Haunted Summerwind Mansion: A Terrifying TRUE Ghost Story
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy reading a good ghost story. I’ve read dozens over the years, but only a few have really stuck with me. The Haunting of Summerwind Mansion is one of those ghost stories that you just can’t shake. It reminded me so much of Amityville Horror and The Shining, I had to research and learn as much as I could about it. It might be a story that sticks with you too. Here’s the haunted tale of a house with multiple restless ghosts that inevitably took possession of a man in a haunted area of Wisconsin.
The Story of Summerwind Mansion in Haunted Wisconsin
Summerwind Mansion was once a stately home situated on West Bay Lake in the haunted state of Wisconsin. Today, only its ruins remain – its chimney and stone foundation. Built in the early nineteen-hundreds, sources say it was first a fishing lodge that was then bought and renovated by Robert Patterson Lamont in 1916. The renovations took two years, but when the Lamonts were finally able to move in, they suffered through some terrifying experiences.
History of the West Bay Lake in Wisconsin
Before we go deep into the experiences of the Lamonts at Summerwind, I’d like to explore the history of the land where their house was built. I find the history of the land frequently influences hauntings and other tragic happenings. The energetic residue that the land holds can add to many problems for those who build and/or live on it.
West Bay Lake is located in Vilas County, Wisconsin, a county that was once mostly forested before it’s establishment in the 1800’s. But the settlers weren’t the first people to live there. The Chippewa people hunted, fished and lived in Vilas County for centuries before the settlers came. I’m sure we had a hand in killing off the indigenous there.
Further, a large portion of the forested wilderness would be cleared to make room for farms and development. The Hudson Bay Company and the American Fur Company are to blame for the first massive land clearings. I believe when land clearings take place, especially large ones, we disturb the ecosystem – physically and spiritually. The land spirits are angered and they may hang around and cause issues for those who have disturbed them. Now onto the haunting…
The Lamonts’ Terrifying Encounters in Summerwind Mansion
The Lamonts were sitting in their kitchen at their newly built Summerwind Mansion, enjoying dessert and a chat, when the door to the basement began to open slowly. Out came a ghost that moved quickly towards them. Mr. Lamont grabbed his gun and shot two bullets at the spirit, but the bullets tore through the specter and hit the basement door. In terror, the couple fled the house and never returned.
The Keefers Buy Summerwind Mansion
The Lamonts sold Summerwind to the Keefers in the 1940’s and the family owned it until the 1960’s. Interestingly, the Keefers never lived in Summerwind Mansion. People who toured the haunted home claimed Mrs. Keefer would never go inside with them. In the 1960s, Mrs. Keefer sold the haunted Summerwind Mansion a few times, but each time the buyers couldn’t keep up the payments and Mrs. Keefer was forced to take back ownership.
The TRUE Haunting of Summerwind Mansion: The Hinshaws’ Story
The true haunting of Summerwind began in the 1970’s when a young married couple and their children moved in with big plans to renovate. Ginger Hinshaw claims they couldn’t find any workers to renovate the home so they were on their own. In the midst of renovations, Ginger and the children experienced some frightening things at Summerwind Mansion. They saw ghosts and shadowy figures in the hallways and the ghost of a woman in their dining room on several occasions. Ginger claims her friends encountered the ghost in the dining room, fled the house and never returned.
Arnold Hinshaw is Tormented by Spirits
Arnold Hinshaw reportedly suffered a mental breakdown and lost his job after moving into Summerwind. Ginger believes it was the house…that the spirits tormented Arnold while they lived in the mansion in haunted Wisconsin. The first signs of Arnold’s breakdown included his obsession with playing the piano/organ at night, sometimes all night long, and an unfounded anger towards his family. Once Arnold Hinshaw killed one of the children’s pets to “prove a point”. Some accounts claim Ginger Hinshaw attempted suicide while living in Summerwind Mansion. The stress was just too much for any family to withstand.
The Terror Continues…
Ginger’s father purchased the home next for renovation. He had high hopes to turn the mansion into a restaurant on the lake. But the ghost stories didn’t stop there. Ginger’s brother encountered a ghost on the second floor and when he ran down to the first, he witnessed a re-play of the Lamonts’ experience with the ghost from the basement. He heard a scream and two gunshots in the kitchen, smelled gunpowder, and saw two bullet-holes in the basement door. The terrified brother fled Summerwind and never returned.
Other Eyewitness Accounts & An Ever-Changing House
The renovators working on Summerwind Mansion during that time experienced horrifying paranormal activity on a regular basis. Their tools would inexplicably go missing. And when they were drawing up new blueprints of the haunted Summerwind Mansion, they would come to find the house’s dimensions physically changed. Was the house moving and expanding on its own? This reminds me of the ever-changing Winchester Mansion in California.
Demons and Hypnosis
During the renovations done by Ginger’s father, Ginger herself offered to hypnotize her father and brother. During the hypnosis, a dark, evil voice came from Ginger’s brother claiming it was “very strong”. Ginger believed her brother was possessed during the hypnosis and attempted to exorcise the spirit from her brother, which supposedly worked. Once Ginger hypnotized her father, her father had a vision of going into the basement at Summerwind Mansion and finding a box with a deed inside. The deed was for the Summerwind property and was signed by Jonathon Carver.
Who was Jonathon Carver?
Ginger’s father claims Jonathon Carver was an explorer and was given a deed to one third of the state of Wisconsin. Also, he believed the deed was somewhere hidden in the foundation of Summerwind Mansion. The ghost of Jonathon Carver was haunting Summerwind, according to Mr. Hinshaw. The land deed was never found despite Ginger’s father’s efforts. Summerwind’s original investor from 1916 claims he didn’t know of anything placed in the foundation. In 1988, after Summerwind Mansion was sold to Canadian investors, the home was struck by lighning and burned to the ground.
The Ruins of Summerwind
The ruins remain to this day and are on private property, though people who visit the ruins claim objects fly around the site and strange orbs have been photographed. Is Summerwind Mansion haunted by Jonathon Carver’s ghost? Is he so hell-bent on finding his land deed that he would do anything to get it back, even in death? Or is Summerwind Mansion haunted by something more sinister…something that’s sole purpose was to drive families apart and wreak havoc upon everyone there? Whatever haunted Summerwind Mansion is uncertain. But one thing is for sure, it didn’t want anyone living in the home.
Update: I recently had a man reach out to me to ask if I’d be interested in aiding in the design of a new Summerwind Mansion. No matter how intriguing this sounds, I believe leaving Summerwind at rest is probably best for the spirits who were tormented there. Rebuilding something like Summerwind that burned down is just asking to stir up more negative energy. And truly, we should just let it lie.