Summerwind, formerly known as Lamont Mansion, is a ruined mansion on the shores of West Bay Lake in Vilas County,Wisconsin. Located on private land, its ruins are closed to the public. A number of urban legends and ghost stories inpopular culture have contributed to its reputation as a haunted house.
Legends include claims that Lamont fired a pistol at a ghost one night and was so frightened that he and his family abandoned the house. Other legends include claims that subsequent owners Arnold and Ginger Hinshaw were so disturbed by hauntings that Arnold suffered a "nervous breakdown" and Ginger attempted suicide.
Although most Land O' Lakes natives refer to the property as Lamont's mansion, supernatural tales first disseminated by Ginger Hinshaw's father Raymond Bober claim the mansion was haunted and refer to it as "Summerwind". Some versions of the story claim that Bober purchased the property only to abandon it because the mansion's rooms had the supernatural power to change shape and dimensions at will. In 1979, Bober (writing under the pen name "Wolfgang Von Bober"), authored a book called The Carver Effect: A Paranormal Experience in which he claimed the mansion was haunted by 18th century explorer Jonathan Carver. According to Bober's narrative, the property was often unoccupied due to alleged supernatural activity and the Hinshaw's could not get workers to enter the home to do remodeling work. However according to one of Bober's neighbors, he did not live in the mansion, never spent the night in it and instead lived in a trailer on the property. At least two previous residents reportedly denied claims that the house was haunted and locals claimed the haunting stories did not begin until Bober's book was published. A Life magazine photo essay including Summerwind among "Terrifying Tales of Nine Haunted Houses" apparently spread the supernatural tales originated in Bober's book. According to author Marv Balousek, locals never believed the home was haunted and they were dismayed when the home became somewhat of a supernatural tourist attraction.
In 1985, officials for the Town of Land O' Lakes made an attempt to demolish the vacant home. The Vilas County Sheriff said it was a staging area for local teens who burglarized or vandalized nearby cottages. This attempt failed, but the abandoned mansion was later destroyed by fire following a lightning strike on June 19, 1988. Later that week, fire officials reported that the fire was not suspicious and arson was not suspected since neighbors reported being awakened when lightning struck the vacant home. However, fire officials also said that teenagers frequently used the location for parties and that they may have left a fire burning.