Psychic Experiences During Childhood (1)

Children Experiencing Psychic Phenomena

Video #1

This video is Part 1 of a 4 part series.1

Part 1: Children experiencing psychic phenomena

Duration: 26min 40sec

00:00 Introduction to Dr. Drewes
03:40 Beginning of lecture, questions to the audience on psychic experiences
05:40 Paranormal accounts of Dr. Drewes patients as well as of herself as a child
11:45 Dr. Drewes experiences at age 20 with dream research
13:40 We are all psychic, psychic children need our support
15:10 What scientific evidence do we have for PSI/ESP ? What is PSI ?
20:00 Intuition, parent-child telepathy, children’s reactions to their experiences

Click here » for next video, Part 2: Excerpt from the documentary “Psychic children”.

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  1. Video originally published on Rhine Research Center website ». Reshared on Perceptive Children Network with express permission from The Rhine Research Center.

Testing Children for Paranormal Abilities

By Athena A. Drewes, PsyD

Originally published in “Advances in Parapsychological Research. 8” 1997. McFarland & Co. (pp. 211-220)


Louisa Rhine (1968) wrote in Hidden Channels of the Mind that “the interesting general fact that emerges from studying children is that their experiences, though simpler, still are similar both in form and type to those of adults. It seems that ESP may be ‘there’ even in children” (p.150).

In general, researchers in parapsychology overlook children as a viable subject pool for their experiments. One can only speculate the reasons as to why so little research is conducted with children as compared to the volumes of work with college students and adults. In part, there may be reluctance by researchers to work with children because they may assume a child’s intellectual ability, attention span, and willingness is not compatible with their research design. Some researchers may have difficulty changing their adult expectations and manner of interacting when working with children. Others may not have a grasp of the various developmental levels and needs of children in order to design their research adequately enough to use children as subjects.

Finally, limited accessibility to children and legal issues may further complicate research design. Some researchers may not have access to classes of school-children or large groups of children needed for research. Further, in this day of legal and ethical issues around research and testing, researchers need to have consent forms so that parents are fully informed about the nature of the research. Legal restrictions by parents, review boards and attorneys further complicate working with children.

Parapsychological research with children can be challenging, yet enjoyable and productive, if approached with some basic understanding of children and their needs. Children often make excellent subjects. They have not yet accepted their cultural concepts of what is possible or impossible. They are not negatively conditioned about psychic phenomena, and especially when younger, have a less structured and limited concept of time, space, and force. While many researchers may be reluctant to work with children as subjects, a review of the literature shows that research can be conducted successfully if special test requirements are met. In fact, children are sometimes easier to work with as subjects in experiments that are adults (Bottrill, 1969).

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Establishing Rapport

Establishing rapport, making the tasks playful, interesting, and “colorful” and gearing the test to the child’s cognitive level are essential components for testing children. Maintaining rapport with a child subject is important. Some people find they are very comfortable with children, in talking with them or conducting research, which may come from their own experiences or a general interest in children. Other researchers may not feel so comfortable. They need to learn, or perhaps relearn, how best to relate to children.

Children who are cooperative or obedient will present few problems. The researcher needs to explain what is to be done and these children will readily agree to try whatever the experimenter requires of them. It will take more effort to engage the child who may be shy or has limited verbal abilities.

Both shy and outgoing children may enter new situations with caution and wariness. The experimenter must be attuned to their feelings and needs as individuals. The experimenter should try to put the child at ease. Casual conversation about favorite TV shows, pets, hobbies, or activities can help ease into a testing situation. Using some readily accessible toys like cars and blocks, or having the child draw pictures of favorite animals or scenes, can help ease discomfort. This technique can also maximize performance by allowing the child some initial control over the situation. Some children may find the testing stressful, regardless of your attempts. With these children, it is best to acknowledge their discomfort verbally and to terminate the testing session. Sometimes, this is enough for the child to want to resume the activity or have the motivation to try. However, there may be times when the child will accept your offer to stop. In this case, an opportunity to try again at a later date could be offered.

Sometimes planning two shorter testing sessions may be more productive than one longer one. But this may not always be possible, given traveling distances and scheduling problems. In this case, it would be helpful to plan a short break in the experimental design, taking into consideration the child’s age, attention span, and need for contact with the person who brought (if they are not already in the testing session with you). In facilitating and maintaining overall rapport, it is always necessary to keep a watchful eye on your subject for fatigue, boredom, distractions and discomfort (perhaps a bathroom break is needed). This attention to the child’s comfort level, in knowing when to take a short pause or to offer reassurance of their performance, goes a long way in building rapport.

It is important to be honest and direct when trying to elicit a child’s cooperation. Children are very perceptive and can readily pick up your uncomfortableness and hesitancy when not being truthful. Children come to the research situation with varying degrees of preparation. The experimenter should not assume that the child will experience exactly what the parent initially described to the child. A brief, accurate description of why you and the child are working together is important. The extent of the explanation will depend upon the child’s cognitive level of understanding. Consequently, for younger children you may not only need a brief explanation but also a demonstration of what you will be expecting.

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The Testing Environment

Children of all ages, even preschoolers, are likely to be aware of testing and adult expectations, regardless of how the experimenter describes the experiment. They are aware of their misses and failures, as well as any subtle cues from the experimenter. It is best to inform them honestly that they will not be able to succeed on every item, as no child is expected to nor will be able to get each one. The goal for the child is to see how well she or he is able to do for a given task.

Constant encouragement and praise while the child performs the experiment can alleviate anxiety about not doing well and helps to maintain his or her interest. Actively engaging the child in the experiment through tangible or edible rewards for correct guesses, or by including the child in a simple task such as helping the experimenter turn pages, increases the child’s motivation and lessens his or her “test” anxiety.

Instructions should be clear and specific to the immediate task. Some children will say they understand, when in fact, they may be embarrassed to indicate otherwise. The experimenter should be sensitive to any uneasiness a child may show and explore it to deal with any misunderstandings or needs (such as a trip to the bathroom). Setting the emotional tone of the experimental situation is very important; it should be comfortable and not distracting. Enlisting parental cooperation and enthusiasm, figuring out what to do with siblings if the experiment is done in the home, and making sure the environment is peaceful and relaxed in every way, are all advised. Because very young children have short attention spans, the length of the trial or session needs to be considered. Several short trials can be better than one long one.

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Guarding Against Fraud

While children may in many ways be ideal subjects, a note of caution is necessary. As with any subject pool, young people will sometimes engage in fraudulent test behavior. As far back as 184, during the Spiritualism era, the Fox children’s skills as psychic mediums came under question. The Fox daughter, Margaret, 12, and Kate, 9, summoned their parents night after night upon claiming to hear rapping and banging noises that prevented their sleeping. One time when their father, John Fox, shook the window sashes, there was suddenly the same pounding in another part of the room, as though in reply. One by one, the family members would ask questions (e.g. “How old is Kate?”) and there would be raps in reply, giving the correct numbers. After a short while, the sisters created an alphabet code that supposedly made them able to obtain detailed answers to their and others’ questions. The family was of the belief that the raps came from the spirit of Charles Rosna, who had been murdered in their house many years before.

News of the rapping in Hydesville (near Rochester, New York) took the town and nation by storm. The Fox sisters became famous, and soon many others who allegedly could communicate with spirits through rappings, spirit-guided writing, and mediumship appeared. Seances became popular and many were held. “Trance speakers” gave public lectures while supposedly communicating with spirits. The Spiritualism movement was born and significantly impacted the culture of America. However, the Spiritualist movement declined as quickly as it began, as fraudulent mediums were exposed. Forty years after the Fox sisters helped to start a cultural phenomenon, in 1888, Kate and Margaret Fox confessed that they were actually frauds and that they had produced the raps by cracking their toes. Margaret retracted her confession the next year, but Kate died an alcoholic in 1892 (Burrill, 1994).

Since that time, there have been numerous cases of children committing fraud in the field of psychic research (B. Nicol, 1960; F. Nicol, 1979). In more recent years, there has been skepticism about the abilities of “mini-Gellers”, children who supposedly manifest abilities to bend metal objects in imitation of Uri Geller, an Israeli performer alleged to possess psychokinetic abilities. Delanoy (1987) has reported on a fraudulent case of PK metal-bending with a 17-year-old “mini-Geller” in Britain.

The difficulties of designing, setting up, and maintaining adequate controls during experiments, especially those experiments dealing with PK, contribute to the possibilities of both intentional and unintentional deception. Added pressure to succeed can occur because children seek adult approval and may enjoy the attention they receive for their performance. What might have originated as an authentic psychic phenomena may become forced and fraudulent with repeated, on-demand performances. Since psychic abilities often vary, depending upon who the experimenter is, as well as the mood, physical state, and motivation of the subject, it seems very likely that some children subjects may try to enhance their scores artificially, so as not to disappoint others or lose the attention they have begun to enjoy. Therefore, researchers should consider the possibility of fraud when designing studies with children, so that adequate controls and safeguards are imposed (Krippner, 1990).

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Cognitive and Developmental Considerations

The child’s level of cognitive thinking, as well as his or her developmental stage, needs to be considered when devising ESP experiments. Piaget proposed that there are four stages of cognitive development: 1) the sensorimotor stage, birth to 2 years of age; 2) the pre-operational stage, 2 to 6 years of age; 3) the stage of concrete operations, 6 to 12 years of age; and 4) the stage of formal operations, which continues from adolescence into adulthood (Phillips, 1969).

In the sensorimotor stage (birth to 2 years) language and symbolic function are absent. The child progresses in a logical order from reflexes through habits, into imitation, and then being able to wait before immediately imitating another’s actions. They are attracted more readily by movements than stationary objects. During this stage, the child forms object permanence and object constancy. That is, they are able to hold mental representations of people, themselves and others – a kind of memory system, going from “out of sight, out of mind” – to seeking out the missing item.

Some writers believe that the symbiotic mother-child relationship is of critical importance (e.g., Ehrenwald, 1971). Children are particularly responsive to the unconscious feelings of others (especially their mother’s). Tauber and Green (1959) raised the question of whether the use of prelogical faculties for ESP is a regression to an infantile state. Ehrenwald (1971) theorized that “telepathy is the embryological matrix of communication which is later destined to be suppressed by speech. It may be a vitally important means of communication serving the integration and smooth functioning of the mother-child unit and thereby its very survival as a viable entity” (p. 462).

Because of the natural dependency stage of the child, a symbiotic relationship from before birth through 2 years of age supposedly develops between child and mother (Fraiberg, 1959). This intense closeness sets the stage for the occurrence of psychic phenomena between child and parent. Some mothers report that, around this age, telepathic events occur in relation to their saving their child from some disaster or event that is about to happen (Ehrenwald, 1971; Schwarz, 1961).

Ehrenwald (1972) further postulated that psi phenomena become repressed as children become older and are substituted by “normal” perceptual and motoric processes. Telepathy and clairvoyance would be extensions of normal perceptual processes; precognition would be the reverse of retrospective memory, and PK would be an extension of motoric abilities. These psi phenomena show characteristics of Freud’s so called primary process functioning, of symbolic representation, of prelogic (Brill, 1938), or of Piaget’s pre-operational thinking. Spinelli (1987), in his provocative research with children, suggested that those who are in the early stages of conscious self-development will manifest greater telepathy and clairvoyance. Once a stable, conscious self-identity has been formed, telepathy and clairvoyance will be greatly reduced.

