Of all the haunted places in the world, the Winchester Mystery House has to be my favorite. I was fortunate to have been raised in San Jose, and had toured the house over thirty times by the time I left the valley in 1988. One of my dreams was to be a tour guide, but life and the living of it, and the pursuit of a real income always prevented me from applying for the job.
In the Winchester House, you walk up a flight of stairs and turn right into a room that has the roof peak line running the way you are walking. Old grey walls, particularly dark room. There are storage cupboards on both sides of the rooms in the eaves, so to speak where if the cupboards didn't exist, you could not stand anyway because of the decline of the roof line. That leads to a very open room, on the third floor that wanders around square openings (light shafts) ska skylights, in the floor to the second floor that are encircled with wooden railings. There are a few areas of this room that extend out to the edge of the house, you can see the town from the sides of the room.
When my party, the tour group I was, with went up into that room, I saw that there was another group still in the room. Strictly a no no. You know how sometimes the guides will often hold your group back to wait for another to go on through another hallway? This time, they didn't, and the room as quite crowded. Then, while standing about, I noticed their dress. Not right, something is amiss. Then one of the people in our tour literally walked through one of the people that were in the other group. Oh, to hold back that yelp. This was one of my very first experiences there, so I was silent and watching, my eyes must have been the size of saucers. My mind was racing miles a nano second.
Then, I saw Monte. He was watching me, hands in his coverall pockets, grinning that grin. He walked past me, behind me and back again to my side and just stood there. Grinning, peeking at me. He nodded and disappeared. I heard/knew/felt him say, "Just checking, you are ok." Monte Carl Miguel was my fiancee. He drowned July 6, 1969, the night before our 'run away' wedding at his unofficial bachelor party at Lexington Dam in Los Gatos. I never saw him again.
2007 note: That room is no longer part of the tour and to ask the guides about the room produces blank stares and quizzical expressions. No one knows which room I refer to, despite a detailed description. A tad odd.
That upstairs room was always full of extra guests, no matter when I visited. Sometimes they are active, but most often they are quiet and lurking. When changes started to happen on a large scale (painting, rennovating, furniture moved in) the activity becamse less and less frequent. The last time I toured, 2007, everything was etremely quiet, and we did not even see the room with the sky lights at all.
At some point in time, the Winchester announced they had discovered a new room!! Well, of course, I immediately jumped in my car and went on another tour. A new room, my foot. One of my pictures on my Winchester picture pages (here) is a storage room with marble shelves, and those tiny one foot windows in the wall leading to the outside hallway. My picture was taken a few years before the announcement..
* Another small world story: Monte and Terry and a few other friends, went to Lexington Dam for an informal bachelor party. Monte and I were going to run away the following day to get married. I spent the night packing, listening to the radio and the local favorite DJ who knew us by name as we often bought him CCC's late at night. (Chocolate Chip Cookies). The news announced a drowning through out the night, but only mentioned a name in the early hours. Monte Carl Miguel from San Martin. There was only one. The next few days are a blur, but I read or heard how Terry and Monte had been swimming, Monte got caught on one of the infamous trees below the water line. Some other guy, a stranger, who had just finished his life saving classes, dove in to help. Terry was already trying to free Monte who was below the surface, so when this guy grabbed Terry to bring him to shore, Terry struggled. Having been taught to knock out your victim if he is struggling (a common reaction I am told) he did exactly that. He knocked Terry out and pulled him into shore, leaving Monte to drown.
Years later, my sister invites a guy she had met over for dinner at my mother's. They are all talking during the course of the meal, and the story of her sister (me) and Monte came up. The guest became very quiet, and eventually revealed that he was the man who had pulled Terry to shore. What a small world.
Also published at http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=3755