But before we go any further, I have a confession to make. I’ve seen a ghost child with my own eyes. Yup, I really did! And do you know what? It wasn’t scary at all. It really wasn’t. At least it wasn’t to me. Here’s what happened.
Several years ago I did an investigation at a home in Larchmont, New York that was built somewhere around the turn of the twentieth century. I guess you could call it a mansion because it was pretty large, and it had servants quarters on the ground floor. These were really just bedrooms where the cook and maids once lived. But the family that currently lived in the house had turned these rooms into spare bedrooms and an office. Prior to my arrival, the homeowner told me that the front door was broken, and that she would meet me at the back door. This door lead to the hallway that passed through the servants’ quarters.
I was greeted by the homeowner and we made our way down the hall past the former servants’ bedrooms; three on the left side of the hallway, and one directly in front. As we walked, she was making small-talk and I was futzing around in my ‘ghost bag’. I had forgotten to turn on my digital recorder, and as we walked I was looking down into my the bag to find it. I glanced up for a second, and as I did I saw a little girl in the room at the far end of the hall. She was sitting on a wooden stepping stool, and she was just looking at us as we walked down the hallway. She had blond hair done up in two pigtails that fell on either side of her shoulders, and she was wearing some type of a white top, or a dress. She was smiling at us, and her hands were folded on her lap in front of her. I only looked up at her for a few seconds, then I looked back into my bag for the recorder. My first thought was, “Damn, there’s a kid here. I told the homeowner that kids aren’t allowed in the house during the investigation. Oh well, I guess I’ll be nice and say hello to her when we get down to that room.” I finally found my recorder, and as we neared the bedroom I looked up to say hello to the girl, but there was no one there. The wooden stepping stool was there, but there was no little girl sitting on it. I thought this was really odd because the room was so small that she couldn’t still be in there without my seeing her, and we had arrived at it too quickly for her to have left without my noticing.
We turned right and made our way to the living room. I said, “Are your children home? I just saw a little girl in the bedroom at the end of the hallway.” The woman smiled and said, “What did she look like?” and I described the girl I had seen. “No,” she said, “the kids aren’t here. You said that they shouldn’t be at home during the investigation, so my husband took them out for ice cream. But, we’ve seen the little girl you just described.” She pointed up to the top of the staircase that went from the living room to the upstairs part of the house. “We’ve seen that same girl looking at us through the bannister that runs along the upstairs hallway,” she said. “She has blond hair with pigtails, and she sometimes looks at us between the bars of the bannister as we’re down here in the living room watching TV.”
I was dumbfounded! The girl I had seen looked as solid as any real person, and she wasn’t frightening at all. I wasn’t creeped out by the experience, I was totally psyched! ‘Holy crap!’ I thought, ‘I just saw a ghost! How cool is that?!’
Sightings of ghost children have been reported for centuries all over the world. Let’s take a look at some of the most chilling tales of ghostly children.
In my newsletter on naked ghosts I tell of two child ghosts. Here is a brief retelling of those stories.
In Armona, California, the ghost of a young girl around nine years of age has been spotted near the walnut groves in the area. The story goes that at some point in the late 1800s, a group of young girls were swimming naked in a waterhole outside of town. A group of boys showed up and teased the girls, and all but one of the girls took off running. The girls who ran away hid in the nearby walnut groves, but the girl who stayed hid under the water and ended up drowning. Since then, sightings of a ghost girl around nine years old have been reported on numerous occasions. The thing is, she only appears to girls around her own age, and she is always reported as being naked. The ghost has been given the name “Walnut Girl” because she is always seen near walnut orchards, or in places that store walnuts. It is almost as if she is trying to make up for her mistake of not running to hide with the other girls in the walnut grove.
The Craven Street Ghost Boy
In North Carolina there is the famous child ghost of Craven Street bridge. One hot, summer evening, sometime in the early 1900s, a group of boys went swimming in the French Broad river. Children often swam naked in those days, so the boys stripped down and dove into the river. But they didn’t realize that there had been bad storms upriver a few days earlier, and the usually calm waters of the French Broad were now filled with swift, dangerous undercurrents.