Several ESP studies have taken into consideration the early mother-child relationship and infants’ reactions to faces (particularly the mother’s). Fisk (1951-1952) obtained significant clairvoyant results with a 14-month old girl, and Bierman (1985) worked with 10-month-old infants using computer-generated video displays of a laughing face display and melody when they obtained a PK hit. Braud (1981) tested infants (aged 6 weeks to 12 months) for time-displaced PK, using the playback of their mothers’ voice as feedback. Results of these tests were varied and inconclusive.

During Piaget’s second, pre-operational stage (2-6 years), the child deals with the world in a more realistic way. Curiosity and excitement are dominant at these ages. Although vocabulary development is rapidly growing, during this stage, a child still has limited verbal skills. Thinking will tend to be accessible more through non-verbal than verbal means. Thinking will be intuitive, imaginative, determined by “magical thinking”, and unrestrained by adult logical rules. They begin to have symbolic representation and engage in fantasy activities. For children this age, the world is an alluring place to explore. They want to touch, smell, hear, test things out, and learn best through action. They may prefer not to sit, and will tend to be noisy, having a great deal to say. Their point of reference will be very personal and egocentric, as they want to initiate actions by themselves. Frustration can build, necessitating extra time, patience, and praise from the researcher.

Stevenson (1983) found Indian children who began speaking about past life memories at 38 months, had those memories fading around 79 months. Children’s near-death experiences are report as similar both in content and sequence to those of adults (Bush, 1983). In research with preschool and school aged children (ages 4 to 7 years), Drucker, Drewes, and Rubin (1977) found using colorful M&M candies as targets a useful technique for this age group.

Children in the third, concrete operational stage (6 to 12) think more concretely and less intuitively than during the previous stage. They become more rational and more concerned with categories of objects. They are still tied to the “here and now”, unable to transcend the concrete and consider different possibilities. Although they can begin to plan ahead, often they will quickly tackle a problem; their approach will be practical, based on empirical evidence. School-age children have been tested extensively by Anderson (1960), Anderson and White (1956, 1957, 1958), Freeman (1963, 1970), and Van Busschbach (1955, 2956, 1959), among others. They have statistically significant psi scores across all ages and types of tests. Shargal (1987) found that first graders scored better than 4th grade children on clairvoyance tasks. Winkelman (1981) tested Mexican children (ages 8 to 14) on clairvoyance, PK, and precognitive tasks. He found clairvoyance and precognition scores correlated negatively with math ability, years of schooling, and age. PK scores correlated positively with age. However, Giesler (1985) failed to replicate this study using children in Brazil.

The type of target useful and appropriate to this age group can help motivate children to the ESP task. Kanthamani, Khilji, and Perlstrom (1986) used specifically designed target decks with cartoon characters. Rewards of stickers aided in their motivational experiment with children ages 5 to 10. Krippner (1965) used sets of cards with five photographs each of dogs, cats, fish, and ships as clairvoyance test targets, along with another set of the words “dogs,” “cats,” “fish,” and “ships”. Winkelman (1981) used small monetary awards and candy incentives in psi tests with 8 to 14-year-olds. Targets for use in clairvoyance, PK and precognition tests were red, green, and yellow candies, as well as colored marbles. Anderson (1960) had 8-to-12-year-olds launch a mythical missile. Tornatore (1984) utilized a fantasy scenario using E.T. the extraterrestrial from the popular movie, to aid in attempted telepathic communication among second graders.

The fourth stage, formal operations, begins in early puberty (around 12 years) and continues into adulthood. Piaget reports that the adolescent’s thinking makes a significant shift form a concrete to an abstract level. “Here and now” concerns give way to a speculative stance, examining the whole situation and considering what the possibilities, connections, and alternatives are. Adolescents are capable of problem solving through a deduction, and can correctly attribute causation. There is genuine cooperation and a fascination with rules. There is an intricate interplay of memory, imagination, processing information, drawing inferences, and flexibly making choices. Consequently, the types of ESP testing for this stage become more elaborate. Studies become more involved, with attempts to correlate ESP and personality variables, attitudes, and/or beliefs (Blackmore & Troscianko; 1985; Haight, 1979; Krishna & Rao, 1981). With this age group, researchers have examined conditions of competition and cooperation, with same- and opposite-sex pairs (Rao & Kanthamani, 1981), as well as attempts to use psychokinetic abilities on fluids and metals (Egely, 1986; Hasted, 1977).

Novomysky (1984) reviewed a series of color telepathy experiments in the former Soviet Union. The studies indicated that adolescents (ages 14-15) have a better capacity for demo-optic perception than adults and that this ability decreases with age. Roll (1972, 1978) has reported extensively on Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis (RSPK) occurring predominantly with adolescents. He believes that repressed or unconscious hostilities are often directed outward through RSPK events.

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Personality Factors

Although in Western culture purported ESP phenomena appear to diminish greatly at the age that children enter school, the classroom ESP studies show that various factors (such as time of the school year, gender of the teacher and student, rapport between teacher and student, age of the student in relation to type of test) can heighten the response (e.g. statistically significant results in telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance tests) (Drewes & Drucker, 1991). However, in all test situations with children, as with those involving adults, personality differences between children affect scoring. “Believers” in ESP score higher than “nonbelievers” (Musso, 1965) and withdrawn children score lower than non-withdrawn children (Shields, 1962; Shields & Mulders, 1975).

Poltergeist phenomena allegedly seems to center around a child at puberty or adolescence, or a young adult with adolescent conflicts (Roll, 1972, 1978). The presence of the phenomena often indicates major problems within the individual or within a dysfunctional family situation (Roll, 1978). In addition, Kanthamani and Rao (1972) found that high schoolers who were assertive, extroverted, expansive, and low on neuroticism scored significantly higher on ESP tasks than those high schoolers scoring at the other end of the spectrum on the above factors.

The experience of tension and anxiety can lower ESP scores for children, as well as adults. Children of school age have already become “test conscious” and often regard the ESP task as a test in which their performance may be judged. Intelligence level has been show to have varying results in relation to ESP. Shields (1976) tests for clairvoyance and telepathy using severely mentally retarded children. Results were significant for telepathy, with neither telepathy nor clairvoyance scores correlating with age or IQ.

However, Drucker & Drewes and Rubin (1977) found children with a higher score on a verbal measure of intelligence seemed to accomplish learning better with immediate feedback during an ESP task than those children with lower IQ scores. Even children’s belief in ESP (Munson, 1981) and their relationship with agents or experimenters can significantly impact children’s ESP scores, as it does for adults (Anderson & White, 1956, 1957; Deguisne, 1959; Rhine, 1948).

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Future Research

Research conducted so far with children has sought to explore whether ESP and PK have a developmental component, the types of psi phenomena that may be unique to children, whether psi phenomena diminishes with age, the relationship between psi and IQ, and also the earliest age that psi can be tested and demonstrated.

The research with children certainly seems to confirm Louisa Rhine’s (1968) statement regarding a continuum of psi phenomena from childhood to adulthood. Children’s ESP experiences are similar in type and form to those of adults if one considers developmental factors. But unlike adult studies, children have been under-utilized as subjects with the exception of studies of past life memories and RSPK phenomena. However, research with children has been unsystematic in exploring and replicating studies dealing with the issue of development. It has lack longitudinal studies and cluster studies, such as are conducted with adult Ganzfeld and remote viewing experiments, to help investigate the issue of development and psi. Meta-analyses of the school-age studies is another area where further work could be done.

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Parents often would like to know how to react to a child’s reports of presumptive psi. The most positive thing that a parent can do is to give relaxed encouragement, treating the child as neither a freak nor a super-psychic (Jones, 1989). Keeping a journal of spontaneous psi phenomena may reveal trends (Schwarz, 1971, 1972). Proponents of psi would encourage the child to talk about his or her dreams, play ESP guessing games now and then, and would give older children books about parapsychology.

Parent who are skeptical about psi would listen patiently to children’s reports of their experiences, and would offer explanations within the boundaries of the dominant Western paradigm. They, too, might keep journals so that, at a later date, they could point out to children the number of dreams that did not come true, and the role that chance and coincidence can play in formulating belief systems. Both types of parents – advocates and skeptics – would do well to encourage children to discuss their unusual experiences, to listen patiently, and rather than dismissively retorting “That was only a dream,” present an explanation, or perhaps alternate explanations that would satisfy the child’s curiosity and facilitate his or her critical thinking capacities and cognitive development.

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Anderson, M.L. (1960). A year’s testing program with a class of public school pupils. Journal of Parapsychology, 24, 314.

Anderson, M.L. & White, R. A. (1956). Teacher-pupil attitudes and clairvoyance test results. Journal of Parapsychology, 20, 141-157.

Anderson, M.L. & White, R.A. (1957). A further investigation of teacher and pupil attitudes and clairvoyance results. Journal of Parapsychology, 21, 81-97.

Anderson, M.L. & White R.A. (1958). A survey of work on ESP and teacher-pupil attitudes. Journal of Parapsychology, 22, 246-268.

Bierman, D. J. (1985). A retro and direct PK test for babies with the manipulation of feedback: A first trial of independent replication using software exchange.

Journal of Parapsychology, 5, 373-390. Blackmore, S. & Troscianko, T. (1985). Belief in the paranormal: Probability judgments, Illusory control, and the ‘chance baseline shift.’ British Journal of Psychology, 76, 459-468.

Bottrill, J. (1969). Effects of motivation on ESP. Journal of Parapsychology, 33, 70.

Braud, W. (1981). Psychokinesis experiments with infants and young children.

[Summary]. In W. G. Roll & J. Beloff (Eds.), Research in parapsychology 1980 (pp. 30-31). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Brill, A. (1938). The basic writings of Sigmund Freud (pp. 518-521). New York: Random House.

Burrill, G. (1994, March/April). Hopedale’s echoes. The World, pp. 16-20.

Bush, N. (1983). The near-death experiences in children: Shades of the prison-house Reopening. Anbiosis, 3, 177-193.

Desguisne, A. (1959). Two repetitions of the Anderson-White investigation of teacher-pupil attitudes and clairvoyance test results. Journal of Parapsychology, 23, 196-207.

Delanoy, D. (1987). Work with a fraudulent PK metal-bending subject. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 54, 247-256.

Drewes, A.A. & Drucker, S.A. (1991). Parapsychological research with children: An annotated bibliography. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Drucker, S.A., Drewes, A.A., Rubin, L. (1977). ESP in relation to cognitive development in younger children. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 71, 289-298.

Egely, G. (1986). A pilot study of PK on liquids. [Summary]. In D. Weiner & D. Radin (Eds.), Research in parapsychology 1985 (pp. 62-66). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Ehrenwald, J. (1971). Mother-child symbiosis: Cradle of ESP. Psychoanalytic Review, 58, 455-466.

