Saskatchewan's Own , source for all your prairie haunting information.
In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.
STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Heavyweights of the Paranormal - The Winchester Mystery House
In 1884, a wealthy widow named Sarah L. Winchester began a construction project of such magnitude that it was to occupy the lives of carpenters and craftsmen until her death thirty-eight years later. The Victorian mansion, designed and built by the Winchester Rifle heiress, is filled with so many unexplained oddities, that it has come to be known as the Winchester Mystery House.
Sarah Winchester built a home that is an architectural marvel. Unlike most homes of its era, this 160-room Victorian mansion had modern heating and sewer systems, gas lights that operated by pressing a button, three working elevators, and 47 fireplaces. From rambling roofs and exquisite hand inlaid parquet floors to the gold and silver chandeliers and Tiffany art glass windows, you will be impressed by the staggering amount of creativity, energy, and expense poured into each and every detail.
We may never know for sure if Mrs. Winchester built her house to accommodate the spirits, but over the years the story has come down that she believed her life was unavoidably affected by departed souls. Presumably she wanted to be friendly with the “good” spirits and avoid the “bad” spirits – and the way to be friendly with the “good” spirit, it seemed, was to build them a nice place to visit.
According to this theory, Mrs. Winchester accommodated the friendly spirits by giving them special attention. For example, it is said that there were only three mirrors in the entire house at the time of Mrs. Winchester’s death. Legend has it that spirits hate mirrors, since the sight of their reflection causes them to vanish.
This is why Mrs. Winchester’s servants and secretary reportedly used only hand mirrors or went without.
The mansion also contained a profusion of light sources, from gas jets and countless candles, to electric light bulbs. Supposedly spirits feel conspicuous and humiliated by shadows, since they cannot cast their own.
Was Mrs. Winchester making a special effort to please her spirits companions?
In any case, for nearly thirty-eight years, the round-the-clock sawing, sanding, and hammering at the Winchester Mystery House™ never ceased – not even on weekends or holidays. It was never a rush job. Mrs. Winchester had all the time in the
world – at least, all the time needed to maintain a steady pace. With her financial freedom, she was content to honor whatever whims came from her imagination and from the spirits she believed were guiding her.