Children and the Paranormal
Written by Nicole Strickland
Paranormal Researcher, Author, Lecturer
Paranormal research is an ever-evolving field with new developed theories, tested methodologies, technological developments and further understanding of what constitutes life after death. The interest in this field is not limited to the adult population; we are seeing an influx of children of all ages commencing an intrigue in ghosts, spirits, hauntings and the afterlife. This is important not only for the future of supernatural research but for how our future generations examine and study the field at large.
The lingering question is how we go about educating our youth as many aspects of the paranormal are not considered age appropriate. There are various debates among today’s paranormal researchers on whether we should even attempt to educate young children on ghosts, spirits and hauntings. In my opinion, I don’t recommend investigative practice until a child reaches the age of maturity or 18-years-old by society’s standards, unless, of course, it is during an adult-monitored educational course. However, I do think it’s useful to educate boys and girls about general paranormal research practices, classifications of ghosts and hauntings, spiritual protection, etc., especially if that particular child expresses a substantially consistent intrigue in the realm. Furthermore, this is especially imperative for those with innately intrinsic psychic / empathic abilities as they move through life with the capacity to communicate with the dearly departed. It’s how we construct and go about educating that truly matters as successful teaching methods will positively reach our future paranormal investigators.
There are many supernatural researchers, including myself, who offer age friendly classes for kids who want to learn more about what goes bump in the night. One such course is taught by Oregon Ghost Conference President Rocky Smith and Aaron Collins, lead investigator of NW Paranormal Investigative Team based out of the Portland, Oregon area. One of the purposes of their class is to educate kids about the paranormal, including various tools of the trade utilized in research practices. Aaron actually shows his young course attendees how to properly use various gadgets and provides them hands-on training. After that, both Rocky and Aaron take the children to a certain conference location known to have spiritual activity and assist them in conducting an investigation. Of course, they invite parents to come along, too.
“Sometimes, we actually make contact with spirits with our equipment and the kids get very excited along with their parents,” Aaron goes on to say. He further echoes that, “children are more susceptible to seeing and experiencing spirit activity than adults at times, as their minds are pure and untainted.” If I may personally elaborate, kids lack the heavy ego that often pollutes the field of supernatural research.
After the investigation is completed, the children regroup back in the classroom to discuss their findings and past experiences. Aaron and Rocky have found that even the boys and girls who are very shy tend to open up and share their past encounters with the paranormal. One of the take-away points of their popular course is to warn kids to never conduct an investigation on their own and always have a well-trained investigator on hand. The feedback from the children and parents has been phenomenal; thus, why Aaron and Rocky continue to offer this class each year.
“If I can help just one child, then I feel that I have done my job,” Aaron relays.
Some boys and girls have an innate interest in the afterlife from birth whereas others develop an intrigue later in life. Some of our youth are born with inherent intuitive abilities often classifying them among the Crystal, Indigo or Rainbow Children, which you will read about in later paragraphs. Of course, an understanding of overall child cognitive and psychosocial development is crucial in order to successfully support a child’s overall intrigue in the supernatural. Adequately fostering children’s growth through these stages is not only beneficial for social, emotional and intellectual development but for the spiritual maturity of each child as he or she moves through life.
Colleges and universities educate about both Jean Piaget’s theories of child cognitive development and Erik Erikson’s beliefs regarding the psychological development of human beings. If boys and girls successfully graduate through each stage, they will be more prepared to face and seamlessly transition through the others. Let’s delve deeper into these phases and examine how a child might perceive, understand and/or react to paranormal and spirit phenomena. Note that it is imperative that adults understand the learning implications of these phases so they can be better adept at nurturing a child’s growth though them. In other words, success or failure at each stage will directly affect the next. With healthy developments in intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual growth, a child will, of course, be more grounded when working with ethereal energy.
Jean Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development
1. Sensorimotor Stage (0-2 years): During this phase, infants primarily focus on what is immediately in front of them. They concentrate on what they are visually seeing and interacting with. Object permanence develops around seven to nine months, which is a sure sign of memory growth. This can positively affect their ability to experience psychical / spiritual phenomena as the experiences can be stored in their brain, which further affects how they will perceive these encounters at later developmental stages.
