« Lore

Episode 79: Locked Away

2018-02-05

Our lives have a way of becoming magnets that attract pain and suffering. Some of us go through more than others, but in the end, we’re all running from something. Just how far we might go to get away is a mystery, but it could never top the lengths one person went to to escape a life of pain and guilt. This is their story.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey there. If this is your first time listening to lure, welcome to the camp fire, grab a seat close your eyes and enjoy your guided tour of one small dark corner of history and when you're done, there are three ways you can dive deeper. First, there is a whole back catalogue of over eighty other episodes. You can listen to subscribe in your favorite podcast app to find them all free ready for you to enjoy. You should also check out the Lord Television show yeah a tv The first season of six episodes is available to Amazon Prime members through their prime video service and its absolutely amazing. If you love the podcast, the tv show will feel right at home
And finally, Penguin Random House is releasing a law book series called the world of law. A first book monstrous creatures came out in October of two thousand seventeen. And it's available everywhere. You buy books in hard cover e book and audio book. It's all of the creature episodes gathered in one place, along with special extra tales and a whole bunch of gorgeous, illustrations, lore is more than upon cast and as you dive into it all. I hope you enjoy the journey and now on with the show
They had been searching for it for nearly fifteen years, so when the uncovered a set of steps on November. Second of nineteen, twenty two You can imagine how elated they must have felt word. sent to the man who had financed the entire project and by November twenty sixth, the entire team found themselves standing in front of a sealed tomb door. Today, most of the world knows what they found. An archaeologist Howard Carter led his team inside they stepped into the three thousand year old tomb of the egyptian Pharaoh tooth and common. It was the discovery of a lifetime, and it was everything made hoped for. Things, didn't go so well after that, though, Lord can Arvin the man who had paid for all fifteen years of digging and searching died less than two months late. From an infected mosquito bite. It said that
At the very moment he took his last breath all the lights in Cairo mysteriously went out. At the same time, his faithful dog howled mournfully staggered on his feet and then fell over dead em. All Carter himself seems to have escaped the wave of death that followed the opening of the tomb, others weren't so lucky, George J Gould, another investor visited the tomb shortly after it was open and die just two months later, Carter Secretary Richard Bethel died young a few years later himself, one other archaeologist on the project who Evelyn White said to have committed suicide after leaving a message, I have succumb to a curse. He wrote with his own blood whether the stories are rooted in fact or fiction. One thing is clear: people are convinced that their past can hunt them
that, whether we like it or not, sometimes the things we ve done follow us through life. We for that moment when they can take revenge and, as one story shows, it doesn't matter how far you run or how high you build your walls, our past, like a dark and twisted shadow as a way of following us, wherever we go, I'm Aaron Monkey- and this is lore.
They grew up near each other and didn't even know it. It was only for a couple of years from eighteen, fifty two eighteen, fifty two but later in life. It would become one of those happy memories. They pulled out at social gatherings to get a laugh and that's fine. Sally was going to all the happy memory. Sheikh again, he was born in New Haven Connecticut back at one thousand, eight hundred and thirty nine. It was a large family with Sally being the fifth born and another after her and for a while there. I think that was a challenge for her parents, Sarah and Liz finally, though, around the time of sallies eighth birthday, her fathers carpentry business began to take off, they eventually that temporary house over on court street in eighteen. Fifty two with business boots. mean and the money pouring in sallies parents purchased a large six acre estate in a different part of town
I have a feeling they all exhaled, a collective sigh of relief. They made it. They were social its climbing the ladder of the well to do and influential things were looking up. New Haven in the MID eighteen. Hundreds was a fantastic place to grow up. If you loved education, Yale University known, then as Yale College was the centrepiece of the city with a network of others, cool surrounding it, students in New Haven couldn't help but learn from the best minds, came in modern science and ideas. There was more, though, as the eighteen fifties faded into the eighteen sixties. Other movements were spreading. Spiritualism had extended beyond its birth
place of Upstate New York and was transforming the way. Many people view the natural world in the south. Rebellious tremors were shaking the structure of America due to a growing interest in banning slavery, and I'd be putting it far too lightly to say that one thousand eight hundred and sixty was a year of change in eighteen. Sixty one everything fell apart under confederate orders, General Beauregard attacked the union held Fort Sumter in Charleston South Carolina and effectively set a match to the dry inflammable mountain of tension between both sides. The american civil war began that day in the world was never the same little over a year later, though, in September of eighteen, sixty two Sally walk on the Isle. On her wedding day, the man become her husband. Tat day was the very same boy. She'd live near during those two years on court street
even though her family had moved out of the neighborhood, they hadn't left the same social circles, which most likely led to this joyful moment. Will you was born in June of eighteen. Thirty seven is father. Oliver was a clothing manufacturer with a knack for improving the machines He worked with and that ingenuity paid off business was profitable and brisk and salaries pair were climbing that social ladder they were doing so right. Alongside Williams, family is a good chance. They knew each other for most of their childhood to. We know that, while she said At the young Ladys Collegiate Institute, Sally took classes with William sister Annie in both families attended the first Baptist Church of New Haven. They might have stopped me neighbours in eighteen. Fifty two, they were never really far apart. If the families were to compare balance sheets Williams, parents were vastly more wealthy and salaries, but that and manner. A couple was in love and Sally more than held her own in the relationship.
