Kids can be creepy.
In M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, Cole Sear can see dead people (and you’ll never live it down, Haley Joel). In Stephen King’s The Shining, Danny Torrence’s psychic aptitude allows him to observe the Overlook Hotel’s gruesome history. In Stephen Spielberg’s Poltergeist, Carol Anne (RIP Heather O’Rourke; bless your delicate soul) is capable of communicating with ghosts via her family’s television set—“They’re here,” she announces, from the foot of her parents' bed.
In these works, it’s not so much the child characters that are disturbing as it is their abilities. These kids, who some might today call “indigo children,” hold special, spiritual abilities.
My friend Nolan’s daughter expressed some “indigo” traits nearly a decade ago at the early age of three. Nolan and his wife had already been experiencing paranormal energy—more than they could handle, really—in the few months since they had moved into their basement-unit, Sandy Hill apartment. It only seemed fitting that their daughter start to scare the shit out of them as well.
“We can’t leave the house now,” a tiny Cordelia had said to her parents in cute broken English, as the family prepped to run some errands. “If we leave now, Mommy’s gonna die, and I’m only gonna have a daddy.” Then, after five minutes, Cordelia gave them the green light to depart.
Listening to him reminisce on the phone, I can hear the discomfort in Nolan’s voice. "Sometimes, she would talk about her life before she was Cordelia," he says, something that churned her mother’s stomach. He and his wife often wonder about their daughter’s stint with supernatural intuition. Nearly a teenager now, Cordelia has no recollection of what she said, nor has she said anything of the sort since.
My old boss Kim, on the other hand, doesn’t have any children, but she’s convinced it was a group of them who haunted the apartment above hers in Toronto. It was a big house converted to rentals, just beside the empty Viceroy Rubber Plant (now a storage facility and heritage building), a factory that once made kids toys in the ‘30s. She heard kids playing upstairs all the time, though the unit was vacant and inaccessible. One morning, Kim discovered outlines of small footprints on a wall in her living room, up high, where the wall met the ceiling. She also found teeth in the corner of her basement bedroom—infantile, human teeth; a small pile on the carpet.
Be they seers of spirits, links to the past, or phantoms themselves, it's hard to ignore the tendency children have to be eerie. They don't bother me, however. It's October, and The Omen isn't going to watch itself.
Chris Campeau is a writer and lover of all things horror and strange. He has studied both Small Business and Professional Writing at Algonquin College and is now shooting for communications gold. When he’s not writing, he spends his time singing in punk bands, drinking a hop-heavy IPA, or lounging with his two Maine Coons—sometimes all simultaneously.
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