2. Preoperational Stage (toddler – 7 years): During this stage, children further develop language, memory and imagination. While they can’t yet differentiate between cause and effect, they will perceive fantasy as real. Therefore, in their minds, any perception of paranormal events will be real. Proper fostering of grammar will enable kids to better express the world around them. Natural intuition is strong and based on thinking so children in this phase may not be able to logically explain ghostly experiences.
3. Concrete Operational Stage (7-11 years): During this phase, children develop concrete, logical thinking with the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy; thus, boys and girls can initiate understanding of paranormal events. Kids develop their understanding of the external environment and can comprehend that one’s own thoughts and feelings may differ from that of others. Additionally, they can start to examine their past ghostly experiences from a cause and effect standpoint.
4. Formal Operational Stage (11 years plus): Children can now start to think abstractly and form hypotheses; they can examine their surrounding environment in hypothetical ways. In regards to paranormal research, they can postulate new theories and attempt to test existing ones. Furthermore, children can initiate their own individual studies of the paranormal realm with the ability to comprehend various concepts.
Erik Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development
1. Trust vs. Mistrust (0-1.5 years): When parental guardians provide reliable and trusting care, babies will start to have trust in their caregivers. Conversely, if they don’t receive adequate care and affection, they will learn to mistrust others and their environment. This will result in self-concept and self-esteem issues down the road. In order to function and succeed in today’s society, a person should feel confident in his or her abilities.
2. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (1.5 – 3 years): With the development of new skills and abilities, children start to acquire a sense of autonomy and independence. If they are encouraged to develop these traits, boys and girls will become more confident and secure in contributing to society as older children and adults.
3. Initiative vs. Guilt (3-5 years): During this stage, children foster their interpersonal skills. If they are supported in their attempts to lead and make decisions, boys and girls will become more confident to do so as an adult. Conversely, if adults do not support a child’s initiative during these years, he or she will develop guilt and a lack of resourcefulness.
4. Industry vs. Inferiority (5-12 years): Children start to feel proud of their accomplishments. He or she desires to win approval by showcasing certain competencies valued by society. If boys and girls aren’t supported during this phase, they will doubt their abilities, lack confidence to achieve goals and therefore not reach their full potential during adulthood.
5. Identity vs. Role Confusion (12-18 years): An adolescent stage of development, teens foster a sense of self, personal beliefs, values and goals, the learning of roles they may participate in as adults, committing one’s self to others, and accepting others for their own individual beliefs. Without exploration of possibilities, teens will not learn how to fit in with society.
6. Intimacy vs. Isolation (18-40 years): Adults at this phase want to have a sense of commitment, care and happiness in a relationship. Avoiding this can lead to despair, isolation and depression. In regards to paranormal research, a person has to be mentally, emotionally and spiritually stable. Significant depression can cause an individual to be more vulnerable to the spiritual realm and even lower level entities.
7. Generativity vs. Stagnation (40-65 years): Adults start to develop their sense of self in the big picture (career, family, etc.) and give back by contributing to society. By failing to do this, people can feel stagnate and unproductive. Studying the supernatural realm, as with other fields, is a way to learn more about our world and galaxies beyond by contributing to society.
8. Ego Integrity vs. Despair (65 years plus): This is a recollective phase as adults look back on their lives and contributions or lack thereof to society. Despair and hopelessness may occur if they don’t feel like they have led a successful life. The goal is to have a sense of closure and completeness and accept death without fear. People at this stage may even start to become more interested in the paranormal as they contemplate their own mortality.
The take-away point for each of Piaget and Erikson’s stages is that development or lack thereof at each stage directly affects the next. Thus, there should be successful growth at each phase in order to fully develop one’s own cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual growth.
