These children all have invisible friends who really existed - and can give details about them that they would have no way of finding out for themselves
Rosalyn, three, revealed she had 'dead' friends to her mother, Rebecca Evans.
Mrs Evans, a journalist, said she had never talked to her daughter about death.
Records show children with names of 'dead' friends lived at the house in 1800s.
My three-year-old daughter, Rosalyn, is happily chatting away as we walk through countryside near our home. She is telling me about her morning at pre-school, the games she played and how she wants pasta for dinner, flitting from one subject to another in her usual excitable babble.
‘I’ve got a new best friend,’ she announces. ‘How lovely,’ I say. ‘What’s her name?’
‘Tilly. She lives in our house,’ comes the reply. ‘She’s my friend, and she’s dead. Alex is my friend, too. He lives here. He died. His mummy and grandad died, too. We play babies together,’ she announces, before moving on to the merits of strawberry ice cream over chocolate.
I decided to do some digging, in an effort to convince myself that there is nothing to Rosalyn’s imaginings. I wish I hadn’t.
Census records for 1861 show there was a ten-year-old boy called Alexander Turner living here. And records for 30 years later, in 1891, list a Matilda Oke, aged 20. Records are patchy from this time, so it’s very likely that Matilda was living here when she was much younger.
Take the mother-of-six Katie Jones, 33, a carer from Canterbury, Kent. She has an 11-year-old daughter Alice, who, from the age of two, has spoken of seeing people who are no longer here. Katie, who is married to landlord Gareth, 47, explains: ‘When Alice was two, she started to cry a lot, saying there were two men in her room staring and shouting at her, and she didn’t like it.
‘She then started to say that a girl called Sheila sat at the bottom of her bed crying for her mummy. I looked in old newspaper cuttings and found that there was a girl of that name murdered here. It chilled me to the core.
‘Alice then told me that my grandmother, also named Alice, who died a year before my daughter was born, was coming into her bedroom. She said that Nanna had told the girl and the men to go away, and they had.’
Katie says Alice would accurately describe the clothes her grandmother wore, something she couldn’t have known.
Mother-of-two Tricia Jordan is not clairvoyant, but she is in no doubt that her son talks to the dead.
The 32-year-old medical secretary says her seven-year-old son, Luca, has been ‘seeing’ her dead grandmother since he was a baby, which used to scare her, but she now feels comforted by it.
Tricia, from Newport, Gwent, who is married to postman Stuart, 37, and also has a four-year-old son, Bobby, says: ‘My grandmother passed away when Luca was 18 months old. He had just started to speak, and the first thing he told me was how Granny would tuck him up in bed. I found it really strange. It used to scare me, and I’d change the subject.
‘One of the eeriest things was him singing The Big Ship Sails On The Ally-Ally-O, which she always sang to me. He would sing it over and over, and tell me how Granny was there. I had never sung it to him. There is no way he could have known this song.
‘As time went on, I realised he wasn’t scared so it was all right.’
Thinking about it? It makes me wonder.
Want to read more incidents that have been checked?
See the book The Children That Time Forgot, researched by Peter and Mary Harrison. It’s on Amazon.
I once had a memorable discussion with my best friend’s mother when I was about five years old, tucked up in bed when she came into my room, where my pal was having a sleepover. She’d died the night before.