The sun had started going down, and the boys were having too much fun to notice that they were floating down the river faster than usual. When they finally noticed that it was beginning to get dark, they had drifted down close to the pilings of the Craven Street bridge. By now, the water was flowing in dangerous rapids around the bridge’s pilings, and the boys decided that they needed to get away quickly. But there was one problem. One of the boys was missing. They searched frantically for their friend, and one of the boys swam to shore and ran for help. All night long boats combed the river by lantern light, but to no avail. The search continued through the following weeks, but the boy’s body was never found.
Soon after the boy’s drowning, some who traveled across the Craven Street bridge at dusk began reporting something strange. They said that they saw a naked boy running across the bridge, but when they called to him he kept running as if he was unaware that they were there. Those who ran after the boy and were able to catch up with him were stopped dead in their tracks as the nude boy vanished before their eyes. The ghost of Craven Street bridge is seen to this day, and drivers who cross the bridge in the early hours of hot summer days are sometimes surprised to see a naked young boy running alongside their car, vanishing before he finishes crossing the bridge.
I love giving lectures about my work as a paranormal investigator. It’s a fascinating topic, and almost everyone has either had a strange experience themselves, or they know someone who has had one. At the end of the lecture I open the floor up for audience members to share their ghost stories, and invariably those include stories of ghost children. One woman told the following story:
Girl by the Side of the Road
“My husband and I live here in Oxford. He was a Marine, and he doesn’t believe in ghosts at all. At the time that this happened, his buddy, who is also a Marine, was with him. They were in their car coming down Punkup Road where it intersects with Silano Drive. They stopped at the stop sign and to the right was a girl dressed in white. She was sitting cross-legged on the ground on the corner on the grass, and she was kind of levitating. So she turned her face around and she had this creepy smile on her face -- and she had silver eyes. My husband came home and he was scared shitless, because he doesn’t believe in ghosts. And I was like, ‘Oh, I want to go see, take me back there.’ But he wouldn’t take me! This guy is never scared, so I know it was real to him."
Ghost Boy in the Woods
At another lecture, a woman shared her story about a ghost boy that she and her daughter saw one night. She said, “You showed a photo in your presentation of a young boy with blonde hair. I was wondering if it’s an actual photo of a ghost that was reported, because I saw a boy who looked just like him! I was at an estate sale in Ridgefield, Connecticut with my daughter and my son. As we were leaving we drove by a wooded area and I saw a boy that looked just like the boy in your presentation. He was a little blonde haired boy. He was standing in the woods, and he was wearing old fashioned clothing. He had on a white button-down shirt, and he had either knickers or riding pants on; and he was just standing in the woods facing out into the road. There was nothing around that area. No house or anything, and there was no reason why you would see a kid dressed like that. When we passed him I said to my daughter, “Did you just see someone standing there?” And she said, “Yeah, I saw a little boy standing in the woods.” We turned the car around and drove back, but there was nobody there. But even my daughter said that he was wearing old fashioned clothing. He looked just like the boy in the photo you showed when you were talking about the Ridgefield story, and that’s where the estate sale was. It freaked me out when I saw your photo. Like, “I’ve seen that boy!” You can see the photo the woman was referring to below.
Without a doubt the haunted railroad tracks in San Antonio, Texas is the most famous story of ghostly children in the United States. The story has been featured on numerous TV shows, including Unsolved Mysteries and Sightings.
Not far from the San Juan Mission is an intersection of roadway that crosses railroad tracks. Legend has it that in the 1930’s there was a fatal accident on this spot in which a train collided with a school bus. Apparently, ten children died in the accident, and their ghosts are reported to haunt the spot to protect others from meeting the same fate.
Supposedly, if you park your car directly over the tracks and shift it into neutral, the car will be pushed forward, uphill, and off the tracks. If you apply talcum powder or flour to your car’s bumper beforehand, you will see the imprint of children's hands and fingers.
As you can imagine, area residents and law enforcement are tired of all of the publicity. They say that there is no record of such an accident ever occurring on the spot, and that the road is actually at a two-percent decline, not an incline. They claim that such a grade would naturally cause a car to roll off of the tracks. They also point out that talcum powder will reveal fingerprints long after the car has been touched, so the hand marks and fingerprints probably belong to the car owners.
