Helen Mirren delves into the haunted mystery of ‘Winchester’

Actress Helen Mirren poses for a portrait in promotion of her role playing the heiress to the Winchester fortune in the upcoming film
Actress Helen Mirren poses for a portrait in promotion of her role playing the heiress to the Winchester fortune in the upcoming film "Winchester" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

February 3, 2018

By Rollo Ross

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With its 160 rooms and rumored ghosts hiding among the darkened corners, the mystery of Winchester House, built by Sarah Winchester, the widow of rifle company magnate William Winchester, still draws droves of people to San Jose to try and uncover the building’s secrets.

In the new film “Winchester,” out in theaters on Friday, it is Oscar-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren who attempts to shed a light on the enigma of Winchester, who died in 1922 leaving her labyrinth of a home to become an attraction.

Mirren compared the widow Winchester, whom she called “fascinating,” to jilted spinster Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” a literary character famous for being an eccentric, distraught recluse who lives in the past.

“Winchester” follows psychologist Dr Eric Price (Jason Clarke), who is hired by the Winchester rifle company to evaluate the sanity of the black-veiled Sarah, after she hired carpenters to work around the clock to build more and more rooms in her mansion.

“One of the legends that grew up around her was the legend that she bought the house to placate the ghosts who had been murdered or killed by the Winchester rifle, and the sense of guilt, the pressure and the weight of those spirits upon her,” Mirren said.

As Dr Price’s investigations continue into the house, more and more spooky events happen in the house, which is known as one of the most haunted houses in America.

“Ghost stories have been told by people over fires for thousands of years so the world of the spirits is very present in the human experience. We talk about it, we think about it, it’s in our art, it’s in our culture. It’s an authentic part of the human experience,” Mirren said.

(This story corrects spelling of Miss Havisham in paragraph 3)  

(Reporting by Rollo Ross for Reuters TV; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Sandra Maler)

14 Comments on "Helen Mirren delves into the haunted mystery of ‘Winchester’"

  1. Sandy Harris | February 4, 2018 at 8:48 pm |

    She is also very outspokenly against President Trump and is extremely pro-liberal government.

  2. Sounds like a revisit of the Geraldo Rivera ChiCongo Al Capone Vault mystery production way back when. Yawn.

  3. Dame Helen Mirren is one of the best English actresses of our time.

  4. anne stromberg | February 3, 2018 at 6:34 am |


    • She really isn’t. She actually keeps a fairly low profile and she is British, not American. She does movies most often that don’t get huge explosive response at the box office as they typically are meaningful and often historical. She also can actually act.

      • anne stromberg | February 3, 2018 at 7:26 pm |

        “she really isn’t” what?

        Low profile? What planet are you living on? She was adamant that she has no respect for the office of our President nor all the citizens who voted for him.
        Check out her political stance. I will not support any film person who does not SUPPORT our country and our constitution, whether they can act or not.

        • She’s not American. She is a British citizen. Like that old joke A Russian Officer and a American Officer having a discussion at an embassy party. The American says “we have freedom of speech, cause we can criticize our President!” The Russian replies “In Russia we can criticize your President too”. Word

  5. Was Stephen King’s “Rose Red” about that house, or was that another one?

  6. Diversion.
    Who cares what Mirren does to the vaginal way of life?

  7. Toured the house years ago. Interesting story and there are different versions of it. Saw an episode of “Ghost Adventureres” about the Winchester House just last month.

  8. There is no mystery. The widow Windchester had lost her family to illness. The carpenters became her family. She had them continuously build to keep them employed. She was a kind and loving women. The builders and their families loved her. She became part of their families. When she died, she left $ for all of them.

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