Ehrenwald, J. (1972). A neurophysiological model of psi phenomena. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 154, 502-504.

Fisk, G. (1951-52). ESP experiments with an infant as subject. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 36, 502-504.

Fraiberg, S.H. (1959) The magic years. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Freeman, J.A. (1963). Boy-girl differences in a group precognition test. Journal of Parapsychology, 27, 175-181.

Freeman, J.A. (1970). Sex differences in scoring on ESP booklet tests – a confirmation. Journal of Parapsychology, 36, 502-504.

Giesler, P.V. (1985_. An attempted replication of Winkelman’s ESP and socialization research [Summary]. In R.A. White & J. Solfvin (Eds.), Research in parapsychology 1984 (pp. 24-27). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Haight, J.M. (1979). Spontaneous psi cases: A survey and preliminary study of ESP, attitude and personality relationships. Journal of Parapsychology, 43, 179-204.

Hasted, J.B. (1977). Physical aspects of paranormal metal bending. Journal of Parapsychology, 36, 56-70.

Jones, C. (1989). From parent to child: The psychic link. New York: Warner Books.

Kanthamani, B.K. & Rao, K.R. (1972). Personality characteristics of ESP subjects II. The combined personality measure (CPM) and ESP. Journal of Parapsychology, 36 56-70.

Kanthamani, H., Khilji, A. & Perlstrom, J. (1986). Social facilitation and ESP performance among children [Summary]. In D. Weiner & D. Radin (Eds.),

Research in parapsychology 1985 (pp. 44-49). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Krippner, S. (1965). Coding and clairvoyance in a dual aspect test with children. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 20, 745-748.

Krippner, S. (1990). A display of powers: Peeking at China’s psychic children. In L.A.

Henkel & G.R. Schmeidler (Eds.), Research in parapsychology 1990 (pp. 155-156). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Krishna, S.R., & Rao, K.R. (1981). Personality and “belief” in relation to language ESP Scores [Summary]. In W.G. Roll & J. Beloff (Eds.), Research in parapsychology 1980 (pp. 61-63). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Munson, R.J. (1981). Belief in sex difference in a language differential test [Summary]. In W.G. Roll & J. Beloff (Eds.), Research in parapsychology 1980 (pp. 63-64). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Musso, J.F. (1965). ESP experiments with primary school children. Journal of Parapsychology, 29, 115-121.

Nicol, B.H. (1960). The Jones boys: A case for telepathy not proven. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 54, 118-135.

Nicol, F. (1979). Faudulent children in psychical research. Parapsychology Review, 10, 16-21.

Novomeysky, A. (1984). On the possible effect of an experimenter’s subliminal or Telepathic influence on dermo-optic sensitivity. PSI Research, 3, 8-15.

Phillips, J.L. (1969). The origins of intellect. Piaget’s theory. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman.

Rao, K.R. & Kanthamani, H. (1981). Possible sex-related differences of same and opposite sex pairs in competition/cooperation experiments. Journal of Indian Psychology, 3, 41-51.

Rhine, J.B. (1948). Conditions favoring success in psi tests. Journal of Parapsychology, 12, 58-75.

Rhine, L.E. (1968). Hidden channels of the mind (pp. 148-160). New York: William Sloane.

Roll, W.G. (1978). Understanding the poltergeist [Summary]. In W.G. Roll (Ed.), Research in parapsychology 1977(pp. 183-195). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Schwarz, B.E. (1961). Telepathic events in a child between 1 and 3 ½ years of age. International Journal of Parapsychology, 3, 5-47.

Schwarz, B.E. (1971). Parent-child telepathy. New York: Garrett Publications.

Schwarz, B.E. (1972). Family telepathy. Psychic, 3(5), 16-19.

Shargal, S. (1987). Children’s ESP scores in relation to age [Summary]. In D.H.

Weiner & R.D. Nelson (Eds.), Research in parapsychology 1986 (pp. 51-53). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Shields, E. (1962). Comparison of children’s guessing ability with personality characteristics. Journal of Parapsychology, 26, 200-210.

Shields, E. (1976). Severely mentally retarded children’s psi ability [Summary]. In J.D. Morris, W.G. Roll & R. L. Morris (Eds.), Research in parapsychology 1975 (pp.135-139).

Shields, E. & Mulders, C. (1975). Pleasant vs. unpleasant targets on children ESP tests And their relationship to personality tests. Journal of Parapsychology, 39, 165-175.

Spinelli, E. (1987). Child developmental and GESP: A summary. Parapsychology Review, 18, 8-11.

Stevenson, I. (1983). American children who claim to remember previous lives. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 171, 742-748.

Tauber, E.S. & Green, M. (1959). Prelogical experience. New York: Basic Books.

Tornatore, R.P. (1984). The use of fantasy in a children’s ESP experiment [Summary].

In R.A. White & R. S. Broughton (Eds.), Research in parapsychology 1983 (pp. 102-103). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Van Busschbach, J.G. (1955). A further investigation on ESP in school children. Journal of Parapsychology, 19, 73-81.

Van Busschbach, J.G. (1956). An investigation of ESP between teacher and pupils In American schools. Journal of Parapsychology, 26, 71-80.

Van Busschbach, J.G. (1959). An investigation of ESP in first and second grades of Dutch schools. Journal of Parapsychology, 23, 227-237.

Winkelman, M. (1981). The effect of formal education on extrasensory abilities: The Ozolco study. Journal of Parapsychology, 45, 321-336.

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Indigo Children w/ psi Abilities

What is an Indigo Child?

“Children who are defined as Indigo may exhibit unusual behaviors or possess special abilities, including particular sensitivities to their environment, and more intense emotional experiences than other children.” ~ Athena Drewes

The number of parents reporting that their children have had psychic experiences is increasing at a rapid pace.

These gifted children and adolescents are sometimes referred to as Indigo Kids or Crystal Children.

In this audio podcast, Kala Ambrose interviews Dr. Athena Drewes, a child psychologist and parapsychologist who researches children and ESP abilities.

Beginning at 05:15 of the podcast, Athena and Kala address issues specifically related to the “Indigo” traits, behaviors, and challenges these children, and their parents. They also offer guidance and coping skills based on research and personal psychic experiences. If you prefer reading to listening, you can jump to the “Indigo Children & the Sixth Sense” section in the text transcript by clicking here.

Jump to the full audio podcast and learn how scientific research is weighing in on Indigo children and others with psi abilities. Read the full transcript starting here.

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Explore Your Spirit with Kala

Kala Ambrose

Dr. Athena Drewes discusses Indigo Children with Kala Ambrose, host of “Explore Your Spirit with Kala”.

Kala is a spiritual teacher, motivational speaker, host of Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show and practical intuitive coach and guide, Kala’s teachings are described as empowering and inspiring. She has authored 5 books, including “The Awakened Psychic”.

Kala was kind enough to invite Athena on her show for a “spirited exchange”1  about Indigo & Crystal Kids and children with psychic abilities.

Learn all about Kala by visiting her website at Explore Your Spirit ».

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PSI Children (Audio Podcast)

Podcast Length: 29min 50sec

Source: Kala Radio2

Audio Player

Skip ahead to 05:15 for discussion about Indigo Children.

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Interview with Athena

Dr. Athena Drewes

00:00 (min:sec)3
Narrator: Welcome to Explore Your Spirit with Kala. Journey with Kala as she speaks with researches, artists, teachers, and healers, delving into topics of ancient mysteries, metaphysical explorations, and new discoveries from science and spiritual arenas. Explore Your Spirit with Kala can be found online at Explore Your Spirit dot com. Visit the website for more podcasts, articles, metaphysical news, and upcoming events.

Kala: Welcome to Explore Your Spirit. I’m your host Kala. Today we’re speaking with Dr. Athena Drewes, a licensed child psychologist, parapsychologist, and consultant to the Rhine Research Center and the Parapsychology Foundation on children’s psychic experiences. Welcome, Dr. Drewes to the show!

Athena: Thank you very much.

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Children with ESP

Kala: Pleasure to have you on here. You work specifically with children from what I understand researching children who seem to have ESP abilities. How long have you been doing this?

Athena: I’ve been involved in the field of parapsychology over twenty years and have been seeing children on and off during that period.

Kala: What led you to that line of work? Did you have experiences yourself? How were you drawn to it?

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Athena: I did have a personal experience at the age of 10. I had a precognitive dream about a car accident that my mother was involved in and the dream did come true down to the exact details. That led me on a course of trying to find out how dreams come true and how to help children with those experiences.

Kala: In your work do you find that most children that have these abilities are born with those abilities or is it a higher number of children who discover those abilities later on?

Athena: Well, I personally believe that we’re all born with psychic ability to some degree or another and the children come into this world with those abilities and some of them report them very early on. I hear about them through their parents. Other children have had them and not are not bothered by them until they become an adolescent. I may hear about it later on but most individuals I believe, children especially, enter this world with the ability.

Kala: In your type of work do you find that that happens with most children? Are they dismissed as having imaginary playmates and overactive imaginations?

Athena: Well, I think the parents that are contacting Rhine Research Center and the Parapsychology Foundation are more open to the experiences and wanting really to help their child deal with them and not to respond in a way that’s negative. But in talking with a lot of adults who recount having had experiences as a child, including myself, they’ve encountered a lot of negative feedback from parents; made to feel somehow that maybe they caused the event, they’re a witch, dealing with peers, especially adolescents, are sensitive to their peers reacting negatively to them, wanting them to perform or write them. So there’s a mixed reaction that most children get.

Kala: From the mystic side we were taught that most children are open to this until the age of seven and that scientifically they have noticed a correlation with the soft spot on the skull, that it seems to fully form and close in children at the age of seven and on the mystic side what we say is that when that closes that veil closes a little bit for some people and they don’t see it as easily and also by that time they’ve been conditioned not to look for things like that or to engage in fanciful things but instead to deal with the realities of what’s in front of them. Have you found anything similar like that in your research?

Athena: Well, the research has tried to see if children are more psychic before age seven, or does it indeed decline over the years. And it’s not really conclusive. There’s some research that says “yes” and some that says “no”. Some anecdotal material it seems like many of the children, although as you’re saying when they enter school, I think they’re more sensitized to the fact that they shouldn’t be talking about this seriously. So they might go underground and stay for a while or may develop into a different ability. They may find they’re precognitive, or knowing about the future, and then at a later date maybe it shifts into a different ability. But I think that there is some variability over the age.

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Indigo Children & the Sixth Sense

Kala: Do you see psychic ability as just another sense like the sixth sense? Is it something we’re all supposed to have and that we’re moving into that area of developing that sense?

Athena: Well, I think it is more of a sixth sense. I think it’s a natural part of our make up. I don’t see it as a weird or unusual ability. I think it’s a gift or ability like you would be able to play the piano. Because we can all do that. Not that all of us want to do it and some of us are born very gifted in that area. Some of us have to work very hard at it. Some of us will never be good at playing the piano. Psychic ability is like that. I think it exists in all of us. Some of us are just much more gifted in that area. It just seems like we’re getting a lot more children reporting their experiences now whether this is a result of possible Indigo Children coming into the world and foretelling of some future event in which we may need the psychic abilities. It’s hard to say at this point.

