HAUNTED OLD WESTWhat, I hear you say, does that Mayo character have in common with super-actress, Dame Helen Mirren? Well, pull up a camp stool and I’ll tell you.

It has to do with the release of WINCHESTER, the new movie starring Helen Mirren, about the intriguing, if odd, Mrs. Sarah Winchester and her singular coastal California abode—a home said to be the most-haunted house in the world.

I’m a longtime fan of stories of the bizarre and unexplained, and have written many horrific and supernatural stories (and working on more as we speak). A few years ago I wrote a book called HAUNTED OLD WEST, that explores the numerous haunted locations—forts, hotels, bars, canyons, houses, prisons—found throughout the American West.

Chief among them is the fascinating home of Mrs. Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune. Her obsessive guilt over pain caused by Winchester rifles, combined with a desire to protect the spirits of her deceased husband and child, manifested themselves in a unique and bizarre way.

Crews of builders, following Mrs. Winchester’s plans, added rooms, wings, and more to her ever-expanding house. They worked around the clock for close to four decades, intentionally never completing it. The result? A humongous, disjointed home filled with stairwells leading nowhere, doors opening onto nothing, windows facing walls, and on and on. Oh, and the place teems with angry, trapped ghosts aching for release and revenge! Perfect.

After I wrote about her, I became convinced her house is as has been claimed, the most haunted in the world. I also came away convinced Mrs. Sarah Winchester was not any crazier than the rest of us.

For my take on the Winchester Mystery House, check out my book, HAUNTED OLD WEST. Helen says she’ll leave a light on for you….