Q&A: babies seeing ghosts?

And now for something *completely* different. Brenda writes:

"I have a question that used to bother me but not that muchanymore. (At least not for now until my younger kid gets a little

My question is: Do you believe that babies and toddlers can see
entities of another realm (as in spirits, ghosts etc.) that we can't?

My son is now 3 years old. He used to look at, point to and make
"eh eh" sounds at two particular corners of our bedroom. I have never
seen anything there that may interest him – no interesting patterns or
intriguing colours. Now he no longer does that but would sometimes walk
over to those two areas to take a look and briskly walk away. (I'm
getting goosebumps as I type this.) I know there's a school of thought
that says that some kids have the ability to see things that we adults
can't, and as they get older and start expressing themselves, they lose
that ability. This is how the "other realm" keeps itself separate from
ours. I have horrific thoughts sometimes and keep picturing scenes from
the trailers of the movie "The Messengers". I'm now just hoping my
7-month-old doesn't start doing the same thing as well.

Do you or your readers have any thoughts that you would like to
share on this? I know this is a rather sensitive and disturbing topic,
but I'm curious about other parents' experiences and what they have
done about it."

<Insert your own "I see dead people" joke here.>

You know, I don't think it matters if *I* believe they see anything.

So much truly strange, unexplainable stuff has happened to me in the last several years that I don't discount anything. But at the same time I completely understand how other people don't think strange stuff can happen. It's all your own personal experience. In my experience.

Is there a way for you to switch rooms in your living space so your kids don't have to be in that room as much? That might make you feel better about things.

Anyone want to debate whether or not kids can see stuff like that? Or talk about personal experiences with it?

78 thoughts on “Q&A: babies seeing ghosts?”

  1. My husband died when my twins were nine months old. I absolutely believe that my daughter sees and talks to him. The twins are 2.5 now.I don’t believe in ghosts or the afterlife. But I can’t discount the number of times Maddie has randomly said things like, “Daddy in the kitchen. He eating fruit,” or “Daddy on the couch. He watch a video.” Granted, I talk about John a lot and we look at pictures of him and such, so it’s easy to argue that she just has created memories of John is is building more of her own. It’s hard to convey in writing why I believe so strongly that it’s more than that, but I do. There are times that nothing calms Maddie except looking at a picture of John, and of the three of us, Maddie talks about John the most. Again, I can’t pinpoint what it is that makes me so sure she sees him, but I am absolutely certain of it.
    My experience would lead me to say to Brenda that perhaps her toddler is seeing something *good*, not grisly, ghost-story scenes. Or if not outright good, at least something benign. The fleeing of the scene when it happens could be because it’s an odd experience, even if it’s not exactly scary or disturbing.
    My experience with Maddie seeing John has been fascinating for me because I was so firmly convinced that ghosts do not exist. I’m still convinced they don’t exist for me, but maybe for others, especially kids? It’s fascinating.

  2. Uh, a juicy subject.I used to be a great believer in the afterlife and have had a few interesting experiences myself that still I can not explain. But the older I get, the more concrete I become and I now think there has to be a scientific explanation(that I don’t know of)for most of the things of this nature.
    Flicking thru ‘The Wonder weeks’ I noticed Vanderijt and Plooij make referenece to ‘strange’ kind of behaviour during fussy periods. They mention that babies may ‘stop doing anything and just lie there gazing into the distance’ or’stop all activity for a while and simply lie and stare’. Add clingyness and bad sleep and one may just to any number of conclusions. I know my daughter often seemed to be away with the fairies or in a different realm at times and this really did freak me out ( although I didn’t connect this behaviour with ghosts but rather that there was something wrong with her). And if you consider that they are constantly going thru some kind of developmental spurt, it doesn’t surprise me that even older children may seem as though they see something that we don’t.

  3. I really believe this but never thought that I’d read about another mother thinking the same thing! My oldest, did this until age 2 and now my 13 week old daughter is showing the same tendencies. I recently lost two grandparents and on the days they died she acted strangely and shortly after they passed she would randomly look into corners of the room and smile. I see a real look of connection in their eyes when they do this which makes me feel that they are interacting with someone rather than just gazing off randomly.A family member tells me that according to Australian aboriginal culture the veil is lifted (meaning that one can connect with the spirit world) from birth to age 3 or 4 at which point it closes until just before death.

  4. Ghosts and other spirits, as a part of everyday interaction with those sensitive to them, are a part of my belief system, my religion, even! I’m not exceptionally sensitive myself, but I’m pretty sure my family aren’t the only inhabitants of this house, and L sometimes stares off into space and then smiles and/or laughs in a way that suggests that it isn’t just random baby thoughts. I tend to be skeptical… but I’ve had some pretty convincing experiences now and again, too. I’m not going to try to go into it now, as it’s 20 to 4 and I haven’t slept yet (damn tooth pain >.< ).

  5. About a year after my grandfather died my niece (then about 4) would say that he would come play with her. She barely knew him outside of being sick and he was never able to play with her. In the weeks after my grandmother died my nephew (about 3 at the time) would being playing in his room alone and talking to her. Again, she was so old and sick that she never really was able to play with him.My own experience in our old house (over 100 yrs old, which I always felt was a home to a couple of spirits), when my daughter was about one she would stare at a spot and giggle and babble all the time in her playroom. She would reach out as if someone was handing her a toy or toddle over as if to grab someone’s leg.

  6. I grew up in a haunted house. We bought the house of an elderly family friend. The woman had died and the man was was going to live in California with his children.At the age of about eight, I can remember sitting on my bed, playing. I had a collection of music boxes that hung on the wall. You’d pull a string and the string would retract into the box and music would play. I can remember all of them going off in my room, where I was playing alone. I had not touched them. We had a christmas music box that would play in the middle of the night. My dad once woke from a nap and could not rise because he could feel hands holding his shoulders down. My mom used to hear someone running down the stairs and think it was me. She’d turn and see no one.
    Here is the relavant part of the story. I am almost six years older than my brother. I was always afraid to go to the bathroom upstairs because I felt something. However, I can clearly remember my brother clinging to the doorframe, screaming that he did not want a bath. Holding on in utter terror, but my parents just thought it was drama because what boy likes a bath? This happened until he screamed, “No like the lady in the blue hat.” After that, he would often scream about her.
    One Christmas eve, it all stopped. No more music boxes, no more sense of dread in the bathroom (for either of us), no more randomly shattering pyrex dishes, no more sounds in the night, nothing.
    We got a letter, three weeks later explaining the man in California had died. I truly believe his wife was waiting, bored, for him and my brother saw her.

  7. Gosts aren’t real folks. We see what we want, and, clearly, we sometimes attribute strange/cute behavior to something other than kids being kids.

  8. My son often did the same thing as a baby (stare at a specific point in space, smile or giggle, motion) and we joked that he was talking to his “angel”. I’m generally not a believer in supernatural phenomenon, but hey, who the hell knows.I wonder if infants/toddlers might sometimes be in a somewhat hallucinatory state (like, um, an acid trip, not that I know anything about those)…the brain is doing so much at that point, figuring stuff out (eg what’s real and not)…I’ve seen some recent articles/research that talk about how much of what we “see” is really cognitive and not actually direct visual input; maybe as babies are developing the brain/eye connection what they’re “seeing” is some internal brain process? That’s my theory anyway…

  9. Ok Melissa, that WAS scary.I have experienced the feeling of being tied down and not being able to move a couple of timeswhen I lived in Japan. The Japanese even have a name for it: ‘kanashibali’, so it must be very common. Apparently it happens when the body is exhausted, but the mind can not wind down to rest. In fact I remember it happening at the end of a very busy week of work and partying. I was terribly tired, but could not get to sleep and then Wham…I felt a wave of breathlessness come over me. When I tried to rouse myself, I couldn’t move. At the same time, I heard the sounds of bells, or chiming, or something. If you ask a Japanese person who has experieinced it, they all mention the bells. Crazy, but there is a scientific explanation.

