PSICAN - Paranormal Studies and Inquiry Canada

Ghosts, Hauntings & Related Phenomena

Written by Susan Demeter-St.Clair
Children & Night Terrors - Ghosts or Medical Condition?
Night Terror During 2008 PSICAN researchers received at least 5 reports from frightened parents on behalf of their children where we strongly suspected night terrors were the cause of the children's odd behaviour coupled with excessive fear of something unseen by the parents/caregivers.

Night terrors are not nightmares, but they are definitely a natural (not supernatural) and a medically explainable event.


Night terrors are common in young children between the ages of 3-5 especially boys. Night terrors can happen at much older ages, and even adults can experience them. Children who are experiencing a night terror may appear to be awake, but they are actually asleep. They will appear as if in some sort of trance, and may experience "visions."  In some cases, it is a distraught child who acts strangely. Often these children are terrified at some unseen stimuli. Sometimes these kids have a look of sheer terror. Other times they just act "weird" or are unresponsive and "out of it". A child may wander out of bed in the middle of night and be sitting on the floor in tears or possibly they are preoccupied with a toy, acting as if there is something scary about it. Any strange behavior on waking (or appeared wakening, since kids are asleep during a night terror) can be a night terror.

If this is a regular occurrence or has happened a few times, parents must seek qualified medical advice.

PSICAN strongly urges parents to have complete medical evaluations done on any children experiencing such seemingly paranormal situations, or adults too if no one else is sharing the experience.

One of the five reports we did receive was particularly disturbing as we were informed that the parents of one of these children were told by a "psychic/ghost buster" that their child was probably being attacked by evil ghosts, and they needed to protect the child with prayers, and a smudging ceremony. This type of extreme speculation is harmful as it caused undue stress for the family, and a potential delay in the child receiving proper medical attention for what did in this case turn out to be a sleep disorder - sleep apnea.

There are reactions people can have to environmental toxins and types of seizures that can also cause symptoms in children that could be described as "paranormal."  Parents need to insure that all of these potential natural causes are explored before turning to any paranormal explanation because they may in fact be prolonging their child's suffering from a medical condition that needs to be diagnosed by a licenced, and qualified medical professional. 


Further Reading:

Night Terrors & Children

Coping With Night Terrors

Nightmares & Night Terrors