The psychologist says that her efforts stem from her own childhood experiences, and she’s out to discover whether or not the imaginary friends that so many kids have are actually the spirits of the dead instead. She’s even written a book, Kids Who See Ghosts: How to Guide Them Through Fear, about it.
Haven’t we all entertained this line of thought before (whether or not we actually believed it, of course)? The idea that perhaps children—as well as pets—are much more open to the world around them and, without the lenses of propriety and societal rules we have as adults who’ve spent our lives being indoctrinated and assimilated into our culture where such things are deemed imaginary at best and insane at worst, can possibly see the dead?
I know I have. In fact, I can remember seeing such people as a child myself, and being told that it was just my imagination. Was it? Perhaps. As I grew older, I certainly lost the ability to see such things—though the creepy feeling of being watched, not being alone, and the presence of others certainly remains. We can all probably vouch for that feeling, which can usually be explained away. Of course, some fascination with the “what ifs” out there cause us to entertain our imaginations, too. The “what if” factor does remain, though; if something has not been disproven, it could always still be proven, right?
This translates into my current life with my daughter, who says she sees ghosts—a man and a woman, who sometimes has a dog. A man and a woman did die in our house; they were my grandparents. And my grandmother did have a beloved dog. However, my daughter also loves Scooby Doo, and she hasn’t been all that specific about the details. She has, however, come running into my room afraid of the ghosts, something that Goode says may show truth. She is also afraid to play in her bedroom alone—something that I hope to have remedied once we move from this house, which we hope will be in the near future.
Either way, I honor her tales—whether they be something she actually sees or her imagination—as a part of her and do not tell her to stop making things up, that ghosts are not real, and so on. I’d much rather her know that her mother trusts her, and respects her—imagination or not. My own cousin, at age two, did say he saw a man in his room quite often after my grandfather had been dead for many years, and when he saw a photo of him for the first time, declared it to be “the man in my room.” That room is now my daughter’s.