Paranormal investigations can be a lot of fun, but they also come with risks. RICK HALE considers whether children should be allowed to go ghosthunting…
As a paranormal investigator who’s been around for a while I get a lot of questions. I’m often asked my thoughts on children investigating paranormal activity.
This really is a tough one. I mean, there are so many variables involved in this question.
I started researching ghosts and hauntings at a very early age, 8 years old, in fact. But I didn’t do my first investigation until I was 17 and just entering my senior year in high school. So I guess you might say I was a child investigator. However, over the last 31 years I have had plenty of time to really give this some serious consideration.
Do they understand the concept of life and death?
First off, you have to consider the maturity level of the child and their understanding of death. I would never dream of taking my 11 year old son on an investigation. Although he is the future world’s greatest psychical researcher and asks his old man lots of questions, and understands it very well, he’s just not ready.
An 11 year old or even a 16 year old may lack an understanding of what they are dealing with especially pertaining to the theory, that these are the souls of people. They may also lack an experience with death. Dealing with death and the possibility of an afterlife are pretty heavy concepts for a child to grasp.
Is it physically safe?
Another factor to consider is the possibility of dangerous situations the investigator faces. When it comes down to it we really don’t know what we are dealing with. Are spirits able to harm a person? Some, including myself, would say yes. I have been shoved on my ass and punched in the head.
You and I, as adults, might be a little more prepared for that, a kid not so much. A child should never be placed in any dangerous situation where they could get hurt. That’s just irresponsible.
I have the perfect example of why children shouldn’t be put in this situation. A number of years ago, a good friend went through a divorce and wanted to find ways of connecting with his 13-year-old son. So he took him on an investigation.
From all the research he had done, the ghost that was haunting the business was known to be relatively benign and had never hurt anyone. But as any good ghost hunter knows, things can turn real quick.
While investigating, the boy began speaking harshly to the spirit. He had watched a few TV shows to prepare and thought that “provoking” was an acceptable way of communicating.
The ghost didn’t really care for the boy’s words and according to my friend, his son was shoved to the floor by the ghost. The kid is in his early 20s now and still fears the dark.
And lastly the fear factor. Dealing with the unexplained can be a frightening thing. Bringing a child on an investigation could potentially scar them for life. The human mind is a fragile thing and can be easily broken. A child’s brain is not fully developed and if they experience a scary situation it could cause some pretty serious psychosis.
Bring them on a ghost tour instead
I would have to say bringing a child on an investigation may not be a great idea. Children are being forced to grow up too fast these days, way to fast and shouldn’t really be exposed to death and the afterlife until they are mature enough to grasp these concepts. Going on a tour is one thing but being left alone in a haunted place are two entirely different things.
So what makes a tour different from an investigation? I’m glad you asked because there’s a huge difference.During a tour, you’re not actively investigating. You’re not trying to make contact or communicate. Basically, you’re walking around, hearing a few spooky stories and nothing intense typically happens.
I would take my own son on a ghost walk any day and feel perfectly comfortable doing it.
With that being said, I guess it really rests with the discretion of the parent. I would never dream of telling others how to raise their child. I would say if you do bring your progeny along start off with something light.
Maybe not something where an aggressive or malicious spirit is involved. But again, you’re the parent and if you think it’s safe than it’s up to you.
What are you thoughts on children investigating the paranormal? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
Read Alan Murdie’s article “Ghosts and the Experiences of Children” which explores the question, why do kids see ghosts?