I was afraid of the closet as a young child. They were dark and creepy. I always felt as if something was in there and I needed to stay out of it at night. Just imagine how I felt as a psychologist, when children began to share their fears of the closet with me. I would tell them, "I completely understand," until they started to share with me more to their stories that I did not suspect. Their experiences with monsters in their closets were not cute like James P. Sullivan "Sulley" or Mike Wazowski from the Monster's Inc franchise. Oh no! However, the movie, "Monster's Inc." does explain why monsters enter a child's closet, right? Makes me wonder if...
You've seen ghosts in your closet...?
Children report to me that they see ghosts in their closets. The challenge for me was to determine if there was a mental health concern or if the kids really did have the ability to see ghosts in the closets. I discuss how I was able to figure this out in earlier blogs from "Kids Can See Ghosts, Can You," but it was no easy task. Most of the time, children shared that they would sleep with their lights on because it protected them from the ghosts in their closets. Or, they would sleep in their parents' bedrooms. They would talk to me about how the ghosts would not come out of their closets when their parents appeared in their rooms. Children told me that closet ghosts were scared of their parents (I heard this many times). Sometimes, the eyes of the closet ghosts glowed red. They also talked to the children. In return, the children communicated with the ghosts in their closets, but not always at night. It was too scary for them!
Children also saw ghosts in a closet of mine at a former place of employment.
Check Kids Can See Ghosts Can You?
Teenagers would often challenge themselves by opening their closet doors or by walking into into their dark closets. At times, it happened due to the ghosts commanding them to walk into their closes but most of the time it was solely their decision. A few of them just did not want to be scared of the ghosts any longer; haven been afraid for several years, and wanting to end the fear. Can you imagine entering your dark closet while you see ghosts in it? Most of them would come running out of their closets. Others commanded the ghosts to go away.
I asked many children why the ghosts would hide in their closets. Some shared that ghosts feel as if they are hiding and that it was a safe place for them while waiting for their parents to fall sleep. Ghosts walked around the homes of these children while their parents were asleep. Children shared their stories with me about seeing ghosts in their hallways at night, in their bathrooms, and in mirrors, kitchens, and out of the windows. This is why many of them would not use the bathroom at night. The ghosts would scare them at night, so they would remain in their room and under the covers to hide from the ghosts. They always felt as if they were being watched from the closets, and forget about sleeping with the closet door open at night!
Do you keep your closet doors open at night?
What To Do If A Child Tells You, "I See a Ghosts in my Closet"
Whenever a child tells you, "I see a ghost in my closet," believe them and assist them with working through their feelings. I know that it is hard to understand whether or not a child is being truthful; they have big imaginations, but how do you know it is not true? If you cannot see ghosts, you do not know. Please know that I have heard of ghost sightings numerous times, even closet ghosts. Furthermore, most of these stories sounded the same with almost identical experiences. Mind you, these were different children who did not know about one another (confidentiality). It took me years to come to terms with the fact that I will hear these more than likely, for the rest of my career.
If you are a parent who is genuinely concerned about these experiences, or if they are causing your child distress, it is advisable to consult a medical or mental health professional. They can help determine if there are underlying physical or psychological factors contributing to their perceptions and provide appropriate guidance and support. Experiences involving the supernatural are highly subjective and often rooted in personal beliefs and cultural influences.
Maintain a healthy level of skepticism and consider scientific and rational explanations when interpreting unusual phenomena. I did and there is nothing wrong with questioning whether not closet ghosts or the ability to see ghosts seems real or fabricated. It is not always a happy experience for children, and it can be a disconcerting and frightening experience. However, approach these experiences with an open mind while considering alternative explanations for such perceptions such as:
Ultimately, whether your closet(s) are truly haunted or not, your child's emotional well-being is paramount. If your child continues to feel distressed or fearful about seeing ghosts in the closet, seek professional assistance. Your and support is a crucial step to address your concerns and find peace in your living environment.