The Ghosts of Summerwind
On the shores of West Bay Lake in Vila County, Wisconsin are the ruins of Summerwind Mansion. Once known as Lamont Mansion it was said to be one of the state’s most haunted locations. Today, what little remains are on private property and off limits to the general public.
The once ornate structure became victim to vandalism fire, and elements once everyone had vacated the premises. Everyone who ever lived at Summerwind moved out due to unexplained frightening, ghostly sights and sounds they encountered.
Originally, the structure was built as a fishing lodge during the early 1900s. It was later sold to Robert Lamont in 1916 who completely renovated the lodge into a stately manor. For close to 2 decades he resided in his ivory tower listening to his domestic staff try to convince him the place was haunted. Lamont, a skeptic, ignored their warnings and tried to allay their fears telling them the house was too new to have any serious haunts.
However, in the mid 1930s, Lamont became a believer. Reportedly he and his wife sat in the kitchen having a meal when the basement door slowed creaked open, revealing the misty, transparent form of a man. The terrified Robert pulled out a pistol. Apparently the ghost wasn’t fond of firearms as he slammed the door closed, but not before Robert had fired twice in its’ direction. The Lamont’s fled the property never to return.
Afterwards, the property was sold to the Keefer family sometime during the 1940s. The Keefer’s maintained the property but never lived in it. Following Mr. Keefer’s death his widow subdivided the land and sold it but the Summerwind portion reverted back to her ownership several times.
The house remained vacant until the early 1970s when Arnold and Ginger Hinshaw moved in with their 4 children. That’s when the serious haunting began. Moving shadows, whispering voices, objects which disappeared only to be found later in a different location, electrical problems and windows which opened themselves became common occurrences. An apparition of a woman also appeared several times.
The Hinshaw’s couldn’t keep maintenance men on the job. They usually quit without an explanation. Therefore, the family took it upon themselves to fix all the problems. During one task a human skull was reportedly found in a hidden recess. However, since it was never reported to authorities and later disappeared, that part of the legend can’t be proven.
During the next several months Arnold had a nervous breakdown and Ginger attempted suicide. Years later, Ginger's father, Raymond Bober and his family, decided to buy the property and make a restaurant out of it. They too reported terrifying events.
Maintenance crews complained of missing tools and other bizarre happenings. Blueprint dimensions continuously changed. Photographs taken several seconds apart on the same roll of film would show a room one size and another in the next. Some even showed furnishings which had long since been removed. The Bober’s abandoned the project.
Bober’s son, Karl wrote a book about their experiences in 1979. In it he claims events at the place are being perpetrated by the spirit of an 18th century American explorer and writer named Jonathan Carver. Karl says he was contacted by Carver’s ghost, who told him he was searching for deeds to the northern third of Wisconsin. Reportedly Carver said the deeds were gifted to him by Sioux Indians for stopping a tribal war and were hidden somewhere in the footings of Summerwind over a 100 years after his death. But, despite thoroughly searching the foundations, Karl never found any sign of them.
By1986, the mansion had fallen into a state of disrepair, a victim of the elements and vandalism. After being struck by lightning several times in 1988, fire reduced it to a shell of its former glory. All that remains today are chimney stacks, parts of the foundation and some stone steps.
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