My family owns a set of cottages up on lake Kabetogama, Minnesota. Founded by grandpa Kreck in 1971, the resort has since become a popular destination for hunters and tourists.

We do have a “ghost story”, but it’s not something we like to talk about. It’s bad for business, you see.

Most of our tenants go fishing at least once during their stay. In addition to the cabins we have a fleet of motorboats available for lease. People bring back walleye, bass, and even northern pike. We keep having to increase the rent for our boats due to rising gas prices, but they remain popular.

In June of 1996, a little girl drowned by the dock. She was only four years old. Her body was bloated from having been sitting in the water. Her parents actually sued us. But the court found that they had failed to adequately supervise her and ruled in our favor. I can’t blame them though. They must have been angry and confused and just needed someone to take their frustration for their own mistake out on. At any rate, we have been insured since 1987, so attorney fees weren’t a big deal for us.

This gave rise to the legend of the Ghost of Anna. At Kreck’s Cove, it’s not uncommon for all the families staying in the cabins to get together and have a resort-wide fish fry barbecue. Afterward they often start a bon fire and sit around to eat smores and trade ghost stories. Apparently, one of the regulars at the resort started the story of the Ghost of Anna, the girl who drowned. I’m not sure how the original story went, but I think it had something to do with people seeing apparitions over the lake at night. People who come back to Kreck’s Cove year after year preserve the story and tell it to newcomers. Children often report seeing her. Even some adults claim to see Anna or have dreams/visions about her. I have even heard that the story is also popular at one of our neighboring resorts.

For a long time, we thought these stories to be just tall tales. And for the most part, we were right. But a few years after the drowning, something even more horrible happened at our resort.

In 2004, the body of an abducted child was found in the woods behind our lodges. I will spare you the details as the scene was quite gruesome, but let's just say the man who discovered the body needed counseling for a few months afterward. The perpetrator was never caught.

The lodgers didn’t make up any stories of hauntings by the boy who was found in the woods. They didn’t have to. Things started getting strange after that incident.

In addition to our nine lodges and our own residence, Kreck’s Cove also has a restaurant and bar. The building also houses a hottube and a video arcade. The arcade is not very impressive. It has two pinball machines, a pool table, an air hockey table, a vending machine, a toy vending machine (you know those things with the claw), one of those mini-basketball hoop thingys, and four arcade game cabinets. We have thought about installing a bowling alley but never managed to raise the money for it.

A year or so after the dead child was found, we had an incident in the arcade. One of the cabinets caught fire. Fortunately, a vigilant lodger grabbed the extinguisher and put it out. We closed the arcade for two days to investigate. My dad checked the wiring of every machine. We never figured out the cause of the fire. We opened the arcade two days later but decided to close it again for a few weeks to install sprinklers.

We never had another fire after that. After the sprinklers were installed, the arcade returned to normal (minus one cabinet). From then on, my dad made a point of checking the wiring of the machines every month.

This was when things started to get strange. I started hearing whispering in my bedroom when I was trying to fall asleep. The whispering sounded like it was coming from the bathroom, but when I went there it started to sound like it was coming from my bedroom. This went on for a couple of weeks. I didn’t tell my parents about this because it felt silly. It eventually stopped, but our ordeal had just begun.

I started having nightmares. I hadn’t had nightmares since I was a little kid, but I started having severe nightmares about Kreck’s Cove, the arcade in particular. I immediately forgot most of the nightmares when I woke up, but I do know that many of them involved me drowning.

I started dreading the arcade. Whenever I was in it I felt uneasy. Our golden retriever, Bud (RIP 2007), also seemed to dread the place. Not the arcade itself, since he was never allowed there in the first place, but the building. When he was alive lodgers would often feed him, and he was fat as a result. He especially liked to hang out by the main building that housed the restaurant, arcade, hot tub, and our administrative office. But at about the same time that my nightmares started, he avoided the main building. He would whimper if we brought him there and run away as fast as possible. Then he too started having nightmares. Every night he would whimper and sometimes even howl. We took him to the vet but he was unable to diagnose the problem. My parents then started letting him sleep in their bed. That seemed to help.

