As those who mark Halloween gear up for the sugar coma-inducing event, I have a confession to make:
My daughter sees dead people…..
And to take quote the memorable Cole from the Sixth Sense, “they’re everywhere.” Her day care, at home and even at her grandparent’s place.
Not only that, she has an eerie capability for being able to predict the future. The combination of the two abilities has an Average Jane like me totally freaking out.
I have always been a little bit afraid of the paranormal. Monsters you can rationalize as not being real. Crazy humans stalking other humans is also easy to comprehend, as there are actually a lot of crazies in the world.But when your child can see and hear things that you can’t, there’s a whole lot of creepy going on and it makes you feel utterly powerless to protect them.
I will never forget listening to my daughter calmly recount how her real-life friend couldn’t see or speak to the grey-skinned girl with black hair at her day care. It still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand to attention.
“She smiles a lot and we play together, but I don’t know her name because she doesn’t talk to me,” my daughter said. *forces a smile while trying to figure how the fuck I’m supposed to respond.
Just last week, I had my mother calling me more than a little chilled to the bone because my daughter had asked her why there was a man standing in the doorway to her bedroom. Mum replied that she couldn’t see anyone, so my daughter simply accepted that and carried on as if nothing had happened. My mother, on the other hand, had to spend the following night at home alone and couldn’t stop wondering where that man might be.
Experts all over the world have dedicated years of research into why young children seem to be connected to a spiritual world and if you are a sceptical like me, there are quite a few plausible scientific explanations. Here are a couple of them..and a hippy one for good measure.
1. Kids brains are proportionately larger than adult brains
Children’s brains are proportionately 135% larger than the average adult brain, so according to licensed counselor and author Caron Goode, they have more vivid imaginations and extended brain functions and can shift from one brain wave state to another in a split second. Goode says from ages two to six, a toddler would see no difference between a TV character and the ghost of his or her deceased grandmother.
2. It’s all in the eyes
Here’s a biology lesson for the day. 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.
Got that? Here’s where things get interesting: Young kids can see things at 380nm, putting them squarely in the UV range. This is where several paranormal experts believe ghosts like to hang out so the majority of us can’t detect them.
3. The power of innocence
Some people believe that we’re all born with the ability to connect with the other side because we haven’t been conditioned to ignore what society deems impossible. As we grow up, we become more cynical (exhibit A: this writer) and that ability fades.
How families choose to deal with their kids’ sightings of scary or otherwise spirits is totally a personal thing. It is unnerving to say the least to hear that your baby is seeing dead people and you can’t give that spirit a swift kick to the face and send them on their way when they are hanging around in the kitchen while you slap some cheese on a toasted sandwich.
It also leaves you feeling powerless, because this is something that you can’t see or control. You might want to get the house blessed to be rid of any form of non-living being and on more than one occasion, I have wanted to start hyperventilating and tell her it isn’t real and not to worry about it, but I know that will only cause an issue where there isn’t one to start with.
I have settled into the curiosity approach and then lost my shit later on, when I process it all out of her eye and ear-shot. I listen to my daughter and ask her questions about what the person looked like and what they said or did to make sure she isn’t getting upset or scared by it. So far, so good.
Now, I’ve just got to get her to tune in on her future predicting abilities to tell me the winning Lotto numbers! She has already been able to tell us that she was excited to sleep in the “black beds” at her nanna’s house while we were driving to the city. It turned out that my mum had just brought new bed frames for the kids’ mattresses as a surprise for the sleepover they were having – they were black iron frames.
A few months later, we went to the beach and on her way back from a toilet stop, my daughter pulled out her hand phone (the thumb and pinkie kind) and “spoke” to one of her lifelong (and real life) friends, saying she should come to play at the beach. Then who should then wander over as soon as we settled down in front of the park?
I might need to start embracing the paranormal, as this looks like it will become part of our lives, at least until she reaches the age of 11, when some experts say these areas of the brain start to shut down.
The good news is that these experts believe ghosts will show themselves more frequently if they’re being acknowledged. So, if you aren’t a believer in holy water being a cure-all for occasions like this, you can simply try playing more with your kid and reading them to sleep at night. The theory is, if you keep them focused on the world of the living, they will be less likely to focus on the used-to-be or yet-to-be living.