A brilliant mind, having excelled in subjects like literature and music, and she spoke fluid French, which was a good thing. She was going to need every advantage she could get because life is about to climb to a whole new level. Very soon you see few years before the young couples, wedding Williams, Father had acquired another business through some well, the shall we say aggressive methods. The result was his comply Ownership and control of what he called the New Haven arms company. If the name of the book This isn't a big enough clue. It's important to point out that they made a very specific item: firearms in or of eighteen. Sixty one of the plant managers filed a patent for a new type of rifle, a rifle that would hold sixteen shots, one that it needs to be loaded by inserting gunpowder and a bullet down the muzzle in an when a well trained soldier might be able to fire three shots per minute. This new rifle was a game changer.
It was officially known as the Henry Rifle named after Benjamin Tyler Henry the employee who patented it. Although it wasn't the most common rifle used in the civil war, it was certainly the most sought after infantry We would save up their salaries for them or use their re enlistment bonuses, believing that its greater fire power might just save their lives. It's hard to tell if that hypothesis really played out in reality. What we do know is that by the time the war was over in eighteen, sixty six, the firearm had been so popular at Williams. Father went all in putting his last name right there on the company and the star weapon it produced. In doing so, he gave it a name that nearly everyone today has heard of the Winchester rifle.
what did Oliver Winchester name his new one? Sixty six model creatively, the winter your model, one thousand eight hundred and sixty six hundred and ninety, not the most sexy name in the world, but it got the point across in a way that even apple could be proud of. This firearm was knew it was better while the Henry had been hit. This new Winchester model came with a few improvements and that only serve to increase demand. France would later by sia. thousand of them, along with over four million cartridges, that's roughly the same number of Henry rifles that sole during the whole span of the civil war, all in one transaction, but it got better.
When the Ottoman Empire needed weapons for a war against the russian Empire, they purchased forty five thousand of them. All of this success brought an explosion of prosperity to the Winchester family, but there are still moments of D. this in order to put his name on the rifle and take full control of its financial destiny. Oliver Winchester Hanta Russell weapon out of the hands of its creator, Benjamin Henry was spent the rest of his life working alone, the model one thousand eight hundred and sixty six wasn't the only Winchester born that year, Sally who, at this point had dropped her childhood nickname in favor of her given name. Sarah spent the first half of the year pregnant in July of eighteen, sixty six, she and William became parents to a baby girl
the name for any after William Sister, but it was a joy. They barely had time to soak in just nine days after she was born any Winchester passed away, leaving her parents in utter and absolute grief. Most new mothers struggle with some level of post, partum depression and many fathers do as well, but this was something darker. After months of anticipation, they lost their child
Sarah fell into a deep depression by some accounts. The loss of any was a blow that would take her years to recover from, although I am not sure how you ever fully come back from something like that. So when I tell you that the Winchesters had a new home built just outside of new haven in moved into it a couple of years later, we have to see that move through the lens of her pain. She was running starting fresh in a way offered. Her hope. I imagine the next decade was a bit of a blue for Sarah and William. He worked as the treasurer of his father's empire, watching the company coffers Phil at a mind, boggling rate, the Winchester model, one thousand eight hundred and sixty six gave way to the model, one thousand eight hundred and seventy three, which was even more successful if you can believe it it would become known as the gun that won the west and would stay in production for fifty years.
Sarah and William would never have another child. Maybe they just didn't, have the courage for the risk of more heartbreak. That's the trouble with grief. You can build yourself a world without risk, but nothing will stop pain from breaking in on its own and in eighteen, eighty That's just what happened! That's when William's Father Oliver passed away. If there was a bright side of this new wave of grief, it was Williams, inheritance, the Winchester company that was overflowing bank accounts and that incessant demand for me their rifles. Oliver translated into a massive windfall in modern currency Oh yeah, I'm inherited close to half a billion dollars from his father. He wouldn't have a chance to enjoy it, though less than three months later, William Winchester died at the age of forty three a lot of time.
the deaths from the nineteenth century. His killer was tuberculosis. It had moved quickly and when it was over. Sarah was alone alone and looking for answers, because she lost her, only child, her father in law and her husband in a span of just fifteen years, maybe that was normal in the lady teen hundreds, but to Sarah. It felt unusual. In fact, it felt intentional were told that her deep grief in the spring of eighteen, eighty one led her to seek out answers. The growth of spiritualism had put mediums those individuals who claim to speak for and with the spirits of the dead.
