Thursday, October 31, 2013

Moms, Kids and the Paranormal by Chad Stambaugh

Children are naturally scary creatures, but what happens when your kid is more than run-of-the-mill scary and might actually be experiencing a haunting or demonic activity?

One common theme that pops up in biographic ghost stories on television is that it is always the mother who first believes their child’s claims of paranormal experiences. In these narratives, dads typically brush off the stories or get angry at the suggestion that there might be something otherworldly happening. It isn’t until the dads experience something personally that they become believers. (Curiously—and I haven’t tabulated any fancy statistics to determine this—there seems to be less reports of moms who think their child may have been abducted by aliens.)

On average, moms spend more time with their children than dads, and since various polls show more women than men believe in ghosts, it stands to reason that a mother would be more attune to her child having a case of the paranormal or ghost pox; which I guess can’t be cured with penicillin or a vaccine (What would a paranormal vaccine even involve, dead ghosts? Ghosts are already dead. It doesn’t make any sense, I mean, come on.).

It doesn’t take long to find a mom on the Internet desperately seeking help for her child who is experiencing something unexplained. It seems fair to ask whether these are some sort of pleas for attention on the part of the mom, or whether the child’s problems might best be dealt with by a psychiatrist or other medical professional, and there’s no doubt this is often the case. But what if sometimes it’s worth taking moms seriously on these matters? Most moms love their children and would go to bat for them for anything; mine always did. Yet if a child is experiencing something paranormal, they can’t take the child to a hospital to get cured, and coming forward with it publicly would bring on ridicule and questions over the mom’s sanity. It has to be a tough position to be in.

More generally, since moms often socialize kids the most, they can greatly influence their children’s beliefs on the paranormal. Séances, Ouija boards, and fortune telling were of the utmost evil, which made them all the more appealing to me. Yet there was a complete openness to the idea that spirits existed, and some might not have passed on. The possibility of demons or evil influences wasn’t discussed, but they were understood to exist.

How might your mom have shaped your interests in the paranormal? What stories did she tell or what beliefs did she pass on to you? Did she believe you if you ever claimed you had a paranormal experience as a child? If you never thought to ask, when you call to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, ask her if she’s ever seen a ghost or a UFO, or experienced anything unexplained. I’m of the opinion that these are the sorts of fun memories and conversations one should have with their parents.

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