By Len Ramirez

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Following a pandemic hiatus, one of the spookier Bay Area Halloween traditions is back: walking through the Winchester Mystery House at night.

“We have a new indoor tour called ‘Lost in the House,’ it happens at night.  It’s sort of a ghost investigation gone wrong that you actually take part in,” said Walter Magnuson, General Manager of the house. “The whole estate is activated in ways we’ve never done before with this Jack O’Lantern trail.”

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The staircase that leads to nowhere, the dead end doorways and the mazes build inside the Victorian mansion to confuse the spirits that haunted Sarah Winchester are all still part of what for many is a paranormal experience.

Inside the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. (CBS)

Inside the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. (CBS)

“We came during the day because it’s pretty spooky and we wanted to make sure we were safe during the daylight hours,” said Amber Dunbar, a return visitor.

Tours had to be cut back last year because of COVID-19, but they’re booking fast this Halloween as the Mystery House makes a comeback.

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The house has been open for tours since 1923, and the surrounding neighborhood has been transformed in ways Mrs. Winchester could never have imagined. Santana Row is across the street and new high-rises have sprung up all around the old mansion.

“Even as the area gets developed and Silicon Valley gets bigger and bigger, our attendance only grows. And people really, I think, are moved by the story,” Magnuson said.

It’s like taking part in a spooky story for those who do believe in ghosts.

“I do! I feel like I’ve seen a ghost or two in my life,” said Rheasheika Jackson of Eureka.

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“I was hoping to see something today,” she said.