Perhaps, by a cosmic shift, there is an ever-increasing interest in the study of paranormal phenomena in today’s world; as we know, this intrigue is not just limited to the adult population. Children and teens are showcasing a desire to learn more about the supernatural realm and what constitutes life after death. Both adults and children are now made more aware of ghosts, spirits and hauntings whether it’s due to mainstream media’s focus, talk amongst peers or an innate interest. In regards to our youth, parents should be made aware of the key signs that their child is communicating with the spirit realm. Some of the prevailing indications include:
- Withdrawal from family / peers
- Changes in academics / activities
- Sleep disturbances / lucid dreaming / not wanting to sleep in a certain room
- Drawing unusual and/or unique pictures of people
- Preoccupation / spending time alone
- Sudden change of routine / wanting to go out at night with friends
- Sudden fear of a location
- Talking or gesturing with unseen forces
- Recalling information from deceased relatives or friends
- Big interest in studying the paranormal
- Extreme perception / sensitivity; signs of psychic ability
- Frequent illness / diagnosis of depression or anxiety
As parents, it is important to keep a positive attitude by keeping an open and healthy dialogue with your children in regards to their interest in or possible encounters with the other side. Provide a safe place when having a discussion and try not to lead the child; in other words, let him or her naturally talk and describe what he or she is experiencing. Never ridicule a child for his or her intrigue in the paranormal nor make he or she feel inferior or weird because of his or her encounters.
Parents of intuitive and psychically inclined children should aptly learn about the innate traits of Crystal, Indigo and Rainbow Children. Sadly, it is often that these types of kids are mislabeled and diagnosed with mental disabilities or emotional disturbances. For this very reason, teachers and support staff should be educated on these psychic traits and how they can look similar to or replicate a medical diagnosis, such as Attention Deficit Disorder or Autism. When psychically inclined children are put in a situation where they either don’t understand their natural gifts and/or can’t healthfully express them, they often act out in various ways, thus causing a parental guardian or teacher to assume something is “wrong.” What’s sad in this case is that a child’s gifts are labeled as negative due to complete misunderstanding when all along they should be looked at as innately beautiful.
Nancy Ann Tappe is widely known for her studies of Indigo children. After 1980, she found that 80% of children were born with indigo-colored eyes, similar to the third eye chakra responsible for regulating clairvoyance or the ability to see ghosts and spirits. Kids with Indigo traits are often labeled as aggressive, hyperactive, possessing the “warrior persona” with the intent to break down old systems and bring restorative integrity to the world. Boys and girls in this category are extremely perceptive, telepathic with natural leadership abilities. They have both right and left-brain alignment with sensitivity and psychic aptitudes. They are often categorized as “old souls” as they possess wisdom beyond their years. Sadly, these boys and girls are often diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, emotional disturbance, oppositional defiant disorder or even Autism. In fact, to combat this, Nancy came up with the term “awe-tistic” and ADHD acronym “Attention Dialed into a Higher Dimension.”
Blue-Ray children are the forerunners of the crystal kids. They usually evolve very early and are often seen teaching other youths at a very young age. With extreme telekinetic powers, they are quite aware of their mission on earth. Some of their traits include stubbornness, a unique love of language and travel and vivid imagination / dreaming. Determined souls, these boys and girls are exceptionally drawn to water and have a thriving love for animals.
The crystal kids are the newest generation of Rainbow Children who are typically labeled as having Autism and don’t communicate with the outer world according to society’s standards. But, communicate they do, just not according to what society deems “appropriate.” They are often labeled as having speech disturbances and delays, lack of physical abilities, and hypersensitivity to their surroundings. These children are known for their natural healing qualities, clairsentience (empathy) skills and compassion, who prefer to communicate via music, sound and/or sign language.
In a world of their own, these boys and girls are too often labeled as having Autism. In my opinion, Autistic traits should never be regarded as being weird or unusual; rather, with proper understanding of Crystal children, people will start to realize that these boys and girls offer something quite beautiful to the world. Once educational systems and parental guardians start to realize that Autism is a cosmic gift, only then will these children be allowed to develop, flourish and successfully complete their mission.
Savant Syndrome is a rare and extraordinary condition where people who are deemed to have mental or physical disabilities can showcase a certain level of genius in particular areas. Linked to having a massive memory, approximately 10% of Autistic-labeled children have this astonishing gift. Kim Peek is perhaps, America’s most famous Savant. The movie, Rainman, is based off Peek, which highlights his extreme memory capacity. At the ripe age of just 16-months-old, he started memorizing various books and vast amounts of information relating to history, literature, geography, statistics, etc. With the rare aptitude of being able to recall almost every detail he read, Peek was born with macrocephaly, or a condition with an abnormally enlarged head, cerebellum damage and agenesis of the corpus callosum or the absence of the nerve bundle that connects the two brain hemispheres.