Kala: Give us your definition of an Indigo Child. What makes a child an Indigo?

Athena: Well, Doreen Virtue has written several books on this and seems to find it more as children coming in with kind of a blue aura and having the ability to tune into various psychic phenomena. Sort of a harbinger of a warrior type of group that’s coming into kind of clear the way for more psychic experiences for psychic children to change society and change the world. A lot of the children that are defined as Indigo may have keener sensitivity to their environment. Maybe they’re at a more emotional state than other children. And research has not proven one way or the other if is a unique aspect or a special population or not but it’s certainly an intriguing area right now.

Kala: Touching on that work that Doreen Virtue wrote that many children are being misdiagnosed as being ADHD when instead they’re really Indigo Children and so I guess have a different energy about them and need more stimulation in some ways and less in others. Have you done any studies or seen any studies on that correlation?

Athena: I haven’t done any studies with that. As a psychologist I’m always cautious about labeling and diagnosing children in any category. I wouldn’t want a parent to avoid getting help if their child might have the need to get some counseling or guidance in certain areas or learning disabilities or attention deficit. I wouldn’t want every parent to just assume their child is an Indigo child or assume that they have attention deficit disorder either. It’s a delicate teasing out and looking at, and certainly working with each child as a unique individual is important in trying to meet their needs.

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Crystal Children & Autism

Kala: Absolutely. And even if they were an Indigo Child it wouldn’t mean that they might also need help adjusting to that coming back in this lifetime and could use services like the ones that you give to help them as they make that transition. I have also heard now about Crystal children and they’re saying that’s the next evolution coming that started in the late ’90s. Have you heard that term?

Athena: I have heard that and Doreen Virtue has written about the Crystal Children and the Rainbow Children. A lot of the Crystal Children that she writes about have autism or are on the autistic spectrum and has a lot more telepathic abilities according to the writings and research hasn’t proven that to be one way or the other. I would again caution parents, caution them not to assume just because they may be on the autism spectrum that that means automatically they’re Crystal Childs are or the other way around.

Kala: Recently you were on an A&E show “Psychic Children”. Was that a good experience? Did it feature psychic children in a positive light?

Athena: Yes I was very pleased with the way CBS productions put this story together. I am very cautious about being on shows that are going to exploit the children that I test or with children in general. I thought they gave a very fair, very open, and honest look at psychic children and I was very pleased to be asked.

Kala: We’re going to take a quick break and when we return we’ll be back speaking more with Dr Athena Drewes about psychic children.

Narrator: We’ll be right back with more of Explore Your Spirit with Kala.

Narrator: Would you like to know ahead of time what new shows are coming to Explore Your Spirit? If so, visit the website at Explore Your Spirit dot com and sign up for Soul Speak, our free newsletter and talk show guide. You’ll receive a monthly newsletter with reviews of new shows along with a guide of upcoming events, workshops, news, and other information. Sign up today at Explore Your Spirit dot com.

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Rhine Research Center

Kala: Hi! This is Kala, host of Explore Your Spirit. You’re listening to a special interview for the Rhine Research Center. The Rhine Research Center is a scientific institute dedicated to the study of consciousness, with a rich history and collection of research on the Psi field, beginning with J.B. and Louisa Rhine and their work at Duke University from 1927 onward. Located in Durham, North Carolina, the Rhine’s hold public presentations on a wide variety of Psi and paranormal subjects including ghosts, psychic abilities, ESP, after death events, collective dreams, remote viewing, energy fields and healing, psychokinesis, and much, much more. Explore Your Spirit is pleased to offer this series of interviews with researchers and scientists who work in the Psi fields and participate in programs with the Rhine Research Center. These interviews will be archived in the future on the Rhine Research Center website with additional audio material including historical footage, new conferences, and lectures on a wide variety of subjects. Become a member of the Rhine Research Center today and do your part to help research grow in the parapsychological field. For more information about the Rhine Research Center, and become a member of this incredible scientific research organization, visit the Rhine Research Center online at www dot Rhine dot org. That’s R H I N E dot org. »

Kala: Hi! This is Kala and you’re listening to the song Re-Align the Lines by Hillbilly Prophet. Download this song and others at Reality dash Entertainment dot com.

Music & Lyrics: ♪ ♬ Re-Align the Lines… Re-Align the Lines, yeah… 10,000 faces, oh yeah… 10,000 people, oh yeah… 10,000 reasons, oh yeah, yeah… they got it deep inside… Re-Align the Lines… ♫

Narrator: We’re back, with more of Explore Your Spirit with Kala.

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Zener Cards & ESP Testing

Kala: We’re back from our break speaking more with Dr. Athena Drewes about psychic children. Dr. Drewes, what type of research do you do with children exactly?

Athena: Well, I often have children come to meet, their parents, and test their psychic experiences. I will use a variety of tests to validate their abilities in order to determine what is going on with them. There’s the Zener cards which were developed by Dr. J B Rhine of the Rhine Research Center for testing adults and can be used with children. There are five symbols. A square, star, circle, cross, and wavy lines. There are 5 of each for a total of 25. And you can use them in a variety of ways. If the child can guess what cards are turned over, what card their parent might be looking at, or myself. Or even if I’m not looking at the card, if they can just guess it from the card would test a variety of abilities to see four or five, or greater. Five is a chance. Seven or nine would certainly say something more than chance operating. You can do the same thing using M&Ms which I’ll use with younger children, five different colors and five of each color. A child will guess what color is coming out or I’m holding in my hand and the same statistics apply for that.

Kala: In your research have you been able to determine if there’s different types of psychics and different types of abilities? I know for me I’ll pick up on certain things stronger than others. Some people are more drawn to psychometry, some people have it more in their dreams. Some people it’s everywhere they go. Do you find that in children or do you find that they’re open to all of it? Or that they seem to have one gift or another?

Athena: I think it’s the same as you just described. Some children have more ability to know what’s going to happen next, precognitive ability. Be it dreams or just intuition. Some children have a combination of abilities that can pick it up. Telepathically, as well as clairvoyantly, knowing from the object itself. Some children are much more gifted in seeing spirits, or more of a medium ability. It can vary and it can change over time, too. The child may add abilities or develop other abilities as they get older.

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Psychic Research & Help

Kala: What advice would you give to parents listening who have perhaps wondered if their child has some psychic abilities? Or their child was talking to them about things or they’ve noticed something, say, like your dream, where you had a dream about your parents and then something happened and perhaps a parent has found that that their child has said something and then it’s come true? What can they do to help them especially if they don’t seem to have this ability themselves?

“The Gift” by Sally Rhine Feather and Michael Schmicker. Available at Amazon »

Athena: I always advise parents to listen to their child, not to pass judgment, not to be overly excited about it or negative about it. To listen to their child’s events and experiences, to help them record them, to keep a journal. And then you can look for patterns and to see whether or not a child’s abilities lie in one area or another. I encourage parents to read “The Gift” written by Sally Rhine Feather, a very good book explaining psychic abilities in all of us and research that’s been done so they can reach out to their children. You can make a game of some of the abilities in terms of doing guessing tests on your own to help the child be more aware of their abilities. When they have it, how it feels different from other times. Generally, just really treating a child as an average, everyday child and not looking for them to perform. Not looking to put them on the spot. And helping them see that this is a gift or an ability just as many other people have abilities in art, music, athletics and to give them a rounded, normal life.

Kala: From the spiritual side here, there’s a lot of talk about this being the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, new things coming, new abilities for everyone. From your work and what you’ve seen, do you think that things are increasing as well? Is this a time perhaps where you’re seeing more children that are coming to this ability and do you think it’s far greater reason?

Athena: Well, personally I think that’s true. There’s no scientific evidence for it, but I am seeing more children coming forward, more parents coming forward. The media is coming forward. It’s a very important area right now for shows and television movies communicating that this is something that we all have. Whether it’s heading into something rosey or how it will end, we don’t know where it’s leading us. But certainly a lot more people are here in this time with an openness to this ability or showing this psychic ability, so perhaps there is something coming in the future that we will need it for.

Kala: Dr. Drewes, do you continue to have psychic ability and has it grown for you throughout the years and gotten stronger?

Athena: For myself I have found it increases in the variety of experiences that I have, it’s not just precognitive at this point. I think it has flowed throughout my life. There been points where it doesn’t seem to be there or I’m not using it. Maybe I’m not concentrating or tapping into it. There are other times when it’s much more there in my everyday life. It’s always helped me out, got me to avoid dangerous situations. And to this day I hope I still have different psychic experiences.

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Sometimes it’s NOT Psychic

Kala: In your work with the children, have there been times when parents thought their children had experiences but they really weren’t and it was the opposite? And I would imagine it’s very difficult to have to explain to a parent that it’s something else.

Athena: I have had some parents contact me and wonder whether their child is hearing voices as a psychic phenomenon or if they’re a medium on some level versus is it, maybe, a more severe emotional or mental state that they’re approaching. And they’re not sure whether they should go for medication or see someone in the health field. That’s difficult to tease out. I just do consultation. I don’t do treatment with the family. So, it’s difficult to guide them sometimes when I’m not seeing the child directly and it’s long distance.

Kala: That makes sense. Definitely, you would need long term study or time with them to see what’s really going on that way.

Athena: Sometimes it can be that it is something that it isn’t psychic. But, at least to help the parent be open to the possibility.

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How to be Psychic

Kala: Where is your research going next? What projects are you working on?

Athena: Well, at this point in time I’m hoping to write a book to help parents. So I’m gathering up information and recording various psychic experiences that children have had. Continuing with the research that I’m doing. And just being open to requests and information that comes through the Rhine Research Center and the Parapsychology Foundation.

Kala: I look forward to that day when being psychic is like playing the piano, that people just find that interesting but not extra special in that way. Where people recognize that for what it is. Because I do agree with you, I think everyone has that bit of ability in them and a lot of us are just conditioned to turn it off. And when people talk about their gut feeling, or I should have gone with my first thought or, you know, I had a feeling about this. I think they’re tapping into psychic ability the same when they walk into a room and they can feel the energy in the room they can feel the group they walk into is happy or upset or something’s wrong. Or, when they’re walking down a street they can feel energy good or bad. We instinctively were given those gifts I believe, all of us. And some of us come back with them a little stronger and it’s just an easier receptor on our radio, let’s say, that’s turned on a little higher. But all of us over time and practice can develop those to the extent that we would like to go.

Athena: I agree 100%.

Kala: Well, I think your work with children is especially important because children are so much easier to open up and to learn. I think we’ve proven that with foreign languages that children will pick up that so much easier than those of us if we tried today to learn a new language. The same with this, if they’re able to work with that and be open to it and go with that level it would just be so much easier in the future with everything. And it sounds like from a lot of what we’re hearing with Indigo children and and all of these things that they’re coming through this way and it’s time for a change in this world where people will be that way. And perhaps it was in the past too where sometimes that, maybe not recorded, but where it was at that time where children were taught as well which would be wonderful.

