In addition to her response, she happened to mention some experiences her grandson had had seeing people who had passed on. What really stood out to me was how he didn’t seem to be alarmed. He just accepted he was meeting someone new.
Like many of you, I’ve heard story after story about such incidents. (I can even remember having one of my own from when I was little.) But something dawned on me today. It struck me like it hadn’t before that the majority of Child Meets Ghost stories involve the child not being afraid.
Like I told Patty, sure, there are those incidents where children feel threatened by some unseen force or presence. But her email made me realize that more often than not the child just sees the ghost as a friend (regardless of the ghosts age). They have no trouble talking to him or her and often enjoy spending time “playing” together.
But this is what really struck me. One of the incidents Patty mentioned about her grandson happened when he was two. Not that her grandson sounded shy, but lots of kids go through a phase of being cautious (if not downright leery and afraid) of strangers.
I can’t help but think of one of the ladies in my tennis class. Her son is two. He’s in that “don’t leave me alone, I don’t want to be with these strangers” phase. She tries to leave him in the daycare at the center where we take our lessons, but often one of the attendants has to come get her because he’s inconsolable. (Sometimes so much so she ends up not being able to continue with the class some days.)
It’s not always at age two they experience this phase. It can start that early and end in months, or it can start a bit later and last for years –or any combination thereof. Yet, regardless if they’re in that stage or not, kids are usually a bit guarded when meeting strangers. But it seems in the stories where they meet ghosts, they don’t display the same reticence as they would with a unknown human. (Well, yes, sometimes when they do feel threatened by the ghost, but I’m talking about those times they don’t.)
In a weird way, this just reinforces my belief that (a) ghosts do exist, and (b) they don’t mean harm and shouldn’t be feared.
Although, that said, I also believe there are dark forces out there, just as there are dark people walking amongst us now. Ghosts, like people, should be assessed on a case-by-case basis before deciding just how much interaction should be had.