Spirits and Speculation at the Summerwind Mansion

In 1916, a gentleman by the name of Robert Patterson Lamont traveled to Vilas County, Wisconsin in search of his next home. Nestled on the shores of West Bay Lake sat a vast, and charming mansion, which had been built as a fishing lodge in the early 20th Century. Mr. Lamont admired the house’s array of windows, the picturesque landscape, and quickly agreed to make a purchase. From that point forward, the magnificent house was called Lamont Mansion.

The following year, Mr. Lamont allegedly hired two architects from Chicago to remodel the home. Mr. Lamont had fallen completely in love with the property, and hoped that he, and his family would be happy there for many years to come.

But their happiness was short lived.

Some legends speculate that the construction work did more than just revitalize the house. It revitalized the spirits within as well.

It was late one evening, and the family had all settled down for the night. Mr. Lamont was walking through the house, when a spectre appeared before him. The ghost terrified Mr. Lamont to no end. Trembling, he pulled a pistol from his person, and shot at the apparition.

Legends claim that Mr. Lamont was so frightened by the incident, that he no longer felt safe in the mansion. He woke his wife, and children, they packed their necessities into the car, and they quickly fled the scene. Mr. Lamont refused to return to the property from that point on, regardless of his financial losses.

Years passed. The house sat quietly, patiently. Then, at long last, the Hinshaw family moved in.

Lamont Mansion was purchased by Arnold, and Ginger Hinshaw, and the young couple quickly moved in. Ginger’s father, Raymond Bober, accompanied them, though he selected to stay in a trailer on the edge of the property. Everything, it seemed, was wonderful.

But the Hinshaws soon learned why the elegant house had been so hastily abandoned.

Trouble began when Arnold and Ginger decided to begin renovations. According to legend, they searched quite extensively for a contractor. They offered fabulous sums of money. Nobody seemed willing to even enter the house, let alone work there.

Puzzled, yet undeterred, the Hinshaw family remained. But many strange things began to occur. The ghost of a man, clad in 18th Century clothes, began wandering around the house at night. The Hinshaws would hear the sound of his footsteps outside their room. They would hear him, opening, and closing doors. It seemed the phantom loved Lamont Mansion, and also called it home.

Raymond Bober often encountered this spirit on the property. Over time, he began to suspect the spectre had once been a man named Jonathan Carver. Carver was a colonial explorer, and writer, who had traversed much of Wisconsin. The King of England had offered a handsome sum to anybody who discovered main waterways, particularly ones that lead to the Pacific Ocean. Despite the fact that Jonathan Carver successfully explored, and documented a large portion of the Mississippi River, his efforts were never recognized, nor rewarded by Parliament.

Raymond Bober grew convinced that, after his death in 1780, Carver’s spirit had returned to Wisconsin, and had elected to haunt the property.

Over time, the frequency in which the ghost visited the mansion began to take its toll on the Hinshaw family. Arnold, and Ginger found they couldn’t sleep at night, ever fearful that Carver’s ghost would appear behind every corner, behind every closed door, watching them with eyes of the undead.

Fear took over their lives. Unable to cope, it is said that Arnold suffered a nervous breakdown while in the house. Sick with horror, and dread, it is also said that Ginger attempted to kill herself while living at Lamont.

In 1979, Raymond Bober broke his silence about what had happened at the house. He published a book, under the guise of Wolfgang Von Bober, titled The Carver Effect: a paranormal experience. In the book, Bober named Jonathan Carver as the primary ghost that lived at the house. He called the property Summerwind, and explained that the house itself had supernatural abilities. Many times he would enter a room within the house, only to find its dimensions, and appearance had drastically changed.

Many locals disparaged the publication. They claimed that the mansion had never been haunted. But Raymond Bober stuck to his story. The following year, Life Magazine featured the property in a photo essay, titled Terrifying Tales of Nine Haunted Houses. The article was a raving success, and the house’s status changed forever. The Lamont Mansion became known, from that point on, as Summerwind–an eerie place, with a chilling reputation.

It’s no surprise that Summerwind often lay abandoned from that point on. Everyone was too afraid to purchase the house. With time, the once glorious mansion grew tired, and dilapidated. For many years, the mansion’s sole visitors were tourists, drawn by the macabre stories they had heard. They would often walk the property, in search of Jonathan Carver, and other apparitions.

By 1985, Vilas County was thoroughly fed up with Summerwind. Not only had it become a popular place for ghost hunters, but the abandoned mansion had become a local hangout place for rebellious teens. The house provided the perfect refuge for them, in between burglary sprees. For some reason or another, however, the Sheriff’s office failed in their attempts to destroy the property.

Fate took care of the problem, three years later. On June 19, 1988, neighbors claim a raging storm whipped through Vilas County. They watched in awe, as a lightning bolt struck Summerwind, which quickly started a flame. The house was completely consumed by fire. Nobody tried to save it.

Today, the house is gone, but Summerwind’s reputation still remains. Did the house truly have supernatural powers, like Raymond Bober claimed? Did Jonathan Carver really haunt the property, terrorizing anyone who encountered him? We may never know. Many, however, believe it to be true. Paranormal enthusiasts still visit the property today, keeping speculation, and the legend, alive.