Talking to Spirits:
Children as Ambassadors to Otherworldly Realms
Transcript coming soon!
Welcome to Season 2 of The Children’s Table! This season, we’ll be talking about spooky kids.
Being a young person can be pretty frightening — things are uncertain, and adults can be untrustworthy. For children in the past, violence, and the fear it caused, was a part of everyday life. And then there were other, less mundane threats — from the world beyond! It seems that kids have always enjoyed (or, well, not enjoyed) a particular connection with the supernatural, the otherworldly, the creepy, and the weird. In this season, we will explore those connections. Be prepared for scary stories of what happens when adults demonize children.
Our first episode looks at moments in history when children were imagined as having one foot in both the natural and supernatural worlds. Sometimes children saw themselves as powerful ambassadors to the spirit realm — a realm, it seems important to point out, where there were forces even more powerful than the adults that otherwise ruled their lives. At other points, children were seen as the victims of supernatural forces, often working in tandem with evil adults. These narratives often resulted in adults telling themselves that they were empowered, indeed required, to take on the role of heroic avenger on behalf of beleaguered children. Come for the medieval children who could prophesy the future through crystals, stay for the nineteenth-century spiritualist children who claimed to talk to the dead!
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