You hear your child talking to herself. Not thinking anything of it since she is four, when you enter her room you play along and pretend her imaginary friend is real. However, as with all children she cannot distinguish between reality and imagination and your daughter insists that her friend Susan is real. As the weeks pass, your daughter spends more and more time talking to “Susan” and no matter what insists she is real, and even gets upset with you when you grow tired of leaving an extra seat open in the vehicle, and setting another place at the table. Eventually she starts having frequent nightmares and gets strange bruises and scratches on her body leaving you to wonder if there is something otherworldly going on.
As strange as it may sound, the above scenario, while fictional, mirrors many people’s real-life experiences. As the name implies, imaginary friends are just that, imaginary, right? After all, children are not capable of understanding what is and isn’t real. As a father of a young son, I know this all too well. It doesn’t take much for him to get something in his head and believe it to be true, or that he might have seen something that wasn’t there. This is completely normal for children, however, what do we do with these stories of children seemingly being abused by unseen forces? To a lesser degree, what do we do with tales of children acting differently around a certain imaginary friend, unable to shake the belief that he/she is really there? Is this just children being children?
Young children especially aren’t prone to lying, they tend to observe the world as they see it, however being truthful doesn’t equate accuracy. As I discussed before in previous “The Unexplained” articles, the human memory is notoriously fragile, and this is particularly true for children. This fact should be acknowledged and weighed when considering the instances of allegedly “true” imaginary friends, but it cannot be a means to dismiss all of them.
When things like bruises, scratches, and increased nightmares afflict children, it is something that should be taken seriously. To deepen the mystery, sometimes children who have “imaginary” friends have knowledge of people who once lived in the same house or in the town in the past. Does this mean their friends are really ghosts? Not necessarily, but it is interesting to ponder, nonetheless.
There are even cases of these imaginary friends appearing to people well into adulthood. There are hundreds of compelling stories that seem to indicate that at least some of these imaginary friends are more than merely imaginary. However, what matters is what you think. What do you make of these odd imaginary friend stories? Do you believe there is something supernatural happening?