It was a Thursday night the first time it happened.
My family and I were all eating dinner in the den and watching whatever Disney movie was free on Netflix at the time. My 2-year-old son stood up from his perch on our indoor picnic blanket and crossed the room to cuddle up in my lap.
“Hey baby,” I whispered, running my hands through his spectacular curls. The end of the day is my favorite time with him. He’s juuust tired enough to be extra snuggly, but not so tired that he’s a holy terror.
“Mommy,” Nugget whispered. “I think our little girl is sad.”
I placed my hand over the place in my stomach where his little sister was growing inside me. We were just now beginning to explain the concept that the bump in mommy’s tummy was an actual human whom he would soon be able to hold and even play with. I figured big brother was trying to connect with his soon-to-be sibling, and my heart just melted.
“Awww, baby! Little sister isn’t sad. She’s happy! She’s super happy because she has such an amazing big brother like you!”
My son shook his head gently, casually shoving another Pringle into his mouth.
“No, Mama,” he said, munching on his potato chip. “Not Little Sister.”
Um, okay, weirdo. I’m gonna have to get some clarification here.
“Honey, then which little girl is sad?”
Without missing a beat, he responded: “The little girl who sleeps in our house.”
Pause with me for a second. My child was 2, folks. Pretty sure he didn’t get this idea from Disney Junior, and as masterful as he was with those Play-Doh snake-making skills, I was pretty sure he wasn’t creative enough to make this up.
And it quickly got worse.
Ben raised his finger, pointed behind the chair in which my husband sat and added: “Right there, with the red eyes.”
It was in that moment I experienced what can only be described as all the nopes that ever noped. My blood ran cold, and I suddenly felt an urge to pack our things, light a ginormous match, and burn the house down as we peeled out of the driveway.
We could start all over in a different city. Any city. I was ready to go. Who cares if we just bought our dream house? There is no gas stove so awesome that it’s worth living with a red-eyed demon child.
Really, though, what in the cornbread hell are you supposed to do when your kid drops a bomb like that?
I’ll tell you what I did: I ended that picnic without ceremony and carried my son’s creepy little butt up to bed. Then I returned downstairs to Google “how to get rid of ghosts” (which I must say, yielded a mixed bag of helpful, hilarious, and terrifying advice from the quirky people of the internet).
First, you have to rule out “non-paranormal” possibilities. Okay, check. We don’t live near a dumpster, so rats and raccoons are not currently scratching at our roof every night, and even if they were, I don’t think my son would confuse said scratching for a creepy-ass poltergeist, so once again, thanks for nothing, Wikipedia. We still had a ghost problem.
Secondly, the people of the web recommended that we make “friendly contact” with the spirit. Which could be a possibility. I consider myself a pretty open person, but I’m going to openly admit I carry a small prejudice toward red-eyed crying dead people. So friendly conversation was off the table, which left us with option No. 3: Exorcism.
And I’m a child from the ’80s, so yeah, no thanks. I’ve already seen that movie, had the nightmares, and got the pea-soup-covered T-shirt.
I continued clicking for about an hour: scrolling, reading, and shaking my head at the devastating lack of explanations available for “Red-Eyed Ghost Child in the Corner of My Family Room.” I even stumbled upon an essential oils thread (because of course), and imagine my disappointment when even the oiliest of mamas couldn’t offer me a cure for the undead. I thought that sh*t cured everything?!
Defeated by my lack of options and pretty frantic that I was about to close my eyes and sleep in a house which was possibly cohabitated by a crying ghost child, I did the most desperate thing a parent can do:
I consulted Facebook.
Now, pause for a moment to consider just how desperate someone must be to put on blast “Hey, y’all. My kid just saw a demon-faced girl in the corner of our den, any recommendations?”
But I was exactly that desperate, so I hit “Post.”
And I waited.
And to my shock (and slight relief?) I didn’t have to wait very long til the responses came flooding in.
You guys, I am not alone! Apparently kids see ghosts all the time.
I was bombarded with stories of post-funeral sightings, historic house hauntings, you name it. One mama commented that her 3-year-old twins once sat down for a pretend tea party with a woman named Magdalina. No big deal, right? Well, Magdalina happened to be the name of their late great-grandmother who died two days before their birth. Their mom never really talked about her, but one day she was just sitting in the kitchen cooking grits and overheard the girls giggling.
“Oh, come sit down, Magdalina! We have your favorite tea, Magdalina!”
And 2-point creepy bonus? They poured her a cup of her actual favorite tea: vanilla rose.
The anecdotal evidence was continuing to pile up around me, and I was actually relieved to know I wasn’t flying solo with this disturbing issue. As more and more parents reached out, I was inspired to do a little research on my 100-year-old home.
And wouldn’t you know, there was once little girl that lived here in the 1900s.
She even had red eyes.
Okay, I’m not serious at all.
That didn’t happen. But what did happen over the next six months is my son continued to have “sightings” of our little red-eyed girl, whom he affectionately dubbed “Night Night Angel” JUST IN CASE IT WASN’T ALREADY TERRIFYING ENOUGH.
Night Night Angel. Seriously.
I’m very pleased to announce that after the birth of our daughter, the Night Night Angel seemingly disappeared. Which could go either way, really, but I’m going to take it as a good sign and not even touch on the other Stephen King novel plot potential.
All of this to say, nobody told me kids seem to have this uncanny ability to see ghosts. Apparently it’s a thing. And I feel like since it is a thing, it’s my God-given duty to share this information with you before your family’s TV picnic is spoiled by a poltergeist and you decide to burn your house down.
I’m here for you. You are not alone. Let’s hear your creepy story.
And side note, if anyone is looking for a lovely historic house for sale in the Coastal Southeast, ours was recently listed.
No reason in particular.
Night Night Angel.