Sarah Winchester, Eat Your Heart Out

Do you know the story of Sarah Winchester?

Sarah was the wife of gun magnate William Winchester (of Winchester Repeating Arms fame)  and heiress to his estate following his death in 1881.

Despondent over the loss of both her only child & her husband, Sarah consulted a psychic, who was able to convince her that her family was cursed by the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle and that  she must move west and begin construction on a house for herself and the spirits.

She believed the spirits would kill her if she ever stopped work on the house, so she used her fortune to continue uninterrupted, round-the-clock construction on what is now known as the “Winchester Mystery House” for 38 consecutive years.  Until she died in her sleep.  Presumably from natural causes.

(Cue eerie music…)

The house is maze-like, with stairways to nowhere and doors that open onto nothing.  This was to confuse the spirits so that they could never find her in the house. She was also rather obsessed with the number 13, as she thought it a talisman to ward off vengeful souls.

But she was also quite innovative, considering she knew nothing of construction or design, with a servant call system, sub floors for drainage in the solarium and crank window shutters – all unheard of at the time.

I have personally visited Sarah’s house many times as  tourist (one of my tattoos in fact was inspired by the pattern on the horsehair wallpaper in Sarah’s bedroom) , and although I have several photographs taken on the site that show “orbs” hovering around me while inside the mansion, I have never felt it to have a haunted energy.

But last night as I was changing the inserts in my Filofax YET AGAIN, Sarah popped into my mind, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit of kinship toward her.

Okay, not really…but certainly some sort of restlessness has gotten hold of me and it occurred to me that I have been in and out of so many planner inserts (not to mention sizes) this year, if I wanted to reconstruct it day by day I don’t think I could.

Part of the year is in this diary format, part in another, winter is in Pocket, the fleeing weeks of spring in A5, summer finds me back in Personal but now going on the third page format in so many days.

Yes, in case you’re wondering, that does mean I have switched out of the inserts I only blogged about YESTERDAY into something new altogether.  If I can make them stick for the weekend I will do a post and Flickr set, but I wouldn’t hold your breath if I were you.

I toyed with tallying up all the changes thus far, but I am afraid it will be 13.  And that would really freak me out.

While I am not trying to elude the spirits like Sarah was, undeniably 2011 is quickly becoming my Mystery Year.

Will I ever settle upon a diary insert or will I, like Sarah, go on tweaking my masterpiece until my last breath?  Am I really just bored and indulging a harmless obsession with fine pens and the scent of paper & leather?

Or am I seeking solace from my own, very personal losses in the endless “planning of my planner” the way Sarah did with her once simple 8-room farmhouse?

Only time will tell….

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Erin
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 20:56:41

    I love Winchester! Would love to see pics u have from there and pic of inspired tattoo!!

  2. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 18:36:43

    sadly, i have no idea where those photos reside today, but i can tell you that, on the photograph of our tour group, the orbs seemed to surround mostly yours truly. which is either good…or bad…or the lens was dirty, depending on one’s point of view ; )

  3. Rori Lieurance
    Jul 13, 2011 @ 19:10:00

    Ha! I love the Sarah Winchester comparison…too funny 😀
    Floating orbs….oooohhh, groovy!

  4. kanalt
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 21:42:40

    I’m not familiar with Ms. Winchester, but it sounds interesting. Is that in NH?

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