Something Sinister at Summerwind Mansion

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Something Sinister at Summerwind Mansion

Deep on the Wisconsin-Michigan border, in West Bay Lake, lies the remains of a once beautiful Victoria mansion.  Summerwind Mansion was built in the early 20th century as a fishing lodge.  It was later bought in 1916 by Robert Patterson Lamont to serve as their family summer home.

The Lamont family started reporting issues as soon as they moved in.  One evening when the family was having dinner, the basement door flew open and an apparition of a man appeared.  Robert, in a panic, shot at it twice with his pistol, leaving two bullet holes in the basement door and sending the man back into the cellar.

After the Lamonts passed, Arnold and Ginger Hinshaw moved into the home with their six children.  Their short stay lasted just six months, however.  The family consistently saw shapes and shadows flickering in the hallways.  They heard mumbled noises in rooms that were empty.  They even commonly witnessed a woman floating around the dining room.  The Hinshaw family had problems with appliances breaking down, only to be working fine when the repairman left.  Windows and doors would open and close by themselves.  Mr. Hinshaw’s car even randomly burst into flames on one especially tortured afternoon.

(images:rk_maia/flickr)

(images:rk_maia/flickr)

The final straw for the Hinshaw’s was the discovery of something especially heinous during a renovation project.  As workers were installing shelves in a closet, a compartment was found.  The workers shined flashlights inside to see if anything was to be found.  Finding the area too small to investigate, they sought the assistance of Mary Hinshaw, one of the younger daughters.  To the family’s horror, as Mary fumbled around in the dark, she retrieved a human skull with dark black hair.  There was a body in the secret compartment of the Hinshaw’s home.

From that night forward, the activity in the house continued to become more and more bizarre.  Mr. Hinshaw, in a frenzy, spent his remaining nights playing the family’s Hammond organ.  Once a source of family entertainment, it now tortured the family as he played into the night, growing louder as the darkness rolled in.  Ginger and the children spent their nights huddled together, shivering in fear, begging him to stop.  Arnold finally suffered a nervous breakdown and Ginger attempted suicide.  Luckily, her life was spared.  She and the children moved away, started over, and she eventually remarried.

Life for Ginger and the children resumed as normal, until her father broke some awful news.  Her father, Raymond Bober, had decided to purchase the Summerwind Mansion and turn it into an inn and restaurant.  Ginger, horrified, begged him to change his mind, but he would not be swayed.  In an effort to show Ginger that her fears were irrational, she, her father, and her new husband explored the mansion, discussing renovation plans.  Disappearing for a moment, Ginger’s husband stumbled across the fateful closet.  Before she could stop him, he opened the compartment.  Ginger gasped in horror, until they discovered that the compartment was empty.  The body was gone.

After Ginger shared the stories of her past with the home, rumors quickly spread.  Raymond Bober’s remodeling plans quickly fell short as workers were quitting or refusing to enter the home.  They complained that tools were disappearing and they felt like they were being watched.  The mansion’s twenty rooms changed shapes and dimensions regularly, even adding window dressings in photos.

Raymond also experienced supernatural activity.  One particularly startling experience was hearing his name when no one else was in the home and even finding the kitchen full of smoke, smelling of gunpowder.  It seemed to be coming from the basement, the same place Robert Lamont had shot years before.  Raymond never spent a single night in the mansion, instead opting to sleep in an RV on the land.

(images:rk_maia/flickr)

(images:rk_maia/flickr)

Raymond Bober later wrote a book about his experience in the home.  He wrote that he knew the spirit who inhabited the mansion- Jonathan Carver.  Carver was an 18th century explorer.  Raymond was convinced that Carver chose him to help on an important mission.  Carver was searching for a deed given to him by the Sioux Indians.  It deeded the north third of Wisconsin to Carver.  He insisted the deed was in a box, hidden in the foundation of the house.  Raymond credited the intervention with the renovation as Carver’s efforts to prevent the deed from being lost.

After Raymond Bober’s efforts failed, the Summerwind Mansion laid abandoned through the 1980s.  In 1988, it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.  There, deep in Wisconsin, the house lies in shambles, barely recognizable.  In 2014, Harold and Babs Tracym with the help of the Fox Valley Ghost Hunters, sought funding to rebuild the mansion as a bed and breakfast.  Never panning out, hikers and and visitors still describe an overwhelming feeling of fear and anger, even near the bones of what used to be a gorgeous, albeit ghostly, home.

Megan Borchert
Megan Borchert
Lover of all things unusual, Megan is a staff attorney for the state of South Dakota. When she's not stuffed in an office writing case synopses, you can find her at home with her army of Schnauzers, snuggled up with some strong wine and a good book.

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