Children's Encounters with the Unknown

Children sense the unknown
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They see and experience extraordinary things that many adults cannot

ARE CHILDREN MORE attuned to the supernatural? Many researchers suspect that children, from the youngest ages and into early teens, are more likely to experience paranormal phenomena because they have not yet developed the prejudices that many adults have against such far-out, "unscientific" ideas. Perhaps they have not yet created their own filters for feelings and experiences that most of society consider irrational or abnormal. Or it could be that young brains or minds are, for whatever reason, physically more receptive to such phenomena as ghosts, near-death experiences, past-life recall and premonitions.

Whatever the reason, here are several true stories from readers that seem to confirm that children can be extraordinarily tuned in to the strange and the unexplained:


Years ago while in my teens, my mom took me with her to pick up one of her elderly friends to give her a ride to our church. We weren't going that night, but my mom was always helpful to the senior citizens at our church. When we got to my mom's friend's house, mom asked me to go to the door to tell her that we were outside waiting on her.

I rang the doorbell and the elderly lady opened the door, said "hello" and left me standing in the doorway for a few minutes while she finished getting ready. The couch in the elderly lady's living room was partially shielded by the door, but I could see a man sitting on her couch in front of her TV, which was turned on. He never moved or spoke to me as I stood there. I was very shy and didn't attempt to speak to him either. I distinctly remember he had on a white shirt, black pinstriped pants, black nylon socks and shiny black shoes. His hands rested on his knees. I remember that his hand was wrinkled and appeared to be that of an elderly, very dark, African-American man, but I was positioned in a way that I could not see his face.

After a few minutes, the elderly lady grabbed her coat and walked out the door locking it behind her. She left the man sitting on her couch watching television, but she hadn't said anything to him when she left. I thought that it was rather strange, but said nothing about it to her.

After we dropped the elderly lady off at church, I said, "Mom, Mrs. McClain left a man in her house, but she didn't say bye to him when we left." I also told her that he was sitting on her couch in front of the TV. She asked me what he looked like because Mrs. McClain's landlord came to visit her from time to time. I described what I saw to my mom, but told her that I didn't see his face. My mom said that the description that I gave did not match that of her landlord, because he was a very pale-skinned man.

My mom was very concerned, so she called Mrs. McClain at church and, in order not to alarm her, asked, "Did you have some company? My daughter said that you left your TV on." Mrs. McClain told mom she didn't have any company that day and that she leaves her TV on whenever she goes out because she wants people to think that someone is home, so that no one will break in.

Hearing this really frightened my mom, and I guess the elderly lady could hear the fright in my mom's voice and she started screaming out, asking my Mom, "What did your daughter see? Please tell me, what did your daughter see? You are scaring me. I can't go back there. What did she see?" I remember my mom having to talk to her for quite awhile to calm her down. My mom finally convinced her that we were just wondering why she had left the television on.

When my mom finally got off of the phone, we were both very shaken. I was crying and extremely afraid that I would see this man again because at this point we knew it had to be a ghost. I kept repeating, "I am so glad that I didn't try to see his face." My mom comforted me by saying that it was probably Mrs. McClain's husband, who had passed away, watching out for her because she was all alone. I never saw the man again and we never told Mrs. McClain what I had really seen that evening in her house. -- H. Holmes


When my little brother was a baby, maybe nine months old, we lived with my grandma. My grandpa had just died. My mom was sitting in the living room around midnight trying to get my brother to sleep, but he wouldn't stop crying. Suddenly, out of nowhere he stopped crying, sat straight up and said, "Hi, grandpa." There was no one else in the room at all. The weird thing is, he said those words so clearly, and he had never spoken before, not even to say "mom"! -- Beth B.


Many of your UK readers between the ages of 45 and 55 will probably remember a TV show called Watch with Mother. The show was on the BBC in the 1950s and featured a string puppet named "Andy Pandy", and he had a sidekick named "Loopy Lou or Looby Lou".