  10. Ok Melissa, that WAS scary.I have experienced the feeling of being tied down and not being able to move a couple of timeswhen I lived in Japan. The Japanese even have a name for it: ‘kanashibali’, so it must be very common. Apparently it happens when the body is exhausted, but the mind can not wind down to rest. In fact I remember it happening at the end of a very busy week of work and partying. I was terribly tired, but could not get to sleep and then Wham…I felt a wave of breathlessness come over me. When I tried to rouse myself, I couldn’t move. At the same time, I heard the sounds of bells, or chiming, or something. If you ask a Japanese person who has experieinced it, they all mention the bells. Crazy.

  11. my grandmother, upon seeing a tiny baby smiling into space or smiling before they can really smile, always says the babies are watching/talking to the angels. She isn’t usually a person who mentions ghosts or tells spooky stories or hears bumps in the night.I don’t think I have had any ghostly experiences. And I don’t like being scared, so I try to find the source of doors moving on their own or drafts. But I also don’t want to see anything more.

  12. I’m not entirely sure what I believe. My very rational side kind of doesn’t buy it and doesn’t want to – mnn – ‘put that’ on kids emotionally. My son has mentioned my (deceased) daughter as a playmate, but we mention her often enough that I tend to think we’ve provided grist for the mill. (He also claims fictional characters as playmates.)The other side of me does think there are patterns and energies to which we un-attune ourselves in the process of ‘growing up’ and – who knows?

  13. Yes – a controversial subject for sure.I’m usually quite skeptical and look for rational and scientific explanations for things. However, I’m also religious (Christian). Some of you may wonder how one can be a Christian and also look for rational explanations of things!
    I don’t know about ghosts as such, but I do think some young children are somehow more ‘in tune’ with spiritual truths. Even children raised in non-religious homes sometimes ask really penetrating, thoughtful questions about God and some seem to have a sense of another world/angels/protective beings/a force for good.
    It all sounds like mumbo jumbo, I know! But I do think there is more to it than we may first think.
    Here is a link to what snopes has to say on a similar subject:
    I would agree with Snickollet who said to not assume the kids are seeing ‘negative’ things (if they are seeing anything at all).

  14. Yes. I’ve had way too many undeniable experiences to pretend that the spiritual realm is not real. According to Christian myth, 2/3rds of the spirits are good, and 1/3 are evil. It always surprises me when people take a lot of other even more unbelievable bits of the Christian teachings at face value and live their lives according to them, and then completely discount the existence of a spiritual realm!It wasn’t until recently that I began accounting for actual people “hauntings.”
    My grandfather died last Mothers Day, when my daughter was about 17 months old. She had “met” him once, on his death bed and had zero interaction with him. I didn’t even tell her that he’d died (like she’d get the concept) and I wasn’t the least bit sad about it because he was so sick and so old. So, no emotional upheaval present.
    The night after he died, she was super wakeful and I felt a lot of spiritual activity in her room when I went up to nurse her. I tried praying it away, but it wasn’t that kind of spirit stuff. It was totally benign.
    The next day, she showed HUGE interest (for the first time ever) in his picture in her family photo album – it was the only page she wanted to look at, and this was at a time where she would read that album nonstop all day. I told her who he was, and she said, “Yeah!” and pointed into her room.
    She was preverbal for the most part, so I couldn’t get the whole story or anything, but she was adamant about connecting that guy’s picture to her room. Over and over and over for several days. Then it was gone – that feeling of an extra presence – and she hasn’t paid attention to his picture since.
    So I find I’m having to expand my paradigm once again. 🙂

  15. In my faith, we believe that angels visit people’s houses on a regular basis, and that babies and young children can see them. I totally believe that my kids can see the angels, and that they interact. I just wish I could, too!

  16. I’m a big fan of supernatural tales, and I have read about the idea that babies are more sensitive to spirits often. In fact, it is even mentioned in the book I currently reading.I tend to be a very skeptical person, and think that most things like this have a rational reason behind them. What’s interesting is that my parents often comment on the fact that I was one of those babies/toddlers that used to do the very things everyone is talking about. I would stare at nothing and also make comments about people and things that didn’t exisit.
    So, while I have no idea what is behind it, I can say that I was not adversly effected by it. I don’t remember any of the things my parents talk about. I have no feelings of fear, or great comfort that linger from that time.
    Oh, and just for the context of this information. The house I grew up in was built on the site of a small cemetary plot and had a tombstone in the foundation.

  17. This is so weird that this topic has come up here!Over Thanksgiving, we were in Sayulita, Mexico. Almost every day we were there, we packed up the stroller and hiked to the Playa de los Muertos, so named because you walked through a cemetary to get to the beach. More than once, my 21 month old daughter pointed into the cemetary and said, people. I only saw mausoleums and flowers people had left. I tried to get more information from her but couldn’t and for my own sake, was happy to leave it at that.

  18. Gosh, I’ve never seen my 20-month-old son do anything like this. But I don’t find the topic controversial; I love reading the stories, scary and not. While I take a very scientific, critical-thinking approach to everything, I think doing science also teaches us how much we don’t know, and how imperfect our understanding of the world is.Also, Moxie, thanks for giving us so many Q&As recently! I am really enjoying them.

  19. We had an associate pastor who said that he thought babies and really old people had a lot in common, because babies were just coming FROM God, and the older people were getting ready to go TO God and that’s why they always had a lot to talk about; they connected in a way those of us in the middle couldn’t. So I guess I don’t see that the spirit world and the people world are at odds with each other, religiously speaking. Perhaps it’s all good. And, I’d offer this suggestion to Brenda: if she feels afraid b/c it’s unknown, that’s one thing. But if she feels afraid because of some instinct in her gut that makes her nervous, then she ought to look into getting her house exorcised. I don’t know how or where to go about that thing — if she belongs to a church she can ask the pastor. Call an old, old Catholic parish and see if they have a priest who will come bless the house at the very least. It won’t hurt anything!

  20. Two older people in our lives have recently died. My 2 year old would ask everyday “How is (name) feeling?” On the days each of them died (one in September, one last weekend) she stopped asking about that person and hasn’t asked since. We did not tell her they had died. I think she just understood they were gone from the earth. My husband and I were just talking about this yesterday!