But many others disagree, insisting that a two-degree slope could never cause a 3,600 pound car to move on its own with no starting momentum. One witness said that she tried the experiment while sitting in a 2.5 ton Lincoln Continental with two other passengers with the car parked in neutral. Nothing happened at first, then the car suddenly began to move forward. The driver tried putting on the brakes, then tried putting the car into park, but it would not stop until it was over the tracks. This same woman put talcum powder on the bumper and trunk of her car and after the car moved by itself she found small hand prints pressed into the powder. She said that these were smaller than her hands, and MUCH smaller than her husband’s hands. And she rightfully points out that if you wash your car with soap, oils from anyone who had previously touched the car would be washed away; and she washed her car before trying this experiment.
Believers in the eerie phenomenon feel that the residents of San Antonio just want people to stay away from the ghost tracks. They say that even if a school bus never crashed on the site, there is definitely something mysterious about this area. Perhaps some other unrecorded tragic event occurred on this spot; or maybe the spirits originate from Native Americans who once lived in the area. One thing is for certain, stories of cars mysteriously being pushed uphill across the tracks, and the appearance children’s hand-prints continue to this day.
The Radiant Boys
There is a unique category of ghost children called ‘The Radiant Boys’. This type of phenomenon originates from Northern England, and from Germany where they are called the ‘Kindermorderinn,’ which translates as ‘Child Murderer’. This is because the radiant boys are said to be the ghosts of children murdered by their own mothers. Their souls supposedly roam the earth as ghosts, and it is said that if you see a Radiant Boy, bad luck or death is sure to follow. Reports of radiant boys goes back as far as the 1600’s, and the apparitions are described as young boys who glow with an eerie light. The light they are bathed in varies in color, and the boys are almost always naked. Radiant boys seem to be almost angelic in their appearance, being described as ‘beautiful’ and ‘gleaming’. After seeing a radiant boy, the witness is usually left in a state of shock.
The most famous radiant boy case occurred in 1803 at Corby Castle in Cumbria, England. In September of this year, Reverend Henry of Redburgh and his wife visited the castle for the evening, and they were put up for the night in a room that was known to be haunted. The next day, the reverend wrote in his journal:
Soon after we went to bed, we fell asleep; it might have been between one and two in the morning when I awoke. I observed that the fire was totally extinguished; but, although that was the case, and we had no light, I saw a glimmer in the centre of the room, which suddenly increased to a bright flame. I looked out, apprehending that something had caught fire, when, to my amazement, I beheld a beautiful boy, clothed in white, with bright locks resembling gold, standing by my bedside, in which position he remained some minutes, fixing his eyes upon me with a mild and benevolent expression. He then glided gently towards the side of the chimney, where it is obvious there is no possible egress, and entirely disappeared. I found myself again in total darkness, and all remained quiet until the usual hour of rising. I declare this to be a true account of what I saw at Corby Castle, upon my word as a clergyman. (1)
The reverend and his wife made a hasty retreat the next morning. Unlike most radiant boy sightings, the reverend’s life didn’t end tragically. In fact, Reverend Henry lived to be a very old man. Those who knew him said that he told the story up until the end of his life. One family friend said, “I can most positively assert that his own conviction with regard to the nature of this appearance has remained ever unshaken. The circumstance made a lasting impression upon his mind, and he never willingly speaks of it; but when he does, it is always with the greatest seriousness, and he never shrinks from avowing his belief that what he saw admits of no other interpretation than the one he then put upon it.” (2)
Another radiant boy sighting was witnessed by Captain Robert Steward who was stationed in Ireland. One day he had gone hunting and had strayed so far into the countryside that he couldn’t find his way back. A storm was moving in, and as he wandered through the woods he was happy to come across a small house. He knocked on the door and requested shelter for the night, and he was provided a modest room with a small fireplace. Soon after drifting off to sleep, he was awoken by a strange, brilliant light in the room. He first thought the room had caught fire, but when he sat up in bed to investigate he saw a beautiful naked boy who glowed with a dazzling light. The boy said nothing, but just looked at the Captain earnestly, and then he vanished.
