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The Winchester House was built by Sarah Winchester, the wife of the heir to the Winchester Repeating Rifle fortune. She was obsessed with the spirit world, and believed that the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifles had taken the life of her husband and their child. She therefore did everything that she could to try and appease the spirits, lest they harm her. The unique mansion was opened for tours after her death, and many believe the house to be haunted by many spirits.

As a quick aside, one of the most controversial topics in paranormal investigation today is the "orb." There are those folks who say that every orb is undeniably a drop of water or a speck of dust. There are others who look at them as supernatural manifestations. To be honest, I've seen both; the ones that follow in the Winchester House photos are presented for your consideration without trying to take a stand one way or the other.

During our visit, we took a lot of photos. When we looked at them, several had light, translucent orbs appearing in them. While we've tried to explain them away as reflections, the "circles of confusion" that sometimes show up in photos when a strong light source catches in the lens, etc, many of the orbs defy such explanation. During our trip, we shot about 80 photos a day (with a digital camera, we went a little crazy) under every kind of lighting condition. The orbs only showed up in places that were supposed to be haunted, which adds to the case that perhaps we've captured some sort of spirit phenomenon on film. These photos were taken on 06/07/2001 at the Winchester House in San Jose, California. They were taken with an Olympus D-490, a digital camera, which removes any chance of spotting on negatives or prints.

This small room is Sarah Winchester's "Seance Room" where she conducted her nightly sessions to contact the dead. Just to the left of center in the photo is one of the orbs that we captured on film. Notice that there are no light sources in the photo at all - none - so it's hard to imagine that this is a reflection of any kind.

This is a close-up of the orb. Notice that you can see it over the dark and light paint of the wall, so it is clearly floating between the camera and the wall.

This room is one of the front bedrooms that was damaged in the San Francisco earthquake, which was felt all the way down here in San Jose. Sarah felt that the spirits were displeased with the rooms she had added to the front of the house, so she ordered the rooms boarded up and never repaired. There are two orbs in this room: the first is a large one to the left of the window on the right. The second one is smaller and harder to find, but is much more interesting. Look at the window on the left, and go down to the line where the wall meets the floor. Follow that line to the left, where it disappears behind the corner on the left. Just below that intersection is an orb that is half behind the wall! There is no kind of reflection that can hide halfway behind a wall.

These two photos are close-ups of the two orbs. The one on the left is hiding halfway behind the corner of the wall. Remember that in the Seance Room, the orb was visible even over the lightly painted surface. This one would be, if it weren't behind that corner.

This room is Sarah Winchester's Ball Room. There are actually a couple of orbs in this photo, but the most interesting one is in the corner where the two walls meet, a few feet below ceiling level. The close-up below it will help you locate it.

The thing that makes this orb interesting is actually the next photo of the room, so continue on.

This is another shot of Sarah Winchester's Ball Room. I wanted to get the elaborate mantlepiece of the fireplace, which I hadn't captured in the previous photo of the room. After taking that photo, I stepped around to my left a little, then snapped the picture that you see here. There are two orbs: the large one at the top right of the mantlepiece, and the other on the upper left of the window to the left of the fireplace. Now compare this photo with the last one - that small orb on the left appears in both photos. In the short time between photos, it had moved about a foot. Since the photos were from two distinct angles, any glare or reflection would be completely different between the shots - my only explanation is that there was something moving around in that corner that was captured on film!

These two shots are close-ups of the orbs in the photo.

This room was Sarah Winchester's bedroom, and is the room in which she died. There are two orbs around the bed, one that is above the bowl on the tray, and another at the very head of the bed, up high - you can see it toward the top of the dark headboard.

These two shots are close-ups of the orbs in the photo.

For contrast, this is what a reflection of the flash looks like - clearly different from any of the orbs. One interesting thing about this photo is the example of Sarah's obsession with the number 13. Throughout the house, the number appears over and over. One of her chandeliers had twelve lights, and Sarah had a thirteenth one added. This photo shows the closet in her Seance Room, and if you notice, there are thirteen coat hooks.

This bedroom belonged to a relative who lived with Sarah Winchester for a while. Note the orb right outside of the entry to the bathroom. Just for reference, the only light source visible to the camera is the window, which you can see is stained glass and mostly shaded from the outside. The idea that the orb is light reflecting in the lens would require that there be a strong light source somewhere in the room - there isn't!

A close-up of the orb in the photo.

This photo shocked us - there are many orbs in the photo - much more than are even evident without close examination. This room is where Sarah Winchester took most of her meals, received guests, and spent a great deal of time - the focal point of her activity in the house, really. For the sake of argument, there are two light sources in the photo - the window on the far door, and as you can see on the floor below it, the sun was shining down at a steep angle, not coming in through it. The other is the small lamp over the rocking chair. The room itself was darker than this photo shows when illuminated with the camera's flash. The number of orbs, and random pattern, would therefore be hard to explain away as reflections. A really odd thing is the orb (or half-orb) on the upper right. If these were reflections of some type, then they would be governed by the relationship between the lens and the strong light source causing it - how in the world could half a reflection occur? I don't think that's possible. The only explanation that I have is that a spherical object was floating half-way inside the field of vision of the camera, and the bright light of the flash picked it up on film!

These two shots are close-ups of the orbs in the photo.

Initially, we didn't see anything special at all about this next photo, but while going back through our vacation pictures something in it caught our eye. Look though the door's window into the next room. See anything? Look closer...

Sarah Winchester was a very small woman, 4'10". Could this apparition standing in the next room, behind the locked door and wearing the puffly sleeves and victorian dress, be her spirit?

Enlarged photo

Solorized photo (turns sunlight and reflections black, as you see in the window behind the figure). If the figure were a reflection in the glass, it should be black.

Sharpened Image

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