The Haunting Story of the Mad Widow Who Built Winchester Mystery House to Placate Angry Ghosts

In the thriller film WINCHESTER: The House That Ghosts Built, actress Dame Helen Mirren portrays Sarah Winchester, a grieving widow who inherited her late husband’s eponymous Repeating Arms business and vast estate. Having so much wealth to spare, in 1884, Winchester began building a fantastic mansion, later known as the Winchester Mystery House, in San Jose, California. Despite concern expressed from her niece (Sarah Snook) and Doctor Eric Price (Jason Clarke), Winchester continued nonstop construction for many years, yielding a wild labyrinth of stairs, doors and hallways leading nowhere in order to placate and even fool the ghosts of people who were killed with her husband’s firearms.

Constructed in an incessant twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week mania for decades, it stands seven stories tall and contains hundreds of rooms. To the outsider it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman’s madness.