Courtesy of Winchester Mystery House
The Winchester Mystery House at sunset

Will you try this at home?

Ellen Fort  – September 10, 2019 | Updated September 12, 2019

The Winchester Mystery House has been frightening and delighting the Bay Area since it opened its doors to the public in 1923. Since then, it has lured over 12 million visitors into its dark recesses and curiosity-filled rooms. Now, it’s become the subject of celebrity baker Christine H. McConnell in the form of a 500-lb. replica made entirely of gingerbread.

According to McConnell, the replica took two months, and by her estimate, “a bazillion hours,” to craft. The Martha Stewart of all things creepy recreated the mansion’s 160 rooms, 10,000 windows, and 2,000 doors out of project board, which she used as a template for the gingerbread walls.

 

McConnell’s elaborate creations were most recently the subject of a Netflix series and collaboration with Henson Alternative (Muppet creator Jim Henson’s adult-focused studio), though her notoriety launched with the 2015 transformation of her parents’ Los Angeles home into a monster, complete with enormous eyeballs and fangs. Her work has also appeared alongside that of Tim Burton; she cites The Addams Family, Tales From the Crypt, and The Munsters as influences. Her newest project, a YouTube show titled From the Mind of Christine McConnell, recently launched, and now features the making of the gingerbread house. 

McConnell’s partnership with the Winchester Mystery House coincides with the start of the tourist attraction’s Unhinged experience, an immersive, interactive horror show. Each fall the mansion is a destination for thrill-seekers curious to explore its many rooms and attractions, including this year’s addition of axe throwing and a Houdini escape room.

Though it transforms into a haunted house each Halloween season, the house itself was created as the personal home of Sarah Pardee Winchester, who spent 38 years transforming an eight-room farmhouse into a sprawling 24,000-square-foot mansion with nine kitchens, 13 bathrooms, 17 chimneys, and 47 stairways and fireplaces. Legend has it that the widow constructed the massive, continuously growing mansion to appease the spirits of those killed by guns manufactured by Winchester Repeating Firearms, her late husband’s company. Staircases to nowhere, rooms within rooms, and other architectural abnormalities are a hallmark of the American Queen Anne Victorian home.

Check out McConnell’s impressive, edible artwork until October 31. Tickets are available here.

 

Christine H. McConnell creates her replica of the Winchester Mystery House. Video courtesy of Winchester Mystery House.