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Summerwind Mansion, formerly known as Lamont Mansion, is a now derelict cellar hole on the shores of West Bay Lake in Vilas County, North East Wisconsin. It is reputed to be one of the most haunted locations in Wisconsin. Due to abandonment, the elements, and fire, little of the mansion currently remains standing. For a while it was popular with paranormal tourists. Summerwind's ruins are located on private land and are currently closed to the public.



Summerwind was constructed on the edge of West Bay Lake in Vilas County, North East Wisconsin, off of the western intersection between Highway B and Helen Creek Road. The coordinates of the mansion's location are N46 11.916 W089 25.298. [1][2][3]




Summerwind was originally constructed during the early 20th century as a fishing lodge. In 1916 it was purchased by Robert P. Lamont, who employed Chicago architects Tallmadge and Watson to substantially remodel the property and convert it into a mansion[4]. The renovations took two years to complete, and led to the near total reconstruction of significant portions of the property.

Lamont remained in Summerwind for approximately 15 years, during which time the maids told Lamont that the mansion was haunted, but he did not believe them. However, he is then reported to have abandoned the property suddenly in the mid 1930s after witnessing an apparition in the mansion's kitchen. Local legend holds that he and his wife were eating dessert in the kitchen, when the door to the basement started to shake open, revealing the ghostly form of a man. Robert Lamont was reported to have taken one look at the ghost, and pulled out a pistol. The ghost swung the door shut and Lamont squeezed off two shots in its direction, before fleeing the residence with his wife. The ghost is said to be Jonathan Carver.[5][6]


During the 1940s, the property was sold to the Keefer family, who maintained the mansion, but never lived there on a permanent basis. Some accounts place the sale after Lamont's death in 1948[5]. Others place it around 1941, prior to his death[4].

After the death of Mr. Keefer, his widow subdivided the land and sold it. However, the plot containing Summerwind reverted to Mrs. Keefer several times after various purchasers experienced financial difficulties and were unable to keep up payments[4]. During this period there were no specific paranormal incidents recorded, but purchasers reported unease about the property, and it remained largely unoccupied[7].


After remaining vacant for some time, the house became the residence of Arnold and Ginger Hinshaw and their four children, who moved in during the early 1970s. It is from this time onwards that most of the haunting reports originate[7].

After taking up residence, the Hinshaws reported a number of strange occurrences, ranging from flickering shadows that appeared to move down the hallways and soft voices that stopped when they entered rooms, to unexplained electrical/mechanical problems and sash windows that raised themselves. They also reported seeing the ghost of an unidentified woman who appeared several times in the vicinity of the house's dining room[7][5].

Urban legend holds that after experiencing extended difficulties retaining workmen the Hinshaws decided to renovate the house themselves. During these renovations, Arnold is said to have removed a shoe drawer from a fitted closet and discovered a hidden recess behind it. In that recess Arnold discovered what he at first took to be the remains of an animal. However, because of the cramped entrance, he could not be certain of what he had seen. Later that day, he sent his daughter Mary into the recess to see what the unidentified object really was, only for Mary to discover a human skull and strands of black hair. No report of the find was ever made to the police and the veracity of the legend has never been determined[5][6]. The body was reported to have vanished when Ginger's father and brother investigated the recess, several years later[7].

Within six months of moving into Summerwind, Arnold suffered a breakdown and Ginger attempted suicide. Arnold was sent for treatment and Ginger moved in with her parents in Granton, Wisconsin. The land, once again, reverted to Mrs. Keefer[7].

Years later, Ginger's father, Raymond Bober, announced plans to buy Summerwind and turn it into a restaurant with the help of his wife, Marie, and son, Karl. The Bober's attempts to renovate the house suffered from many of the same problems as the Hinshaw's attempt. Bober's son Karl; who traveled to the house alone in order to arrange estimates and pest control work, also reported a variety of unnerving events including voices and an apparent supernatural reenactment of the alleged 1930s Lamont incident[5][8].

At this time, workmen also reported feeling uncomfortable and complained of missing tools and other happenings. One example is that when they attempted to draw blueprints, the dimensions of the house would change, with some rooms producing larger measurements on some days than on others. Photographs taken of the same location, on the same film, were also said to show a single room being several different sizes even if they were taken seconds apart, or to show furnishings that had been in the room when the Hinshaws had lived there, but which had since been removed[5].

