It's a common scenario in horror films. Child has an imaginary friend that they talk to and play with. Parents overhear the child talking to the friend, and after a while the conversation becomes heated or the child gets scared. Weird things start happening because the imaginary friend wants the child to themselves. Child becomes possessed by the friend. Exorcist comes in. Credits. Write the sequel.
We've seen this a million times in movies, and that's partly because it's not uncommon for children to have imaginary friends. We all probably know someone that has had one, or we had one ourselves. Usually it's completely harmless and the child grows up and forgets about the imaginary friend. But what if it's not just their imagination? What if there really IS someone/something that they're interacting with?
The other day I fell prey to some clickbait that was a list of the creepiest things children have said to adults. Here are some relevant ones:
- "My mom tells me that when I was a really small child we would visit my grandfather’s house and often spend the night. She says that once, in the middle of the night, she woke up and I wasn’t in the bed (young enough to co-bed). She got up and I was standing in the living room with my hand in the air like I was holding someone’s hand and I said something along the lines of “not being able to go with you because my mom didn’t say i could.” We didn’t spend the night at my grandfather’s house again for another decade.
- "He’s asked me numerous times about the 'girl over there' while pointing at one of the back bedrooms. The place is small, and there is definitely nobody there so I just dismiss it as a really active imagination (he has lots of imaginary friends). Then some friends are visiting and they have a daughter around the same age. She has never met my nephew. Twice in the one day she asked about the 'pretty girl' while pointing at the exact same room. Definitely caught me out and I didn’t know what to think. At Christmas my family was over at my place and my nephew points at a picture of my wife and asks if she is coming to visit us here or does she just stay at the cottage. My wife died ten years ago. Personally I don’t really believe in paranormal stuff so it’s probably just my logical brain putting together a bunch of kids ramblings but it definitely got my attention."
- "Whenever I was at my grandmothers house I would talk to my imaginary friend 'Mr. Peterson'. He looked like a hobo from the great depression and had a guitar and sang me old timey blues, he told me that he died when he fell of a train he was riding whist drunk on moonshine. I stopped seeing him when I was about 6. Anyway, 6 months ago I found my dads old acoustic guitar and started playing, and my little cousin told me 'Mr.Peterson is proud of you!' and left."
- "I was putting my daughter to bed one night when she was around two. She said, 'Mommy, who’s that?' 'Who’s what?' I asked. “Those people talking to me. In my closet. Who is that?”
- "We lived in an apartment that had recently had previously been the scene of violence and a tragic death. One day I was in one of the bedrooms carrying my daughter, and I noticed she was waving at something in the corner. There was nothing there."
These could all be simply children's imaginations getting the best of adults, but what if the kids really are seeing something that adults can't? There are apparently a lot of people out there that believe this is the case, as a simple google search with "can children see ghosts?" pulls up quite a few results.
One theory is that young children can't fully distinguish between their fantasy world and the real world. When they carry on these conversations with perceived individuals they really believe that the conversations are happening. As they grow older they are told by adults how to act and behave, and this behavior doesn't have a role in the adult world. As a result, they screen this behavior out completely.
If you're one that believes in psychic abilities (see our upcoming psychic powers tests for the month of October!) you may be interested to know that some people believe that children are actually having psychic connections with the spirit world because their still developing brains are more open to things from the spirit realm. This would account for the instances of them interacting with people that don't appear to be there, or speaking to deceased family members that they may never have known. It is believed that the parts of the brain that are more receptive to psychic activity change as the child grows up, and they lose the ability with time.
The world is definitely a big and weird place, and there are most certainly things that we can't even begin to understand. Sometimes weird things happen and we can't explain them. Is it imagination or is it something more? Let us know if you figure it out.