The Strange and Creepy Things Children Say

Alex North, author of The Whisper Man, remains fascinated by the strange and creepy things children say—so much so that it inspired his novel. Learn more and comment below to win a copy!

When I was a kid, I watched a documentary about reincarnation. There was a little girl featured in it, and based on things she’d said, her parents were convinced she had lived past lives. I watched her visiting old houses and cemeteries, the whole time telling seemingly impossible tales of what had happened to her in these places before she was born.

Even as a child myself—and especially observing her parents—I was well aware there were explanations for the little girl’s accounts that were, shall we say, far more cynical than supernatural, but the documentary stayed with me regardless. It didn’t matter to me whether her accounts were genuine because it gave me enough of a chill to imagine they might be. And I loved the idea that there was a mysterious world under this one, a secret and unnerving world that could only ever be seen obliquely, from an angle.

In the years since, I’ve remained fascinated by the strange and creepy things children say. There are countless threads online dedicated to the subject: a little boy telling his parents about the man with the long neck in the closet; a little girl pointing to a graveyard, claiming “that’s where I used to live.”

Read an Excerpt of The Whisper Man!

There’s something simultaneously compelling and hair-raising about these stories. Often, it’s the matter-of-factness of the accounts. A child couldn’t make something like that up, surely? Of course, we know deep down that children make up stories all the time. They do it to make sense of their lives (and indeed, some of us never stop). But the feeling remains that children, in some imagined state of innocence, retain access to a world the rest of us have grown up from and left behind, and that they have an ability to peek behind the curtain and notice things the rest of us have forgotten how to see.

When I started writing The Whisper Man, I knew I wanted to write a thriller about fathers and sons, but I didn’t know much about the little boy in my story. Then, one afternoon after moving into a new house, I heard my son talking in the front room. This was not particularly unusual; like most children, he often did the voices for his toy figures, say. But for some reason, I went through and asked him what he was doing, and he told me he was playing with the boy in the floor.

I felt that familiar chill.

But also, undeniably, a thrill. Because I knew right then that the boy in my story would say something similar—that he would have imaginary friends, and that some of them would become sinister and threatening.

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At the same time, I wanted any supernatural aspects in the book to be ultimately ambiguous. When I was younger, I would attempt to argue people out of what I saw as silly and irrational beliefs. That response feels immature now. These days, I think that if somebody told me they believed there were fairies at the bottom of the garden, and it added a little magic to their lives, then who would I be to rob them of that? So at the end of The Whisper Man, you are free to choose. You can believe whichever interpretation of events makes for the best story for you.

In real life—and to my quiet relief—the boy in the floor made no further appearances in our house. But we did have another visitor, one who lingered slightly longer. Shortly after my mother-in-law died, my son told us that a woman was coming into his room every night and hugging him. After a few days, it began to upset him, so we suggested he ask her to stop.

He did so, and the next night she was gone.

Of course, I know that was simply my son doing what children do: creating a story to help him make sense of his grief. But there are chills from it even so.

And I suppose that, depending on what you choose to believe and why, there can be comfort there too.


The Whisper Man by Alex North

About The Whisper Man

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of The Whisper Man by Alex North!

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The Whisper Man Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at http://www.criminalelement.com/strange-and-creepy-children/ beginning at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) August 15, 2019. Sweepstakes ends at 4:59 p.m. ET August 29, 2019. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10010.

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Comments

  1. Jody Darden

    This sound cleverly creepy!

  2. lasvegasnv

    creepy sounding

  3. Daniel M

    sounds like a fun one

  4. Todd Henson

    Great post! I love books that remind us of our childhood years (and fears). Sounds like a great book, and I loved the except.

  5. Suzanne M

    Kids!

  6. Karl Stenger

    Sounds creepy. I would love to read it.

  7. cathleen penner

    kids say the darnedest things

  8. paul klumbach

    well,that’s fine how do you do

  9. Karen Parisot

    Sounds like a spine tingling great read!

  10. Nicole Seabolt

    Spooky….in a great way!

  11. Shirley Evans

    Love creepy stories and this one sounds great!

  12. Theresa

    I have been looking forward to reading this book for ages!!!!

  13. Karen Terry

    Sounds very creepy and a great read.

  14. Julie

    Psychological Thrillers with a tinge of horror are my favorite! This was a 5 star read (from NG) and I’d love to have a hard copy!

  15. Diana Hardt

    It sounds like a really interesting book.

  16. sue weatherbee

    Sounds just right with Halloween approaching!

  17. Jamie Rutland Gillespie

    Sounds so amazing! Would love to win and read/review!! Thanks for the chance!

  18. Mei Chong

    Hope to read this thriller!!

  19. Shelly Garnett

    Sound great

  20. Alice

    Sounds like a good read.

  21. Deb Philippon

    This sounds like a book I would really enjoy reading.

  22. carloshmarlo

    Sounds deliciously creepy, please enter my name in the draw. Thanks!

  23. Michael Carter

    Yes!
    Please enter me in this sweepstakes.
    Thanks —

  24. Rose Jones

    All I can say is “Oh my goodness”!

  25. Jane Scheffres

    When I was in first grade, and being taught how to read, I remembered having been taught to read, in a previous life. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s a memory I can’t shake, to this day. Also, when we were on a family trip to the beach, my niece, at age 3, wanted to go into the ocean. She remembered swimming in the ocean, under water, in the past, when she “used to be a grownup”. I still get chills remembering that.

  26. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  27. Ann Leazenby

    That certainly put chills up my spine, sounds like a thrilling read!

  28. Linda McCutcheon

    I think The Whisper Man will be read with all the lights on during the day!

  29. Ali Danko

    Has my curiosity up!

  30. Theresa Blundell

    I’m dying to read this one!

  31. amy marantino

    The Whisper Man sounds good

  32. Russell Larson

    I started reading this book last night and I was hooked from the first page!

  33. Margie Shaw

    The Whisper Man sounds like a creepy, thrilling read!

  34. Pamela

    I have heard amazing reviews about this book! I would love to read it.

  35. gloriasue99

    Sounds good!

  36. himlover

    Need to read this book! I have been seeing amazing reviews!

  37. gloriasue99

    Please, please, please?

  38. Susan Morris

    Just reading your account of how you found inspiration for this book gave me chills. Can’t wait to read the book!

  39. Nancy Wolfe

    Your book is right up my alley. Congratulations on your new realease.

  40. Joyce Benzing

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  41. Janet Gould

    Just the sentence, “the strange and creepy things children say,” gave me the chills. I want this book.

  42. Beth Talmage

    It’s interesting how many of us say, “Very creepy–just my thing!” You’ve brought together an unusual group of people.

  43. Christal M

    Looks like a great read!

  44. Laurie Sandretto

    Thank you for the article.

  45. John Smith

    Children are so creepy! Just the creepiest!

  46. Trina Jackson

    Would love to read this book,something to make my skin crawl

  47. Tiffany

    This looks good

  48. L

    Oh my goodness! I love the premise. I’m sure this will be a great read!

  49. Sherman H.

    Sounds like a good book to read on the cooler nights ahead!

  50. Dianna Young

    Creepy is right!

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