Athena: It would be a great world.

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Psychic Protection

Kala: Are there any side effects to this with children that you see? Do they seem fazed by it at all? I mean, I know I can speak for my standpoint of my experiences and most of the time it was a positive thing but I had some unpleasant circumstances. I went to bed one night asking my parents please to bring our dog inside. I could feel that our dog was going to get taken that night and they thought I was just being upset or wanted the dog inside. And they said no, and the next morning when I woke up I knew the dog was gone I ran out, our gate had been broken, and someone had taken the dog. And that’s when they begin to take me seriously, that I was having stronger things than they realized. So, not all of them were good for me. But, how do you find with children, are most of their experiences positive or do they have some tough times as well?

Athena: Well, children do have tough times because, as you relate your experience, there are other types of experiences like that many children have. And they have to deal with information or news that they don’t want to know about like the loss of someone or a pet that’s very meaningful to them. They also have difficulty dealing with who to tell. They tell their best friend or a teacher and then they’re made fun of, or considered crazy or a witch, or someone that has to come forward and prove it. That has a negative consequence emotionally, especially if you’re approaching adolescence and want to be part of a peer group and be accepted. And also, for children that have the ability to see spirits, or ghosts, or entities that have passed on, it can be very frightening for them. Especially if they can’t turn off that ability, or they can’t make it go away, or they don’t quite know how to do psychic protection around themselves to be able to deal with it, those can be negative aspects.

Kala: I had an experience similar to what you describe in high school. I had a dream one night that one of my good friend’s mother was going to be in a car accident the next day. And I saw the car sliding on the road, saw what happened, and that she would break some bones and have some injuries. And I called my friend that morning begging her please have your mom stay home. And I was popular in high school and, but in a very non-metaphysical way, just very, you know, wanting to be just a normal girl and do all the fun things you do in high school. And so this was out of the blue to call my friend who had never heard me talk about anything like this. She thought I was crazy and dismissed me, and her mother went to work and exactly what I described happened about an hour later. And when my friend called me back and told me, I thought she would say something like ‘I wish I had listened to you’ or ‘I’m sorry about that’. But instead, she was more like ‘what’s wrong with you’?. How did you know that? What did you do? Like I was somehow involved with it. And that’s very difficult, you know, as a teenager to have someone think that way. And for me it caused me to really not talk about it at all with friends or anyone until I got older. Because you don’t want people to see you that way or to think that way about you. It’s very difficult to explain to people that aren’t experiencing something similar, I guess, and can be very difficult.

Athena: Absolutely. It can create a lot of guilt, which it did to myself, thinking I caused the car accident that I knew about with my parent. That somehow magically you make it happen. So it can have very strong imprint.

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Psychic Training

Kala: What do you say to children that are in adolescence and dealing with that? What do you recommend they do when they see things like that about their friends or family?

Athena: Well, I try to encourage them to talk to their parent especially if the parent is open to the experience. Often such abilities run in families so there may be someone in the family that has psychic abilities they can go to and talk to. I recommend that they read books. I tell them very honestly that not everybody understands it, they can be frightened of it. You have to be selective. Sometimes you can’t always talk about it. Practice psychic protection, being able to protect themselves from other spirits. Turn off all of the psychic noise that they may be getting. So training them can be very helpful.

Kala: I agree, I think that’s very important. I have a school here where I teach abilities like that for people that are interested in the mysteries, or the deeper mysteries as we call them, and that’s the first thing I teach is how to have psychic self-defense or soft psychic protection. Because when you are out there trying to do those things or if you’re seeing spirits, you don’t always know who you’re talking to and they may even identify themselves as something that they’re not. And they may just be spheres that you may not want around you all the time. So it’s important to have that protection around you before you venture out, just like anything, just like a sport. You wouldn’t go out in a sport without the proper gear so it’s good to know.

Athena: Absolutely.

Kala: Dr. Drewes, it’s been a pleasure having you on the show today and thank you so much for sharing your information and your work that you do with psychic children. And we’re glad that there are people out there in the world like you that are reaching out and helping children as they unfold and have their gifts to share with the world and thank you for doing what you do.

Athena: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you.

Narrator: Explore Your Spirit is on the web. Visit us at Explore Your Spirit dot com. Explore Your Spirit ».

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    1. Just a little parapsychology humor 🙂 . 
    2. Podcast originally published on Kala Radio on Jan 17, 2008 ». Reshared on Perceptive Children Network with express permission from Kala Ambrose. 
    3. This is the audio timestamp in minutes & seconds. For example, 01:09 indicates the associated text can be listened to beginning at 1 minute and 9 seconds into the audio podcast. Clicking on the timestamp link will force the audio to skip to, or begin playing at, the specified min:sec. 


Granddaughter is Afraid at Home

I have a granddaughter who will be 3 this year.

In our other home we moved from a few months ago – long story short – it had an odd feel to it and too many noises we couldn’t explain. When she was close to her 2nd birthday she would wave to the staircase but no one was on stairs, or she’d sit in the playroom and come running and screaming, “THE BOY, THE BOY”.

I’d go in the playroom and she refused to come in but would point to “THE BOY”. I could not see him. Her family just moved into a larger home and her mom was telling me she is stating she doesn’t like the old people. When her mom questioned her, she states they’re scary and they walk around upstairs.

Last night we went over for a bbq and I asked to see her room. She grabbed my hand and said no mamaw don’t go up there. I honestly felt her fear. What can I do to help her not be frightened all the time?

Signed: Greta

Note: This question was provided by a visitor to our website.  Want to participate? Submit your question here »

Athena Responds

Dr. Athena Drewes

Hi Greta,

Your granddaughter may be picking up on the energy left behind by the people who lived in the home before her.

We all leave ‘psychic imprints’ from charged emotions and events in the spaces we live, which can be picked up and felt and seen as though it were a spirit. It is possible she is also seeing the spirits of those who remain in the home and have not yet moved on to the Light. It would be important to help your granddaughter understand that what she sees cannot harm her, although not everyone can see what she does.

She can tell the spirits to go away. Together you can sit in her room and say with her to whatever energy is in the room, to “go to the Light, where people who love them are waiting for them. They do not belong here on earth and to go away”.

Keeping a night light on in her room will help change the energy in the room and lessen spirit contact.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether children between 2 and 7 are seeing spirits or have normal developmental fears of seeing ‘ghosts’, scary things in their rooms, and imaginary playmates. But either way, helping your granddaughter to feel empowered to tell them to go away and not to be frightened of them is important.

You can also use sage, a bundle of herbs that you light like incense and blow out and use the smoke. Going around the house, around the windows and doors, in her room, and around your granddaughter, you can blow the smoke, say a prayer or just that the house is protected by the Love of God (or Jesus or the Universe, depending on belief), and that all energies and spirits in this house need to go to the Light, where people who love them are waiting for them, and only the highest good may enter the home.

This may help to clear the house of any energy or spirits lingering there.

Athena Drewes, Psy.D., RPT-S
Perceptive Children Network

Daughter is Seeing Ghosts

How Can I Believe Her?

My 10-year-old daughter told me last night that she sees ghosts.

I don’t know what to do.

I don’t want to make her feel insecure or afraid. How can I tell if she is even telling me the truth?

I asked her to explain everything and she did in very vivid detail. She never lies to me and I have no reason to believe that she is now.

Any suggestions?

Signed: A concerned mother (name withheld by request)

Note: This question was provided by a visitor to our website.  Want to participate? Submit your question here »

Athena Responds

Dr. Athena Drewes

I always believe when children tell me things, especially that they are seeing ghosts or other items to help validate and affirm their experiences.

However, that is not to say sometimes children and adults can misunderstand or misconceive what they see or experience or there may be a more logical or scientific answer rather than psychic. Having your daughter keep a journal of her experiences, writing down the details, what she saw, felt, experienced (including colors, feelings, smells, etc.) will help her begin to see patterns and better understanding her experiences.

As she gets older she may find her abilities increasing or new ones emerging.

Reading “Kids Who See Ghosts” by Caron Goode (shown below) can help you and your daughter better understand her experiences and not to be so fearful of them. Letting your daughter know that you are there for her, at any time, to talk about her experiences, will be very important so she has someone she can come to and discuss her experiences.

“Kids Who See Ghosts: How to Guide Them Through Fear” by Caron B Goode
Available on Amazon Click here »

She may find that friends, teachers and adults she tells her experiences to may react with anger, fear, teasing, or distrust as not everyone believes in the ability to see ghosts (and for some it may go against religious beliefs). So you will become a more and more important person for her to be able to share and sort out her experiences.

Listening to her, having her tell you what she sees and feels, without any judgment on your parts, will be most helpful in keeping the communication between you open.

Athena Drewes, Psy.D., RPT-S
Perceptive Children Network

What Is a Psychic Child?

Athena A. Drewes, Psy.D. & Sally Rhine Feather, Ph.D.

Originally published by Rhine Research Center1

Patsy, 14, reported “I dreamed one night this girl would wear a red and black checkered shift, navy blue shoes, which she never wears, and a white blouse. So the next day she wore those very things.”

Nancy, 15, shared “I often have experiences of ESP, such as knowing what someone is going to say, what song is going to be played on the radio and once dreaming that my sister, studying to be an airline hostess, was burned and killed in an airplane crash. I was in my room sleeping and was suddenly “awakened” by a loud noise.

In my dream I looked at my back window and there was my sister in her blue airline suit banging at the window in an effort it seemed to either get in or out of something. The sky was a mixture of red and orange. The next instant I was looking out my front window and there she lay, all black and charred upon our sidewalk with bits of the airplane around her. The sky was dark and smoke was all around. I then awoke remembering this. About two weeks later a plane crashed with one survivor. My sister had been on a late plane and had just missed this ‘doomed plane’

Fred, 10, reported while walking down the street talking with his friend, they both suddenly began singing the same song, at exactly the same moment with no radio on.

Could such experiences reflect psychic abilities in children and teens? Can children pick up another’s thoughts, know about distant events or even know what might happen in the future? Research in parapsychology, the study of such phenomena, has some interesting answers.

Dr. Louisa Rhine and her husband, Dr. J.B. Rhine, noted founder of experimental parapsychology, helped bring credibility to the study of psychic phenomena. Together they scientifically studied psychic phenomena at Duke University and established that psychic abilities were indeed real. Dr. Louisa Rhine’s major contribution is as the foremost researcher of spontaneous psychic experiences with a legacy of over 30,000 letters received from “everyday individuals” worldwide. The author of numerous books and scholarly articles, The Invisible Picture (1981) summarizes years of spontaneous case study. Psi: What is It? (1975), primarily for children and teens, helps makes psychic experiences understandable. Research in parapsychology continues across the world, with followers of Drs. J.B. and Louisa Rhine continuing their work at the Rhine Research Center.

What exactly is psychic phenomena or psi? How does it happen?

