I have been doing paranormal research now for over 11 years now. I have written four books on the subject and dozens of articles. I have also been to dozens of places around the US in nearly 20 states. To this day, in spite of many attempts and visits to notoriously dangerous locations, I have never been attacked or injured by a ghost, spirit, demon, entity, evil energy, ifrit, jinn or anything similarly supernatural. I am starting to feel a bit left out. When is my hair going to be pulled? When am I going to be poked, kicked or prodded? When is my immortal soul going to be in danger? I mean, if you watch some of these shows on television you would think this sort of thing happens all the time. Well, at least once or twice a week and maybe more on “sweeps week” and Halloween.
I have never, ever heard of a kid being hurt in a supervised, public and haunted environment.
Truthfully, I have been scared lots of times. It is human nature to fear the unknown even when your career embraces it. However, in my rational mind, I knew that people are realistically not attacked and especially not killed by ghosts. Poltergeists are different. They’re not demons or ghosts. Also, poltergeists are so rare that it is unlikely that the average weekend ghost hunter would ever encounter one anyway. In fact, after consulting an actual parapsychologist with decades of experience, I can say you would have better luck winning the lottery and then getting eaten by a shark on your new yacht then encountering something paranormal and dangerous even you were deliberately looking for it. Every time have been to the Waverly Sanatorium, I have been scared. However, I know they have, as of yet, no reputation for ghost hunters being mauled, possessed or driven insane. More people are hurt each year by far from scaring themselves or doing something careless. I will go as far as to say that paranormal investigating and ghost hunting, when done right, is relatively safe. Yes, even safe for kids.
1. Professional wrestling
2. Ultimate fighting
3. Some Japanese cartoons
4. Some comic books
5. Most reality TV shows
6. Daytime talk shows
7. Most of the internet
Above is a list of things that are, in my opinion, often damaging to the young minds of today’s youth. However, many parents let their kids watch pro-wrestling and even The View sometimes. Although I don’t watch many of the paranormal reality shows myself, I do think they are better for kids to watch than what’s on the list. When I was a kid I loved scary movies and appreciated classic horror movies that came out years before I was born. Scary, not gory. So, watching TV shows on ghost hunting is really, no more detrimental than telling scary stories around a campfire. But what if goes beyond curiosity and imagination? What if a young person wants to actually go ghost hunting?
Many paranormal researchers and ghost hunters do ghost tours and paid workshops to raise money for group expenses. This has been a common practice for decades. Some even try to do paranormal conferences with varying degrees of success. Sometimes I do see children at these events and I do ghost tours every weekend in which young people from ages 8 and up often attend. They watch the paranormal reality shows on TV with their parents and just want to have fun and maybe use some “ghost hunting gadgets” themselves. When the subject of age comes up, I usually encourage them to “wait until their eighteen”. In the meantime, stick to ghost tours, haunted battlefields and other safe, public and otherwise authorized haunted places.
Honestly, anyone who thinks that letting kids have an EMF meter and walking around Gettysburg, supervised of course, is a bad idea, is being over-reactive. I have read forums where some parents, or least people claiming to be parents, have made exclamations about irresponsible it is for kids to learn about paranormal research. Are these people serious? Are they watching to many TV shows? No, kids should not be investigating stranger’s houses, that is definitely unprofessional and irresponsible. Nevertheless, most parents let them do things that are far more dangerous than ghost hunting:
2. Unsupervised bicycling
3. Camping and hiking
4. Water sports and swimming
5. Living in most American cities
I have never, ever heard of a kid being hurt in a supervised, public and haunted environment. Latch-key kids are more likely to be hurt from the moment they leave school all the way to the house. Bottom line? Let kids know about basic ghost hunting ideas such as residual hauntings, intelligent hauntings and poltergeists. Let them hear some ghost stories that you feel comfortable letting them know about. Based on your own beliefs as a parent, you can tell them about different theories like whether or not ghosts are energy, souls or otherwise. There are so many worse things kids can interested in that will corrupt and/or hurt them. This is something that can generally be a positive and bonding experience with your kids. Children also learn history this way as well.
By the age of ten, children are already learning about sex, they may have been approached to try drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Faith based families are teaching them about some lofty concepts such as a creator, damnation and a everlasting afterlife. Even younger children are reading comics, science fiction and vampire fantasies. I mean, to be honest, Harry Potter is way, way more complex and philosophically deep then most ghost stories and ghost hunting concepts. If you are involved in your children’s access to the paranormal you can filter their access to certain concepts they will find out on their own anyway.
Yes, by the way, I am speaking as a parent myself.