One day my brother and sister where playing upstairs in our front bedroom. This room was about 12 ft. x 12 ft. and had a cupboard in the corner, which was directly over the stairs. My sister and brother, both now in their late 40s, swear to this day that Andy Pandy came out of that cupboard in the corner and spent the next hour playing with them both. This Andy Pandy, however, was about four feet high and had no strings attached. I have questioned both of them over the years and still their story remains the same. - Mike C.

Next page: More experiences


When I was seven years old, one weekend I planned to stay up late downstairs playing video games and then sleep on the pull-out bed. I was preparing to go to bed when, for some reason, I got the impression that something was watching me. I got scared enough to run back upstairs, and while I was running, I could see very short (no larger than two feet tall) and squat figures darting after me. They were very indistinct in features, and appeared as nothing more than inky-black silhouettes.

Also, when my aunt was young, she was sleeping over at a friend's house at the end of the street when she said that a "shadow man" appeared at the foot of the bed and began to call out her friend's name. She screamed and said that it disappeared into the floor.


My mother's family (parents and siblings) lived in Binghamton, New York. My dad was in the Navy and my parents, my sister and I lived in Patuxent River, Maryland. I was six years old at the time. Even though we lived in Maryland, I knew most of my mother's family because we would visit them quite often in Binghamton, and during the summer they all came to visit us. At the time, my cousin, Marylou, who lived in Binghamton, was 11 years old.

I got home from school one day and asked my mother why Marylou was crying. She didn't understand what I was talking about. I told her that I heard her crying. She was quite puzzled by my statement and had no explanation. Within a few hours, the phone rang. It was my grandmother calling to say that my cousin had been hit by a car walking home from school -- about the same time I told my mother I could hear her crying. I have had a few other premonitions, but this is the one I remember most. -- Nancy T.


I was 13 and it was quite some time after my little brother had passed away. I had wanted to be with him because I thought it would be better with him than at home. One night I was sleeping in my bed and I had felt this warm sensation. I saw this large hand come on my legs. It was so warm I had to wake up. To my surprise, there were some men standing around my bed, which was up against the wall. They were dressed in white and chanting in some language I never heard. One looked at me and then they all did and stopped chanting. Then, all in a single file, they walked out of the room.

I crawled to the end of my bed and peeked out the door to the living room. There we had a dim light on. They were gone. I was a little scared and crawled under the covers and started to pray. Then my other brother asked me if I was awake. I said yes. He asked me to come to his room. I said, "No way. You come." But I did manage to get to his room, just to find out that my brother had gone through the exact same thing as I did. We were both scared. -- Ruby


When my cousin was little, she would always say that she was visited by "a friend." My family thought this was an imaginary friend. One day while looking through a photo album, my cousin saw a picture of her grandfather who had died only a few years before she was born. She had never seen this picture before. She said that the man in the picture (her grandfather) was the friend who visited her regularly. This is interesting because my grandfather adored his grandchildren, and I could envision him wanting to meet the one who was born after he died. -- Dennis and Heather S.


My mom told me this story, and she still cries when she tells it. It has never been explained. My sister, Shirley (the firstborn), died of Down Syndrome at the age of two in 1961. She had holes in her heart. Almost two years later, my mother had a baby boy, my brother, Steven.

One day in 1962, my mom was up in the attic doing some work, and my dad was in the basement in his workshop. Steven (age one) was supposedly napping in a playpen in the den. My mom heard, clear as day, Shirley's voice saying, "Dadda! Dadda!" ... and it was as though she were right there next to her in the attic. Clear as day. My dad heard the SAME THING down in his workshop. "Dadda! Dadda!" They both say it was distinctly Shirley's voice -- loud and clear.

Dad ran up to tell mom; mom ran to tell dad. They both ran into the den, and there was baby Steven with plastic dry cleaner's sheeting that he had reached for on the couch -- and he was suffocating! Mom and dad both told us later on that it could not have been Steven calling them; he called my dad, "daddy" not "dadda," and it was not his voice. They are convinced to this day that it was Shirley warning them that her brother was suffocating. -- Donna B.