  21. Deep breath before launching in… this will be longer even than usual…I remember as a kid ‘remembering before I was conceived’. I recall telling my mom that there were a bunch of us lined up waiting for our chance to be born through her, changing positions and order, and that there were more in line than she birthed (funny, she’s collected extra kids since then – they just show up and become part of our family). I remember knowing that there were other moms with lines of kids waiting (some waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting), and moms who had nobody lined up, and kids (ranging from young to fully adult or old) wandering around trying to find the right mother point, and that some would get ‘sucked’ down in mid-wander, having not quite found where they were trying to go, but going NOW. This was when I was about four or so. I never saw spirits/ghosts/angels/whathaveyou, but I knew there was more than this reality. I also was quite certain that I had been my mom’s mother before, another time before this (not this time, another separate time – even though her mother died when she was young, I didn’t mean that one).
    So, started out with a fundamental belief in the potential for reincarnation and alternate experiences of reality/states of being.
    Skip forward to when I was 7. I dreamed repeatedly about my kids who I would have when I was grown up. Clearest was the oldest, who was very concerned for me (I was suicidal at the time; yes, at 7). For weeks and weeks they came every night and we just rode bikes and had a normal childhood (not possible in my waking life at that point). They also convinced me that they were real, and that therefore I would grow up and be a mom, and since they were great kids, that I wouldn’t even suck at being a mom. I felt strangely maternal about them, proud of who they were turning out to be. I also decided that it wasn’t worth trying to kill myself, because I’d only fail, because they obviously already existed – therefore I was going to be a mom. I was additionally pissed off because a) there were three of them and I only *wanted* two, and b) they were boys, and I only wanted girls. (More on that, later.)
    So, that could have been my subconscious mind convincing me out of my depression. Except for one small thing. Mr G remembered those dreams, the ones he was in when *I* was 7, in detail. And told me so. When he was 2. They bothered him because he remembered being big and he remembered me being little (in the dreams, he was about 12 to my 7), and now that wasn’t true. I did talk periodically about the dreams, but never mentioned what we did or where we went – he remembered the place we always went in the dream, by name. He also freaked out a bit when I tried to get more detail, turned white and clamped his mouth shut and refused to talk anymore. (His speech pattern would also change to adult-normal from toddler when he said stuff like that, which was extra-freaky.)
    Cue Twilight Zone theme.
    Backing up to when I was pregnant with him. The day I found out I was pregnant, my best friend called me at work. She never calls at work, ever ever ever ever ever. But she called me, literally 20 minutes after I got the confirmation call from the doctor (yes, I got a blood test to be sure the first time). See, he had gone to visit her the night before, to tell her he was there. I wasn’t planning to tell (only 6 weeks preg) yet, and since we lived a couple hours apart and seldom talked, she didn’t even know we were trying. But she called, and chivvied me and cajoled me until I fessed up to the truth. Then she told me he was a boy and he had blue eyes. He’s the only one of my kids with blue eyes, by the way.
    He also visited my sister in Alaska, and told her about himself. And I saw him sitting on the foot of my bed at around 3 months pregnant, running a toy truck back and forth over the folds of the blanket (visually about age 3), with warm light-brown hair smooth down over his head (same color he had at that age). I was just lying there in bed, and there he was. Maybe I dreamed that… BUT, he called on my best friend again late in pregnancy – to tell her that he was hungry and I wasn’t eating enough protien. Seriously. So, yeah, okay, I ate some more protien. And then three weeks later, my BP shot up, and my midwives said that the most common reason for pregnancy hypertension was diet, they looked at my diet in detail, and … yeah, not eating enough protien. GAH! And after he’d already said so, too! I didn’t eat *enough* more, apparently. I bumped it way up, my BP dropped to normal, carried on.
    He knew every time I was pregnant. He would tell me I was pregnant. He told me I was pregnant with twins, with the first twin pregnancy. And told me when I lost the first twin. And when I was losing the second. He told me every time I miscarried, often before I had any signs, always before I’d mentioned it (even that time when we hadn’t been trying but had an oops). He told me the genders of my kids, with the notable exception of the girls, where he said that one had a boy SOUL and the other a girl SOUL but they refused to tell him what their bodies were. The others told him what their bodies were. (Pretty sure that third boy soul I dreamed is Miss R, who just feels BOY, and was immediately a familiar old friend to me when she was born, just like the other two had been… and Miss M, she was that bright light that had burst through into visual range a year before that pregnancy – hello, bright stranger!).
    Mr G could also talk to the souls of babies of other women, sometimes – if we asked, he’d guess and get it wrong, but if he just said he knew what was going on with them, he was always right. He said that when I got pregnant, it looked like there was a tiny speck of bright light inside my belly, and he could see it through anything, including the back of my seat in the car.
    He told me that one of the babies I’d lost was a girl, and some months later he said she had been born to another mommy, and that he knew her from before (before *when* was unclear), and he missed her, and that when he grew up they would meet and get married (he was just 3 when he said that). He told me about her birth circumstances (scary, but all ended well) – and it was an urgent enough bit of information that he flat-out refused to go to bed until ep called me at my mommy’s-night-out so he could tell me about her, including her name and that she loved earrings but now she was a baby she didn’t have earrings anymore. I had had really vivid dreams about her when I’d been pregnant with her, and had a sense that she wasn’t ‘mine’ – wrong ethnicity, in particular, though I thought she was amazing, beautiful, and funny. I can still remember her smile, and her dry sense of humor. Mr G told me where he’d meet her, even – but he cannot remember anymore that he ever said anything about her, so I don’t mention it. He literally forgets within minutes of talking about it, so I assume he’s not *supposed* to remember it too much. I admit I’m curious to see how it plays out.
    For a long time, he talked about himself as if he was *my* brother. My big brother. Who died before I was born. His job, he said (before he had any siblings, though there was one on the way), was to take care of his sisters. His four sisters, naming me and my three sisters – including the ones he didn’t know – at the age of 2 1/2 (he’d already told me that the baby I was having was a boy). He also said when he was 3 that this was the age he was the last time he died, because of the hole in his neck. My brother died of infection contracted through an external shunt for hydrocephaly, when he was 3.
    It just goes on and on and on. He talks to God, he talks to Angels, he talks to souls of babies both before and after conception. He could see when I was pregnant, and when the baby was going away, and once, when the baby decided that it was going to return (one of the first set of twins), and when it was not. He talks to animals, and wild animals talk back (and used to walk up to him, which was a bit scary sometimes). He says that there’s a lifespan in heaven, and that some people – but not all – come back when they’ve lived out their span there, back and forth, like two sides of a circle. Some need more time to rest, others come back sooner, and some choose not to come back.
    So, er. If he can see people before they’re born, and as they’re leaving, and can communicate with them that way… why not believe in the rest of it, too?
    On the flip side, he also told us that before he was born, when he was still in heaven (and, er, we don’t talk about heaven and he hadn’t been going to church at all at that point), God once locked himself out of his house in heaven and Mr G had to go in through the window to unlock it.
    Oh, and God has a brother. His name is also God. It’s hard to tell them apart, except that one is God, and the other is his brother. (said in a tone of, ‘obviously!’)
    When he talks to God, God tells him practical things and things he doesn’t want to hear, like that you might as well try broccoli now, since you’ll end up trying it sometime; and go moon that girl in your class, it will make her laugh and she’s sad today so laughing is good. (Yes, God told my son to moon a girl in his class. Heh.)
    Anyway, I think there’s probably good explanations for many things. But I also think that the explanations we have are probably insufficient to address the full range of reality. I even got that message myself from one of these experiences – the time I was visited by the soul of Mr B to tell me that the miscarriage that was about to start that day was okay, it was within the plan, I was not to worry about it, he would be back … and I was so overwhelmed with the love and compassion and joy and passion-for-existance I felt (which defines his personality to this day). At the same time, I had a very clear sense of gentle and unoffensive humor at my attempts to classify that other existance in my human/physical mind. It was very clear that my images and understanding were nowhere near up to the task, but that the representations I had were not offensive or bad, just a pale, thin, inadequate, and technically inaccurate reflection of what was really there. (I have not always had any kind of reassurance that all was right when I had a loss – sometimes yes, sometimes no. The No times hurt worse. No pattern to it, either.)
    :shrug: These things are all part of my life. I know that some experiences can be attributed to odd brain behaviors or electromagnetic surges or whathaveyou, and that there is a part of the brain that is responsible for ‘religious/spiritual’ function – but just because there’s a part there that does that, doesn’t mean it isn’t responding to a reality that we don’t know how we sense – like for ages there was argument about whether humans could actually sense pheramones because they couldn’t identify the sensory organ responsible for collecting the information, so it was assumed that without an organ, no sensing, and that part of the brain was just vestigal remains from our ancestors… but now we have found the area of the sinus responsible for collecting the data – it is small, but not useless at all. Maybe we have spiritual sensory organs, too. :shrug: again.
    According to one researcher, about 1 in 10 people have some kind of pre-conception or pre-birth encounter regarding their child or grandchild, so that’s also a shared experience. Some cultures expect that so much that they have encoded reactions to it (I’m trying to recall what group assigns fatherhood to the man who dreamed the child…). Others (like ours) are more comfortable with people just. not. talking. about. it. Or humming the Twilight Zone theme when someone does.
    I am not bound to my interpretation of the experiences – they just happened. They are part of my life. They may not have a deeper meaning. I choose to assign a meaning to them, but don’t worry if nobody else does. (Though my mom is totally on board with Mr G being my brother, also initial G – though not the same name at all. She said he had the same face and personality up through age 3. And ep is certain that Mr G can be trusted on the things he sees ‘clairvoyantly’ – people keep saying ‘can he tell me the lottery numbers?’ but his response is that he sees in real-time, not into the future. Not precognition, clairvoyance.) It’s more comfortable when there’s SOMEONE who takes the same meaning/interpretation. But I have no need to have everyone do so, at all.

