THE GHOSTLY STORY FROM CAMP KINIWASA
By Rev Peter Addo
This is a true story. The only thing that has changed is that urbanization has encroached upon Camp Kiniwasa and now the lake is gone and the green lush forests are being replaced by asphalt and bricks. You are free to check on the details whether you believe it or not. It all happened one day near Lake Kiniwasa.
This is also a funny story. I really do not know how it started, I guess it is one of those stories that starts as a simple story. Perhaps something did happen. Well, I guess something happened. How can a story like this start anyway? Except it happened. And yet no one knows when or how it happened. I have heard the story told every summer for several years now and still no one seems to know the real facts as to what happened, that is until my strange encounter.
I guess I better start from the beginning. And where is the beginning? I really do not know. Unlike most, I did not only hear the story, I really experienced it. I can not remember when I first heard this story or who first told me the story on the camp ground. Until my strange encounter with the ghost, everybody who visited Camp Kiniwasa heard the story of the ghost of Camp Kiniwasa as a good camp fire story. All I can say is that I have heard it so many times for so many years that I assumed the story was nothing but a simple camp fire story.
It was one of those hot and lazy summer days. Naturally the only place I could cool off was near the lake. In fact I spent most of the time fishing at the lake every summer. I would sit for hours sometimes trying to catch a fish. Come to think about it I never caught any fish at all. I just enjoyed the peace and tranquility at the lake, but always hoping to catch the big one. Everybody talked about me not being able to talk to the fish in order to catch them. Sometimes I really wished I could talk to the fish as I sat there. But I did eventually catch a big fish. No one believed me because there was nobody around to see it before I threw it back into the lake. It was a big one, but there was not a single camper nor staff around. My luck. That was an interesting experience for me.
At first that afternoon was no different from all other afternoons that I had experienced at the lake. This particular day was to be different. The lake was exceptionally quiet and even the ducks were not on the lake. There were few ripples on the water and it seemed as if nature was at peace with itself. It was not particularly hot and so I could not complain and once in a while I had a gentle nibble from a fish that let me know that the fish were there. I could hear crickets far away but not a single one around. That was unusual but I dismissed it. Out of nowhere there was a very gentle cool breeze that chilled my spine but I did not pay any attention to it. Then I heard a voice. “Hi”. I thought I heard someone. Then it went on, “Caught anything?” The voice asked before I had the opportunity to reply to his first greeting. I thought to myself, here comes some human being who is going to disturb my peace. I hated to be interrupted because I just wanted to sit there to think and look at the beautiful pine trees, the hardwoods, the oaks, and the willows bending gently to touch the surface of the lake. I actually had counted the pines once a while to see how many of them had been squeezed out by the hardwoods. Sometimes I would hear rustling of leaves. I knew that when I heard the rustling of leaves that a lizard or a squirrel was nearby. Fishing was like a game to me and I enjoyed it. Now some one wanted to disturb my peace with a “Hi, Caught anything?" I simply waved my hand without turning around to look at the person who I assumed had greeted me.
But in a moment something made me turn around, and there he was, a young boy. His face was all weathered and worn with tiny freckles and a big smile. “Hi,” he said again. Assuming he was one of the campers perhaps left for some reason I replied “Hi, young fellow”. “Sorry if I startled you,” he replied. I immediately said, “That is all right.” I knew that all the campers had left the camp because I did see all of them leaving on the bus. “Why didn't you get on the bus” I asked? Without answering me he went strait to look into my minnow bucket. I asked him not to put his hands in my minnow bucket. So he just sat there and watched me without talking. After a while he told me to cast my line about fifty feet to my right which I did. I felt something tugging at my line. I could tell that it was big fish. As I was struggling to bring it in I saw him getting into the lake and he began to swim to the other side of the lake. I yelled at him to return because the distance was too great for a small inexperienced swimmer. I turned one more time to try to bring in my catch, but the line broke and I lost my big fish. Simultaneously I also lost sight of the young boy. Now that was the strange thing, one minute he was here in my sight and the next minute he had vanished of all places into the lake. I did not know just what to make of this so I kept it to myself and tried to dismiss it from my mind that it really did not happen. I did think about it once a while though, in my mind.
It was not until the staff meeting a few days later when I related my strange encounter at the lake to my colleagues that it became clear what had happened. After sharing my strange experience, I finally learned that my description of the young boy coincided with the description of a young boy who had drowned in the lake many years earlier at the very spot where I had been fishing. Since then several persons, including many fishermen, had described encountering a strange and friendly young boy who would come out of nowhere and then vanish the same way. Was it possible that I had finally met the ghost of Camp Kiniwasa? You be the judge. Since then I have heard several of the encounter stories. Some say he appears only to good campers and good fishermen. All have one thing in common, the young boy would always try to swim to the other side of the lake.
These are all the facts as I know them. I have not modified or changed any of the facts. I am sure, like me, you have questions that are indeed puzzling. Who was that boy? Could there have been a Ghost? Our camp Director who had been director for several years knew of the drowning as it turned out. The only fact that he could share with us was that a boy once tried to swim across the lake on a dare and drowned before he could reach the other side. Believe it or not!