THE CALENDAR IS CORRECT: Everybody but everybody seems to receive a calendar over the holidays, whether it is under the tree or sitting atop the gift table or the dry-cleaner or grocery store you regularly visit presents you one on the final day of the year. It isn't a stretch, then, to say that there's a calendar nearby, right now, maybe within reaching distance, but what we're about to tell you next doesn't require you peeking at it. Here it goes: The famous flashlight nights at the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, the ones that take guests through the said-to-be-haunted mansion after dark, are about to start up again. Okay, there it is, we said it, that's what we had to share, but here's the next calendar-related bit: It is not October. It isn't even fall, or near fall, which is when the flashlight tours traditionally take place. Indeed, it is still the wintertime, an unusual occurrence for the eerie attraction to launch the tours, but, then again, another pretty rare occurrence is about to happen in the Winchester's neck of the woods: Super Bowl 50.
FOR SURE, there'll be many out-of-towners in the Santa Clara-San Jose nexus over the second month of the year, and, for sure, they've heard of the Winchester Mystery House on countless cable shows (and all of those ghost books that regularly give the maze-y destination a shout-out). It makes sense, then, to hand out the flashlights each Friday night in February to those guests who want to check it out in the gloaming. ("In the gloaming" seems to suit the mansion's Victorian-era vibes.) There are only four of these February flashlight nights ahead, starting on Friday, Feb. 5, so alight upon an admission soon, if you just can't wait for its regular October schedule. What will you see, by the by? Well, we don't want to walk the spoiler-alert route, for visiting football fans, but Sarah Winchester's sprawling abode is known for staircases to nowhere, doors that open onto brick walls, and windows in floors. It's pretty fascinating stuff, and especially by starlight. Intrigued? Don't need to double-check the calendar? Then start here.