Psi is the ability to perceive and obtain information about others and events beyond the five physical senses of sight, sound, touch, hearing, and smell. Often it has been referred to as the “sixth” sense or “extrasensory perception (ESP)” and includes telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis. Telepathy is the simultaneous extrasensory knowledge of another person’s thoughts or activity. Clairvoyance is extrasensory knowledge about objects, places or events currently happening. Precognition is the prediction of random future events through dreams, waking images, or knowledge, which cannot be inferred from present information. Psychokinesis or PK is the direct mental, but not physical, influence on physical objects (such as mentally bending a spoon).

Could children and teens be more psychic than adults? There are numerous cases involving children’s extra-sensory perception (ESP). Perhaps children are more open-minded and less skeptical about such experiences.

Research has not found any age group having more psychic ability than another. There have been numerous significant school studies about telepathy and clairvoyance with teachers and students. Other studies have shown significant telepathic experiences between children and mothers. Neither age nor developmental level seems a critical factor in enhancing or limiting psychic abilities. However, personality differences seem to affect the scoring of children and adults. Withdrawn children score significantly lower than non-withdrawn. As with adults, children who are “believers” in ESP score higher than nonbelievers, with nonbelievers significantly below chance!

Children and teen letters written to Dr. Rhine and analyzed by Dr. Drewes showed 65% from females and 35% from males between 10-18 years, with 14 years the average. Out of 157 reported experiences, 77% were precognitive, with dreams or intuitions. Less frequent was telepathy (10 %) and clairvoyance (14%). These results were similar to those found in adult case studies. The school-age children’s precognitive experiences contained strong emotions and “stuck” in the person’s mind. What was even more striking across the three categories was that children’s experiences were usually about a friend or acquaintance (47.4%) rather than immediate family (13.3%). This is in marked contrast to adult letters with experiences (65.4%) mainly about immediate family.

School-age children were more concerned about trivial items (54.1%) by adult standards. Psychic experiences focused on grades, clothes, relationships, and school and less about death, serious injury or illness of another. Interestingly 8.9% of the psychic experiences were about family pets being harmed or dying. Analyses of the adult letters found quite the opposite, with adults’ psychic experiences about death and the health and well being of family members. One explanation for this difference is that teens are more connected to peers, while experiencing age-appropriate separation and individuation from parents. It would be normal at this stage for peers to replace family. Peers become the center of social and leisure activities and interests. And teens spend almost a third of their time and much emotional investment in the company of friends.

Interestingly, adults report their psychic experiences are frequently about their children or family over friends or peers. One example is from Susie, age 35, who was pregnant with her second child. Certain it would be a girl, and while awaiting results from a test, she began picking out girls’ names. She had the following precognitive dream about her unborn child. “In the dream I saw a baby gift being wrapped in pink paper. I kept trying to wrap the gift with pink paper, but it kept being wrapped over with blue paper. No matter how hard I tried to wrap the gift in pink paper, it would keep coming out wrapped in blue paper. Finally, in the dream, I said to myself, “Ok, ok. I guess I will be having another boy! Then I awoke”. That very next day, the results of her test showed she indeed was going to have a baby boy. Another example, is from Kara, who reported that while on a trip without her children, she had the strongest feeling of danger and concern regarding a younger son. She called home, only to find out, that he had gone to the hospital with the grandmother, as he had suddenly developed a very high fever.

Many mothers believe intuition combined with reading subtle behaviors and expressions explains parent-child communication. Jan Ehrenwald, MD who has written on psychic phenomena, believes that psi phenomena has a role related to the survival of the human species and functions most strongly in the mother-child relationship. “The traditional, conventional explanations are that there are unconscious movements, facial expressions, or whatever which contribute to the communication. But telepathy is a strong element, although it is overlooked.”

Most psychic experiences are about everyday events. Psychiatrist, Dr. Berthold Schwarz documented over 1,500 examples of psychic occurrences with his own children from infancy to teen years. In his book, Parent-Child Telepathy, he recounts that while in the kitchen one day, he silently read the label on a can advertising drinking glasses. His daughter, Lisa, who was then two and half years old, in her highchair nearby, suddenly exclaimed, “new glasses, new glasses”. Or that of another mother, Maria, who had a strong headache. She was too preoccupied keeping a close watch on food cooking to stop and get an aspirin. Suddenly, her six-year-old daughter Jennie came over with an aspirin and water and gave it to her, without comment or being asked to. Such incidents are typical of what many families encounter on a day to day basis. However, there are times when experiences can be quite startling.

Danny was four years old when during a car trip with his mother the traffic stopped with some problem up ahead. While waiting, he suddenly said to his mother, “why does that lady have blood on her?” His mother quickly looked outside the window and all around, but did not see anyone. When she inquired further, he replied that “she is standing outside the window, bleeding, with a bike helmet on, and she looks sad.” Soon traffic began to move and indeed an accident had occurred. They did not know what happened. The next day the mother read in the newspaper that a woman riding a bicycle had been hit and killed by a car about a half-hour before they encountered the traffic. Danny had not known this woman.

A child’s psychic abilities could be confusing or upsetting to the parent or child. It may even run counter to family or religious beliefs. It could also create strain between a parent who accepts the phenomena and another parent or family member who doesn’t. For children, such conflict can create confusion over their abilities and result in not talking about them. As consultant to the Rhine Research Center and Parapsychology Foundation in New York, Dr. Drewes helps parents and children understand their experience. Connie, in a recent conversation, commented on how she as a child had various psychic experiences, and now her daughter, age three, was showing similar signs. “My family thought I was strange and even a bit crazy. They were not truly supportive and even laughed at me. I know I am not a freak. And my psychic experiences have often been helpful to me in many ways. I don’t want my daughter to suffer what I went through or feel desperate and confused because peers or adults do not believe her or tease her”.

How should you respond if your child shows psychic abilities?

A psychically gifted child is not odd or weird. He or she is talented, but looks, acts, and plays like any other child. The difference is that psychic abilities are so pronounced, they cannot be hidden. The child cannot control them and may misunderstand them. Psychically gifted children may also be easily affected by the emotional states of others. Because the child cannot create strong defenses, feelings of vulnerability, confusion or hurt can result from others reactions. Psychically gifted children are often bright, perceptive and may express “unworldly” insights.

There are many ways in which parents, teachers or friends can help psychically gifted children begin to understand their abilities.

Listen without judgment. Create an accepting atmosphere with understanding and caring so your child will not be afraid to speak of their experiences. Try not to display your disbelief, fear, worry or embarrassment. Otherwise your child may avoid talking to you. Casual comments such as, “Oh you picked up what I was thinking,” or “Tell me more about your dream and why you think it will come true” help offer encouragement. Do not force your child to explore or consciously develop psychic abilities if they do not wish to.

Normalize the experience. Let your child know such experiences happen to other children and adults, and there are books and research available. Be matter of fact about the experience. Let your child know you can help them get answers to their questions. Contact the Rhine Research Center ( or the Parapsychology Foundation for information or someone to talk to. In addition to the books by Dr. Louisa Rhine, Samuel H. Young’s Psychic Children, and Is Your Child Psychic? by Alex Tanous and Katherine Fair Donnelly and Develop Your Child’s Psychic Abilities by Litany Burns offer some helpful information.

Do not force your child to “perform”. Psychic experiences are spontaneous and cannot be controlled at will. Being pushed to produce “on demand” may diminish the very thing parents wish to encourage. It is a tool and not an end in itself. Never focus on using psychic abilities for personal gain or at the child’s expense. Abilities could decline or your child might resort to fraud in order to keep adult attention and praise.

Put psychic abilities in perspective. The child should be helped to understand that while they may be psychically talented there are other things to learn and other talents to develop. Help your child to understand that these abilities are just like any other talent like being a gifted musician, artist, or athlete.

Keep communication open. If your child tells you about a psychic experience, accept what has happened, whether you believe it is coincidence or otherwise. Try not to be negative, or your child may not approach you again about another experience.

Keep a journal. Encourage your child to record psychic events. Write them down with as much detail as soon as possible. Over time patterns emerge which help distinguish what is a psychic event. Include documentation to help check accuracy and how long it takes for precognitive events to “come true”.

Try out simple ESP games. They can be enjoyable and fun for all.

Guessing Games: Try having your child guess a word you are thinking or draw a picture of an item being thought or looked at. Reverse roles and see if you can guess what your child is thinking.

Card Games: Make a deck of Zener (available from the Rhine Research Center, cards using 25 index cards. Draw one symbol on each card, with five cards each of a star, three wavy lines, a cross, circle, and square. Mix the cards and have one person concentrate on each card while the other concentrates and calls out what they think the symbol is (telepathy) for all 25 cards. Record each response and repeat the game a second time. For clairvoyance, shuffle the cards then put them face down. Have one person guess each card, just before it is turned over, without anyone looking at it ahead of time.

See how many “hits” you’ve made! A score of 5 out of 25 is considered chance, the usual number when no psi phenomena occurs. A score of seven or higher (“psi hitting”), or four or below (“psi missing”) can indicate psychic ability.

Candy Game: The use of M&M candies is another fun way to test psychic abilities. They can be used like Zener cards with the same scoring. Place five M&M candies each of five different colors, for a total of 25 candies, in a brown (not see-through) paper bag. Set the game up for your child to guess which candy will be selected next (precognitive) or which candy has been selected and is being held in the bag by you (clairvoyance). Once the color is guessed, you can show it but then replace it, keeping 25 candies at all times. You could give a similar color candy as a reward from extra candies, which could be eaten! Play the “game” twice and see if the score goes up. Research by Dr. Drewes, with Dr. Sally Drucker, showed that brighter children do better on the second trial of 25 guesses, using M&M’s, after getting rewards for correct answers during the first round of the “game”.

The authors welcome hearing from children and parents about their psychic experiences. Contact Dr. Drewes or Dr. Feather at [email protected].


  1. Visit the Rhine Research Center website for more information. 

Kids Who See Ghosts: Athena Drewes Responds


Kids Who See Ghosts: How To Guide Them Through Fear”, by Caron B. Goode, Ed.D, NCC. Published by: Weiser Books, ISBN 978-1-57863-472-9. 2010.

Section Four

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“Is My Child Psychic?”

Professionals are often asked, “How do I know if my child is psychic or just having a singular encounter?” Parents of a child who sees or has seen ghosts might be thrilled to discover that their child is psychic, or they might be disturbed by that knowledge. A onetime ghostly event can be triggered by several stressors, like drinking aspartame in diet soda, food allergies, emotional intensity or overload, an emotionally toxic home environment, physical or mental abuse, or night terrors. An adrenal overload of the stress hormone cortisol can activate the temporal lobe, the part of the brain associated with psychic activity. A onetime sighting may also be a crisis apparition, experienced by adults and children alike after the death of someone close to them. If a child has a one-time event, does this mean a child could have other events? Possibly.

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Athena Drewes Responds

Athena A. Drewes, Psy.D., RPT-S, is a licensed child psychologist, parapsychologist, and consultant to the Rhine Research Center at Duke University and the Parapsychology Foundation on children’s psychic experiences. She has conducted research, written articles and reviews, and spoken on children and ESP. She coauthored, with Sally A. Drucker, the reference work Parapsychological Research with Children: An Annotated Bibliography (The Scarecrow Press, 1991). Drewes is also author and editor of five books dealing with play therapy. Her personal experiences shaped her interest in the subject of children who see ghosts or those who exhibit other traits of intuitive intelligence.

