Drinks With Dead People

Raise a glass to history.

Tag: Guns

Sarah Winchester

Have a drink with: Sarah Winchester
40BR, 30BA; move-in ready!

Ask her about: Extreme Home Makeover, Spectral Edition

Winchester Mystery House

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the star of the recent suspense film Winchester is Helen Mirren. She is, after all, a certified badass; a superb actress; and well kitted out for the job in a dour stare and a dramatic swath of black Victorian lace.

In fact, though, the star of the film is a house, purportedly as haunted in reality as it is on film. The Winchester Mystery House, as it’s popularly known, is a 160-room Queen Anne-style mansion in modern-day Silicon Valley, created by the real-life version of Mirren’s character Sarah Winchester. And as a 1940s tourism brochure points out, “The World’s Largest, Oddest Dwelling” is not your typical real estate listing.

Clipping Winchester Mystery House

So why spend more than three decades building an ooky, nonsensical Queen Anne monstrosity, albeit one with very nice amenities? If you believe the legend, it’s because Sarah Winchester was trying to manage a tenant roster of very unhappy ghosts.

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19th Century Concealed Carry

Have a drink with: The 19th Century Anti-Gun Lobby
“We’re all hot at the same time, and we should do somethin’ about it!”

Ask them about: Background checks

If you watch enough movies – Civil War dramas, Wild West adventures, Five Points gangland brawls, Mel Brooks – you’d be forgiven for thinking that the 19th century was one long festival of unmitigated gun violence.

Indeed, in the 1800s, industrialization was the catalyst for mass production and ownership of guns. Prior to that, gun ownership was relatively rare and despite a romantic ideal of the American militia, apparently most of them literally couldn’t hit a barn door.

But what might surprise you is that the American reputation for a history of unchecked gun culture is, on the whole, undeserved. In the 19th century concealed carry prohibitions were common – and serious.

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