Imaginary Friends. Or Are They?

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Imaginary Friends, Or Are They?

When my daughter was four years old, she had a “friend”. It took us a while to figure out that his name was Barnaby. She had a hard time saying this name and she would get very angry at us when we couldn’t say his name correctly. We weren’t bothered by her having an imaginary friend. She was the only child at the time, and she was too little to visit friends whenever she wanted to. However, sometimes he just seemed too real. He wasn’t always there when she wanted him to be. He had a strong love for Disney World and would visit there quite often. I need to mention, we lived a long way from Disney World and we were never able to take a trip there.

We went out to dinner one night after my son was born. All four spots at the table were taken by my family. A man and his wife came in and sat at the table next to ours. Annika began to scream like she was in pain! We finally figured out that the man sat on Barnaby! He was gracious and changed seats.

It was time for us to move. Les was being stationed in the Azores. As we were saying our goodbyes to friends and neighbors, Annika was asked if Barnaby was going with us. “No, he is staying here. It would be too far away from Disney World.”

That was the end of Barnaby.

The Mean Girl

For a short time, a family was having problems getting their little girl to go out and play with her friends. She would much rather play in her room with her toys. She would sit for hours and play and chatter to herself. The playground near their home would be loud with the laughter and hollering of the neighborhood children but Tia was content to sit and play on her own.

Her parents would ask her why she didn’t want to go outside and the answer was “Jenny doesn’t want me to”. Oh, ok. We have an invisible friend! There was no amount of persuasion that was getting the child to go out and play with other children. Her friend Jenny didn’t want her to have any other friends and she would be very angry with Tia.

Tommy decided his daughter needed some time away from her room and he forced Tia to go outside. She was adamant about how mad Jenny would be and seemed to be truly terrified. Once in the playground, Tia became physically ill and her father had to carry her back into the house. He didn’t force her again.

Eventually, Jenny went away and Tia was able to enjoy her friends once more. To this day, however, Tommy insists he saw a little girl ghost standing in the hallway.

Ava and Steve

It was the middle of summer. The weather was excessively hot for a July day in Virginia. Shannon and her family spent their weekends at her parents’ “getaway” home in the hills because it had a swimming pool.

Shannon’s three year old knew which part of the pool she that she was allowed in, but on this 4th of July, she decided to go into the deep end. Shannon’s sister pulled the little girl out of the water before any harm came to the child.

Later that day, Ava told her mother that Steve was mad at her. Shannon was unsure of who Steve was, but asked why Steve was mad. “Because I didn’t have sunscreen on.”

For several weeks, Ava would talk about Steve. She wanted her mommy to pick Steve up and bring him to the house so she could play with him. Some days he would already be at the house and she would be playing with him. When asked about him, sometimes the answer would be that he went home to be with his mommy and daddy. Shannon tried not to make a big deal out of the invisible friend, but she thought it was odd that Steve wouldn’t be there when Ava wanted him. Couldn’t she make believe that he was there when she needed a playmate? Shannon did ask Ava what he looked like. Ava said that he had dark hair and dark eyes. He was three like her but tall like her daddy.

Shannon was at a basket party one day with friends and family. She told the story about the invisible Steve. She mentioned that it started at the house in the hills after Ava had to be rescued from the swimming pool. That is when Shannon was told some history about the house.

The previous owners had a son named Steve. It was believed that he lived a rough life of abuse from his father. When he was a teenager, he tried to commit suicide, but later died in a car accident when he was in his twenties. A yearbook was found and he did have dark hair and dark eyes.

Steve seemed to only stay around for a few weeks. Maybe he had to relive some childhood moments. Maybe he just wanted to make sure Ava was fine and happy. Shannon is convinced that Steve was not the typical imaginary friend.

Update: Steve came back after being gone for a couple of months. Shannon’s daughters were playing in the backyard and Ava mentioned Steve was in the tree. Ava’s sister told Shannon that someone was throwing rocks from the tree, but there was no one up there. The dog was barking and growling at the tree.

When I posted an inquiry on my facebook group Western Slope Historical and Paranormal Society, I got quite a few responses from readers:

Brenda:

She was a little older when she had her imaginary friend. Her friend was with her until she was about eleven or twelve years old. She called her Diana. When she played or talked to her, she imagined her to be about the same age, fair skinned with long wavy hair. She never talked to anyone about Diana, but her stepfather had seen a little girl in the house with the same characteristics. When Brenda’s sister moved out, she thought she would be lonely, but she found comfort in Diana. When Brenda’s family moved, Diana was no longer around. Was it because she stayed at the house, or did Brenda just outgrow an imaginary friend?

Brittany:

She lives in Grand Junction, Colorado which used to be Ute Indian territory before they were pushed onto a reservation. Brittany had two Indian children “imaginary” friends. At her young age, they were her best friends and companions. They were rather mean, however. They would take her toys and pinch her. She was told later by her mother and aunt that she would have pinch marks, so they were convinced the Indian children were not imaginary but a little more sinister. When Brittany’s family moved, the two Indian children did not go with them.

Casie:

She moved to Colorado when she was seven years old. The house they moved into was built in 1919, by a prominent family in Grand Junction. Casie made friends with an invisible boy. Her mother thought it was odd she didn’t make up a girl friend, but whatever kept her daughter happy. Living in a new area is always hard, especially when moving out into a rural area with few neighbors.

In her brothers room, there would be knocking on the window. Visitors would hear it, but her brother never did.

It was later found out that a little boy who once lived in that house, had died and that was his room. He was possibly buried somewhere in the land around the house.

This house has since been destroyed in a fire.

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