In the late 1960s, a Wisconsin family became consumed by the evil forces residing in their home.
“I feel in love with that house in the most awful way.”
That was the first opinion Ginger Hinshaw had when she set her eyes on the vacant piece of real estate known as the Summerwind Mansion. The mansion had remained vacant for over 40 years, and had gained the local reputation of being haunted.
Various tragedies and deaths had occurred within the walls of the mansion. Part of the roof was caving in, chipped paint lined the walls, and long corridors led to even larger rooms.
Hinshaw was attracted to the elegant architecture and lakeside views. Knowledgeable of the repairs the house needed, she knew that it was going to be a real test of her endurance. But with the affordable selling price, it was a chance her and her family were willing to take.
Upon moving into the mansion, the family began to change. Ginger became obsessed with renovating the house to its original state, as if someone or something was guiding her. She became fixated on little details – trying twelve different paint colors on the wall before eventually matching what she believed to be the original color.
As weeks passed, and as Ginger fixated on the house renovations, her husband Arnold became distant. He would wander the halls of the house endlessly, and his temper with the kids became short and aggressive. Undergoing a radical change in personality, he would stay home from work – sleep all day and stay up all night. He became emotionless. On one eventful night, he killed the family’s pet raccoon in a fit of rage. Ginger could sense he was being tormented by something that they could not see.
On top of Arnold’s decent into madness, each member of the family accounts various occurrences of paranormal activity throughout the house:
- Objects would move or shuffle.
- Everyone constantly had a feeling of being watched.
- Windows and doors were opening and closing.
- Voices and whispers came from the basement.
- The rooms were freezing in the dead of summer.
- Fully formed apparitions appeared and disappeared right before their eyes.
- They were pushed or shoved while seemingly alone.
Friends and family soon refused to visit the Hinshaw’s in their dark and dismal home. The children were so terrified that the entire family would sleep together in the living room. Arnold was sent off for mental treatment. The family was exhausted and breaking apart.
A mere six months after moving into the home, the Hinshaw family left the house… But unlike other haunted house stories, they were forced to look back. Having already put a considerable amount of money into the house for renovations, they knew that they had to complete the work that they started.
Ginger and the children stayed in her brother’s guesthouse while renovations continued on the estate. While the family was sure of the events they witnessed, Ginger’s brother, Ray, was skeptical. In an interview with the Discovery Channel docuseries, A Haunting, Ray said:
“I went into the kitchen and smelled gun powder. It had been raining the night before and the only tracks in the house were my own. I looked around and noticed two bullet holes in the basement door [the spot where a previous occupant had been shot and killed], when I turned around a figure came flying right towards me – it went through my body.”
Petrified, Ray fled the house never to look back. The mansion’s reputation made it difficult for the family to hire contractors willing to work on the house. They eventually sold the house on auction, and it was purchased by the state a few years later.
In the summer of 1988, the vacant mansion was destroyed by fire following a lightening strike. Today all that remains are two anchoring chimneystacks and the basement foundation, acting as an outline for a structure that was once there… and a haunting reminder that the past never fully vanishes.