  22. I remember talking to my husband about this a few months ago, the feeling that my DS was interacting with someone else in the room that I couldn’t see. It gave me goosebumps a couple of times. But I was never scared – I always assumed it was a deceased family member. It didn’t even occur to me that it might be something bad.

  23. I’ve had a quite a few strange experiences myself, such as the night my dad died and the doorbell rang at my grandma’s house (where my mom, little brother and I were staying at the time) in the middle of the night. My grandma got up and saw no one at the door and the freshly-fallen snow was undisturbed. The next morning, the military chaplain showed up with the news that my dad had died in the middle of the night, at the exact time the doorbell had rung. So yes, I’m a believer in this stuff.As for my kids, I remember my now almost-3-year-old would, as a young baby and toddler, look at seemingly nothing and babble and laugh as if he was interacting with someone. That faded away as he got older, and my youngest has never done that. I always did believe that my oldest really was talking to someone. My husband didn’t and just rolled his eyes. This is an interesting discussion!

  24. After posting, I went back and read the other comments. After reading Hedra’s comment (very interesting, by the way!) I had to comment again on my experience of meeting my child before his birth.I struggled with infertility for over two years, and towards the end of that two-year mark I’d begun to give up hope. I went to sleep one night feeling depressed and hopeless, and not sure how I was going to go on. That night, I had a dream in which I met my now-oldest child. He stood in our kitchen, looking up at me with a big grin on his face, and I just *knew* that was going to be my little boy. Partly because he looked like my husband when he was a child, but mostly I just knew intuitively. A couple of months later, I finally got pregnant and went out and bought a little boy’s outfit to celebrate.
    When my son was about 1 year old, that moment that I’d dreamed of finally happened, when he stood in our kitchen, looking up at me with that same smile on his face. It was like deja vu, only that dream was burned into my mind – so it wasn’t just that vague feeling of “I’ve done this before”.

  25. “The term pareidolia (pronounced /pæraɪˈdoʊliə/) describes a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse.”from wikipedia
    (If we don’t know what the words mean, please link or give definitions!)

  26. @hedra…wow. You’ve talked briefly about this before but…..wow. I think everyone has an opinion about stuff like this, and for you to be so honest and open about your experience is amazing. And I think I’ve “known” you long enough to know you’re not crazy. So wow.The only thing I have to offer is that right after my grandfather died (I was in my early 20’s at the time) I was upset because I felt like I hadn’t told him I loved him enough. I would always kick and scream before going over to spend the day with them because it was boring, I wanted to hang with my friends, blah blah the usual. So I was feeling like I hadn’t made it CLEAR enough to him that I did love him very much. A day or two after he died he came to me in a dream and told me not to worry, that he knew I loved him very much and that he’d always be with me. I woke up with a huge sense of relief and didn’t feel any more regret.
    Also a good friend of mine died suddenly and tragically in a plane crash when we were both 21 and he still comes to visit me in my dreams every now and then – usually around times of high stress for me. He tells me what to do and that everything will be okay. Sadly I can’t remember WHAT he tells me to do when I wake up, but at least I feel like I can move forward in some direction because I’ve talked to him.
    I’m not sure this is at all the same thing, mostly I attribute these dreams to wishful thinking and my imagination. Though I would love to believe otherwise……

  27. I’m not a ghost person, but I absolutely believe that different people see things that we can’t see. I am a researcher who studies cognition and learning. One thing I’ve learned is that perception is mediated by our cognitive structures. So we don’t “see” in a sense of directly perceiving reality. Everything we perceive is filtered through our understanding, our knowledge, our experiences, our culture, our history. There are lots of neat examples of different people seeing very different things in the same scene. In fact, there are lots of examples of things that some people just plain don’t see, even though they’re there, because we have taught ourselves to only attend to particular things and not others.My daughter, who is 1, regularly sees things I don’t see that make her laugh and delight her. (My son, also 1, has never done this). I can’t figure out what she’s seeing, but I’m certain that she’s perceiving the world in a way that I’m incapable of understanding.
    On a different note, I also had a dream once of a daughter I would have. She was blond with brown eyes, and the dream was so real and salient to me that I still remember every detail, years later. However, I didn’t have this child. My kids have blue eyes and I often wonder if I just dreamed about the daughter I might have had if I’d followed a different path in life than the one I’ve ended up on.

  28. Yes, I believe some people (children included) can see & hear entities that most people cannot see or hear. BUT I think this is a 1 in 500,000+ kind of occurrence, and that a “true” ability to perceive what most others cannot is extremely rare. More commonly it is a disease of the mind or a drug reaction that causes ADULTS to see & hear things that aren’t there (i.e. hallucinations – like when my dad smoked weed back in ‘Nam and the pinup girl climbed down from the poster on his barracks wall to give him a kiss…) Well-adjusted adults with the gift, such as Allison DuBois, the real life inspiration for the heroine in the show “Medium,” are extremely rare.In KIDS, these kinds of odd perceptions are so linked up to normal development (see paola’s great comment at 7:37am) that it’s probably incorrect to just immediately attribute a child’s seemingly “ghostly” behavior to the influence of the supernatural, absent more granular “proof”**…
    Brenda, who asked the question that got us started on this strangely fascinating topic: I’m sure everything is fine with your son, because what you’ve described falls within the realm of normal 3-year-old behavior. But if someday your gut starts saying otherwise, here are a couple of things to think about: What were your own childhood experiences around various areas of the home? Did something ever frighten you in your room? Is it possible you are projecting your own fears onto him? Does your son tell you what he is seeing in the room? Could he draw a picture of it for you? What is the overall emotional climate in the home? Any unusual stresses in your son’s life? (Again, I’m sure all is well & he’s a perfectly normal kid!)
    Personally, I’m agnostic about the supernatural, but boy, do I want to believe ghosts exist. Because, well, it would be a much more interesting world if they did, wouldn’t it? I mean who doesn’t love a good ghost story? I absolutely love tales of the unexplained; “Unsolved Mysteries” and “A Haunting” are among my guilty pleasures. DH teased me mercilessly about the ghost stories on “Unsolved Mysteries” (reruns used to play on Lifetime). He would catch me watching one and say “Oh, look! It’s a messed up evangelical family in the South with a ghost in their house! Now, hush, why doesn’t that old ghost show up in an athiest Manhattan family’s apartment?!” I’d tell him to shut up, and not let the truth get in the way of a good story! 😉
    **About “proof” of a child experiencing the supernatural… There is one story I heard once that I still think about (who knows if it is real). A 4-year-old girl had this friendly imaginary friend named something like William Fellow. She’d have all of these conversations with him. Told her mom he was a soldier, drew all of these pictures of him in uniform. Well mom finally looked into her local history. Turns out an actual William Fellow who fought in the Civil War once lived in her house. BOO!!!

