Halloween is coming! That means Casper The Friendly Ghost will be playing every other day on ABC Family and The Disney Channel for all of October (but that's alright with me! Devon Sawa still owns my 12-year-old heart).
When I watch the flick as an adult it gets me thinking about what kids are actually capable of seeing. Moms - have you ever walked in on your kid speaking animatedly to an imaginary friend? Every parent has at some point. It's a pretty normal part of growing up that indicates a child is tapped into their imaginative thinking. In fact, as a parent, you WANT your children to think creatively and it's always an encouraging sign of their development to listen to them describe what their unseen pals look like and say.
As we now know, children tend to break up with the friends in their head after a certain age. However, there are some theories floating out there that insist that those imaginary friends your little one's been playing with could be visiting ghosts....
So can children actually see ghosts? Well, here's a round up of the main theories floating around out there...
Some people believe that we're ALL born with the ability to connect with the other side. Why? Because we haven't been conditioned to ignore what society deems impossible.
The result of this innate paranormal ability is that young kids allow themselves to "see" things that adults might miss. Sadly, as we grow up and become more cynical and disbelieving of things unknown, that ability disappears.
Here's a biological theory that's actually quite convincing! Adult humans can only see 400nm - 700 nm on the electromagnetic spectrum. UVA light falls just below visible light at 400 – 315 nm. Infrared light falls just above at 750nm – 1mm. So in layman's terms that means that what you are able to see of this world is quite limited - there are a lot of things happening just outside your vision that you'll never witness.
Ok, so here's where things get interesting. Young kids can see things at 380nm, putting them squarely in the UV range. When you consider the fact that several paranormal experts believe ghosts like to hang out in the UV and infrared ranges so that we humans can't detect them, things get a little spooky. Next time you get annoyed at your child for zoning out and staring into space, consider the possiblity that they're really staring at a spirit!
Young babies often fixate on a point. Mothers might catch their newborns smiling happily at something interesting in the distance.
Well, one theory argues that since young babies only left the spirit world weeks before, they're naturally more attuned to seeing ghostly visitors cross into their new world. In the video below, a child is happily chatting away when suddenly her eyes open wide, she sits back, and stares up at something that obviously surprised her (0:50). It's a chilling moment and the girl's rapt attention suggests that a spirit had caught her offguard.
What To Do If Your Child Sees Ghosts
Whatever you believe about ghostly spirits, if your child is adamant that they are seeing 'someone' or 'something' it's important to take them seriously.
As a gut reaction you might be tempted to wallpaper your house in religious paraphernalia the second your child says they can see a ghosts, and I don't blame you!
As a parent, the natural instinct to protect your baby kicks in when they confess to seeing dead people but that instinct can't be put into action. You see, a ghost isn't a live human being that you can kick in the face if you find it chillin' by your kid's bed. So finding out your child is dealing with visiting spirits often leaves parents feeling powerless because ghosts are something that you can't see and, as a result, can't control.
- 1. Don't panic. Instead calmly ask your child to describe exactly what they're seeing and listen. Make sure your interest is sincere. The more upset and disbelieving you are, the less your child will want to share with you.
- 2. Gauge the ghost's emotional impact. If your child seems pretty OK with having a ghost BFF then maybe their paranormal acuity isn't cause for panic. Again, it's highly probable that your child will stop seeing spirits as they get older anyway. If your child is frightened then ease their terror by explaining that despite all the scary stories they might have heard, ghosts are just curious. They don't mean any harm.
- 3. Direct attention away. Some parents will encourage these sightings and that's OK! If you believe your child is is a medium and that she's comfortable honing her craft, then go for it! However, many parents would rather keep the spirits at bay until their child grows out of it.
The good news is that paranormal experts believe ghosts will show themselves more frequently if they're being acknowledged. After your child reveals that they can see ghosts, try to play with your child more instead of leaving them alone and read them to sleep at night. The more your child is engaged with real living people the less they'll focus on the non-living people floating around the place.
Read These Real-Life Experiences
There is no indisputable proof that can end the debate on whether ghosts are real. You either believe it or you don't.
If you fall into the highly skeptical category then check out the creepy true stories below. The kids in them are being captivated by something. A ghost or a trick of the light? You decide! (Stories have been edited.)
Are you convinced that children can see ghosts? Tweet us @wewomenCA!
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