The Green Lady
Once upon a time…
I’m just kidding. However, this blog kind of feels like a once upon a time moment because it begins when I was a child. I have fond memories of elementary school with many individuals with whom I remain in contact. We go way back to 1977 in kindergarten, and have funny memories and pictures that we share on social media from time-to-time. Recently, someone posted a picture of he and I at our 8th grade at graduation with huge braces on our faces. Those memories are why I am so fond of these wonderful men and women who I grew to care for throughout our childhood and adult lives. My time in elementary school holds my favorite memories. By way of social media, we have been able to reconnect to those elementary friends who moved away after elementary school or transferred to other schools. Most recently, I connected with a friend who I had not seen since 6th grade graduation. It was a heartwarming and a memorable reunion. It reminded me of the reason that I loved elementary school and my journey in East Cleveland, Ohio.
One of the funnier stories to share is that we were all afraid of The Green Lady. I still do not know how we created this imaginary person or why we were so afraid of her, but we were, and we would run home after school. If someone said, “There’s The Green Lady,” or say that they saw her out of the window, we were running or scared to death. I swear, I wouldn’t even open up the closets in my childhood home for a while because The Green Lady may appear in there and get me. (Laughing) I recall walking to the store with my best childhood friend, and there were two homes that we would not walk past at all when we were younger. We either knew The Green Lady lived in one of those homes, or she was hiding in the bushes outside of them. I clearly remember us also believing that the homes were haunted. We would not go trick or treating anywhere near those two houses for fear of ghosts or The Green Lady. In adult reality, they were nice homes just unkept such as having overgrown bushes. However, no one could tell us that The Green Lady did not exist or that she did not live in one of those homes.
I remember being in class one day, maybe I was in the 2nd grade, and someone in my class yelled, “There’s The Green Lady” and we all ran to the window just to possibly catch a glimpse of her! Of course, we did not see her at all, and we were disappointed but probably also relieved. I believed that she looked like a witch because, well why else would she be green? I thought that her nose was long like the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, and that she wanted to get rid of children as she wanted to do to Dorothy in that movie. Kids have huge imaginations, and mine was extra because I was/am a visual learning and loved art. I could draw her face within my mind and easily transfer that imagine onto paper and color it (I still can). We were bright kids and although we “wanted” to see The Green Lady, we were scared of her, and it showed at times as we were walking home from school.
I had to learn the history of The Green Lady and believe it or not, I found it today. Apparently, the myth was not solely just imagined by the little East Cleveland kids who were afraid, but other city kids in the Nation knew about The Green Lady as well, such as Philadelphia. The article that I found is posted below this blog.
A Child’s Imagination
It is challenging to distinguish between a child’s imagination and the truth from them. Their little mind’s can be abstract, easily districted, and disconnected from reality at times. I really love the pictures that they draw based upon their perceptions and the colors they use to emphasize their thoughts. It’s great! At times, however, kids will share that what we believe is their imagination is actually their reality. Children who can see ghosts, or Nebulous Children as I call them, do battle this dilemma with their parents, caregivers, and mental health professionals. We, as adults, have a tendency to interpretation of a child’s imagination as we perceive it and not them. In other words, describe it to a child as what they “really” mean instead of listening. As kids, we tried to tell our parents about The Green Lady, at least I did, and even my parents responded as it being our imagination. Maybe it was someone’s imagination, but it was very real to us, and we probably kept that story going for many years. Recently, I brought it up on social media and others laughed. Although we have fond memories of The Green Lady, the lack of belief in The Green Lady by our parents demonstrates the challenge children face when revealing issues that maybe supernatural or IS supernatural.
Whether a child's imagination is real or not directly applies to children who can see ghosts. Is it their imagination or not? I think that’s a great question. Based upon my experiences with children, those who share that they can see ghosts do. In my previous blogs, I explained the reason(s) that I believe that these children had this ability. However, what we do know is that all children have vast imaginations, and they are creative when telling their stories. I feel like I have heard them all, including my own children’s stories.