Adults should develop awareness of various psychic abilities, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience, among others, as they will be better adept at recognizing these gifts in their offspring. Perhaps, find a local, reputable support group for other kids who possess intuitive abilities. Is there a well-respected paranormal investigation group that offers education for children? Some schools are even offering “paranormal clubs” for those who are interested in the supernatural. As always, boys and girls should be positively encouraged to grow their instinctive abilities and not be chastised for possessing their unique skills.
At a young age, boys and girls should be taught how to get in touch with their feelings and spiritual self through energy work, reiki or chakra cleansing. Just as with adults, they should learn about spiritual protection, meditation, grounding and centering techniques. When studying the paranormal, kids can learn about the classifications of ethereal entities and hauntings. They can befriend others or find a trusted mentor who possesses similar intuitive skills as this will naturally enable awareness and self-acceptance of their abilities. As always, it’s imperative that the child’s environment is conducive to his or her unique aptitudes – restful sleep, proper nutrition, elimination of toxins and/or added stress, etc. Remember that children can learn to understand, cope and utilize their gifts.
After reading all of this, it may come as no surprise to you that many paranormal research teams are seeing an influx of cases involving children. These cases may entail an active private residence where children are experiencing anomalies or they may be about educating parents and children about psychic gifts and how to recognize, cope and utilize them. Either way, there are various tips and suggestions for handling cases concerning youth. Here are some questions investigators can ask when taking on any such situation:
- Is the child’s experience innate or learned? Learned meaning that the child has heard parental guardians or other adults talking with each other about their odd encounters.
- Is the experience stemming from the child’s personal or external environment or another area of the home? If it is a child’s bedroom or playroom, first examine the space to determine if something natural to the location is causing concern. Do events happen only at night? Perhaps, it’s a case of “monster-under-the-bed” or fear of the dark. If a child is having experiences only outside of the home, perhaps there may be some form of anxiety or fear of school or social situations. Or, perhaps, the external location may be paranormally active.
- Are the child’s encounters backed up and supported by other witnesses? If so, this may suggest an authentic haunting of some sort.
- Are there any biological factors causing a child’s experiences? (medications, change of routines, changes in environment, stress, sleep disorders, puberty, excessive stimulation prior to bedtime, etc.) If so, first rule any one of these out as the cause prior to deeming a child’s encounters as paranormal.
- Children need daily routines and if any one of their routines is altered, it may cause significant stress, perhaps, making them more vulnerable to anxiety and heightened imaginations.
Again, never judge or ridicule a child for his or her alleged paranormal encounters and/or psychic skills. With parental guardian verbal and written consent, an investigator can interview a child regarding his or her experiences. If a very young boy or girl is involved, picture drawing may be the most beneficial. Once the picture is completed, you can ask the child questions about it, making sure to focus on the “what, when and where,” not necessarily the “why and how” as younger children won’t be able to understand. If you are dealing with a teenager, you can sit them down and interview them. Make sure to establish a safe and honest place for them so they can feel comfortable in openly sharing their experiences.
In closing, there are various ways we can help psychically inclined children to reach their full potential. Let’s start by getting rid of societal and/or medical labels. Start realizing that these kids are exhibiting a brand-new communication and social structure. We should stop medicating these children as it will only stagnate their intuitive growth and understanding. Remember that pharmaceutical treatments are more for an adult’s convenience, not necessarily for the child’s, especially when it concerns the fostering of spiritual growth. Children need to be taught how to successfully channel and utilize their amazing gifts, not be ostracized for them. We need to learn how to accommodate our newer generations and the natural evolution of human species. Remember that these groups of psychically inclined youth are here to spread peace, honesty and integrity throughout the world. Once we allow them to do so, we will undoubtedly see more infiltrated love, increased humility, cures for diseases, dissolution of animal extinction and world peace.
Written by Nicole Strickland
Paranormal Researcher, Author, Speaker