Children and Ghosts

I remember when I was a child, but only slightly, that I had an imaginary friend oddly enough called Casper. It was not until I started writing this book and creating this web site that my family reminded me that I used to play for hours with my friend. Specifically, I had an old record player made for kids that was in its own case and I used to play Disney records on it all the time. I was told I would sit for hours listening and singing along to “It’s a Small World After All”, and “Davey Crockey” as I used to call him.

All of this I did with my imaginary “friend.” One night I was put to bed and my parents heard me behind my door talking. They assumed I was talking to my friend before I went to sleep. After awhile they heard me yelling a little bit and soon after I calmed down and went to sleep. When I awoke the next morning I had a black eye. When my parents asked me what happened I said that Casper and I had a fight and he hit me. He then flew out the window. From then on I never talked to or saw my imaginary friend again. I know it sounds a little strange, well; a lot strange but there is a couple explanations for this behavior of mine.

As a child I did have an imaginary friend named Casper and that was all he was. He was created by my childlike mind since I only played by myself. Or could he have been an actual spirit that I talked to? Now before you pass judgment listen to a few facts. Children and ghosts have been studied for quite some time and a few things have come out of it. First, a child is more apt to encounter a spirit and this usually occurs before the age of six. The theory being that a child up until that age has no preconceived notions that what he or she is seeing is not real. A child at that age lives in a world where imaginary friends are real. It is not until parents begin to condition children into thinking what they see and hear are figments of an over active imagination. Think of it like this a child is scared of the monster under the bed but we continue to say there is no such thing. After awhile a child learns that it is not real and is no longer afraid. As adults the question we have to ask ourselves is there really a monster? The child certainly believes there is.

I cannot remember where I saw this story but in my research I came across and account of a child who began to do wonderful things. At the age of six or so a boy began to create wonderful things out of building blocks. Whole towns, scenes, objects that were well out of his skill range began to appear while he played. There was no explanation other than the fact that this boy was a genius. Proud, the parents began to question the small boy where the ideas came from. He stated that they came from “the man” that he talked to. Concerned now the parents probed further fearing their son was being approached by a strange man. As the details began to emerge one of the parents blanched for the description of the man was that of their deceased father. The boy then went on to say that this man was where all the ideas came from. What are we to make of this story? It seems straight forward enough either the boy was a genius or his deceased grandfather was speaking to him, either way it is a fantastic story.

I don’t want to say that without a doubt my “imaginary friend” was a spirit that I played with but doesn’t it make a little sense? I simply believe that at a young age the receptors to other planes of existence are wide open, free to sense everything around them. There are things out there and children can see them and then the receptors slowly begin to shut down. The world becomes a little more chaotic with school approaching and our minds begin to process ideas and thoughts more. At some point the receptors can stay open sometimes a lot, sometime a little but it makes me believe that everyone has the ability, it is simply that not everyone wants to allow it to come through. If we keep our minds op