Meet the Author: Sarah Winchester: Beyond the Mystery by Bennett Jacobstein – at the Redwood City Public Library – March 11, 2020 from 7:00 – 8:30PM
In honor of Women’s History Month, Bennett
Jacobstein will be at the Redwood City Public
Library on March 11, 2020 from 7:00 – 8:30PM to discuss his new book about
the Winchester Mystery House and Sarah Winchester’s true story.
Sarah Winchester: Beyond the Mystery
PUBLISHER: Independently published
PUBLICATION DATE: September 2019
DESCRIPTION: 110 pages, paperbound
DISTRIBUTION: Amazon / Ingram / Baker & Taylor
Winchester was a wonderful person who devoted a good part of her life to
funding a hospital for tuberculosis patients. It has become a personal crusade
for me to tell her true story. My goal with the book is to restore
Sarah’s reputation,” says Bennett Jacobstein.
Winchester was a brilliant, creative and generous woman. She lost her only
child, Annie, at six weeks old. Her beloved husband William, heir to the
Winchester Rifle fortune, died at a young age from tuberculosis. Sarah never
recovered from her two heartbreaking losses. Yet through all her pain she was
focused on helping those in need.
spent major parts of her adult life on two building projects. Both of them live
on today, 97 years after her death.
Jose, California, Sarah built an architectural marvel, a mansion in the
American Queen Anne revival style reflecting great beauty and great innovation.
The mansion has operated since 1923 as a tourist attraction known as the
Winchester Mystery House. The house is a California Historical Landmark and is
on the National Register of Historic Places.
the years rumors have been associated with Sarah and her house. The rumors
suggest that the grief-stricken widow sought comfort from a medium in Boston
who told her that (as the heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company fortune)
she was being cursed by the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle.
She should move west, the medium said, and build a house and never stop
building. As long as construction continued, she was told, she would not die.
The rooms would shelter the good spirits and the sound of hammers would drive
away the bad spirits. These rumors led to Sarah being portrayed as eccentric
and crazy. However, research has shown that there is a different version of the
story. Not only were there rational reasons for everything in the house, but
Sarah was not at all crazy and spent a good part of her life in a philanthropic
Haven, Connecticut, Sarah funded the building and operation of a hospital for
patients with tuberculosis. The hospital, honoring her husband, was named the
William Wirt Winchester Annex for Tuberculosis. Sarah was especially concerned
with helping those of limited economic means. Over the years thousands of lives
have been saved through the work of this hospital. Although the hospital no
longer exists, the fund Sarah created continues to support the Winchester Chest
Clinic, now part of the Yale New Haven Hospital.
Sarah’s hospital remains
virtually unknown, whereas Sarah’s mansion is toured by a steady stream of
visitors from around the world. The mansion was the setting for the 2018 film Winchester,
a paranormal thriller starring Academy-Award-winning actress Helen Mirren. The
movie was advertised as “inspired by true events.” It is true that Sarah and
the house both existed, but that is where the “true” events end.
The rumors surrounding
the house continue to be told, but in Bennett’s book ‘Sarah Winchester:
Beyond the Mystery’ historical research including newspaper and magazine
articles, personal correspondence, and interviews with Sarah’s contemporaries
reveals an alternative explanation of Sarah Winchester and her mansion.
About the Author:
lives in San Jose, CA. He is a retired librarian and founder of
Toucan Valley Publications, publisher of demographic materials and children’s
social studies titles. He is the author of The
Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine, a culinary tour of
the food offering of each of the major league baseball stadiums.
became intrigued by the story of Sarah Winchester and her house. Once his research revealed that Sarah
Winchester was not crazed and was a wonderful person who devoted a good part of
her life to helping those in need, it became a personal crusade for him to tell
her true story.
Bennett Jacobstein will
be at the Redwood
City Public Library on March 11, 2020 from 7:00 – 8:30PM to discuss his
book Sarah Winchester: Beyond the Mystery.