Do you believe in ghosts and spirits? Do you believe in haunted houses? Do you believe children are able to see paranormal people and communicate with them?
There are a couple of television shows on American networks that deal with “child psychics” that see hauntings and communicate with the dead.
On one show, a pair of adults — one a former child psychic — visit with these children to help them through the difficulty of seeing things other children do not.
You cannot help but recognize the rising stink of another snake oil drama playing out before your eyes as you see these “special” children — obviously delusional and terrified — make up stories of things they think they feel and see. When they have those irrational experiences authenticated by their parents and by visiting, self-certified “experts” assigned to save them, the rest of us shudder.
The real terror is in the disconnect between adult reality and childhood invention.
Some of the children relish their special status and weave long stories and personal histories of the undead — the dead, not the devil, is in the details — and the fact that several stories mirror plotlines for “Ghost Whisperer” creates a laugh and a chortle as one works to find pity and sympathy for those children that have lost line bright line between television and real life while appearing on television.
The hucksterism of these television shows makes John Edward, James Van Praagh and Sylvia Brown look like amateurs as the children are pressed forward as truer and more natural examples of psychic vessels ready for filling and for the pouring out of imagination instead of experience.
On a different show, a child psychologist appears to evaluate the children. The psychologist obviously appears in an attempt to provide a sense of scientific authenticity for the children’s claims, but one cannot escape the notion that the psychologist is appropriately skeptical of the phenomenon the children are extolling, but she also believes the children believe what they are seeing — and that is vital, because verification of the dead, and then dealing with children that believe they are seeing the dead — are definite and opposite ends.
Why are we so fascinated with the beyond and preoccupied by the undead instead of the living around us? Is it because we know our lives are temporary and not eternally temporal?
When we see children relating stories of dead strangers they cannot know, yet still colorfully describe in excruciating coached detail, does that rather sick and curious fantasy give some of us hope in some small way that we will not be forgotten?
We must always remember that just because someone says something is so doesn’t mean that it is true — but we must always be mindful of the power of invented belief and dealing with those living in the realm of the unreal is a challenge for the steady-minded, because shattering belief in order to restore order and cognition may render the truth unrecognizable and unknowable.