  29. I often feel or sense someones there, even though no one is around.My youngest who is 1.5y as a baby used to do their looking off into space and giggling a lot. I know it was Angles, and I hope he can recall it when hes older and can tell me about it.

  30. I chalk it up to uncontrollable worries of a mom with a newborn, but I often think about our very old house, its potential previous residents, and their potential presence in my baby’s life. Not that he’s done anything (except not sleep, grrr, wish I could put the blame on something for that!)On the up side, we introduced him to his namesake the day before she died. She was unable to speak, and of course he was only 2 months old, so they held hands and had a unique communion. I would be so happy to think that she is somehow invested in his childhood from where ever she is now.

  31. Yes, I believe in ghosts/spirits/echoes/whatever you want to call them, based on personal experience, and I believe that there are more children can see them than there are adults with the same ability.

  32. When my daughter was a toddler, I’d take her up to our church family center about once a week for a moms’ craft time. She would always bee-line it for the HUGE crucifix in the large meeting room and stand there smiling and babbling. It was so odd… I am not religious (we participate more as cultural Catholics than as spiritual ones), so she did not get exposure to the figure of Jesus or discussions of him at home. And her interaction with the HUGE crucifix was not one of wonder or fright (hey, there’s a guy up there!) but of genuine peace and conversation–like she was greeting an old friend each week. One of the old nuns saw her do this once and when I told her, “We always have to come say hello to Jesus,” she replied, “They say the little ones can see Him.”Now, I repeat… I am not a believer myself (in ghosts or in the traditional church teachings), but I am convinced that she saw something up there more than a wooden man on a wooden cross.

  33. We moved into our 100 year old house when I was three months pregnant with my 2nd child. The house has a lot of history to it -in 100 years, only two different families have owned it (we’re the third) and I KNOW there was someone still there, lookign out for the house while we were getting settled. The presence was strongest towards the end of my pregnancy/early days with a newborn, and it seemed (maybe) to have a calming effect on my toddler at the time.I haven’t felt anyone there in 6 or so months, but we’re also filling the house so much now with our own energy that maybe it’s moved on.

  34. I also grew up in a haunted house. Take it FWIW, but too many things nobody could explain happened with too great a frequency to come to any other conclusion. Interestingly, I was only really *scared* by it once or twice. We kind of took it for granted after a while.I would love to know if my children (2 years and 3 months) have more of an awareness of these kinds of things than I do. I do feel they are closer to God than I am. But Jesus said that Himself and I believe what He says, so maybe that’s where the feeling of holiness around them comes from. Either way, I have never felt closer to God than when holding my sleeping babies.
    @Hedra, at your recommendation, I read the book about this topic (pre-birth awareness & spirituality) while I was pregnant with #2. I knew you were a contributing mother but I didn’t know which story/ies in the book were yours. Now I do! Super cool!

  35. one of my favorite guilty pleasures on Lifetime is “Lisa Williams, Life Among the Dead”. LOVE that show. I don’t think it’s on anymore, but man, that lady seems amazing to me.

  36. @MrsHaley, ah, outed myself there, huh? Glad you enjoyed the book. I do like her balanced take on the possibilities. (www.light-hearts.com for anyone who is interested in reading more about that stuff)I prefer to be open to and skeptical at the same time – I can’t leave my intellect at the church door, nor can I leave my spirituality behind everywhere else. I’ve got both, so I have to live with and have peace with both. I find value and utility in both, as well. I know people who don’t find anything useful in living on both ends of the range – some who must live mainly on one end, some who live mainly on the other. That’s their range, and that’s okay, too.

  37. Does anyone have this happen? Whenever I talk about, read, hear about, etc. a spooky or eerie story, not only do I get goosebumps, but my eyes water. I’m not crying, but they water and tingle. Anyone?Also, my babies used to look past my shoulder at something when I would be changing them so I would always assume their angels were behind me.

  38. My DH and I recently listened to an Episode of “This American Life” entitled “And the Call was Coming from the Basement.” Listen to it for free here if you’re interested (the segment I’m referring to is only a few minutes long): http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1268The “Prologue” of this episode gave us a completely new perspective on how haunted house legends may have originated and how they are perpetuated. I know it’s tangential to the conversation going on in this post and these comments, but for those of you who are interested in scientific explanations for traditionally “unexplained” phenomena, you may find it as fascinating as we did.
    With regard to the original question, I think that babies just see the world differently than we do. They often gaze off into space or stare at shadows and lights, and I’ve often heard it referred to as “seeing angels.” I’ve also read in baby books that babies love to stare at the edges of things, at borders, which is one of the reasons they make eye contact so young (border between iris and white of eye has a strong border) and at mouths (contrast between teeth and lips). The corner of a room has an edge, which creates shadow and contrast.
    I am personally a skeptic because I’ve never had a supernatural experience myself, but there’s no way to absolutely disprove the existence of “another realm,” so I try to remain open-minded. If the corners don’t seem to upset the child, I personally would just leave it alone and then ask him about it when he’s old enough to express himself, and see if he can articulate what interests him.

  39. I have often wondered about this, but had no personal experience until a month or so ago. I was next door with my neighbor when Little Miss S (my daughter), then about 15 months old, began smiling and waiving and saying “hi” to someone (no one) on my neighbor’s stairs. My niehgbor and I just stared at each other and I asked jokingly if her house was haunted. She said her little girl (about 2) often did the same thing but not her sons…hmmm…Little Miss has not done it since.As for myself, my mom tells a story of when I was about 3 and I awoke in the night crying for my mother. She sent her boyfriend in to comfort me, and I kept crying for my mom. My mother came to see me, whereupon I pushed her away and told her, “No, I want my OTHER mother!” Freaked her out….she insists I was fully awake.
    So who knows? There is so much in the life we cannot explain (thank goodness).

  40. My older son is Mr. Literal. In his drama class, he wants to be the narrator. His trains always run on tracks, never flying or on roads or mysteriously transporting (by being carried) to another room. Until very very recently, he never made up imaginative stories, and while he likes all books, his favorites are the human anatomy book and the DK guide to trains.When he was three, he saw a picture of my mom for the first time. She died several years before he was born. His friend who was with him asked, “Who’s that?” and before I could reply, my son said excitedly, “I know her! She used to play with us, and then she said, ‘Now girls, you stay here with me, and boys, you need to go to Mommy and Daddy now.'” His baby brother had just been born. And our family had experienced two girl miscarriages/stillbirths recently.
    Nothing else “strange” happened (besides the “smiling at the angels” others have mentioned) until this year. We went to see the marching band practice at the high school where my kids’ beloved cousin and several babysitters attend. The band was standing still on the field, listening to instruction, and we were pointing out people we knew–sitters and such. Suddenly my older one said, “And there’s Aunt M!” I sat very still–Aunt M is my child’s godmother, and she died when he was 1 and I was expecting the second. “I don’t see her, ” I said, which was true, and very excited and a touch annoyed, I heard “She’s RIGHT THERE–standing next to [her son]! Don’t you see her? in the red sweater? Smiling at [her son]? She’s RIGHT THERE next to him!”
    It was a hot summer day. There wasn’t a sweater or red shirt in sight, but M’s favorite color was red. And she was a musician herself, and adored going to see her older child perform with the band before she died.
    My youngest has a huge imagination and has never come up with anything like this at all. My older one is very bright but not at all creative or imaginative in this way, so there’s our experience. Just like most things, some can, and some can’t. My older one can. So far, my little one doesn’t. For the most part, I’d say fear not.