Children are great storytellers and love an audience. A little girl just told me all about her ability to ride unicorns recently, and we had a good time laughing about it. Nebulous Children, however, have told me about the same stories in a variety of settings and in different locations, which is why I started to believe them. Children’s who exhibited imaginative play were not telling the same stories. Nor were their siblings either; it was all different. Nebulous Children had imaginations of course, and children who did not see ghosts can have stories about ghosts especially around Halloween. The difference was that Nebulous Children's stories matched that of other children who could see ghosts as well. That alone dispelled the concern that I had about them making up their stories or even lying to me. I knew when children who could see ghosts actually had the ability versus children who were using their imaginations. It was more than telling me what angels were around me or the fact that they could differentiate between type of angels, (e.g., dark angels/demons versus God’s angels), it was in the details. It was also in their details about me, and each Nebulous Child would repeat that information in various places and different times.
The use of the imagination and the ability to see ghosts were both amazing skills brought to my attention by children. More than likely, if I did not meet Nebulous Children, I would not possess an understanding of a child’s imagination. Children truly believe in their imaginative thoughts probably just as much as Nebulous Children try to convey their ghostly encounters. I know that you have met children who believe that monsters are real. God bless “Monster’s Inc” the movie, in 2001 by Pixar Animation Studies, for trying to explain a child’s fear of monsters. It was a good movie that explained monsters in the closet and bedroom from the monsters and child's viewpoint especially using fun colors. I was not scared of Sully, he was too cute. Yet, most children kind of said to me after that movie, “I told you monsters were real.”
Sigh! Thanks Pixar…
So, we started my sessions over with "no monsters are not real" or "yes, your ability to see that ghost in your kitchen was real." I should have been confused but I was not, I just had to roll with the flow that the children brought to me in therapy or testing and assessment. Having an imagination is great as long as it is safe. I encountered children who had envisioned alarming things and drew pictures about them which required intervention or sharing with parents. Then, I worked with children who drew phenomenal pictures of angels, demons, and other entities that they claimed to see including their locations or feelings as they saw these ghosts. Periodically, that also caused concern and as a result, parental conversations were necessary. Clearly, it depends upon their child and what he or she decides to share detailing their experiences. Overtime, I learned to just listen and work with children to determine either their authenticity with their ability to see ghosts or understand details regarding their imaginations. Could it be difficult to decipher at times? Sure, it was, but with children who told me that they could see ghosts, I learned to know what I was looking for and most kids who used their imagination did not have the same psychiatric symptoms as some children who could see ghosts. I will elaborate about that point in the podcast. Nebulous Children had more scary experiences than kids who solely used their imaginations. I learned the difference over the years, and how to develop a child’s imagination to show me their inner challenges. Remember, they were visiting a mental health professional for a reason(s). There was not a time when a child’s imagination turned into “I can see a ghost.” Not once. The only children who told me that they could see ghosts were,
Children Who Could See Ghosts
Although were scared of The Green Lady, she was not a ghost to us. Many of us told our parents about it because we thought she was a real scary, but human lady. I, at least, thought she was a witch and not a ghost. Nebulous Children try to tell others that they can see ghosts. It is not that easy for them to tell the world about their abilities which is why many keep it quiet.
It maybe difficult to determine if a Nebulous Child is using his or her imagination or is really a child who can see ghosts. Allow yourself to learn from that child. Children will tell you everything you need to know about them if you are quiet and keep good eye contact with them. They may not open up to you easily until positive rapport is established, but they will do so if you give them time. I am a firm believer in trusting children. They have no reason to lie about telling you that they see ghosts; it does not benefit them, and most of the time they feel embarrassed until you make them feel comfortable.
Children with only imaginations have less concern and embarrassment about telling their stories, and they are ok with adults who tell them, “It’s just your imagination.” On the other hand, Nebulous Children are not accepting of adults attributing their stories to their imaginations and will fight for us to believe them until they give up. You do want to hear their stories; it will help them, and you may learn something from them. Their experiences may only be “weird” to you because you do not have the same ability as they do to see ghosts. As an adult, you have also lost your imagination.
But The Green Lady, however, is real! (smile)
Mike/Sully Photo Credit:
Download High Quality monsters inc logo sully Transparent PNG Images - Art Prim clip arts 2019 (clipartcraft.com)
Back in the Day: 'Green Lady' legend struck fear into kids | Back in the Day | phillytrib.com