Like me, Drewes receives questions from many parents about kids who see ghosts and the correlation, if any, to a child’s psychic abilities. These questions include:

  • Are all children who see ghosts psychic?
  • Do all psychic children see ghosts?
  • How can we help these children not be afraid?
  • How can we help these children feel confident?

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Drewes’ Personal Psychic Experiences

I became interested in the field of parapsychology and psychic phenomena when I was a child. I had many recurring dreams and a sense of past-life information. However, the most outstanding event that crystallized my interest and future career occurred at age ten, when I had a precognitive dream.

I was in bed. I had five pages to go to finish a book, and I really wanted to reach the end before I went to sleep. My mother yelled at me to go to sleep and turn off the light. She then sent in my older brother to shut off the light. I was furious and so angry as I fell asleep. That night I had a lucid dream, in which I was seeing, as an observer from outside of myself, my family being in a car accident. I knew my mother was severely hurt, coming in on a flatbed stretcher with wheels, which I found out later was like a gurney. I saw my older brother, who was my younger of two brothers, but still older than me, sitting in a wheelchair. I knew he was not hurt.

The dream had a special feel, a very profound sense that this was not my usual dream. It stayed with me in vivid detail.

About two weeks later, the family went to see a movie. It was raining, and as we were heading home, a car accident happened. The same exact scenes from my dream replayed before my eyes. It was very striking that I had dreamt this. I told my father tat the time, “I just dreamt this accident two weeks ago. The same exact scenes.” He turned to me and said, so seriously, “Don’t ever tell anyone.”

From that age I wondered, how can dreams tell us the future? How can they come true? Moreover, I worried if my anger had caused the accident to occur, which would have been pretty phenomenal by itself. I felt guilt throughout childhood and feared the effects of my anger.

The dream experiences led me toward one part of my professional career: seeking out information about psychic phenomena. There weren’t a lot of books or people to turn to. I was hesitant to tell friends about my experiences and had to be selective. They would start to think I was a witch or crazy. Around age nineteen, I read about a study that was being conducted on telepathy-dream research at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. The research sounded so much like my experience. I had to check it out.

I called the researchers and asked if I could speak with them about their study. They invited me to come down, and I wound up staying the night, running the research experiment with them. I found a whole research group of kindred spirits who knew what I was experiencing. The fact that my dream was a precognitive experience alleviated my sense of guilt.

I had many other psychic experiences growing up, including telepathy. Even in recent years, I have experienced clairvoyance and precognition, and more recently, I’m starting to see spirits and am having a lot of past-life information coming back.

My professional path includes being a researcher with children who have had psychic experiences, writing articles, doing public speaking, and helping children and parents understand their psychic experiences. And I have remained a consultant for the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, as well as the Parapsychology Foundation in New York City. The other part of my professional path as a child psychologist is working with children in a variety of settings to help them feel heard and validated about their psychic and emotional experiences.

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Helping Psychic Children & Their Parents

As a consultant, I receive a lot of emails from parents and children about their psychic experiences, and I respond to them. I was featured on an A&E show Psychic Children back in 2006 and [the A&E show] Paranormal State has contacted me to work with a few children. Also the current A&E show Psychic Children: Children of the Paranormal has sent me the e-mails from viewers who have concerns about their children or their own personal psychic experiences.

The two worlds are coming together for me now. I’m doing a lot of active consulting and counseling and supporting children to help them understand that their psychic experiences are a gift and not to be afraid of them.

I don’t see children making things up. I don’t see them fantasizing and creating their experiences for glory or attention. Even imaginary playmates fit in with normal child development, and that’s part of children’s worlds. But sometimes children are seeing spirits of other children, and they call these spirit children their imaginary playmates. I have never run into a child who I feel is manipulating or utilizing their psychic abilities in any other way than is legitimate.

In the past, the e-mails I received were more around precognitive dreams and a little bit about paranormal, psychic contact with the spirit world, be it seeing actual figures and shapes, hearing other entities, or sensing the essence or energy or orbs of spirit forms. Now the e-mails are almost exclusively in the latter realm. I think people have come to realize parapsychology and psychic phenomena are the norm. Having psychic experiences is not so atypical, but seeing spirits, hearing their children talk about it, and helping children understand how to cope with it are much more relevant topics to parents and of concern for kids at this point in time.

I would say 90 percent of inquiries I receive are from parents who are accepting and open to their child’s experiences. I would say maybe 65 or 70 percent of the parents believe in such ability to have contact with the other side, but they are concerned for their child. If they see that their child is in distress, they want help, or they don’t want to say or do something to make it worse for them.

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Being Psychic Versus Being Psychotic

A good 10 to 15 percent of parents are concerned that what their child is experiencing is a psychosis, a psychiatric issue, and they are wondering whether they should pursue medical help. Sometimes, mental – health practitioners or school personnel push parents in that direction. Some parents intuitively feel that’s not the thing to do, but they don’t want to go in the wrong direction and not seek the help if it is needed.

Let me explain the difference between psychosis and a regular psychic gift. I see the two as qualitatively different. I consider whether a child has had other psychic phenomena occur in their life. What is the quality of what they are saying about the spirit contact? I would encourage the parent to consider a psychiatric or psychological problem and referral to a mental-health professional (e.g., psychologist, social worker) when I hear the parent or the child report that the spirits are telling them to hurt themselves or to hurt others, when the spirits’ communication may have a very bizarre feel to it, or when their children’s thought processes are not very logical or coherent when they explain their experience.

Stress or other events in the child’s life could have triggered these symptoms, and spirit contact maybe in there. Yet the children are so overwhelmed and feeling defenseless that they do need some other form of intervention besides just an understanding about the phenomena. They may need medication; they may need psychiatric help.

In a small minority of the requests that I get, there isn’t necessarily a spirit contact. With the media shows out there, sometimes the parents are hoping the answers to their questions are going to be more sensational, and they’re not.

I have a handout of frequently asked questions, Is My Child Psychic? That lists ways that the parents or child can understand their experiences. They can keep a journal, for example; they can look at psi patterns and write things down. These are ways for the parents to respond matter-of-factly and not give psychic experiences too much emotional power, either in disbelieving or believing, because kids are susceptible to the reactions of their parents.

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Steps That Help Kids

First I let parents and children know that they shouldn’t be afraid of the spirits and that spirits are not going to hurt them. Kids can keep a night-light on in their room or turn on the light from a fish tank, which changes the energy pattern in their room, so they will have less contact at bedtime and when they’re sleeping. For some, that is very helpful and solves the problem.

For older teens, sometimes lights aren’t as effective because they still feel the presence strongly. I give them, and any child who may feel afraid, a guided-imagery meditation in which I have them do some deep breathing. I ask them to close their eyes, put their feet on the ground, and envision that they have a bubble around them. The bubble is filled with white light, and it’s the white light of God’s love or universal love or the energy of the universe (depending on their religious beliefs). It protects them. Whatever is on the other side of the bubble is not going to harm them. As they breathe in, they breathe in that love and energy and feel it envelop them in that bubble. As they breathe out, they expand the bubble beyond them into their room. And then as they breathe in again, they feel the protection of the energy and love. Then they breathe out and expand the bubble out to fill the whole room, then again to fill their house or apartment, and then to expand the bubble out into the universe. This is done so they don’t keep their aura, their bubble so tight around them – so that their aura is really out there.

Once a mother asked me, “Do you ever teach any defensive techniques?” I do tell children that they can tell the spirits to leave them alone and to go away; they can command spirits to leave. Practice and role-play this scenario together. Children can practice saying, with their very loud voice, “Go away”, just like they would say it to anyone who’s bothering them in the real world.

Let children know that they have a right to their space, to their protection, to their body, and certainly they can say, “Go away and leave me alone.” I also teach them, even in their meditation, to send love to the spirit and to say, “You need to move on, move to the light, move to the love. There’s someone waiting to help you cross over. You don’t need to be here.”

I help children understand that a spirit is not a malevolent, evil thing. A soul or spirit may be lost and may come to children because they are open and sensitive. And the spirit could be that of a child. I tell children, “You can send them on their way. You don’t need to have them around you.”

Most of the kids do sense their guardian angels, relatives, and people who are there to support them, rather than lost spirits. Yet, as kids get to be ten, eleven, or twelve, and during puberty, they tend to develop their abilities more. Other psychic abilities come forward.

Their emotional states are a little unbalanced. So kids in that age range and teen group are those that I really want to work with. Working on the fear factor is most important because fear attracts the negative, fearful, or intense energy. It is better for tweens and teens to learn to send out love, but also not invite the negative to them, either through thinking, “I’ve got all these super powers” or “I’m the greatest here.”

If a child is feeling emotionally unsettled, they can move into a direction that is negative and can add to a greater psychological imbalance. So our role is to definitely empower them, to help them role-play and practice sending the spirit away, to not fear it.

In fact they need to feel less fear and know they are safe. I also tell kids, depending again on their religious beliefs, to call on Archangel Michael. He’s the warrior archangel who will protect. Some parents have pictures or icons of Archangel Michael near them. I then tell children, “Call on your spirit guides or angels to protect you and keep you safe. There are people looking out for you”.

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You can set up ways of helping children tune in to their psychic abilities. I had conducted some studies with children and using M&Ms as a game. We had five M&Ms each of five different colors – red, green, yellow, orange, brown – so there are a total of twenty-five. You put the M&Ms in a non-see-through brown bag, shake them up, pick one, and hold it inside the bag. The child guesses what color M&M is in your hand, and then you take out the candy and record its color. Then you put the candy back in the bag and repeat. You do this twenty-five times.

Chance says five correct answers would occur. So any score above five, usually seven and above, starts to be beyond chance – more than just the normal guessing. From the parapsychological view, there is some psychic ability that the children are tapping into and using for the information.

The parents could also be behind a screen, looking at the M&M color and having the child guess. We found some significant results in children similar to those Dr. J.B. Rhine got when he started their field of parapsychology using Zener cards, in which there were five cards each of five different symbols. He did a lot of card tests with everyday people and with people who were psychic or mediums or known to have some ability. Children are as psychic as adults are.

I believe personally we’re all psychic, and some more so than others. It’s just like being able to play the piano. Some, like Mozart, are virtuosos at a young age. Some have to work hard at it and develop their skills, and some could care less about their psychic abilities or information coming to them.

Children have psychic abilities. Some of the testing we did certainly shows that. Children also have some of the same personality characteristics as adults in terms of being open, positive thinkers. If you have a negative view of things, we call that the sheep-and-goat effect. If you are more believing, like a sheep is, you tend to be a higher scorer on psychic ESP tests. If you are a goat, a nonbeliever, you actually tend to score in the negative range.

On a psychic test, if a child is getting twos or threes, this says they’re suppressing their psychic ability. Normally they would have gotten five just by chance, so something’s occurring to suppress their information.

