The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion located in San Jose, California. It is believed to be haunted by the victims of the Winchester rifle. It has been a tourist attraction since 1923, a year after Sarah Winchester's death.
Very little of the filming took place in the actual mansion. The mansion's design in reality is extremely cramped, making filming very difficult. As such, most of the mansion's interior needed to be recreated on sound stages.
Sarah Winchester had severe, debilitating arthritis and had a series of short risers, only 3 or 4 inches high, in place of stairs as it was very painful for her to raise her foot more than a few inches.
The first company Oliver Winchester (Sarah's father-in-law) owned was a men's shirt company (Winchester & Company) with his twin brother Samuel. In the 1860s, Winchester invested in Volcanic Repeating Arms Company that produced a revolver designed by Horace Smith & Daniel Wesson(Smith & Wesson). When the company went bankrupt, he bought the company out and cleared the debt of $57,000.
According to records kept by the Mystery House proprietors today, Sarah Winchester constantly built and rebuilt the house throughout her 38 years in residence. The Winchester house has windows and doors in the floor, doors that open into walls or go nowhere, and stairs to nowhere or into the ceiling. Its total area is around 6 acres (24,000 m²).
The promotional image for the film of Helen Mirren sitting in the carriage in mourning clothes mirrors the only known photograph of the reclusive Sarah Winchester on the estate, which is seen on the tour of the mansion in San Jose, California.
Lionsgate bought the film and photography rights to the Winchester Mansion for this film. So now tourists are not allowed to take any pictures of the interior of the mansion, because a tourist photo would be in direct competition with a Hollywood movie.