Winchester Mystery House
Podcast: 99% Invisible, episode 162 “Mystery House”
Extra Adventures: Mystery Spot, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Boardwalk
Are you ready to get mysterious? Then come along as we head out to try solve some mysteries…and maybe rewrite history! Our first stop on this magical mystery tour is the Winchester Mystery House, as featured on an episode of 99% Invisible. The estate in San Jose, CA was built by Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester rifle fortune. Legend has it she was haunted by the ghosts of everyone killed by a Winchester gun and spirits compelled her to keep building on the house.
The house is full of bizarre features like stairways that end at the ceiling, a window in the floor, and the famous “Door to Nowhere” which opens to a two-story drop. There’s even a seance room where Sarah Winchester would try to contact the spirits. We opted to take the extended tour which included the basement and a few rooms that were just opened for the first time in over thirty years. The tour was super informative and we learned a lot. Parts of the house certainly are creepy but is it haunted? Listen to our fave Roman Mars tell the story and decide for yourself. Cursed or not, the Winchester House is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the San Jose area.
Ready for another venture into the unexplained? While we were in Santa Cruz we visited the famed Santa Cruz Mystery Spot (and completed a lifelong goal for Terry). The Mystery Spot is a gravitational anomaly nestled in the Santa Cruz forest. The drive to the Mystery Spot is gorgeous. You turn off the highway and you’re surrounded by giant trees. We loved it. The Mystery Spot itself was an absolute blast!
A tour guide leads you up to a shack which sits at the center of the anomaly zone. They showed us several experiments to demonstrate the weird powers of the spot and we even got to try a few of them our for ourselves (Kris was excited to be taller than Terry for a minute). We won’t ruin the surprises for you because it’s one of those places you have to experience for yourself but we came out of it true believers in the Mystery Spot.
SANTA CRUZ BOARDWALK
A trip to Santa Cruz wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the boardwalk. We spent a few hours walking around and enjoying the atmosphere. Entrance to the boardwalk is free and you pay per ride.
We opted to ride the skyway which gave us gorgeous views of the beach, and the Giant Dipper, a wooden roller coaster that was built in 1924. We also tried a good old fashioned boardwalk treat, a deep-fried PB&J.
UC SANTA CRUZ
Also on our journeys around Santa Cruz, we made a quick stop at UC Santa Cruz to fulfill another lifelong goal, this time Kris’s to own a banana slug sticker. We stopped at the student store and got our stickers and then spent some time wandering around. The UC Santa Cruz campus is absolutely gorgeous! We were amazed as we walked down a few trails and marveled at the trees. It felt more like National Park then a college campus.
This wraps up our road trip up the California coast but we’ve got lots more podcasts adventures in store so stay tuned!