween spirit is in full effect throughout the maze with 110 different costumed characters lurking behind nearly every corner and 30 different horrifying scenes.

For thrill seeker Dana Stokesberry, the maze was exactly what she was looking for.

"It wasn't just scream and jump scare," Stokesberry said. "One guy actually comes up close and blows on you."

Impressed by the makeup of the creepy characters, Stokesberry said the actors were also anything but generic.

According to Huffman, the event was brought to life by Los Angeles companies Imagination Design Works and Sinister Pointe.

Sinister Pointe, a year round haunted attraction and horror production studio, has worked on attractions such as the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor in Long Beach, according to Huffman.

For entertainment, Los Angeles' Monte Revolta and the Zombie Band belted out classic Halloween tunes while creeping out anyone willing to look close enough.

After two years of witnessing tears and laughs, security guard Ron Silva still believes the best part of the event is the people.

"The people are great," Silva said. "I had a lady come out of the maze and pee her pants last year."

For about $40, the Winchester Mystery House is open to daring spook lovers this Halloween season.

"How can you beat a haunted house at a real haunted house?" said Huffman.

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