In Huntsville, Alabama there is a small, dark and gravelly nook, surrounded by shade trees and limestone, where you can find a few pieces of playground equipment, and not much else. The interesting thing about this park is that passersby swear that they have witnessed swings moving and creaking (without the help of the wind) and child ghosts wandering the park. For this reason, the locals have named it “Dead Children’s Playground.” One legend has it that the playground is populated by the children who died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 (Huntsville was hit particularly hard); another legend says that the remains of children killed by a child abductor in the 1960s are buried — and (supposedly) found — there.
If you ask me, some of the scariest ghost stories are the ones that include pint-sized specters. And, according to Ranker’s Jacob Shelton, “every small town has their own ghost story about a creepy child. These pre-Internet tales of woe are interesting in their similarities, and they either show off the magnificent hive mind that humans have, or they prove that there are a lot of dead children walking around the planet.”
I don’t know what is scarier, the stories passed around by word of mouth about dead children–or the ones that come from the mouths of live children. Rosemary Counter, writing for The Washington Post, says what we’re all thinking: “Children are spooky little creeps who see ghosts, report past lives and chat at night with dead relatives.” Their comments can range from ominous to disturbing, and there seems to be a glut of them. Which is unsettling.
I myself had two alter-egos as a kid. One was Dr. Madd Eagwoud (pronounced egg + wood) and the other was Alexander Hamilton. The doctor would come out when my sketchpad did; he was a thinker and inventor who drew up the blueprints for contraptions like “the tiny hats for tiny hat-wearers machine.” Alexander Hamilton, however, was a constant. I went about the house railing against Aaron Burr and the treasury, and sometimes I just deadpanned things like “You are talking to Alexander Hamilton now.” My mother said it was kind of funny at first—but when I kept insisting I was the long-dead politician, she got spooked.
Evidently, I am not the only creepy kid in my family. My nephew used to complain about the “baby heads” in his room, and a niece swore that “a kid used to live here before I was born” would come into her room at night and wipe boogers on the wall.
But my cousin, hands down, wins the award for creepy kid extraordinaire. When he was about 3 or 4, he made a mic-dropping comment at his parents’ anniversary dinner. “I used to be a real asshole,” he said. “I used to chop people up.”
Our family cannot be the only one populated by creepy kids with penchants for past lives and the paranormal. We admit we’re weird, but we also know that we’re not the only weird ones out there. Internet users all over the land agree and have been more than happy to share the eerie or macabre words that come “out of the mouths of babes”….
Creepy Kids With ‘Visitors’
In an archived Reddit thread, user QuagmireDP writes,
“While changing my daughter in front of the open closet door. She kept looking around me and laughing. I asked her what was so funny. She said, ‘the man.’ To which I replied, ‘what man?’ She then pointed at the closet and said, ‘the man with the snake neck.’ I turn around and nothing was there. I’m afraid to look into the history of my house to see if anyone hung themselves in the closet.”
They are piggy-backed by darinfjc:
“My co-worker’s four year old daughter always thought that the rattling of the water pipes in the kitchen cupboards were ‘white wolves’ and the sound always scared her. One day she was sitting at the kitchen table and she said, ‘Mom. The white wolves aren’t bad… they’re our friends!’ Her mom encouraged the idea by saying, ‘Yes! The white wolves are protecting us. They are our friends.’ Then her daughter added in, ‘They’re our friends, but not the man who crawls on the floor and stands by my bed.’
To round things out, contributor Jeanetta M. says,
“When Ella was 3 years old, my husband and I heard her giggling and talking to someone. ‘What’s so funny?’ I asked. ‘No! HE is so funny,’ she said. ‘Who?’ I asked. She answered, ‘James!’ I froze. We all referred to my best friend, who had taken his own life, by his last name. My daughter, like most people, wouldn’t have known that his first name was James.”
My mom-friend Britt H. tells this:
“When we first moved into this house, we were sitting here eating dinner. Jane (age 2 at the time) was facing me when suddenly she stopped talking and looked over my shoulder. She smiled, waved, and said ‘hi, boy!’ There was no one there. A few months later we found out that a baby boy DIED IN THIS HOUSE.”
Creepy Kids Who Make You Want To Sleep With One Eye Open
Elly-May H. convinces me:
“My 4-year-old woke me up one night to tell me, ‘If I murdered you, I would tell the police it was Daddy.’