  41. The comments have been fascinating! When my twins were about 2.5, we were driving past a deserted cemetery when one of them said, “Look at all the people!” The other one said, “There’s no people there”. I got such chills…They are now 3, and the last time we drove past a cemetery, all they saw were the headstones (which they thought were towers of blocks). If my daughters (or one of them) had the ability to see spirits, I think they’ve outgrown it now.

  42. When I was about 3, I was hit in the head with a concrete block, which cracked my skull a little, just inside my hairline. As my mom was rushing me to the hospital (after she ran a red light & a motorcycle policeman stopped her, then formed a sort of procession for us to run through the rest of the lights without stopping) I was mostly unconscious, but she says I opened my eyes and said to her, “Mommy, I am playing with the angels! They want me to come with them!”. She said, very forcefully, “NO, you can not go with them.” I stayed conscious the rest of the way.

  43. No “ghost” experiences here, but my younger sister used to talk about things she did with her other family, when she was just learning to talk. She said it was the family she lived with before she was born. My mom says she talked clearly about things she hadn’t experienced with us.

  44. @elizabeth, I finally got to read the Snopes article. It’s a perfect example of the issue of assigning meaning that I was trying to express. The leap of meaning is typical for adults. Kids don’t leap to the meaning, even the ones who have these experiences. It is just experience. Nothing more, nothing less. Just like Mr G sees souls present in my body when I’m pregnant, he doesn’t care one way or another about it, it doesn’t mean something other than that there’s a baby in there. In fact, that’s generally what he’s said ‘there’s a baby in there’. Even his conversations with God weren’t directed the way an adult would direct them. The closest he has ever gotten to that kind of assigned meaning is when he asked me (at 2 years old) what God was (we didn’t use God talk at home). I, being clever when I’m taken by surprise, asked him back, ‘What do YOU think God is?’ (meanwhile I’m thinking ‘what does he really mean, where did he get that question, what kind of answer should an agnostic give?’)… and he thought about it, and answered, “God is everything, all together” Okay, better answer than I could give, my little pantheist.Anyway, point being that assigning meaning is a choice. It isn’t a measure of the experience. Adults tend to leap to the greatest meaning – that Mr G is my brother reincarnated, say. Yes, the string of statements tend to point that direction. But we could leave them just sitting there, and not go put a big checkmark on the direction we think they’re pointing. We chose to do that. And we also chose to not make a big deal of it, at all. I don’t think we even mentioned it to him at any point. It’s not usually a topic of conversation, though the fact that he talks to babies and God tends to come up more often (often when people hear how many losses I have and go all stricken on me – it genuinely was a comfort to have him know, before or in tandem with me, when there was a loss occurring. It made it easier, just a smidge, to have that sense that he already knew. It seems to help others to know that I had something ‘more’ to help me cope with the losses.)
    Anyway, I agree on the babies look at borders/contrasts thing (I can remember being an infant, and I remember that the world was made up of edges, and everything in between was just kind of a blur. In addition, the world was made up of textures, planes, and directions. So I knew the nursery as the edges of the doorway, the flatness of my bed surface, the hard flat narrowness of the top rail of the crib (but ZERO awareness of what was under the rail, just blur there), the angle of my dad’s shoulder (plus temperature and a sense of mass), the action of flying through the air (being lifted) in an arc, the experience of flying around the room backwards (being walked in circles when I woke crying at night). I can interpret now to know that I cried, he came, picked me up, carried me around until I calmed down, put me back down. I can interpret that I knew the top rail was hard because my feet had probably brushed or bumped it at some point. I knew the room had corners and a door, I could see those boundaries. I had no idea that this was my dad, he was just the Large Warm One With That Angle. Heck, I didn’t even know that the sounds I heard when I was upset were me crying. So, yeah, the world of baby – VERY VERY DIFFERENT. Even toddlers, it is a different world. I had conversations with the sunlight as a toddler, and was certain it was as sentient as I was, and that it loved me with all that warmth. I was certain that the world was shrinking and each item in it would eventually vanish to nothing (not that I was growing – this was the cause of my clinginess to some of my favorite things, I was sure that every time I went away from them, they shrunk, and I didn’t want them to vanish or even be diminished, so they had to STAY with me – mom included).
    That said, I still had all the experiences I describe. What they mean? You decide for you, I’ll decide for me.

  45. Hmm. actually, there was almost an aversion to looking at the in-between spaces. They were uncomfortable blurs like an expanse of nothingness. I couldn’t even identify flatness, texture, angle, etc., unless I’d actually encountered it. It was somewhat like I was assembling my perceived world by bits, putting them together like a puzzle, with the edges first, and the middle just an open space infilled with amorphous undefined fuzz until I had more data.

  46. I totally believe in ghosts, and have lived in haunted homes as well. But what came to mind first was something I heard on “All Things Considered” on NPR several years ago about babies being able to communicate with ghosts. A family living in an old house and their young son would talk to someone when he was put down for a nap. They could hear both sides of the converstation via the baby moniter, but if they went to his room they could only hear the boy talking. Sorta like being able to see a ghost in a photo…I also believe that the spirit of my Siamese cat visits us. When my daughter was first born and I was having a massive post-partum break down, I vividly remember feeling her jump onto the bed and hearing her purr. On several occasions, I have gone to check on Poppet at night, and I can hear Sassy purring in the crib.

  47. My family has always believed in ghosts. The stories usually revolve around a spirit saying good-bye after they die. I have had a dog visit me in a dream, several times, just to say hello and let me know she’s fine. My great-Aunt was also visited by her late husband the night after he died. Nothing scary, really.@julieta-Me, too! Eyes watering and covered in goosebumps.

  48. Ghost? Sure! Why not?You know, Hollywood has made ghosts such a frightening thing and we all buy into it. We don’t have to, you know. It isn’t frightening in the least. Why would folks, whom we loved and adored all of a sudden turn into something frightening? Only because their bodies have ceased to exist?
    Children are such smart creatures. If something were to frighten them, they would let us know (ex: Lady in the blue hat). But as you said, the little one is having fun while talking to whomever. Why worry about it?
    It really is a matter of believing or not. If you believe it’s possible, and I do, then it is. If you don’t believe, then no amount of talking will convince you otherwise.

  49. @ada. Just a few bits from that early. Nursing in the dark, that flying around the room backward thing (with my head bobbing, so I was probably around 4 weeks?), feeling intoxicated by my mom’s laugh (which is remarkably like the feeling of hearing your baby laugh, it’s a two-way street on that reaction). My mom also has a freaky-long memory (she remembers being in the womb, which she said looked a lot like when as a kid you closed your eyes too hard and it made starburst/snowflake-like images, only brighter, and it was VERY noisy – rumbles and gurgles and voice. When she remembered it, she was told she was WRONG that babies can’t hear that, and only later was it confirmed that yes, what she remembered was probably accurate). I also remember bits from fussy stages, from being carried in a laundry basket, from staring at the rug under my nose (tummy time – and you know, rugs are FASCINATING surfaces), and increasing from around 6-9 months, around a year, etc. I have a big blank from the moment I saw my little brother (minutes after the homebirth) to when he was about 3 months old (I didn’t think it was going to be a REAL baby!). A few other blank spots, but there’s a good chain of experience in there. It has pluses and minuses – I can identify with the stage, but I can also OVER-identify with the stage (and forget that my kids may experience it very differently than I did).None of my kids seem to have that degree of memory expect MAYBE Miss M, who says she remembers being swaddled, which was very early. But she’s only 4, and could still lose those access to those memories.
    It’s funny, a bunch of the memories were unassigned memories (speaking of assigning meaning) – like, I always remembered nursing in the dark, but I didn’t understand what it was until I had a child myself. It was just a ‘whatever’ kind of memory. NOW, it is meaningful to me. Then, it was just ‘something that was’.

