Actress Lillian Gish Narrated 1963 Documentary About Sarah Winchester

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — In 1963, KPIX produced a documentary about the life and legend of Sarah Winchester, the widow who financed and built the mansion that came to be known as the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose between 1884 and 1922.

The film features extended shots taken around the house, as narrator and actress Lillian Gish tells how Sarah buried her daughter and husband in New Haven, Connecticut, and then moved to San Jose in 1884 already obsessed with ideas about life after death. Arriving in what was then a country town, Sarah bought 44 acres and a house under construction.

The house was just eight rooms, but Gish describes how it eventually grew to encompass more than 150. She also reflects on Sarah’s eccentricity and how it may have influenced local rumors that she was providing shelter for the ghosts of people killed by Winchester rifles, her late husband’s family business.