Friday, August 07, 2009

Let's go get scared at the Winchester Mansion

Up early and ready to explore the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. This very bizarre place was under construction 24/7 for 38 years and is reportedly haunted. It once was the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Winchester. Deeply saddened by the deaths of her daughter Annie in 1866 and her husband in 1881, Sarah consulted a psychic. She was told that there was a curse upon the Winchester family because the guns they made had taken so many lives. The psychic went on to tell her that the spirits of those killed were seeking vengeance and that in order to save her own life, Sarah was to build a home for herself and the spirits -- a home that would never be finished. Sarah soon bought a farm in San Jose and began to guide numerous workers in building a mansion, that continued without interruption, from 1884 until her death in September, 1922. The cost for the construction has been estimated at about $5.5 million. Lacking no specific plan, other than those she received from the spirits, the beautiful but bizarre 160 room mansion includes stairs and doors that lead to nowhere, more bedrooms, kitchens and fireplaces than anyone could use in a lifetime, and in numerous places, the number 13 occurs in window pains, chandeliers, trees, and more.
We then make our way westward so we can take Highway 1 up the Pacific Coast. Kim and Terry have never seen the Pacific Ocean, and though it's beautiful, we don't spend a whole lot of time looking at it as we are ill prepared for the temperature drop into the high 50's.

We then snake our way to San Francisco, our last stop on our week-long California adventure. We make our way to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a very large group of National Parks that surrounds the San Francisco Bay area. Here, can be found a number of great sites including Muir Woods National Monument, the Presidio de San Francisco, several old military posts including Forts Baker, Barry, Cronkhite, Point, Mason and Funston, and the coup de gras -- Alcatraz. But, that's for tomorrow. We spend quite a time checking out the sites and taking bunches of pictures before we finally get up the courage for the dangerous task of weaving through downtown San Francisco to our hotel.

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