The blog Reddit has a post asking readers to tell about the most disturbing thing their child has said about their imaginary friend. See here. Lots of the stories seem to involve either reincarnation or ghosts. Consider this one:
Not an imaginary friend but this was back in the 80’s when my daughter was 3. We were watching MTV (back then it was cool and played back to back videos). The Bangles “Walk Like an Egyptian” came on and my daughter just stood there staring at it. When the video was done she turned to me and said, “We didn’t sing or dress that way back then.” Slightly amused I laughed and asked her to sing for me the way the Egyptians sang back then. She proceeded to sing a strange tune in a haunting melody that sent chills down our spine. Later she drew a picture of “her dress” and I started crying. It was too ancient and intricate to be bullshit. [from someone named B52Bombsell]
This is a spooky and enticing story, but as evidence of reincarnation, it’s pretty much worthless. The woman may have made it up, or the daughter may have heard something in day care (assuming she was in day care) or somewhere else. It would be nice to know what styles of music the woman was familiar with. If she was familiar with a lot, then that would lend credence to her claim that the song her daughter sang was a strange tune in a haunting melody. But if she was familiar with just a couple, then the daughter may have picked up some song someplace like day care or at a friend’s, and the woman’s lack of knowledge meant she failed to identify something that might be fairly common.
This, sadly, is mostly the way stories about reincarnation work. It’s really hard to verify much of anything and depends on how much information the person in question had access to.
What I’d like is to find someone who remembers from their past life how ancient Greek was spoken, since it had tones and since it seems difficult to figure out how the tones worked. (See here.)
Here is another story:
When my little sister was 3ish (I was about 8), she, my mother and I were standing on our porch watching a lightning storm. Sister suddenly looks up at us and says “this is how I died.” We asked her how. She says “the lightning.” We proceeded to ask who she was and what year it was, her response was “my name is Charlotte (we didn't know anyone with that name), and it’s 1924 (I don’t think she even knew what year it was currently.” She then went back to making stupid noises and throwing things like she usually did at that time. Freaked us out. [hammyprice]
Meanwhile, here’s a rather silly story:
My daughter is 4 but she’s had this one particular imaginary friend for a long time. Well, it’s more like an imaginary family. She told us she married a guy named Disco Frank. He has a son named Football Guy. Disco Frank....is an asshole. She was in her room one day and came out crying. I asked her what happened and she said, “Disco Frank kicked everyone out of our party. I wanted him to help me clean up but he left to go fishing!” My husband shook his head. Disco Frank is violent and insulting to everything. One day she said, “Disco Frank hit my best friend!” My husband snaps and says, “I hate Disco Frank. You need to get a divorce! Break up with him! He's bad news!” So she said she kicked him out and what not, but yesterday she was sitting behind me “doing my hair,” which just involves flipping my hair around and clipping it with hair clips until she likes it, and she says, “I’m marrying Batman today!” She then informed us that Nini can’t come (my mom) because Batman thinks she’s fat.
Disco wasn’t her first imaginary friend though. She used to have these weird crying fits and scream about her brother who got hit by a car and died. It was a very complex story. So we had to tell her daycare she never had a brother, I’ve never had another kid just so she wouldn’t use it as manipulation like she did on family friends and such.
And for the record, she’s not really allowed to watch much tv, she just has a really good imagination I guess! [actasifuralive]
Disco Frank? Where would a toddler get a name like that? (It’s pretty funny that the woman’s husband demanded that his four-year-old daughter get a divorce!) But the fact that the girl was in day care means she may have been subjected to many influences that the family knows nothing about.
See here for a book on the subject. Is this conclusive? Hardly. As I explained here, I think reincarnation is true, but I also think we are here for punishment, so it makes sense that we never get any real proof of the afterlife since the lack of real proof is just part of the punishment.