The next day, Captain Steward told the homeowner what he had seen, and he was told that the room was haunted by the ghost of a family ancestor who had been killed by his own mother. The homeowner went on to say that to see the boy was a bad omen, and that whoever saw the radiant boy would rise in power only to have it ripped away from him. Afterward, a horrible death was sure to follow. I’m sure that the good captain was more than a little annoyed to have been given this particular room for the night!
In the years following this ghostly encounter, Steward became a prominent political figure. But the curse of the radiant boy would soon live up to its reputation. Little by little, Steward’s fortunes began to dwindle. Then, tragedy struck his family. First his father died, then his older brother. Soon after, he lost most of his money and his health began to fail him. Finally, Steward went insane and had to be confined to his country house where he took his life in 1822 by slitting his own throat with a razor.
Another radiant boy is said to haunt Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, England. The castle was a monastery in the 12th century, and it was used as an army barracks during World War II. Throughout all those years stories of the castle’s radiant boy were abundant. He was said to appear as a young, naked boy surrounded with a blue glow, and he primarily haunted an area called ‘The Pink Room’. The castle has been investigated by several famous TV paranormal programs including Most Haunted and Scariest Places on Earth.
Ghost Girl Caught on Video
I met Lisa at a lecture I had given at the Oxford Public library in October 2017, and after the crowd thinned out she shared a number of amazing stories about her haunted house. Then she said, “We actually have a video of the ghost that was captured on our security camera. Do you want to see it?” Lisa brought up the video on her iPhone and I leaned into have a look.
Although the clip was just a few seconds long, it was absolutely amazing. It shows a girl in a long white nightgown or dress standing at the bottom of a staircase. Her back is to the camera, and her long, straight, dark hair hangs down to the center of her back. Oddly, she takes a step backward towards the camera, turns, then steps backward again down the hallway to the left of the staircase. Something in the front of her gown can be seen as it swings around just before the entire figure steps out of the frame. This might be her hand, a large bow on the front of the dress/nightgown, or a sash that swings around as she turns. Seconds later, two bright orbs appear by the front door, just opposite where the figure had been.
I asked Lisa to tell me the specifics about the video. She said that on August 22, 2017, she and her husband, Ed, went out to visit friends who lived nearby. Prior to leaving, Ed moved a home security camera from outside the house and placed it inside on a shelf in the front hallway. He put it in that location because their dog had been acting strangely, and he wanted to keep an eye on him. The camera had a clear view of the bottom of the staircase, the front hallway, and the front door. The dining room could also be seen just past the staircase.
At 11 PM, when Lisa’s phone indicated that the security camera had detected motion, her first thought was that it had recorded a raccoon or some other animal outside the house. She didn’t know that her husband had moved the camera indoors to keep an eye on the dog. She turned on her phone to have a look and was stunned to see a strange girl in a long, white gown in the front hallway. Who was this girl? It certainly wasn’t one of her daughters. And what was she doing in their house? Lisa quickly called home and her teenage son, Jake, answered the phone. She told him about the video clip and asked him to check on his sisters, Holly and Morgan, and to ask them where they had been a few seconds earlier. Jake ran upstairs.
Twelve year old Holly was laying on her bed and said that she had not been downstairs. She was wearing a bright pink shirt and black jeans -- not a long white nightgown. Fourteen year old Morgan was in the shower. Jake went downstairs and waited until Morgan was finished with her shower. When she came downstairs and went to her bedroom, he asked her if she had been downstairs. She told him that she had been in the shower the whole time.
