Times have changed. When I moved to San Jose in 2005, I lived down the street from the Winchester Mystery House. I was instantly captivated by its Victorian charm and the rumored haunting. For many of those early docent-led tours nothing about the ghostly matters was ever acknowledged, even when asked directly. Then 14 years later, ghost busting shows are a staple on pay cable TV, and run-down mansions and hospitals with heinous histories everywhere are selling tickets for tours. The Winchester House finally got on board with several variations of candlelit tours, then a fantastic haunted maze created around the perimeter on the house!
That has all changed with their latest and greatest attraction, Winchester Mystery House Unhinged! Created by ThemeDream Productions, these wicked masterminds have created a haunted maze using the interior house's existing maze-like structure, added a few spooks, performance pieces, and some great special effects. The haunted docents tell us that this tour does not go through the beautifully appointed rooms of the regular tours. Instead we go through the basement, long unused corridors, and several dilapidated rooms that no one would pay to see in daylight. It's an absolutely brilliant concept!
In addition to the immersive and hour long maze, there are fortune tellers, ax-throwing games, a gingerbread replica of the house created by Christine McConnell, and a stunning light show created by PaintScaping that is comprised of 3D projections onto the house itself that showcase the spirits within and a fiery conclusion that knocks the house down. It's absolutely breathtaking and worth the reasonable price of admission. This is one classy haunt that should not be missed!