3 Year Old Seeing Ghosts?

Updated on May 12, 2010
J.S. asks from Nazareth, PA
22 answers

My son just turned three and has been waking up in the middle of the night a few times crying telling me "the ghost." He also pointed to the top of his door once and said "there's the ghost', of course nothing there. I d o just ignore it, but last night he ran out his room with a blood curtling scream yelling, "no, the ghost is scaring me!". Of course I woke and comforted him, but did not bring it up. I took him back to his room and sat with him for a while. He did not mind going back to his room or going into his bed. He slept fine the rest of the night and woke up happy. I finally asked him what sacred him and he said the ghost. When I asked what it looked like, he said "it was black and it was under my bed", then showed me that it cam through his bed rail and under his covers. I wish I didn't ask. He has been watching some Scooby Doo on and off and likes it, but I think it may be the cause. He sleeps with the light on and door open for a few months now. Anyone else having any issues, and what works. I am concerned that he woke so scared.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks for all the responses. I also belive it is the Scooby Doo. I have a 5 yr old that likes it and his brother does watch it with him on occassion. He never seems scared though, so I didn't think it was a problem. This past weekend was a Scooby marathon on tv and they probably watched a bit too much. I will also put away any Scooby movie in the house and tell my older son that he can't watch Scooby with his brother around. He will be good a bout that. I also do not want to question him about what he sees or do the water spray thing right now. I don't want to encourage his thinking of this if it is just dreams or imagination. He does not talk about this ever duruing the day or even at bed time. He is never afaid of his room or bed, so I don't want to put ideas in his head. I'm hoping he just grows out of it. What's another few more nights of distubrbed sleed. The joys of motherhood. I'll let you all know how this turns out. Thank you all.

Featured Answers



answers from Allentown on

My best guess is that it is from Scooby doo. I do believe people can see things that others cannot, but in this situation he is describing something black under his bed, it sounds like imagination, not a reality. He isn't saying a little boy named Jack or a woman named Martha are in my room. He is talking about something that is not concrete so likely just a fear. Stop the scooby doo and just comfort him when he needs it. Sleeping with the light on is fine or the door open. My daughter had nightmares for a while from a story my mother told her when she was 3. Now at almost 5 I still try to be careful about what she sees or hears. Especially with my 2 yo around who was convinced there were monsters in his bed after watching the movie Monsters Inc. with my daughter. Anyway, I hope he feels safer soon, it is hard when they keep waking up at night with fears.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I am going through this with my son right now, except he is seeing angels. I think you should listen to him and believe him. If it's real to him, then it really doesn't matter if it is "real" or not. Besides, who are we to say? I've watched enough of the ghost shows on A&E, including ones focused on kids who saw them at an early age, not to think it's possible. I would ask him to describe them, ask him what they are doing, tell him to talk to them and let him get some sleep (this will empower him to deal with them on his own), and keep the lines of communication open. If you tell them they are not real, then he will have no one to share his fears/ emotions with, and this could bleed into other things later. There is a "monster spray" that they sell that you can spray in their room before they go to bed. If you want, you can make a "ghost spray" using water or lavender water and the two of you can spray it before he goes to bed. Have him talk to the ghost and ask him to let him have a peaceful night of sleep. That is where I would start. Acknowledge his fears, and help him deal with them. :)

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

Hi J.,
As you can see by the many posts, you are not alone in this, and there are many solutions. I for one am a believer in ghosts and angels. My daughter, now 3.5y started having conversations in her room when she was 2. She even went as far as to introduce my sister to her friend. Mind you Auntie was very freaked out. We would lay in bed and hear her having a conversation, no responses luckily. Sometimes she fights over a toy, sometimes she cries. She now has an imaginary friend that she calls her sister. On these nights I am the one to go soothe her. Hubby is totally freaked.

I go into her room to make sure she's okay, and ask her what happened. If she says that she is fighting with her sister, I tell her that no one should be fighting, you should be sleeping. I have her then say goodnight to her room. 'Good night room, good night toys, good night friends whereever you are'... Sometimes she says that there is someone mean that is trying to take her toys. I tell her, well you just tell them that your mom doesn't allow mean people over to play so they have to leave. One night she had several bad wakeups. I just wanted to sleep. I was so tired that I went into the room and said very loudly, 'I am tired. Its 2 am, and way past playtime, if this room does not calm down and go to sleep everything in this room it will be in timeout! I put her in bed and she stayed asleep for the rest of the night.

While you may think I'm crazy for playing along, I don't see it as that. I see it as showing her how to cope with whatever her brain is or thinks it is seeing. I do believe that there are 2 possibly 3 ghosts that visit my house. The events that have happened make me think that its family. I have noticed that the amount of episodes vary, and are worse around birthday's and father's day. Again hubby won't talk about it.

Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Well, he might actually be seeing one...........try the "ghost spray" that is given below and if that works, then it is probably just a nightmare.........if it continues, I would contact Ghost Hunters.....they come for free and since there is a child involved, they will be quick about it.............

If you don't want to do that, then try going into your sons room, with your son, and both of you tell the ghost to go away, he doesn't live here anymore and this is --------(your sons name) room.........Sometimes, if you ask or take back your house, they go away...........or it might work even if your son is having a good imagination...........either way, it's worth a try.........
Children can see more than we can sometimes because they don't have any ideas of what can or can't be.......so please even if you don't believe him, it's important that he thinks you do...............
Take care and good luck...............Ghost Hunters is TAPS out of Rhode Island.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

I am a believer in ghosts, spirits, the paranormal , whatever you want to call it. They are just people like you and me but without bodies.
And I believe that children can see things we can't. I suggest you put a video camera with night vision in his room one night so you can see what is going on. You can find out if he's dreaming, getting tangled in his covers and then getting spooked because he's not awake enough to figure out what's going on.
I'd also suggest doing an under bed , in closet "spook check" before bed, let him have a small flash light so he can turn it on and shine it in the direction of anything he thinks he sees and find out what it is.

I'm editing to add that as a child/teenager I saw/heard ghosts. One night the ghost in my fathers house was being particularly uppity, trying to scare me on purpose and doing a good job at it and that night I had had enough and I told her to stop it and I needed some sleep. I never saw/heard or felt her again.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Children often can see things we have trained our eyes not to see as adults. I told my son to simply tell the ghosts they are scaring him and to please go away, he says it always works. We also smudged the house with sage to balance it and remove any negative energy. If you would like tips on how to do this please feel free to message me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Its quite possible what he's seeing is absolutely for real....

My son kept telling us there was a little girl living in our house named Sarah. For some reason, she liked to "play" behind our couch. He would have little mini conversations with her. He even talked about her at daycare, because they asked me who Sarah was (aparently she'd sometimes follow him to school).

Years ago, before my son was even born, my SIL lost her battle to cancer. Just before she died she sat up in her hospital bed and told her mom she needed to go and see Sarah.

Point of the story....sometimes kids really do see things that we can't. Take him seriously, as dismissing his story will only lead him to feeling lonely in his fear and less likely to discuss it further if he feels like you don't believe him.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

There are a number of people in my family who can "see" spirits. It has happened too many times with too much information for me to dismiss it. WHen she was three my daughter started telling me not only that she was seeing "see through people" but stories of her previous lives with amazing levels of detail about things she had never seen or been exposed to. (She knew parts of a horse's gear that I had never heard of, we're not horse people) We did as the others here did. We acknowledged her reality reminded her that they could not touch her or harm her and told her if anything, they were people in her family who passed on coming to make sure she was safe and sound. Yes, that can badly backfire, but we were very matter of fact about it and she accepted it. I, too, think children can perceive that which we cannot. My biggest thing was to make her feel like I was really listening to her. (But, I would also cut out the Scooby Doo!)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Although I believe that ghosts exist, this seems like a case of shadows and imagination and Scooby Doo! Make a mister bottle of water and a little drop of food coloring and call it Ghost Spray. Spray his room before he goes to bed and as needed throughout the night! ;-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Reno on


(first, sorry for the long response)

Like the other responders, I agree it's probably the Scooby Doo to blame- mixed with imagination. The spray is a wonderful idea; this worked with a little girl I used to babysit when I was a teen. However, I, too, believe in spirits. My oldest daughter experienced the same sorts of "shadow people" when she was about 4yrs. old. She described them as "super black shadow people" that would slide up her walls, or come out from beneath the bed, sometimes at the foot of her bed. It really bothered her and us, of course. With her, she never watched shows like Scooby, and the spray didn't work. Well, one night she was being watched by my mother in law (a very spiritual woman) and she told my daughter that it was "spirits coming in to make sure you're tucked in and ready to have happy dreams".... I didn't know she told her this til after the fact... HOWever, I must say that she did see the "shadow people" a few more times but was no longer scared and after a while, she never mentioned them, and when asked, she simply stated "they went away".

I'm not saying you should tell your little one something like that-- we know how things can backfire with children! :- / This was just our experience and what worked with her. Good luck and please let us know what works for you guys!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

My son started with nightmares at 2.5 yrs old. Their imaginations are in full gear and they don't stop just because they are sleeping/dreaming. Night lights, monster spray, a security teddy bear - all can help at least some of the time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think one of the most important thing here is to listen and acknowledge.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not is irrelevant. Your son is feeling/seeing something that scares him and this is real for him. And that's without mentioning that kids can see what most adults don't anymore. So not talking about it or dismissing it saying it's a Scooby Doo thing is not going to make him feel better (that said, yes, it is better to monitor what kids watch on tv). Make him feel that you believe him and take this seriously, he counts on you to protect him. Use a spray (you can create it with him), do a inspection walk before bed, move the bed or change the bed (so that there's no room under it for anything to appear), give him a flash light to sleep with...whatever he feels safe with and feel that you are there for him.
If this persists I would ask a professional to come and get rid of this energy/ghost.