firmly in the public eye, and so Sarah talk to a number of them. Finally, it was a man from Boston, Adam Coon's, who delivered an answer. She believed those rifles that had made her family incredibly wealthy had accomplished something else, something more horrifying. They had led to tens of thousands of deaths and, according to William Spirit who Coon's claim to be speaking with. In the room, those deaths head curse their family, but there was a way out if she was willing to try William told her through Coon's, of course, that she needed to find the Sun West. When she travelled far enough, he would tell her to stop. She was being invited to do something she become so very good at over the years she needed to run away, so she did. After selling her estate in New Haven, Sarah Winchester packed up everything and began her long westward journey always
listening for the voice of her dead husband to tell her she's gone far enough. She crossed the Mississippi in the MID West, the Rockies, and this year Nevada. Don't know how long it took her, but in eating eightys it was a journey that was far from comfortable and easy still. She did it once she finally stopped in eighteen. Eighty six she'd travelled all the way to California, Santa Clara Valley. Once there she purchased a small farm house on a large piece of property then began to build a new life for herself, but, as you might have guessed, that's not all she would build
If Sarah Winchesters goal was to escape the past, California was a great destination, it was new and fresh and so full of passive Ladys in that made it ideal for some one, starting over the state itself, had only become part of the union less than four decades early and the pain and conflict of the civil war. It barely left a scratch on the culture there. It was a brand new world, but you can't run away from it. thing by the early eighteen eightys. The press had begun to look more compassionately on the native Americans, who had suffered under the march of westward expansion and one of the things they pin. The blame on was the Winchester rifle. Without it they said countless lives. Might and saved, that's not to say that she rejected the wealth that came with her ownership of the company, the entire fortune.
Her husband had inherited from his father was now hers, along with a large monthly income of a thousand dollars, roughly two, fifty five thousand in modern currency. That's monthly, not yearly, but don't worry. Sarah had a plan for how she was going to spend it all now she bought was a simple eight room farmhouse. I doubt it was the structure itself that interested her. No, it had to be the one hundred and sixty two acres of land surrounded it that represented a lot of space between herself and the rest of the world. It was a wall made of distance design,
Keep the public out or demons, though, were another story, and she was going to have to do something even more dramatic to keep them at bay. Back when she had visited the medium in Boston. The man had passed along another set of instructions from her dead husband build a house. He told her build a house that can hold all the spirits and if you do it right, you'll find peace. Now I'll be the first to admit much of what we know about her meetings with that medium come down guesswork, we don't have transcripts and Sarah herself never went on record with a detailed account of those conversations. This is the place where legend pokes its head into the story by Kramer sliding into Jerry Seinfeld Apartment, it's their uninvited. Now we have to deal with it and that's how I of stories go the. What we do know is that Sarah Winchester started remodeling her new House ass soon ass. She bought it. She
had a bottomless pit of money, all the space she needed in a whole lot of self inflicted guilt, all of which powered the construction project, more and more rooms were added on. Eventually, expanding the original aid to a massive twenty six, but she was far from finished. A railroad line was added so that building materials can be brought closer to the house. Legend says: a team of construction workers toiled on the house every hour of the day, seven days a week, and she lived there in the middle of all that chaos me. In June, the foreman and drawing up new plans herself over the years that house exploded with new rooms and features sure itself, grew to become seven stories tall and with no architect guiding the process with skill and logic, the results were more than a bit unusual. I don't mean that things were crooked or poorly
I mean that the house began to look more and more like an empty Asher. Drawing come to life, for example, there are staircases in the house that lead nowhere. Literally ending at a blank wall or alleged that a person could easily fall off. There are chimneys that you can see from the exterior, but when you look for their corresponding fireplaces or stoves inside, they just aren't there and he might come upon a massive door and opened it only to find a tiny closet or. Because opposites are fun. You can open a small door and discover and enormous room all told the house has roughly fifty fireplaces ten thousand windows, forty staircases in two thousand doors. some people have speculated that Sarah Winchester was simply trying to confuse the spirits that haunted her that somehow, if the house were illogical and unpredictable enough, the spirits wouldn't be able to get out. They see. The house is one giant puzzle box designed to trap things inside
they point to the near lack of mirrors and the overwhelming abundance of objects with thirteen parts like steps or window panes in one thousand nine hundred and six, nearly two decades after construction began. San Francisco suffered a massive earthquake. The entire front portion of the Winchester House, along with the top three stories, all collapsed, leaving portions of the house in Rouen Sarah found herself trapped in her bedroom and when she was finally rescue, she ordered the collapse parts of the house, a section with at least thirty rooms to be boarded up and ignored. The work finally came to an end on September forth of nineteen twenty two thirty six years after it all begin
According to one legend, Sarah held a say on that evening and spoke with the spirits in the house, then she went to bed and never woke up. She was eighty three years old. Sarah Winchester finally achieved her goal. She got away Sarah Winchester spent her life running from pain. That's not something unfolding her for believe me. Each and every one of us carries a bag, that's overflowing with regret, or guilt or suffering or I'll just too busy, managing our own to notice every one else is doing the same thing so Zara ran. Maybe her story is powerful and unique, because she took running to a new level. She literally got on a train.
