Marvin's Window: Haunted mansion reminds of Halloween fun

I was looking out my window daydreaming about the beautiful and bizarre Winchester Mansion in San Jose, Calif.

and how much fun it would be to visit it at Halloween.

They call the 160-room mansion an architectural oddity.

It has come to be known as the Winchester Mystery House.

Our first stop was in a well-designed and practical entry area at the rear of the house.

It did seem a little strange that such a nice area was meant for the horse and carriage to enter the house to let Sarah Winchester out inside, out of the weather.

The tour guide did his best to convince us the house was haunted and scary.

We were told to wander at will as long as we realized it could be difficult to find our way out of the house if we should get separated from the group.

He advised us of the Friday the 13th special tours and Halloween tour by flashlight.

That was a scary thought, especially after we heard creaking floors where no one was.

Sarah L.

Winchester was the wealthy widow of Oliver Winchester of the Winchester Firearms Company.

The Winchester Model 73 is called the "Gun that Won the West." Jimmy Stewart starred in the movie "Winchester 73."

When Sarah's husband died about the same time she lost her infant daughter, Sarah turned to a medium.

She was convinced that only continuous building would appease the evil spirits of those killed by the famous rifle.

Her $20 million inheritance was more than enough to support her obsession until her death at age 82.

She kept carpenters sawing and pounding 24 hours a day for 38 years.

Some of that time was used to tear out things she did not like after they were built.

The widow Winchester had a séance room built into the middle of the house.

Only she was allowed in the room.

Our guide pointed out there were no door handles on the inside making us wonder how we would get out.

She went in every evening before going to bed.

Many of her "architectural plans" first came to her during a séance.

That must have been a nightmare mare for the carpenters.

However, it was the steadiest building job any of them had ever seen.

She paid them well.

After the introduction, the guide invited us to go up a stairway that ended with a ceiling-no place to go.

Sarah built these stairs to nowhere to confuse the spirits.

It confused us.

We then took another set of stairs to the second floor.

The stair steps were two inches high per step.

Sarah was a tiny woman less than five feet tall with arthritis.

She could handle the tiny rise of the wide steps.

There was also an elevator option if we were sure it would take us to the right place.

Sarah bought many expensive stained glass windows with the most expensive and beautiful one installed on a north wall where no sunlight ever hit it.

Some were on inside walls.

Several are still on display in a storage room because she died before the windows had a place for installation.

All construction stopped when Sarah died.

One kitchen cupboard opens to shelves less than a half inch deep.

One window opens to a view of the kitchen so she could spy.

We heard voices when the guide opened that one.

Another door opens to an open space easy to fall though.

We were careful.

The Victorian mansion was begun in 1884 yet has a modern heating and sewer system, gas lights that turn on with a button, three elevators, 47 fireplaces and a front door that no one entered.

One story says the maid turned away President Teddy Roosevelt and asked him to use the back door.

The Winchester Mansion, children that trick or treat and the fun decorations of the season make Halloween an enjoyable fall holiday.

But, some other things show the dark side of Halloween.

The pagan Druids in Ireland have given us some witchcraft traditions that are not positive.

The movies of the season go from "fun" scary to some really evil stuff.

Vampires, devil worshippers and cutting up people in the most bizarre ways add nothing to my life.

However, it should show even the most crass individuals that there is a spiritual side to life and part of that is evil.

The Saddams of the world are evil people.

Those terrorists across the Middle East blowing up women and children in Israel and humanitarian groups in Baghdad are evil.

There has long been evil in the world and someone has to stand up to it.

Maybe that is why the first priority in the Kingman city budget is for adequate police protection.

Bad things happen here, too.

Enjoy the fun part of Halloween in safety.

I hope each of you will also remember that there is still evil in this world.

The movies we see at Halloween are an excellent reminder.