Gwen W. can beat that one and admits,
“My 3-year-old advised me last night that he wanted to wear my feet. I asked how he planned to do that, and he nonchalantly responded, ‘I will cut them off with a knife and then glue them to my feet.’”
From an anonymous Thought Catalog contributor:
“My 3-year-old daughter stood next to her newborn brother and looked at him for awhile then turned and looked at me and said, ‘Daddy it’s a monster..we should bury it.’”
And another anonymous parent:
“My 6-year-old daughter in the passenger seat a few days ago looked at me and said ‘Dad. When I’m seven I’m going to kill you. No wait when I’m eight’. I had to ask so ‘How are you going to do that?’. She smiled and said ‘I’m gonna drive over your head with this car.’”
Creepy Kids Who Know Stuff
A Bored Panda user submitted this gem:
“When my cousin was 2 years old or so, her mom got pregnant again. One day she went to hug her mom’s belly and said ‘little brother sick’. A few days later she had a miscarriage…”
Quora’s Kelly L. offers this:
“My daughter once told me I would become very ill and end up in the hospital. As we sat in the waiting room a couple of months later she told me this is what she saw. I spent a couple of weeks in the hospital.”
A second Quora user, Gail H., writes,
“This is my daughter’s premonition when she was two. We were expecting another and decided to get a bigger car. Her dad set his heart on a used Mitsubishi station wagon but every single one for sale was a beige/buff color which he hated, but kept hoping to find a blue one and cheap. When we set out yet again in search of this chimera, she shrieked from the toddler seat in back of the old two-door, ‘Jesus is gonna get us a new car and it’s blue!!!’ So amusing. The next weekend there was an ad for the blue Mitsubishi wagon with low kilometers at the price of our dreams! What really fulfills her premonition is that it had a vanity number plate, ‘JC’.”
A Facebook friend DM’ed me the following:
“This little kid was standing behind me at Dairy Queen and said to her mom ‘that lady has light all around her.’ Then there was a pause (I don’t think the mom was listening.) She looked at me and said ‘That means you’re not going to have babies.’ And I haven’t, at least not yet.”
Creepy Kids Back For Another Shot At Life?
Insider’s genevaduke tells us,
“My oldest is named after my father who died before I had my kids. When my oldest was younger he would say ‘remember when I would sing to you when you were a baby?’ And kind of smile like he was remembering a happy memory.”
Marie L., a friend of mine from high school, relates this experience:
“I was on a flight to Florida. At take off this little blond boy behind me yelled, ‘We’re all gonna die!’ and most people who heard chuckled a little bit — me included. And then, very quietly, he added, ‘I don’t want it to happen again’…. I don’t know if anyone else heard.”
From Marcy K.
“My son was about 2 when we were watching a PBS show about World War II. My son turned to me and said, “I died there. Don’t you remember?’ Yikes!”
A Bored Panda parent writes,
“My 5-year-old asked me when he is going to be 23 — I told him in 18 years — he replied, ‘Well, I hope don’t die again — cause that’s how old I was the last time I went to heaven.'”
A Final Word
So, if a child says something disconcerting, what should you do? Sometimes there’s an easy answer: if a creepy kid is behind you in line talking about your aura and reproductive output, you just pay for your Blizzard and speedwalk to the car. And, if the creepy kid is not your own, you can believe or disbelieve whatever’s coming out of their mouth and go on your merry way. But, if you’re the parent of a not-creepy-in-this-case child who has made an eerie pronouncement, you can’t very well skedaddle.
When we’re talking specifically about the paranormal, the Spiritualists National Union recommends “playing it down.” Speaking to The Daily Mail, minister Steve Upton explains: “‘Children say they can see things – it might be genuine, they might be making it up or they might have parents putting them under pressure…it’s impossible to know, but children’s minds are incredibly impressionable and you can create false memories just through the way you question them, so it’s a very dangerous area.”
On the other hand, Natalie Frank, PhD. and writer for Medium, recommends a different approach. She suggests that you remain calm, ask questions, and never tell your child that you don’t believe them or that it’s all in their mind. “Telling them that it’s not real when they believe that it is doesn’t convince them, it just makes it less likely that they will tell you about their experiences in the future,” says Frank, “This can short circuit an important pathway to establishing trust and the conviction that a parent will believe what the child says, even if it’s out of the ordinary.”
But what about those ultra-morbid “I-will-cut-your-feet-off-with-a-knife” comments? Well, in those cases, I would advise that you stay vigilant … and maybe keep your bedroom door locked.
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