A Maze Of Twisty Little Passages, All Different

Today, we celebrated our anniversary by going to the Winchester Mystery House. Although a tourist trap, we viewed it as an anniversary gift to ourselves that didn’t clutter the house when we got back home. We started by walking through the gun musuem, where it was fun watching some southern tourists saying, in full accent, “You know, Mabel, my gun is bigger than that, and it better condition.”

We then took both the museum and behind-the-schenes tours. For those unfamiliar with the house, it was built by one of the heirs of thw Winchester Rifle fortune, after both her husband and 6 week old child died. Fearing the spirits of those killed by the rifles, she followed the advice of a psychic and moved to San Jose, and started construction on a house that was never completed. The tours covered a number of the oddities of the house, including stairs that went from floors to ceilings, doors that opened to the outside (on the 2nd or 3rd floors), rooms never completed, all the occurances of the number 13, odd stairwells, etc. The behind-the-scenes tour covered some more technical aspects, such as the gas generation system, the water pumps, the aviary, the basement of the house (including the floating foundation). etc.

I found the tours interesting, but there were questions where the tourguide refused to answer the question or didn’t know. I was curious who currently owned the property, and how they acquired it. I was curious about how the house changed between the time Mrs. Winchester died (in 1921) and when the tours officially started, in 1973. What shape was the house in during that time? How was it maintained? What prompted them to start the tours, and how did they do it? All unanswered.

After the mystery house, we then went to South San Jose to visit with our friends Mike and Carol. Mike was a friend of my wife’s from the years she went to Santa Clara University. Mike is currently in Electronics and Communication System Design, Carol is getting into a business making period costumes (including Reinaissance and Dickens area — those reading this who want more info let me know). We had a lot of fun visiting and talking. They took us out to dinner for our anniversary at Outback Steakhouse, one of the few restaurants around that has a formal Gluten-Free menu. After dinner, we went back to their house and talked, mostly about their daughter’s wedding. NSS&F had fun playing with their cats, and teasing them with a laser pointer.

That was our day. Tomorrow, we’re driving to Sacramento, where we’ll be meeting with rose42dance and having dinner and going to Shabbat services at Or Rishon with Rabbi Sheryl Nosan-Blank and her family.