Winchester Mystery House Observes Friday the 13th

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Geoffrey Eisler
    The Winchester Mystery House is seen in this file photo from July 2013.

    In the spirit of Friday the 13th, San Jose’s famous Winchester Mystery House held its annual bell-ringing ceremony. 

    The bell was rung 13 times Friday at 1 p.m. in honor of Sarah Winchester, who was fascinated with the number.
       
    This year's honorary bell ringers were from the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area, an organization that receives donations from the mansion's fountains.

    As Halloween draws closer, the estate really gets into the season's spooky spirit, with a new mystery maze created from bales of hay.

    Visitors to the house can find many symbols for the number 13 throughout the house, from 13 palm trees to 13 bathrooms.

    Even in daylight, touring the house is a creepy experience. In addition to Friday’s ceremonial bell-ringing, the operators of the landmark house/museum are offering Friday the 13th flashlight tours after dark.

    Winchester inherited her husband's fortune, a fortune made by manufacturing firearms and bullets (the Winchester repeating rifle is said to be the gun that "won the West"). She is said to have been told by a mystic that in order to keep the spirits of people killed by the guns quiet, she'd have to keep her house under continuous construction. So she did, up until the day she died.

    MORE:  California's Spookiest Houses