  50. Hedra, thank you for being some completely honest and open. My DH and DS can see spirits. It’s just a fact… what can I say? Perhaps I will send him on over to talk about his experiences himself.It has creeped me out a bit to watch babySaid stare off and wave to an empty spot and smile. (he doesn’t even alway wave to people he knows) but we just refer to it a jorge his special friend… it makes it a bit easier on me, but DH says he knows babysaid sees even more than he does.
    Very interesting conversation… you will either believe it, or KNOW it’s total crap. Funny how faith works 😉

  51. @andisays – sorry, I’m not sure where to find other stories like those online. The Snopes entry refers to a book that may have similar sorts of stories in it.@hedra – thanks for sharing so much of your experience. I especially enjoy reading about your early memories; whenever you’ve shared on here about your very early memories, I’ve found it fascinating and this time was no exception. I’m not quite sure how you read my original comment, but in case the “you decide for you, I’ll decide for me” comment was directed at me, I wanted to make it clear that I wasn’t deciding anything – for me or for you! And by no means was I doubting the veracity of your experiences. The main reason I linked to the Snopes article was because it contains two stories I’d read before that I thought were somewhat related to the current discussion.

  52. I feel like this discussion isn’t really a welcoming place for skeptics, but I’m going to give my 2 cents regardless: ghosts (and spirits, angels, etc) almost certainly (*) do not exist, therefore it is highly unlikely that babies can see them.(*) “almost certainly” being used here in the same sense that it is almost certain that Santa Claus, the Greek Pantheon and the Flying Spaghetti Monster do not exist. It’s impossible to prove their nonexistence for certain, but there is not one shred of independently-verifiable evidence that they do exist.

  53. Has anyone been to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia? (the site of a very bloody Civil War abolishinist battle) We went there when I as six or seven. I remember going up some stone steps on a very large hill and there was a koi pond at the top. But the atmosphere – was spooky. It was full and heavy and crowded and unsettled. I was basicallly alone but I couldn’t help feeling that there was so much around me that I couldn’t see. I remember the sensation distinctly 27 years later.About four or five years ago, I mentioned to my mom the sensation that I experienced then. She said that she had had a very similar experience, but much more intense than my experience. She had found the place very disturbing. She is extremely sensitive to these things. And a little pre-cognitive.
    When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had two dreams about her. Her. Before I found out. I knew without question she was a she.

  54. @Karen (who posted the link to the cool “This American Life” broadcast) – Thank you so much for sharing that. I was so blown away to learn that carbon monoxide poisoning can cause folks to experience sensations to make them believe they’re experiencing a haunting. Yet another reason to install carbon monoxide detectors! 😉 By the way, the program’s second vignette about the rabid raccoon attack also blew my mind! Bats can bite us in our sleep without us knowing?! The rabies vaccine costs several thousand dollars & needs to be administered in the arm within 72 hours of a bite? Holy crap – now that is truly scary!!@hedra – Thank you for opening up my mind even more to the bizarre, wonderful possibilities. So good to have you “back”!
    @Alice in Wonderland – Why do you feel “this discussion isn’t a welcoming place for skeptics?” Several commenters (including me) said we are agnostic, others said flat out they don’t believe, and others indicated there is some Perfectly Logical Explanation based in science. So it seems to me that all matter of “skeptic” perspectives have been respected during this interesting conversation… but please be more specific if you really do feel otherwise.
    @Tootsie – I felt the same way about certain areas of New Orleans’ French Quarter – as if the negative energy from ancient abuses still lingers in some corners there.

  55. hey hush I wonder if Alice might just have been thinking that at this point these stories are too personal to address from a skeptical POV…or this is too much of a social space to say the things one would say on a science-oriented blogspace.Lots of people who consider themselves rationalists or skeptics still refrain from debunking when they are among friends. And here it sometimes feels like being among friends. So you don’t hear a lot of pushback on most things like CAM discussions. In fact I think this discussion has way more skeptical comments than any I’ve seen here. and that’s like, four comments.

  56. I hear you, anon, and now that you mention it, I can see it from that angle (of not wishing to offend/burst the bubbles of those who truly believe). Though having just re-read all of the comments again, I counted a few more than just four commenters who fall somewhere along the skeptic spectrum. ;)As an aside, I confess I’m weary of vague comments about the “tone” of “this space” that lack ANY real specificity. (Like have you ever received vague feedback about something you are trying to improve? It’s frustrating not to have any specific items to be able to address – it makes you imagine all of these scenarios as you try to mind-read.) So that’s why I asked. I’m someone who often needs the obvious spelled out for her, and I benefit from concrete examples like the excellent ones you just gave.

  57. @hush: Fair question! Mostly I was reacting to the feeling I had (I was *really* anxious about posting that there’s no such thing as ghosts, and I seriously considered just staying quiet) as well as the fact that the handful of “there’s no such thing as ghosts” posters before me posted anonymously. Maybe I shouldn’t have said “this discussion isn’t a welcoming place for skeptics” but rather “I’m really nervous about how others will react to my skeptical comment.”anon @12:31 largely hit it on the head, too; this is a social space, and going against the flow in this type of discussion feels, hm, socially awkward. A bit taboo.
    When everyone’s relating personal experiences that they interpret as being supernatural, it seems arrogant to come in here and say “I think your interpretation of your own experience is mistaken!” But that’s what I’m doing, effectively, by saying that there’s no such thing as ghosts. Human perception is easily tricked; this is well known. We see patterns where none exist, we privilege coincidences over non-coincidences in our memories, we react to mysteries by coming up with explanations whether we have enough evidence for a good explanation or not!

  58. @Alice in Wonderland.I guess it depends on how you address the issue. I know I would have liked to have seen some more of what you mentioned, but done the right way, respecting other people’s opinions and views.

