|The Winchester Mystery House Before The 1906 Earthquake|
Everyone has their favourite haunted house stories and The Winchester Mystery House is mine. Nothing to do with the Winchester brothers of Supernatural fame, this rambling house in San Jose, California, was built by Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
Believing she was cursed by the ghosts of everyone slain by her family's creation, the "gun that won the West", she was told to build a house that would be a home to the tormented spirits... and if she ever stopped adding to the construction, she would die.
In 1884, Sarah purchased the eight-bedroom farmhouse and by the time of her death on September 5,1922, the Winchester Mystery House contained 160 rooms, 47 fireplaces, ten thousand panes of glass, 17 chimneys, two basements, and three elevators. All constructed without a plan, full of doors, staircases and windows that lead nowhere (possibly to confuse the ghosts).
The official website for the Mystery House "the world's most haunted house", which is now open to the public, contains the following description of Sarah Winchester’s walk to the Séance Room, that was published in The American Weekly in 1928:
“After traversing an interminable labyrinth of rooms and hallways, suddenly she would push a button, a panel would fly back and she would step quickly from one apartment into another, and unless the pursuing ghost was watchful and quick, he would lose her. Then she opened a window in that apartment and climbed out, not into the open air, but onto the top of a flight of steps that took her down one story only to meet another flight that brought her right back up to the same level again, all inside the house. This was supposed to be very discomforting to evil spirits who are said to be naturally suspicious of traps.”Several 'ghost hunting' TV shows have recorded episodes there over the years and back in 2014, there was talk of Hammer filming a movie at the Winchester House, but as far as I can tell nothing has come of that yet.
Nevertheless, the material available on the house's website, and a quick bit of Google-Fu, can conjure up enough detail to make this a prime site for a game setting from the Victorian era (when it was being built) right through to the modern day.