I was familiar with the story of the Winchester Mystery House before I listened to this week’s 99% Invisible podcast. As I listened, I was thinking it was simply a rehash of the same story I’d heard in an episode of Ripley’s Believe It or Not back when I was a kid.
For those who haven’t heard or don’t recall, Sarah Winchester was the heir to the Winchester Rifle Company fortune. Her life was beset by tragedy, and as the story goes, she thought her husband’s spirit told her to make amends for all those killed by Winchester rifles. To do so, she was to continuously add rooms to her mansion to house the spirits of those killed.
However, in typical 99% Invisible fashion, this usual ending to the story is where the podcast pivots to tell another story entirely. It’s one which doesn’t make Mrs. Winchester seem crazy at all. Rather it’s a plausible re-write of a history that I thought I already knew. Go ahead and give the episode a listen.