After experiencing several apparently supernatural incidents, and a number of conventional difficulties, Bober abandoned his plans to convert Summerwind by 1979 (at which point the land again reverted to Mrs. Keefer) and instead applied for permission to operate a concessions stand nearby, but his application was turned down due to problems with local ordinance[5].

Bober documented his experiences in Summerwind and published them in 1979, under the pseudonym “Wolffgang Von Bober”[7].

In November 2005 the Discovery Channel aired an episode of "A Haunting" about the Hinshaw's experiences when they lived at Summerwind.

1980s – present

After Raymond Bober relinquished the property it was sold one more time but again reverted to Mrs. Keefer. In 1986, by which time the mansion had fallen into disrepair, Summerwind was purchased from the estate of Mrs. Keefer by a group of three investors. Later on the land and the ruins was sold to a Canadian family. They presently live in Richmond Hill, ON they report frequent unexplained hauntings.

There have been several largely unconfirmed reports by people who have investigated the house in its abandonment, often involving objects flying around, disappearing and reappearing, and photographs with odd shadows in them. Late night clandestine visitors have also indicated that they have experienced seeing Summerwind mansion as it would have appeared in an earlier time. Subsequent visits would then reveal the true run-down condition of manor.

In June 1988 Summerwind was struck by lightning several times, resulting in a fire that destroyed much of the mansion[5]. Oddly, lightning struck the house, not the taller trees around it. Today, only the house's chimney stacks, foundations, and stone steps remain.

Jonathan Carver

According to accounts given by Bober, the events at Summerwind can be traced back to 18th century American explorer and writer Jonathan Carver, whom Bober believed was haunting the site.

In his 1979 book, Bober claims to have been contacted by Carver, who told him that he was searching the grounds looking for deeds to the northern third of Wisconsin which had been granted to him by Sioux Indians as a gift for settling a fight between two Sioux tribes that nearly led to war, and which were built into the footing of Summerwind 130 years after his death. Bober believed that Carver had wanted the past owners of the house to help him find the deeds, or to make way for people who would. Despite searching the house's foundations, Bober was unable to locate any sign that the deeds had been buried there[7].

The only connection between Carver and the house itself is that the house falls under the jurisdiction of the elusive deed. No other explanation was offered by Bober as to why somebody would put the deed into the foundation of Summerwind.

In 1983, freelance writer Will Pooley contacted Herb Dickman, one of the men involved in setting Summerwind's foundations in 1916. Dickman claimed to have no knowledge of any foreign objects being built into the mansion's footings, or of any anomalies surrounding them[5].


  1. ^ "Summerwind Mansion (hybrid)". Google Maps.,-89.421643&spn=0.003097,0.006974&t=h. Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  2. ^ "Summerwind Mansion (Map)". Google Maps.,-89.421635&spn=0.001548,0.003487&t=k. Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  3. ^ [|Truss, Steven] (2006-04-23). "Directions to Summerwind Mansion" (AVI). Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  4. ^ a b c von Bober, Raymond H. (2005). "Summerwind Mansion: A Brief History". Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Template:Cite web john carver's ghost is still there in the basement and for paranormal reaserchers it is a popular landmark.
  6. ^ a b Taylor, Troy; McArdle, Stacy (1998). "Sumerwind". Ghosts of the Prairie Magazine (Whitechapel Productions Pres). 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Von Bober, Wolffgang (1979). The Carver Effect: A Paranormal Experience. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0811703290. 
  8. ^ Balousek, Marv (2000-11-15). 101 Wisconsin Unsolved Mysteries. Badger Books. ISBN 1-878569-70-8. 

9. Hollatz, Tom, and Seal Dwyer. The Haunted Northwoods. East Peoria, IL: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., 2000.

Further reading

  • Hauck Dennis William (1994), Haunted Places: A national directory, Athanor Books, ISBN 0-9637914-1-9
  • Norman Michael, Scott Beth (1985), Haunted heartland, Stanton & Lee Pub, ISBN 0-88361-092-2

See also

External links


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