Monday, December 21, 2009

The Things Children See

All little Diane Garder wanted to do was play. As she stood in her aunt’s yard one afternoon, she noticed someone standing nearby.

“When I was three years old I saw a shadow person,” Garder said. “It looked curiously at me as I played in the backyard of my aunt’s home.”

Alone in the yard – her family was inside – she approached the shadowy figure; it didn’t like that.

“The entity looked at me and when I acknowledged it, it seemed to have feared me,” Garder said. “I chased it and said, ‘Wait wait. It’s OK. Who are you? Do you want to play?’ As a little child I did not know yet enough that I should have been scared.”

She chased this figure until it ran between two trees, through a fence and vanished.

“Was this entity from a different dimension or a ghost?” she said. “My mother had an abortion a few years before I was born and the shadow looked like it would have been the age of the older sibling if it had lived on this planet and not had been terminated during my mom’s pregnancy. Could it have been my dead brother or sister? Till this day at the age of 26 I am in utter amazement and awe of such a being.”

Children see more than adults. Invisible friends, ghosts, little people. Children often startle their parents by discussing encounters with someone whose description is similar to a grandparent the child has never met. Is it imagination, or can children tap into a part of the world adults can no longer see?

Bill Bryant was one of those children.

“I saw the Hat Man when I was a kid,” he said. “My brother and I shared the same room. Maybe 30 years later I was talking to my brother about it at my mom’s house. He said he saw the same thing.”

The Hat Man is an often-seen type of shadow person that wears, of all things, a fedora.

“Last fall my sister was telling my mom of seeing the Hat Man,” Bryant said. “(Mom) remembered my story and described him to my sister before she could describe him.”

Is the ability to see the paranormal something we outgrow? Or do children experience frequent paranormal encounters because society has yet to tell them there’s nothing unusual under their beds – or up the stairs.

In the late 1970s, Stefanie Woolsey – then four years old – and her three-year-old sister saw something in their house.

“This particular event we experienced together still haunts us,” Woolsey said.

Woolsey’s family lived in an older, A-framed, red brick house in southern Indiana near the Ohio River. In the upstairs room under the peaked ceiling was the Woolsey children’s playroom.

“Our oldest sister was in kindergarten,” Woolsey said. “When she went to school, my mother encouraged my other sister and I to play upstairs while she cleaned the house.”

In the upstairs room, the girls would open a closet door “that looked like a barn door,” take out their toys and play. But their fun would always be cut short.

“We would play until we disturbed the Soldier Boy,” she said.

A young man, angered by the noise the girls made, would emerge from the closet and gruffly yell, “Get out of here.” The Soldier Boy wore a military uniform with big black boots.

“We were so little, as we turned the corner to the stairs we could only see his big, black boots,” Woolsey said. “My sister and I ran so fast we’d land on our rear-ends and flop down the stairs until we reached the bottom with our hearts almost beating out of our chests.”

Hearing the noise, their mother would step around the corner holding her cleaning supplies and tell them to go back upstairs.

“My sister and I answered, ‘We can’t. The Soldier Boy won’t let us,’” Woolsey said.

This happened almost every day for the year Woolsey’s family lived in that house.

“My sister and I collected our toys and played in the middle of the stairs appeasing our mother and the Soldier Boy,” she said.

Woolsey’s mother never saw the Soldier Boy, nor did she believe them, but she did notice strange things in the house.

“Even though my mother’s an avid cleaner, the house became infested with roaches forcing us to move to a wonderful, white house in the country,” Woolsey said. “The closest neighbor lived a mile away in an old church made into a house with a cemetery in the yard. My sister and I continued to have experiences – but not with the Soldier Boy.”

Can children see into an unknown world? It seems adults should not so easily discredit a child who speaks of a “friend” who plays in their room.

Copyright 2009 by Jason Offutt

Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s books on the paranormal, “Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us,” and “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” at Jason’s blog,


Anonymous said...

The Hindu call children God until they are four years old, not without good reason.

When my older daughter was two and a half, she saw my brother, whom she had met only at her first two Christmases, over a hundred miles away, described vividly what he was doing, what was happening to him as he played golf, later confirmed by my brother.

A nephew, when he was three, was riding in the back seat of his mother's car, and as they were driving past where her wedding reception had been, which burned to the ground shortly after the event, he pointed out the window and exclaimed, "Look! There's a big fire there!" There were condos where the restaurant-club had been -- and no fire.

A friend's granddaughter, aged two, was napping in her grandmother's lap when she suddenly pointed to the house next door and said, "Look, the house is burning and a woman is standing on the porch and a big rope is hanging down!" The house had been gutted by fire fifteen years before. There had been a photograph of it in the local paper, in the center of which there was a wire hanging, broken away from a pole by the flames. The old newspaper piece was in a folder in a file cabinet, inaccessible to the girl.

This same child told often of meeting her "Nana" who had died before she was born, to play cards and other games with her. She told of things her Nana, her great grandmother, liked.

Another friend's son told her of meeting and talking to his grandfather who had died well before he was born, before she was married, while sitting on the roof of the house.

The Hindu saw what we overlook : before socialization sets in and children learn to conform to expectations, they are in contact with that for which we all long for the remainder of our natural lives.

Anonymous said...

[Citation needed]

richard said...

Howdy Jason,

This ability to 'see' things by children that are invisible to adults seems akin to an animal's ability to do the same. Anonymous @ 8:01 mentions 'socialization.' As good an explanation as any, imo.

canopus said...

I cannot believe how stupid Americans are. These shadowy figures are not angels or reincarnations of dead relatives. They are JINNS!. Try to read 'Ibn Taymeeyah's essay on the jinn', by Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips.

Jinns come as males and females and they are also able to have children. Some jinns are good and believe in the one true God, whilst most jinns are non beleievers and subsequently evil.

You can buy this book from Amazon or pretty much any online book store.

Anonymous said...

I agree that children can "see" things until they are forced to adapt to the adult, socialized culture we have created. I saw and felt things when I was younger that my parents disregarded. I think it is kind of sad.

Anonymous said...

when i was small, i think that can saw strange things. but when i grow up undrestand that that was only my imagination
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Unknown said...


my son is a year and a half, and sometimes he is sitting in the living room with me playing and then all of a sudden starts to cry and point down our hallway. He will sit in my lap and wont move if I try to take him down the hall he wont let me go he climbs up my arm. Today he stood outside the bathroom door and wouldnt go in but wanted me to sit by the door with him. He would point and say a few things but wouldnt go in. I have no idea if he sees something or not, but i dont know how to help him sometimes. He gets really scared and cries. Do you have any advice?

anomynousdude said...

Dude that is freaky. I'm 13 now and i see my dreams.

ourworlds Deaths Doom said...

im 14 and some time i still see them but when i do some of them attake me like thisone time one kicked while i was standing still in the dark and i had a bad leg for a couple mounths i also see animals in the dark and stuff in pure elements like fire and water that normaly wouldn't be there i dont know why but i know when it started it started when i just turned 4 years old i saw the french lady floating in front f me from that moment on i could see parts of the future in my sleep on and off and i became oddly luckier if u beleie in luck that is but i also could feal the darkness like it was real but i know it isnt its frieky