headed West, then built walls around her inner struggles. Perhaps her story is attractive because she built a crazy house, or maybe it's because it feels familiar. She did, but many of us wish we could. What she left us with is a monument to forgetting that eight room farmhouse she purchased in eighteen. Eighty six grew into a complex maze of stairs and halls and room after room Space Pack. It so confusing that there is no official room count. I've seen estimates range anywhere from one hundred and forty eight to one hundred and sixty one it. The stories are true: even the staff who worked for her had to use a map to get around.
there's a colorful rumour that Sarah hid treasure somewhere in the house, locking away a piece of her vast fortune for some intrepid explorer to discover later. But of course no one has ever tracked down if it even exists at all. The truth is probably a lot more simple. Most of her fortune was poured in the very building itself. There are other stories to legend, without a lot of proof, but their threads that add color to the tapestry of Sarah story,
They say that the moment the workers learned of her death they just stopped and walked away, leaving nail sticking out of the wood visitors to the house today have noticed doors that shut on their own cold spots, floating lights and the distant sound of breaking glass. Trust me, I get a lot of people view the Winchester House as one of those ultra cool. Can you believe it's true sort of places its fascinating, an eerie in so very rebellious and insane, but when we simply stare at the House and Marvel at its eccentricities, we risk missing the pain inside those walls. after all, a person built that house, however broken reasons. Today, the house exists as something more inspiring legendary authors. Jackson who grew up near by makes mention of it at the beginning of nineteen. Fifty nine novel, the hunting of Hill House
Disneyland, don't their haunted mansion. They took their inspiration from the Winchester House and, of course, building is a state landmark and tourist attraction open to the public for guided doings in the fall of two thousand. Sixteen, the preservation team at the Winchester House made a discovery. it was a new room, one that had been boarded up and hidden away for over a century. Their best guess is that the room was one of many that we're up and abandoned following the nineteen o six earthquake, it wasn't empty either Then find that lost hidden treasure. Everyone seems to whisper about. They found a snapshot of everyday life of victorian couch, address, form and sewing machine even a couple of paintings. It was a time capsule locked away in forgotten, exactly as Sarah would have wanted. It.
We are often so obsessed with the house. She built that we forget to ask whether or not Sarah Winchesters idea actually worked. Did her me like mansion, really keep the spirits at Bay find out after the break Sarah win. Just built her mansion as a way of confusing and tricking the spirits that she felt were chasing her. Some say that Why? There are only two mirrors in the entire house, while others point to the symbolic number: thirteen that pops up in almost every room in one shape or another, a number that was considered evil and acted like a ward fighting off the ghosts of her past. But did it work well if the stories that have been told about the house since her death are any indication.
It's hard to tell what certain is that, even though the house is empty now there has been a lot of activity reported inside it. One two or guide once reported hearing inaudible sigh ass. She led a group of tourists into one of the bedrooms when she paused to listen closer to claims that a small dark shape drifted in through one, Or an vanished around the corner, no one was able to identify the source of the sound or the mysterious shape over the years. People have been visiting the mansion and its surrounding grounds. Multiple witnesses have reported the sensation of being watched, some even seen a figure of a dark haired man watching over them, sometimes from inside the house and sometimes outside, and while the witnesses and locations are always difference, the description of the ghostly figure is always there.
One more revealing tail comes from a few years ago, when a contractor was doing some restoration work on a fireplace inside the house. According to his story, He was up on a ladder in a room all by himself when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to look more out of reflex than any sort of expectation that someone might actually be there, but saw nothing a moment later. It happened again only this time. The tap was a shove and he almost lost his balance and fell off the latter frightened for his safety. He said that he stopped his work. Climbed back down, didn't return to that room for the rest of the day and, honestly, it's hard to blame him, but so many rooms in a place like the Winchester mansion it can all be empty. Can they.
This episode of Lore was written and produced by me, Aaron Maggie with research assistance from our set Crockett music by June. Lawson and administrative help from Karl Nellis, as I mentioned at the top, or is more than a podcast, explore the book series. The television show An old episodes over at the world of lore dotcom, slash now and last, if a social media sort of person. You can follow the show over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram just search for lore podcast, all one word and then click that follow button. When you do say hi,
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-12.