Summerwind Mansion, formerly known as Lamont Mansion, is a ruined mansion on the shores of West Bay Lake in northern Wisconsin. It is reputed to be one of the most haunted locations in the state.
Summerwind was built in the early 20th century, originally as a fishing lodge until it was purchased by Robert Lamont in 1916 and converted into a mansion. Lamont lived in the mansion for nearly 15 years, during which time the maids told him the property was haunted. Lamont dismissed their warnings, as the house was "too new" to be haunted. He changed his tune, however, when he and his wife witnessed a haunting in the kitchen. Allegedly upon witnessing the haunting, in which the basement door shook open and the apparition of a man appeared, Lamont drew a pistol and fired two shots just as the ghost flung the door shut and disappeared. Lamont and his wife abandoned the property soon after.
The mansion cycled through a series of buyers from the 1940s through the 1960s, none of whom lasted long due primarily to financial difficulties. While no hauntings of note were reported during this time, most residents of the mansion reported an "uneasiness" and "unnatural stillness" about the property. By this point Summerwind had a reputation that preceded it.
Summerwind remained vacant for some time and fell into disrepair, until it was bought in the early 1970s by George and Ginger Hinshaw. After several workmen refused to work on the property the Hinshaws decided to take on renovations themselves. It was during this time that problems really started. Flickering shadows, phantom voices, windows that raised and lowered themselves, unexplained mechanical malfunctions, and other ghostly phenomena plagued their efforts and served to send the family into a spiral of mental deterioration. One popular urban legend has George Hinshaw discovering a corpse, which he originally believed to be that of an animal, in a hidden crawlspace behind a closet. Unable to fit into the space himself, he sent in his daughter Mary to investigate. Mary discovered that the "animal remains" were actually a human skull and a pile of black hair. Since no police report was made of the find and subsequent searches of the mansion found the corpse mysteriously missing from the crawlspace, the tale remains apocryphal.
The Hinshaws lived in Summerwind for only six months before George suffered a nervous breakdown and Ginger attempted suicide. The former went into treatment and the latter moved in with her parents, and once again Summerwind Mansion was an abandoned property plagued by intimidating mystery and ill will that drove off any who dared to alter it in any way.
The mansion was eventually purchased by Raymond Bober, father of Ginger Hinshaw, with the intent of converting it into a restaurant. This excellent site, containing stories of Summerwind Mansion in its latter years as written by Karl Bober, brother of Ginger Hinshaw, details his first-hand experience with the mansion and its ghosts, as they once again interfered with his efforts to fix up the property once occupied by his sister and brother-in-law. Bober described numerous incidents, including brand new lawn implements mysteriously breaking, windows once again opening themselves, rooms and hallways that seemed to change in size right before his eyes, and, perhaps most chillingly of all, an ethereal reenactment of original occupant Robert Lamont's shooting of the ghost in the kitchen. Lending veracity to the story were two bullet holes in the basement door.
In June of 1988, Summerwind Mansion was struck several times by lightning and burned to the ground. Strangely the lightning struck the house instead of the much taller trees surrounding the property. Today only the house's foundation and stone steps remain. Visitors to the ruins report the same stillness and feeling of urgency, as if the land itself is reaching out for help from beyond the grave.
Written for The Nodegel from Yuggoth: The 2011 Halloween Horrorquest.