Hope it will get better.



answers from Huntsville on

With the first few lines of your post I was gonna ask if he watched Scooby Doo!! My daughter is 4 and she has been watching Scooby Doo for a long time. Thankfully she didn't get as scared as your son, but she would talk about ghosts. I would always respond with "but it's not real, it's pretend" or "it's just someone in a costume" because at the end of Scooby Doo they find out it's not a real ghost, it is someone pretending! So I really stressed that part & would just joke about it with her etc. "that's silly!" I think that helped a lot.



answers from Cleveland on

I know everyone does not believe in "ghosts" but there are many theories that children because of the pureness, and innocence see alot of things adults are trained not to believe. However what he's describing does sound more like fear, and imagination. It could definately be what he's watching on t.v. Some kids just can seperate make believe and reality, especially at such a young age. I would change what he's watching, and then maybe think of something to reassure him that you are "asking the ghost to leave" Ligting a special "no ghosts" nite light, or opening a window with him in the room and saying, "okay ghost, you can get out now, this isnt your room" something along those lines to make him believe you got the ghost to leave. Good luck, poor little guy. Its hard to let go of fears that get into their heads!



answers from Amarillo on

It is a phase. I recall many years back my son calling to me about the monster in the closet and such. I had a broom stick (for broom stick lace) that I carried into the room at night and for about a month I would beat the clothes in the closet. I would ask him if I had gottent them all and he would say yes or no and I would beat the clothes again for a bit. Then it went away. This was really difficult as I was pregnant with my second and we had just moved a long distance and settled in. So just acknowledge the ghost for now and don't go overboard with it. Good luck. The other S.



answers from St. Louis on

I don't think at 3 I would necessarily do anything that would convey a message to him that ghosts are real. That could back fire terribly. 3 years old is probably too young to be watching Scooby Doo. I would be a little more strict on what he watches on tv. At bed time I would do a walk around with him(and a flash light to see in dark spaces), checking and confirming that there are not ghosts in his room. Not in the closet, not under his bed, NO WHERE! You may also want to change up the bedtime rountine a little bit. Maybe have some soothing music for bedtime if you don't already. It may be helpful to have a child flashlight he can sleep with. I found a neat little plastic child lantern that I let my now 5 year old take to bed with her when she is having a night when she is scared. Just reinforce nothing is going to harm him and you are there to protect him.


answers from Hartford on

Cut out the Scooby for sure and see if it helps!
Many people believe that children see ghosts more often than adults, not sure what I believe!
Good luck, I hope it gets better, poor kid!



answers from Raleigh on

In my experience, it sounds like it's Scooby Doo. I think if it were a really a spirit, he wouldn't refer to it as a "ghost". Maybe if you tell him that ghosts aren't real, just people in costumes, like on Scooby Doo? Maybe that will help? Now that you have brought this up, I have to tell throw out our recent "ghost" story for context:
My 3 yo started talking about the "medium-sized boy in his room" in his room- out of the blue- one day. He said he played with his toys and woke him up at night. It was around this time too that I also started noticing other strange things happening- running footsteps that sounded like they were coming from his room at night (when he was sound asleep), his bedroom door opening by itself while I am in the other room, etc. This went on for about 6 weeks. He wasn't afraid of the "boy" in his room and even told me his name (which I have since forgotten), and told me he had brown hair. He just didn't like being woke up. So I told him to tell the boy to please be quiet so he could sleep. About as suddenly as all this started, it stopped. He stopped seeing the boy, and the other strange occurrences stopped as well. I asked him if he saw the boy anymore and he said "No" and that was the end of it, thank goodness!



answers from Philadelphia on

This is just something your gonna have to work through. I would keep showing him that his room is safe maybe give him some "ghost spray" so he can spray it where he is afraid the ghosts are.



answers from Harrisburg on

I know you've already received a lot of responses but I just wanted to second Scooby Doo. One of my boys started having nightmares when we just read some Scooby Doo books! We stopped reading them and they went away.



answers from Spartanburg on

Scooby doo is very scary for a 3y.o. no wonder he sees ghosts! Make sure he only watches sweet cartoons (playhouse disney or winnie the pooh) and only for limited time. It's not good for children to absorb horrid images from tv..they are scary and I think this is what is causing your son to be terrified.



answers from Philadelphia on

I had trouble with both my son and daughter sleeping at night after they watched Scooby Doo. They would be frightened to go to sleep. I stopped them from watching it.

Reading him a "happy" story at bedtime will help him to sleep peacefully until he gets the images out of his mind.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions