Daily Devotional

For Oct 30, 2014 ← Return

The Winchester Mansion

Average reading time is about 2 minutes
AN AMAZING FACT:  During the height of the Civil War, Sarah Pardee met and married William W. Winchester, the son of the famous rifle manufacturer. They had one child, Annie, who died about one month after birth. Then about 15 years later, William died of tuberculosis. Mrs. Winchester was deeply upset by the premature deaths of her husband and daughter and supposedly consulted a spiritualistic medium, who explained that the spirits of all those who had been killed by the rifles her family had made sought their revenge by taking the lives of her loved ones. Further, these spirits had placed a curse on her. But the medium also stated that she could escape the curse by moving West, buying a house, and constructing an ever-growing mansion to house good spirits and confound bad ones.

In 1884, Mrs. Winchester moved to San Jose, California, and purchased an eight-room farmhouse. She immediately began a never-ending building project. With much money and few responsibilities, she kept a staff of 40 to 60 servants and carpenters constantly busy. She had no master plan for a house and, according to her carpenters, built whenever,
wherever, and however she pleased, always directed by the spirits. Every night, Sarah would go to her séance room to receive messages from the spirits telling her what she should build. These bizarre orders resulted in many strange creations, such as doors that open onto walls, stairs that go nowhere, a cupboard that has only one half inch of storage space, and tiny doorways and hallways just big enough for Sarah (who was 4 feet, 10 inches and of slight build) to fit through. The rambling structure has 160 rooms; 2,000 doors; 10,000 windows; and 150,000 panes of glass. It boasts 40 stairways, 47 fireplaces, and 13 bathrooms.

Sarah paid workers well to keep building continuously for nearly 40 years until her death in 1922. Sarah Winchester was a very lonely woman; there is only one blurry photograph of this eccentric recluse. In fact, when President Theodore Roosevelt came to visit San Jose, the chamber of commerce tried to get Mrs. Winchester to receive him, but she refused.

All this wasted money, labor, and years of fear were to appease the supposed spirits of the dead. But can the spirits of the dead haunt the living? The Bible says, “For in death there is no remembrance of You” (Psalm 6:5), and “the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). The Scriptures clearly say “No.”

For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
- Psalms 6:5

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