Some of the research is inconclusive as to whether children lessen their psychic abilities or put a kind of shield over it as they enter school. My personal view from my own experience is that when you’re under the age of five, you don’t really censor what you say. You believe everything. You’re open to all possibilities. You’re very in tune to the other side, and so you share it all. You tell your parents. You tell people close to you. If they’re accepting and open, you continue talking about it.

But when you get into school, the world changes. Then you find out people are not so open to hearing about psychic experiences. Then the teacher calls your parent up and says, “Your child’s been talking about seeing spirits. I think you need to go see a therapist or a psychiatrist.” Kids s tart easing you, making fun of you, expecting you to perform on command, or get frightened by what they hear, because that’s not what they believe or what their parents tell them.

The child starts to shut down by not talking about it, or you get a direct verbal statement from a parent, like my father, “Don’t ever tell anyone,” as though there’s something wrong with it, or you should be ashamed of it, or you’ll be viewed as a witch. Sometimes the abilities go undercover and get suppressed.

Sometimes children mask or shield their gifts because they’re frightened of them. Then when they hit puberty hormonally, you see a rise in psychic ability.

There’s a lot of research being done at the University of Virginia in a field of parapsychology, on out-of-body experiences, past lives, and near-death experiences. Dr. Melvin Morse wrote about children having near-death experiences with very similar aspects to those in adult reports.

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An Increase in the Evolution of Psychic Skills

A lot of the people I encounter through e-mail, lectures, and workshops believe their experiences are real. They have sensed spirits and had personal experiences, or they believe their children and wonder, what does it all mean? Where does it all fit?

I feel that reports of spirit contact and psychic abilities are increasing within children. What the source or causes are, I don’t know. I leave it up to others to draw their own conclusions. I have my own personal view that a shift in consciousness is occurring. It depends on your philosophy and whether you believe in reincarnation, which Id do. We are here for a purpose, and we are all coming together for a purpose. For me, I see it as my role to help children understand and master what they are experiencing and not to be afraid of it.

I think the most important thing to underscore and emphasize again for children and parents not to be afraid of what the children are experiencing or being told. It’s important for parents to really support their child and be a resource for them to come to; to allow their child, even if they don’t believe this, to have a place to come and talk and to share their experiences; to help center their child and ground them and anchor them in their love; to help their child realize that they may be seeing things or feeling things that the parent can’t, and that’s okay. You want to be there to hear them and help them.

The worst things that a parent can do are to shut the door and to turn their child away and not allow them that forum. Turning their child away has more negative emotional consequences for the child, especially as they grow up. And it shuts the door to other important communications that are not about being psychic. The child feels that you are not a person that they can come to, because you cannot truly hear them. So the most important thing is for the parent to be loving and accepting, and for the child not to fear and not to give in to their fear – to feel the love, that they are protected, and that they are safe.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a Perceptive Child?

Perceptive Children are those children and teens who are gifted psychically and are open to picking up perceptions beyond the five common senses (vision, hearing, smell, touch, taste). Often they report unusual coincidences and communications (for example knowing what will happen before it occurs, or seeing/hearing a discarnate spirit) from early childhood. A Perceptive Child is much more in tune with their surroundings and other’s emotions and may in addition have unusual sensitivities, such as being more affected by a casual rejection or emotional experience or may be more reactive to the emotionally confusing states of others.

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Why am I (Athena Drewes) Interested in Perceptive Children?

I personally had a profound psychic experience when I was around 10 years old. After a disagreement with my mother before bedtime, I had a precognitive dream. In my dream I saw (view from a distance) unfolding events of a car accident, my mother being wheeled on a gurney into the hospital and being hurt, and my brother sitting in a wheelchair (but I ‘knew’ he wasn’t hurt). The dream had a very different type of emotional impact and the memory of it stayed with me for days. Two weeks later the dream unfolded exactly as in my dream. When I told my father that I had dreamt it two weeks ago exactly as it was, he stated that I should never tell anyone about that ever again.

This negative response led me on a quest to understand how dreams can come true, and could I have made this event happen because of my anger? In time I found ‘kindred spirits’ through the Dream Lab/Division of Parapsychology and Psychophysics at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. I learned about over a hundred years of research in parapsychology, and the professional organization of researchers, the The Parapsychological Association1 , of which I am a member. I have conducted research with children exploring psychic phenomena, as well as written, lectured and have been featured on shows dealing with children and their psychic abilities.

I have made it my lifelong career to help children feel heard and understood with regard to any of their life experiences that have had a profound effect on them, but especially those who are psychic in nature. I do not want any child to feel they are strange, weird or a witch or devil because of these experiences. But rather, they are gifted and have a special ability that they can use and work with.

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What is meant by Psychic or ESP or psi phenomenon?

Psi is the ability to perceive and obtain information about the past, present or future, and about others, events and situations beyond the ordinary five physical senses. Often it has been referred to as the “sixth” sense or “Extra Sensory Perception (ESP)” or paranormal (something that happens but seems impossible).

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What are the common types of psychic phenomena?


The ability to smell things that are not physically present.


The hearing of words, sounds, or music in your mind or in the physical space nearby.


The ability to have extrasensory knowledge about objects, places or events happening at a distance or beyond the physical realm.


The ability to feel (emotionally, physically, or mentally) things outside of oneself beyond the physical realm.

Claircognizance (or ‘Knowing’)

The ability to suddenly know something on an intuitive level without previous knowledge or experience.


The ability to taste something that you haven’t eaten.


The ability to sense (emotionally) another’s mood or state of mind.


Prediction of random future events through dreams, waking images, thoughts or knowledge which cannot be inferred from present information.

Psychokinesis (PK)

Direct mental, but not physical, influence exerted by an individual onto a physical condition or object.


The simultaneous extrasensory knowledge of another’s thoughts, mental state or activity.


The ability to see and/or hear discarnate spirits or make some paranormal events occur while communicating with the dead.

Remote Sensing or Viewing

Using ESP to see or hear something far away.

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How did my child become psychic?

A child or teen who displays paranormal abilities is not odd or weird. The child or teen should be thought of as being talented in a particular area, but looks, acts and plays like any other child. The difference is that the psychic abilities are often so pronounced that they cannot be hidden. Research has not been able to find a specific reason for, or source of, such abilities. There is the possibility that there may be a genetic component, as many families report that other family members have similar abilities. It may be that each of us has such abilities, some more strongly than others, just as is true of other talents such as drawing or playing a musical instrument.

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Are children or teens more psychic than adults?

Children appear more open minded and less skeptical about such experiences and as a result may talk more about them. However, research has not found that any one age group has more psychic ability than another.

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Are all children psychic?

I personally believe that we all have psychic abilities. I like to make the analogy to being able to play a piano. Some of us are born with an advanced level of sensitivity and perception, much like a gifted virtuoso pianist, like Mozart, who was able to play well as a young child. Others need to work on their ability, meditate, and learn to understand their gift. Just like a person with some piano skills needing to keep practicing and devoting time and energy to increasing their skills. Then there are others who deny their abilities and perceptions, preferring to not believe in their experiences or those of others. This is much like someone who has no interest in learning how to play the piano, so no matter how much time they spend on it their skills do not develop very far.

I believe that all children are perceptive to their inner and outer world. If we give them the chance to explore their memories and experiences, and really listen to them in an authentic and interested way, taking the time to show our interest and attention, many children will share their psychic experiences.

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Are there books where I can read more about ESP and children?

  • The Gift: ESP, the Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People. Sally Rhine Feather and Michael Schmicker (ISBN: 0-312-32919-9)
  • Is Your Child Psychic? Alex Tanous and Katherine Fair Donnelly (ISBN: 0-59510064-3)
  • Psychic Children. Samuel H. Young (ISBN: 0-38507958-3)

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How should I respond to my child’s psychic experiences?

Listen to your child without judgment. Create an accepting environment of understanding and caring, without ridicule, so that your child will not be afraid to speak about their experiences. Allow your child to talk freely about their experience. Casual comments such as, “Oh you picked up what I was thinking”, “Isn’t that interesting” or “Tell me more about your dream and why you think it will come true” helps the child to open up.

Normalize the experience. Let your child know that children and even adults have similar experiences, and there has been research conducted on this. Let your child know there are places to get answers to their questions if they want, including:

The Parapsychology Foundation »

Rhine Research Center »

American Society for Psychical Research »

The Parapsychological Association »

Do not force the child to “perform” their abilities. Children’s psi experiences will often be spontaneous and the child will most likely not be able to control such events at will. Never focus on using psychic abilities for personal gain or show. Such approaches may actually cause abilities to decline, result in feelings of being exploited, lead to an inflated sense of ability or force the child into resorting to fraudulent activities to keep the attention on them.

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Should psychic children be treated differently?

Put psychic abilities in perspective. The child should be helped to understand that while they may be talented in psychic abilities, they have other things to learn and other talents to develop. Let your child be a child, not treated as a little adult. Encourage your child to develop all their abilities and see that their psychic abilities are like any other talent or skill that people have like being a gifted pianist, composer, artist, actor or athlete.

Keep communication open. If your child tells you about a psychic experience, accept what has happened, whether you believe in it or not. If a child’s statements are received negatively, your child may not approach you again about any other experience, psychic or not. They may try to suppress their abilities, lose creativity, withdraw or develop feelings of distrust and anger.

Keep a journal of psi experiences. Encourage your child to record such events or dreams. Write them down as soon as possible after it occurs to keep information fresh and get the most details as possible. Over time patterns may emerge. Journal writing also helps to discover which category the experience belongs in, and whether the information was accurate or not. Try to add documentation after precognitive or clairvoyant events occur to see how accurate details were and how long it took before the event “came true”. Record the times the events did not seem to occur or significant details were missed. Often psychic impressions come through when there is minimal interference and the conscious mind is not distracted by other things, such as during sleep, during car rides or when daydreaming. Often the content of events are about friends and everyday things or family members.

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Are there psychic games I can do with my child?

Guessing games can be used to see if your child can draw a picture of an item or say the word that you are thinking of. Have 25 m&m candies, five each of five colors (red, green, blue, yellow, brown) in a brown paper bag. Select one candy and hold it inside the bag and see if your child can guess which color will come out. Then put the candy back in the bag, shake the candies up and repeat the procedure again for a total of 25 times. Record each candy selected and your child’s response. A score of 5 correct out of 25 is considered chance, the usual number when no psi phenomena may be occurring. A score of seven or higher or four or below can indicate psychic abilities.

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How can I monitor my child’s psychic experiences?

Keep a journal of psi experiences. Encourage your child to record such events or dreams. Write them down as soon as possible after it occurs to keep information fresh and get the most details as possible. Over time patterns may emerge.

Journal writing also helps to discover which category the experience belongs in, and whether the information was accurate or not. Try to add documentation after precognitive or clairvoyant events occur to see how accurate details were and how long it took before the event “came true”. Record the times the events did not seem to occur or significant details were missed.

Often psychic impressions come through when there is minimal interference and the conscious mind is not distracted by other things, such as during sleep, during car rides or when daydreaming. Often the content of events are about friends and everyday things or family members.

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  1. Visit the official website of The Parapsychological Association and learn more about their organization.