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New room discovered at Winchester Mystery House

New room discovered at Winchester Mystery House
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Amy the Nurse

San Jose just got even weirder: A new room has been discovered at a notorious South Bay Victorian mansion famous for its bizarre and senseless architecture. 

The Winchester Mystery House was designed and used by questionably sane firearm heiress Sarah Winchester. Winchester, often paranoid and in communication with the spirit world, had her construction team create staircases that lead to nowhere or doors that opened onto walls. According to Winchester, she received these home design directives from nightly seances in her elaborate Seance Room, and they were meant to confuse and ward off spirits (some say, the victims of death by Winchester rifles).

A discovery of a new room in Winchester's sprawling mansion is exciting indeed. The new space has a pretty spooky backstory. During the Great Earthquake of 1906, Winchester found herself trapped in the attic room. Frightened that spirits were the ones responsible for the quake, Winchester had the room boarded up. She died in 1922.

Inside the attic room, the mansion's preservation team discovered a pump organ, Victorian couch, dress form, sewing machine and various paintings.

October is a spooktacular time for a visit to the Winchester Mystery House. Evening tours are led by flashlight, and it's rumored that the home is haunted by a variety of ghosts. The Mystery House has 160 rooms, 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 47 fireplaces, 40 staircases, 13 bathrooms, three elevators and nine kitchens, many of which are open to public tours. And yep, the new mystery room is already open for public tours. 

Tour tickets run $35-$45. The candlelight (flashlight) tour lasts just over an hour and should be booked in advance.

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