I conducted an investigation in January of 2018. During the interview I asked Lisa if there were any other sightings of this ghostly girl. Lisa said, “I have to start back in 1999 when the house was being built. At the time, the only other house on the block that was completed was the house across the street. My husband and I used to come to our house all the time to watch it being built. One day I came to the house with my brother-in-law. We were going to meet up with my husband who had driven over earlier. As we pulled up to the house, my brother-in-law and I both saw a young girl walk into the house from the concrete front steps into the front door. She looked to be about 7 or 8 years old. We walked in the house and looked around for her, but we couldn’t find her anywhere. We looked upstairs saying, ‘Where did this girl go?’ When my husband walked in with the builder we said to him, “Oh, by the way, is your daughter with you? Because we can’t find her in the house.” The builder said, “I don’t have a daughter, what are you talking about?” We said, “We saw a girl walk in the house. She walked right in the front door before we came in.” He said, “There are no kids around here except for the boys across the street.”
I asked Lisa if she had seen the little girl any time after that. Lisa said that she saw her one other time. She was sitting at the kitchen table filling out soccer registration forms for her son. She felt someone behind her and thought it was one of the kids. She was anxious to finish the paperwork, and thought that if she ignored them they would go away. Then she turned around and a little girl was standing there just a few feet away from her. She said that she was around four feet tall, and thought that she would have been about seven years old. I asked Lisa if she saw the girl’s face, but she said that she only saw her for a second before screaming for her husband. He came running into the kitchen and Lisa said, “I just saw her! Oh, my god I just saw that little girl again!”
Lisa’s youngest daughter, Holly, also saw the girl. One night she was in her bedroom talking on the phone to a friend when she suddenly felt that something was wrong. She got out of bed and started to walk toward her bedroom door, and as she did she saw a little girl with long black hair standing in the hallway just outside of her door. The girl was wearing a long white gown, and she had her head down slightly as if she was looking at something on the floor. Her long, dark hair hung down and obscured her face. Holly blinked, and the girl vanished.
Other strange things happened in the house over the years. TV’s would turn on by themselves, the family dog was found locked in the bathroom, and upon returning home in the evening, bedroom doors that had previously been shut to keep the cat out would be found wide open.
During the investigation, I picked up an amazing EVP of a little girl’s voice. We were in the kitchen, and Lisa was telling a story of when her cat was nearly carried away by a hawk. In the middle of the story, a little girl can be heard saying, “We didn’t see her”. The cadence of the girl’s voice is odd and was very close to the recorder. You can hear the recording by going to the full Case File on my website.
I researched the area and discovered a map from 1864 that shows two houses on the property. These houses are long gone, but I’m certain that the little ghost girl seen at the house and captured on video once lived in one of these houses. She seems to consider herself one of the family, and the family is no longer afraid of her.
As a special part of this month's newsletter I interviewed psychic medium Chris O'Connor, co-founder of the Eastern Connecticut Paranormal Society, about his encounter with a ghost girl named Lilian Rose during a paranormal investigation.
Chris: The reason why we went on the case in North Haven was, I actually met the client at an MRI class that I attended. She called us a couple of weeks later. The claim was that her mother was seeing a spirit; that was as much as I knew. What she told the team was that a little girl was waking her up.
So we went out, and when we got there we thought that it was going to be a boring case. There were not objects moving, no unexplained noises or anything like that. But upon entering I said to the client, “OK, we’ll try to help her with this little girl and see what else we can find.” Then we proceeded do our investigation. We set up a bunch of cameras – IR cameras, DDT recorders, and the piece of footage that captured the girl was the handheld video camera.
Upstairs was pretty benign. Nothing was happening up there. We decided to go down into the basement, and there she was! I immediately started having a conversation with her. I was able to describe her. I write everything down, either messages that they give me or I will write down my description, what I’m seeing of them. And I had written down ‘A young girl, about 8 or 9 years old, wearing a yellow calico dress, white patent leather shoes and her hair was pulled back in like a half ponytail with a ribbon.’ I wrote all of this stuff down.
At the same time, the other co-founder of the group, Dave, was experiencing a growth process with his psychic ability and he was asking me questions. “Are you getting this? Are you getting that?” In particular was her name which I wrote down. She told me her name. Her name is Lillian Rose, and he asked, “Is her name like a flower? Like a summertime flower, like a Lily or a Rose?” And of course I was like, “That’s pretty good Dave!”
