As a kid I did not travel much, I mostly listened to my father’s stories about the amazing travels he had in his 20s and early 30s. the one exception was the time my family spent in Northern Wisconsin. We would go Up North one week each summer, and stay at a cabin by a lake in the beautiful northwoods. I looked forward to it every year. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have always loved scary stories and all things spooky, so by the time I was about 10 or 11, I had read several different books about scary stories related to Wisconsin. One of the most famous haunted places in Wisconsin is in the northwoods. It’s a haunted house called Summerwind.Summerwind was a large home built on the shores of a lake in Vilas County, Wisconsin in the early 1900s. There are several rumors and tales about how one of the earliest owners had odd experiences, and reportedly saw a ghost one night and shot at it, leaving a bullet hole in the door. Later owners of the home reported seeing ghostly figures and feeling uneasy and unsafe in the home. It is also rumored that the family fled the home in fear for their safety. The home eventually fell in to disrepair when it was abandoned.
Summerwind is no longer a house, as it mysteriously burned down in 1988 (ok, not so mysterious, it was struck by lightening, but that still sounds suspicious, right?). All that remains is the stone foundation of the house, and a two story stone chimney that rises into the sky amongst tall trees.
Several years ago on one of our weeks Up North, Z and I went to dinner with my parents, then met up with friends of ours, who stayed in a cabin near ours every year, to check out Summerwind. One of them had done some digging (flirting with a gas station attendant) to find out exactly where Summerwind was located. It is on private property and is not open for touring, and the location is not widely publicized. Z and I had tried finding it before we went to dinner, but even with the directions we were given, we couldn’t find it. After driving around for a bit in the general area, we had turned around in a weed filled driveway, and planned to meet up with our friends later.
When we did meet up with our friends after dinner at a nearby parking lot, we followed them to the location, and were shocked to recognize the driveway as the same one we had turned around in a few hours earlier. It was twilight, with the last light reflecting off the clouds as we parked down the long driveway, then walked up the slope to where the driveway ended. As we approached, we could see the chimney of Summerwind rising high above us and we took in the scene.
Little remained of the actual building, just some stone work and the concrete foundation. Young trees had sprouted up through the building, and surrounded the area. There was a back porch area with a curved wall to block the back of the house from the slope of the land going down to the lake. We explored the foundation of the house; we walked on what was once a front porch, some of us climbed down into the basement area that was open since the floors and frame had burned away. There was some graffiti and wooden chairs left from previous visitors. I remember thinking that it didn’t feel particularly scary, but we were with a pretty large group and I am always braver when there are others to show off for. I was also younger, and therefore did not have as much sense towards my safety at the time. We took a bunch of pictures, and I used the easy excuse of mosquitoes to suggest we leave after a little while.
We did not have any encounters, I did not see/hear/feel anything particularly creepy. But reflecting back now, I do think it is a place that would scare me a whole lot more now, since I am not as brave as I once was. The closest we got to creepy is that all of my pictures on my digital camera ended up having small globes of light in them, and so did some of my friend’s pictures from that evening. But that’s it. It was exciting to explore a famous supposedly haunted landmark from my home state, and one that does not get many tourists, only the dedicated thrill seekers.