Near the Michigan-Wisconsin border sits the ruins of a long abandoned mansion. The house, once known as Lamont Mansion, had been vacant for decades before a mysterious fire gutted the place and left only the ruined shell behind, but its reputation as a paranormal hotspot lives on in urban legend and ghostlore.
Let’s explore the strange tale of the haunted Summerwind Mansion.
Summerwind was initially built in the early 1900s and served as a fishing lodge, due to its situation near West Bay Lake. By 1916 the house was purchased by Robert Lamont, who went on to serve as the US Secretary of Commerce throughout the Great Depression. It was Lamont who turned the former lodge into a fully fledged mansion, complete with servant’s quarters.
The house sat in 80 acres of land and road links were inn poor condition, leaving the house particularly isolated during the areas snowy winters.
During Lamont’s ownership of the mansion, it is said that he was convinced of the paranormal activity that supposedly took place there, although he was initially sceptical.
Staff at the property are said to have told stories of a translucent woman in white who stalked the driveway, but it wasn’t until an alleged incident in the mid 30s that both Lamont and his wife became firm believers.
According to legend, as the Lamonts were dining in the mansion’s kitchen, the basement door began to rattle, before flinging itself open to reveal the spectral form of a strange man.
Spectre or not, the Lamonts took great offence to this intruder and proceeded to shoot at him before he disappeared in front of their very eyes. It is said that bullet holes were left in the the basement doorframe for the rest of the mansion’s lifetime.
The ghostly visitation, caused them to flee the property, which was later bought by the Keefer family.
The house remained relatively unoccupied during their ownership, with Mrs Keefer reportedly sure the house was haunted. Eventually, she abandoned the house in a hurry, telling neighbours they were welcome to any of the its contents, but she was not responsible if “something happened to them.”
Arnold and Ginger Hinshaw
By now the house was known by the name Summerwind, and in 1969, it was purchased by Arnold and Ginger Hinshaw, who moved in with their six children.
Six months later, they fled.
The Hinshaws are reported to have often witnessed the woman in white wandering the perimeter of the house, along with witnessing strange shadows darting through Summerwind’s halls.
The family were allegedly plagued by whispered voices and doors and windows opening and closing day and night. Arnold Hinshaw is said to have been so alarmed by this that he ended up nailing many of them shut.
The family’s intention was to renovate Summerwind, but they had trouble finding builders and workmen due to the house’s reputation and ended up undertaking the work themselves. Additionally, the boiler and water pump would inexplicably break down, only to suddenly restart before anyone had a chance to fix it – something I can say from experience, is a common occurrence in older houses.
Strangest of all, however, was a supposed discovery behind a wall. Arnold, who was doing some painty business in a closet, is said to have found a recess, inside of which he though he saw the remains one an animal. Being too large to get a proper look at it, he sent his daughter to investigate and, to her horror, she claimed to have found a human skull, with long, black hair still attached. Interestingly, there is no account of any police contact to support this finding – something you’d expect if you found a human skull in your house.
During these anomalous events, the family’s mental health is said to have worsened. Arnold, in particular, took to playing the family’s organ day and night – claiming that “spirits” or “demons” were demanding he carry on.
Eventually, Arnold suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalised. Ginger, also, became suicidal, causing the family to move from the mansion.
After the Hinshaws left the property, it was purchased by Raymond Bober – Ginger’s father. His intention was also to renovate the home, and this lead to similar problems that afflicted Ginger and Arnold.
Those who did undertake work there often left shortly after, claiming their tools would disappear and reappear at random. There have been claims that the house’s dimensions would change daily, leaving the workers unable to take consistent measurements.
In fact, almost all of the claims regarding Summerwind’s alleged haunting stems from Bober’s book, The Carver Effect: A Paranormal Experience, published in 1979 under the pen name Wolfgang Von Bober. Here, Bober claimed the house was haunted by explorer Jonathan Carver, who died in 1780, a claim repeated in a 2005 episode of Discovery Channel’s A Haunting series.
Published two years after The Amityville Horror and the associated cultural phenomenon, this book is the first documented account of the haunting of Summerwind, retelling the experiences of both Bober and his daughter’s family. Much like the Amityville affair, Summerwind’s tale also features a family who move in and out of a house rather quickly, husbands who appear to undergo negative personality changes, and a house/area with a rather punchy name.
In November 1980, Summerwind was featured in Life Magazine, listing the top 9 most terrifying paranormal locations in the USA, and Summerwind’s place in American Ghostlore was cemented, despite previous property owners reporting no paranormal activity.
By this time, however the house was abandoned and decayed – despite his alleged attempts at restoration, it’s claimed that Bober never spent a night in the property.
Summerwind became a well known den of debauchery, with local youths indulging in all manner of hooliganism inside it’s crumbling walls.
Then, on June 19th, 1988, Summerwind burnt to the ground. Media reported that this was caused by a lightening strike, but others suspect arson or an accident. A mysterious end to a mysterious tale which – like most urban legends – can no longer be proved or disproved.
Regardless, of the cause, all that remains of the Summerwind is a few brick chimney stacks, a set of concrete stairs and a whole lot of unverifiable ghost stories.
Don’t forget to subscribe and follow our social channels below!