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The Haunting of Summerwind

A Frightening Haunting in Wisconsin

The very first time I ever heard the story of the haunting at Summerwind, feelings of fascination and terror crept over my entire body. Just listening to the eyewitness accounts of the haunting tale behind the once-gorgeous Summerwind mansion in Wisconsin sent shivers up my spine and summoned goosebumps to my arms.

Summerwind was once a stately mansion located on West Bay Lake in Wisconsin state. Unfortunately today it stands in utter ruin. The only parts left to the beautiful home once known as the Lamont Mansion are nothing but the stone foundation and chimneys. Summerwind sounds like such a serene and welcoming name for a home, doesn't it? Well, don't let the name fool you. When Summerwind Mansion was still standing, there was an extremely malevolent presence occupying the home. Possibly a ghost...possibly a demon.

So the story of the haunting of Summerwind starts in the early 1900s when two of the first owners of the gorgeous mansion experienced something so frightening that it made them leave forever. The husband and wife were sitting in their kitchen at Summerwind, enjoying dessert (so the stories go), when the door leading from the kitchen to the basement began to open slowly. From behind the basement door, a ghost or spirit moved up and towards them. The husband grabbed his gun and shot two bullets into the ghost's image, but the bullets just hit the basement door and did nothing to effect the spectral form moving towards the couple. In terror, they both fled the house and never returned afterwards.

This couple was the Lamonts and they had purchased the Summerwind Mansion from someone else, as the building was actually a fishing lodge before the Lamonts turned it into their home in 1916. During the fifteen years that the Lamonts lived at Summerwind, they never believed the claims that their maids had made that the mansion was indeed haunted...until the night they experienced the haunting firsthand.

The Lamonts sold Summerwind to the Keefers in the 1940s and the Keefers owned Summerwind until the 1960s. Interestingly enough, the Keefers never actually lived in Summerwind on a permanent basis. Many people who toured the haunted home claimed that Mrs. Keefer would barely ever go inside with them, that she would just hand them the keys and expect them to fend for themselves...for lack of a better phrase. In the 1960s, Mrs. Keefer sold the haunted Summerwind mansion a few times, but each time she sold the mansion, the buyers couldn't keep up the payments and Mrs. Keefer would take back over as the owner of Summerwind Mansion. No solid reports from the owners in the 1960s indicated that anything out of the ordinary occurred in Summerwind, though some reported that they felt strange or uncomfortable in the home.

In the 1970s, the true haunting of Summerwind began when a young married couple and their children moved into Summerwind Mansion and made plans to renovate the home themselves. Ginger Hinshaw claims that she and her husband Arnold were not able to find any workers to renovate the home so they figured they were on their own. In the midst of renovating their haunted Summerwind mansion, Ginger and the children experienced some very frightening things at Summerwind. They saw ghosts and shadowy figures in the hallways and one particular ghost of a woman in their dining room on several occasions. Ginger even claims that a couple of friends of hers saw the ghost in their dining room and never came back to the house following the incident.

The husband of Ginger's, Arnold Hinshaw, was reported to have suffered a mental breakdown and lost his job in the process. Ginger believes to this day that it was the house...that some spirit was tormenting Arnold while they lived at Summerwind. Among the scary acts of Arnold playing a creepy organ all night long, he also reportedly killed one of the children's pets to "prove a point" to the little girls. Basically...the man lost his mind. Was it because of Summerwind or was he already crazy? I couldn't tell you, but there seems to have been a pattern or a correlation at Summerwind.

Some accounts say that Ginger actually attempted suicide while living at Summerwind due to severe depression and terror of living in the house and of her husband. All of this happened in six months' time, believe it or not. Ginger and her children moved out of Summerwind and into her parents' home, leaving Arnold by himself at Summerwind. Eventually Arnold moved out of the haunted Summerwind Mansion as well, and once again Mrs. Keefer became the sole owner of Summerwind Mansion for the umpteenth time.

Even after all of the terrifying stories that Ginger Hinshaw and her children told her father, her father up and decided to purchase Summerwind Mansion and renovate the old building...eventually turning it into a beautiful restaurant. But of course, more frightening things happened while renovations were under way. Ginger's brother experienced a ghost on the second level of the home and when he ran down to the first, he witnessed a re-play of the Lamonts' experience with the ghost. He heard a scream and then two gun shots in the kitchen, noticed a smell of gunpowder, and then noticed the bulletholes in the basement door. Needless to say, he fled Summerwind immediately and told his father that he didn't want to go back to the haunted Summerwind Mansion.

Other accounts state that the renovators working on Summerwind Mansion during that time experienced paranormal activity in the form of misplaced and missing tools and when they were drawing up new blueprints of the Summerwind home, the dimensions of certain rooms would change on a constant basis. This puzzled them and frightened many of them so much that they didn't want to work at Summerwind any longer. They knew it was filled with something evil...whether it was a ghost or something else entirely.

Ginger's brother and father were said to have been hypnotized by Ginger herself during the renovations and after Ginger's brother claimed to have experienced a ghost at Summerwind. The hypnosis revealed an ominous voice coming from Ginger's brother claiming to be "very strong". Ginger believed her brother to be possessed during the hypnosis so she attempted to exorcise her brother, which reportedly worked. Once Ginger hypnotized her father, her father took a mental journey into the basement at Summerwind Mansion and found a box with a deed in it. The deed was for the land that the haunted Summerwind Mansion was sitting upon and had the name "Jonathon Carver" written on the bottom.

Ginger's father claims that Jonathon Carver was an explorer and was given a deed to one third of Wisconsin, and the deed had been placed into the house's foundation when it was built in 1916. Her father believed that Jonathon Carver was haunting Summerwind and merely wanted someone to find the land deed. The land deed was never found at Summerwind, despite Ginger's father's efforts to find it and the original investor in Summerwind from 1916 says that he never knew of any objects being placed in Summerwind's foundations during its construction.

In 1988, after Summerwind Mansion had fallen back into the ownership of Mrs. Keefer and then sold once more to some Canadian investors, the haunted Summerwind Mansion was struck by lighning and burned to the ground. The ruins remain to this day and are on private property, though people who visit the ruins claim that objects still fly around the site and that strange orbs have been photographed around Summerwind's foundation.

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 focus was to drive families apart and wreak havoc upon anyone who stepped foot into that house? Whatever haunted Summerwind Mansion or is still haunting Summerwind Mansion's remains is uncertain...but one thing is for is not friendly or welcoming.