  59. @Alice in Wonderland, it’s more your perspective that I was addressing than Elizabeth’s. I’m enough of a skeptic that I am not offended if someone else thinks ‘observation bias’ when I’m thinking ‘Mr G is just plain *different*’ – for example, I’m not a huge personal fan of the Indigo Child literature, because 99.9% of the classification of Indigo is = highly gifted, from what I can tell. But if someone says their child is an Indigo, I translate for myself to ‘gifted’ (as in IQ/multiple intelligences). Am I right? No idea. It’s just my translation. And I don’t look down on people who interpret it differently – it is just the basket that is meaningful for them.My mom and I discuss a lot of this stuff – she is a retired minister, and is one of the more skeptical people I know. She also registers that for a lot of this, where human living is concerned, it doesn’t matter one BIT whether it is explainable by scientific reasoning. What matters is how it fits into the person’s life and their experience, how it affects their choices, whether it drives them toward a greater expression of their best self, etc.
    Yes, some of the reasoning/meaning side affects that, but for a great deal of it, it comes down to more ‘life is improved by feeling that there is magic here’ or ‘life is not improved by feeling that there is magic here’ – and people will differ on which side of that line is right for them, both individually and across their lifespan. There’s no value in even analyzing whether that was a low-oxygenation moment, a surge of electrical response in the brain, side effect of fermentation of whatever you ate in the last three days, etc. It’s only when it becomes extreme that it needs to be assessed for further specifics (and there’s plenty of gray area around the extreme boundaries as well).
    I have many friends who are very firmly on the side of ‘there’s plenty of magic in the world without inventing more’ (heh), and many who are on the side of ‘there’s more that is magical than that which we already can measure with current methods’. Those both can be integrated, IMHO – because a) we can’t measure everything yet, and b) if we’re limiting joy to only that which can be measured, we’re limiting a lot.
    I’m open to someone saying they see spirits everywhere. I’m open to someone saying that they don’t think these things are real at all, and that there is some other explanation for it. I’ve had low oxygenation moments (asthma) and have had moments that were clearly related to the very minor synesthesia I have (I have to be exhausted for it to express), and I’ve had visual hallucinations from something that was clearly related to a misfire in my brain chemistry (fortunately only once on that, that I’m aware of).
    I prefer to assume that we can’t measure everything that is happening, and that there are explanations for everything that happens in our experience, AND that we cannot assume we know what those explanations will be. It is a place that allows me to enjoy hearing about everyone else’s experiences. I don’t have any discomfort with Alice, or Elizabeth, or any of the thousands of readers who likely went ‘um, yeah, okay’ on my experience. That’s also why I am careful to not hold my own interpretation too firmly – there have been moments that I initially interpreted one way, that I later realized were probably something else entirely (as research has caught up one more stage with brain function or perception, etc.). I assume that I cannot know if my own interpretation is right. That’s the core of my skepticism. That’s also why I try to be clear that I don’t require others to interpret MY experiences the same way I do. Yeah, it would be super comfy if the whole world believed everything I do, but it would also be boring and it would cripple movement and exploration of the possibilities. I like the variety. And I don’t mind if that means sometimes I have to take a breath and step back from myself, too. (I hear Alice on the discomfort of saying ‘these things don’t exist’ when someone else has listed a personal experience of it – And I can tell you that it is also uncomfortable to have someone say, ‘oh. Shit. Now I have to rethink my understanding of what is and is not real’ as someone did after Mr G had told me about another pregnancy and loss. Heck, epeepunk and I are not quite aligned on this – both agnostic, but he interprets some of it differently than I do, or declines to interpret it at all, and leaves it as ‘just experience, meaning unknown and unknowable’ – which is actually a pretty comfortable place to stand when addressing a space that is otherwise very different from your usual point of view.)
    Not sure if that clarifies enough for those who were uncomfortable – Elizabeth? Alice?

  60. My daughter will be two next month, and she sees spirits as well. She’s been seeing them for a while. Sometimes she gets scared, cries and covers her eyes, and sometimes she laughs and waves by placing her hand over her eye and waves with her fingers, which is something I’ve never taught her. This is always in the direction of the lights (usually at the ceiling fans). The strangest thing was that a few months ago, she looked as if she saw something, and I heard a noise in the direction of where she was looking (twice in two different places in the house)…the house was completely quiet, so of course that freaked me out. Now I noticed that I hear little “ching” noises in the glass in the ceiling fans every now and then, and the fan isn’t on. She saw something in my car that made her scared as well in the passenger seat. Tonight, I was changing her, and we were both laughing, and then all of a sudden she looked behind me, and her eyes got big and she made a scared expression (like she saw a ghost) then she started crying and covered her eyes. This is really scary to me!! I’m just glad to know that other parents have experienced this with thier children.

  61. I definitely believe kids can see things. As we get older and depending on our upbringing most of us develop mental walls and guards against these things. Probably mostly because the idea scares us and we don’t want to see things. (Certainly true of me!) Quite a few times I’ve walked into his room with the distinct, STRONG feeling that when I opened the door someone/thing would be standing there. DS has a slightly different cry those times, the way he cries at me if I were to stand across the room and not take him out of his crib.If it’s not scaring your child try not to worry too much right now. I know it’s kinda creepy since you can’t see it, but you never know, it could be a relative that’s passed on just there to check out the new addition to the family.
    If it really bothers you try this, doesn’t matter if you’re in the room or with your child. Tell it to leave, and that it cannot stay anymore. Close your eyes and imagine your inner light growing, expanding from yourself. Imagine using that box of light to push it out of the house, and make your box of light expand to envelop the entire house (or if you’re really freaked, the yard too). Another way if you don’t think the thing is in the house at the time is to just imagine that wall of light going all around the outside of the house, visualizing it over all the windows and everything. In the creepy room you can send it around 3-4 times (what I do in my sons room when he’s scared, to be safe).
    Yes, I’ll likely get the crazy hippy lady label for this, but honestly it works for me, and my very best friend who has seen (and even talked to, though she prefers not to dwell on it) numerous spirits. Being an adult you can more easily tone yourself down so you’re not thinking of them often or wanting to see them. (Even if you don’t WANT to see anything, expecting it everywhere seems to attract them.) But your child cannot yet tone down their pure little inner light to stop from shining like a beacon for them. So it’s up to you!

  62. I had an odd dream once similar to some of the things here.I had dreamed when i was 7 years old that i was looking at myself as a baby (don’t know what age, but i wasn’t far along i couldn’t sit up at all) all i remember from the dream was that i was watching over myself for something. it seemed real and i used to think maybe somehow i was watching back in time? i also had another dream later where i was watching my sister, but i woke up before that dream was finished and now it seems like she gets the bad things in life while im getting the good. is it fair to think that if what i dreamed was actually real that maybe i was our own guardian angel somehow? or i was supposed to be watching to make sure nothing “karmic” (i guess that’s the only way i can think of to explain the feeling) happened to us?
    also some adults can see things i still have that happen to me.
    just tonight i was driving and i swear i saw someone run behind my car so i stopped and looked around (the area i was in was open so i was sure to to see someone) but i saw no one! trick of my eye maybe? im not sure im leaving that one open for debate later. but i see cats everywhere when there are none. i seem to attract animals since i was 14. they always seem to be looking at me like they are trying to tell me something. i always go with my gut feeling and things work out. and when i warn someone that they should wait to do something when i have a bad gut feeling and they do it anyways they always get hurt.
    does anyone have anything they like to say? i mean im not the only one am i?

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  64. Oh! Come on! Is this true? Do babies got that capacity? Someone told me about that a year ago but I wasn’t convinced with her. I just told her that maybe its one of her superstitious beliefs from her grandmother ideas as well. As far as I know babies are so attracted with dark colors maybe he sees something attractive on that time.

  65. I don’t believe in this, Its just an hallucinations. Babies were so attracted on bright colors that’s why this happens. My first cousin got baby but haven’t experience the same thing. I bet this is due to some hanging object that makes the babies scared and make them scream and suddenly cry out loud. It just my opinion, thanks for sharing some thoughts.

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  67. My big one is pre-pregnancy fitness. I had lost about 45 lbs here & there in 2008 & 2009. I felt great I felt the heheiatlst I had felt in a long time, and I felt comfortable in my own skin. Then I gained it allllll back when I was pregnant. Some of it was because of complications & bedrest some of it was first time pregnancy stupidity & eating for 20 instead of 2 (and choosing potato chips & Reese’s pieces instead of healthier options). I’ve already lost about 10 lbs, and now that the holidays are over (well, almost) it’s time to focus! I joined a gym yesterday & went for the first time tonight. JoJo & MoMo’s upcoming nuptials (I felt so eck at Miah & Teresa’s wedding) & our trip to Hawaii next Sept (shorts, beachwear dear God, NO!!) are proving to be some good motivation!! Also, I want to take more pictures and my camera phone does not count[]

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  70. We recently had a "Kahuna" cleanse the old house that we moved into, after hearing that one of the inhabitants had passed away there 6 months ago. In our discussion, he indicated that babies/children usually are seen as a gateway to the other world. Their undeveloped heads/skulls are still soft and provide a means for their spirit to see into the other world and vice versa; highly recommended we cleanse and protect the house if a child was to inhabit the house. The "Kahuna" spoke with the lingering spirit of the home and learned he had some sort of chest problems that caused his passing. After hearing that I spoke with the mother and she indicated that he suffered a ruptured esophagus. Pretty eerie.

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