Soon, there was another incident in the arcade. None of my family were there, but apparently a little girl (only three and a half) was playing Donkey Kong when she suddenly screamed and started crying. She ran to her parents and sobbed. She could hardly talk and almost passed out from hyperventilation. Her parents had to wait a good five minutes before she was ready to talk. She didn’t say much that they could understand, but apparently she had seen something on the screen of the arcade machine. Something scary. Something disturbing. Something grotesque. Something that she couldn’t describe. Something evil.

Her parents were unable to get any more useful information out of her. They had to leave the next day, so we don’t know what else she might have told them. No one else was in the arcade at the time except her parents, and their backs were turned when it happened.

I don’t know what she saw on that screen, but I had my own strange experience in the arcade a few weeks later. I was playing After Burner. I have always been good at it. As I was about to beat the final level my plane suddenly went into a nosedive. I tried pulling back on the joystick but could do nothing. My plane crashed and the screen…..cracked! It cracked right when my plane hit the ground and froze. And although no one else was in the arcade to witness it, I would swear under oath that I felt the room shake at the same time. The screen remained frozen for a couple seconds and then went black. The machine then turned off by itself.

The machine was placed on “out of order” status for a couple of days as my dad investigated. He checked the wiring and found nothing wrong. The “out of order” sign was then removed, and the cabinet was turned back on. My parents thought that maybe the screen was overheated or some shit. The cabinet is still running in our arcade with the cracked screen.

A couple weeks later I had a truly terrifying experience. I woke up one night in the restaurant. I do not know how I got there or what I was doing there. I must have sleepwalked, though I did not have a history of sleepwalking. What’s more, I did not have the key, so I still don’t know how I got in. The door was shut.

I heard a thumping sound coming from the arcade. I went in to investigate. I tried to turn on the lights but they wouldn’t turn on. Then, I heard a fan blowing. The arcade machines turned on. So did the pinball machines. The pinballs and levers started moving of their own volition, as well as the pool balls and the air hockey puck. I bolted out of the arcade, out of the building and ran to tell my parents.

When my parents came, the arcade was quite and all the machines were off. They were also unplugged, as they always are after the restauraunt closes. There was nothing going on. The lights were working. My parents were suspicious of me. You see, one of the secrets my family was trying to keep was my ongoing struggle with a drug addiction. I started experimenting when I was fifteen. My parents took me to a counselor and had me join a therapy group. I have been sober for five years now.

Despite my parents’ suspicions that I might have had another relapse, they were also open to the possibility that Kreck’s Cove might actually be haunted. However, they decided to postpone action. They figured that if there indeed was a poltergeist residing at our resort, it would eventually come after them and prove its existence.

The spirit didn’t manifest itself to them, but it continued to harass me. I continued to have night terrors. I was hearing voices. I was also hearing loud sounds that no one else seemed to notice. I also saw things. I can’t really describe them, but they looked morbid and evil. One time I looked at a light switch that had a painting of a man fishing on it and saw it change into a picture of a girl drowning. I could hardly get any sleep any more, as the spirit came after me both in my waking and my sleeping hours.

My parents finally realized that the spirit had singled me out to play with. They took me to a priest who said a blessing over me and ordered all malicious spirits to retreat in the name of Christ. And they did. For the next couple months I was free. I stopped having nightmares. I stopped hearing strange noises. I no longer dreaded the arcade and started spending time there again.

But then whatever was haunting our resort gave up on me and finally turned its attention to other people.

Children started hearing noises that the adults could not. At first everyone thought they were playing a game, but after a while they seemed genuinely terrified. A young boy said he saw a dead boy while playing Dr. Mario in one of the cabins. One family had to leave early in their vacation because of the nightmares they were having. My parents also started having nightmares. The resort stopped being a fun place.

One night my mom was cleaning up in the restaurant and heard a noise coming from the hot tub. When she went to the hot tub, it was running. The main building was closed, but it was running. Not only that, but the water was green and my mom smelled what she described as the most ghastly scent she had ever been exposed to. Then she saw a girl drowning in the tub screaming “Help me!” My mom said she was then jolted and startled, as if waking from a dream, and found herself at the hot tub, which was off.

We did some research and found that Kreck’s Cove was built over an American Indian burial ground, something grandpa Kreck should have looked into before purchasing the property. Father John said the grounds must have been harboring evil spirits, and the murder of the young boy gave them a channel into our world. The archbishop authorized an exorcism, and we have not had any problems with any spirits since. But the stories about the Ghost of Anna have become much more sinister.

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