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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Summerwind

One of Wisconsin's most haunted places is located on the shores of West Bay Lake. A grand mansion known as Lamont Mansion and later Summerwind once stood on this piece of land but is now long gone. However, the ghost stories and legends still remains.

It was a fishing lodge before Robert P. Lamont converted it in to a mansion in 1916 to be a summer home for him and his family. He and his family remained on the property for 15 years before suddenly abandoning the home in the 1930s. Legend goes his maids informed Lamont of the property being haunted. He didn't believe them until one day while eating dessert with his wife in the kitchen when the basement door swung open and an apparition of a man appeared. The door slammed shut when Lamont pulled out a pistol and fired two shots. Then he fled the residence with his wife. After Lamont's death, the house was sold.

During the 1940s, the Keefer family purchased the mansion. They maintained the property but never lived in the home. There were no reported paranormal incidences at this time. In 1969, Arnold and Ginger Hinshaw bought the mansion and moved in with their four children. The family only remained at Summerwind for 6 months. During the process of trying to renovate the structure, they experienced paranormal activity from shadows, mumbled voices to a female apparition often seen floating back and forth near the dining room and windows and doors opening on their own.

Due to stress from doing renovations on their own (the Hinshaws were unable to obtain servicemen to do the work allegedly because of the paranormal activity) and the ghosts, Arnold had a mental breakdown and Ginger attempted suicide. He received treatment and she moved to Granton, Wisconsin to live with her parents. The property reverted back to Mrs. Keefer. Life began to get back to normal until Ginger's father announced he planned to convert the mansion in to a restaurant and an inn. This decision was made without knowledge of his daughter's experiences in the house.

Raymond Bober was a popcorn vendor and businessman who believed guests would be attracted to the scenic location on the lake. When he learned of its haunted status, he claimed he uncovered the identity of the spirit. Bober believed a man named Jonathan Carver, an 18th Century British explorer, was haunting the mansion in search of an old deed given to him by Sioux Indians that was supposedly in a box sealed in to the foundation. A deed that was never found. He published a book in 1979 called The Carver Effect about his communications with Caver through trances, dreams and Ouija board experiences.

After running in to similar problems as Ginger and Arnold, Bober plans to turn the mansion in to restaurant were eventually abandoned. The property reverted back to Mrs. Keefer once again. The house itself was completely abandoned in the 1980s. In  1986, three investors attempted to revive Summerwind but nature intervened. Lightning struck the mansion during a terrible storm in June 1988, burning it to the ground.

Was it haunted? We may never know if ghosts ever occupied Summerwind. Little of the house remains, but those who have made the journey through the woods believe it is. Summerwind is located on private property. I don't recommend you going there unless you obtain permission.

Sources: 

Summerwind Mansion History

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