We were in this office space and I knew she was with me. I was feeling around for her. And I was feeling the temperature change. Dave had asked if he could find a chair because he was crouching down trying to communicate with the spirit. So, he was looking for a chair, and that’s where Melissa, who was holding the video camera, was helping Dave find the chair with the light from the camera. As she panned over toward the office that I was in, is when she captured the spirit. She didn’t know it at the time. We found Lillian during our evidence review. Again, as she panned over she was able to get the doorway of the room that I was in; and you can see on the video the image of this little girl trying to sneak out of the office, and it seemed like she almost got caught and then sneaked back in. It’s a pretty amazing piece of footage.
Melissa had sent over the video because she though that she heard something that she wanted me to verify, and then that’s when we saw the movement. And that’s how we caught Lillian Rose on camera. Now, we had an IR camera pointing into the office and you can see her energy near my feet. So the IR camera is showing that. And then at the same time, the camera that Melissa is holding actually captured her.
During the reveal, the client’s mother described the little girl to us where she had never said it to us during the interview process, which validated what I saw and what we captured. To back it up even more, the land that the housing development was built on used to be an orchard. Part of the communication process that I got while we were in the basement was how she passed away. She was playing amongst the apple trees and she was up in one of the trees and had fallen out of the tree, and that’s how she died.
Barry: Do you know what year that was?
Chris: The thirties. Between 1930 and 35.
Barry: Now, just jumping back a little bit. I know that you said that the family had seen this little girl. Had more than one person seen her?
Chris: No, just the mom.
Barry: Did she have the same description of her as you had seen?
Chris: Yes, but we didn’t know the description at the time of the investigation. She told us the description after. Before we did the reveal she was telling us about this little girl, how she was dressed, and Dave and I looked at each other like, ‘Yup! That’s her!’ But what’s really cool about this whole process is that we got validation in several different forms. Validation from the mom, validation from the history of the property. I was able to validate what Dave was seeing. Dave was pretty spot-on. He got most of everything correct. He called her dress beige, and I called it light yellow. It was really good for him because he was able to validate his gift.
Barry: Were you able to determine why she’s there? Is she a happy little ghost, or is she sad?
Chris: She’s not unhappy. She visits many of the homes in this neighborhood. I had actually asked to ask her neighbors if they see her because she visits many different homes in that area. So, she’s attached to the land. Her family home isn’t there anymore. So, she just hangs out. She doesn’t hurt anybody. She may be annoying to the mom keeping her awaking, but I don’t think she realizes that she’s keeping the mom awake. She’s definitely an intelligent spirit. She does interact.
Barry: Does she seem shy? I know that in the video she took off and tried to hide, but does she seem shy in general?
Chris: I would say she was timid. She told me her name, but she was very infatuated with Dave. What happened is, when Dave got up I think it startled her and she scooted back to where she felt comfortable.
Barry: Have you done a follow-up? Has she made any more appearances since your investigation?
Chris: We were doing a presentation in North Haven, and the client’s colleague came to the presentation and expressed that Lillian Rose still comes around.
Barry: Do you want to give us your website address? I’m sure people would love to go there and see the video, and to read more about your group and about some of your other cases you’ve done.
Chris: The address is EasternCTParanormal.com.
We can’t say for certain what a ghost is. Is it the spirit of someone who was once alive? If so, why are they here? Are they unaware that they are dead? Are they stuck here? Are they ‘lost souls’ who don’t know how to cross over? Are ghosts just pieces of our personalities that somehow get left behind after we die? Or, are they residual energy from the past that plays over and over again like a movie? There are more questions than answers, and we may never have a definitive answer. Perhaps children who become ghosts do so because they simply can’t imagine a world without them.
But if a ghost is a person’s soul, or their consciousness, and they are somehow stuck here, we really shouldn’t be afraid of them -- we should take pity on them, especially if they are a child. It’s heartbreaking to think of a child who is lost, with no friends or family. After every paranormal investigation, I try to move spirits on to where they belong. And more often than not when I help adult spirits find the other side, crowds of children are waiting there to cheer them on and to greet them when they arrive. I truly believe that all child ghosts are eventually called home, with or without our help; because I’m sure that just as children can’t imagine a world without them, neither can heaven.