Do Children See Ghosts Better Than Adults?

Written by Gene Lafferty – 2010 

Are children able to sense spirits more so than adults? The visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is generally from 380/400nm (nanometers) to about 760nm. UV (ultraviolet) or IR (infrared) only in that there are some specialized cells in the retinas of our eyes that contain a pigment that gets excited when it encounters these wavelengths.

Cats, for example, have a pigment that gets excited at shorter wavelengths, so they see a little bit into the UV-A range. Could this be a possible reason why cats sometimes act strangely in a reported haunted house? The visible range for a cat is different from the visible range for a human. Here is the important part; very young children can see 380nm (which puts them into the UV range), where elderly people cannot see 400nm, so the “visible range” changes even for humans.

Within the visible range, we have different colors because we have three different types of cells in the retina that get excited by three different ranges of wavelengths. The colors are ranges, and not just one wavelength. Do you remember your seventh-grade science class and the man named Roy G. Biv? Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Remember the order of the colors from long wavelength (Red around 700nm) to short wavelength (Violet around 400nm).

As a sidebar, how many times have you heard someone say, “I saw something out of the corner of my eye, but as soon as I looked directly at it, it was gone?” As John Kachuba reports in his book, Ghost Hunting Ohio, 

“There is a thin band around the outer edge of the cornea that is sensitive to some degree of infrared light.  That outer ring constitutes our peripheral vision, so if ghosts inhabit the infrared range, it would make sense that they would best be seen peripherally, that is, from the corner of our eye.”

At this point, you might be asking yourself, “Why can I see some things in my digital camera that I cannot see with my own eye?” You would be asking yourself a good question. Here is the answer. Because most digital cameras are somewhat sensitive in the IR range.  The manufacturers of the camera actually build it with a device called an IR cut filter. An IR cut-off filter blocks the transmission of the infrared while passing the visible so the image more closely matches what you see with your eyes. Your typical infrared enabled digital camera, like a Sony with NiteShot, can see between 400nm (nanometers) and 1100nm.

Before I wrap this article up, I would be remiss if I did not throw a “shout out” to a pioneer in UV/IR technology, Trevor James Constable. He was an author, aviation historian and investigator of unusual phenomena. His greatest contribution was his book, The Cosmic Pulse of Life published in 1975. All the way back in the 1950s, he had modified an old, super 8 camera set to expose two frames per second, with an 18A ultra-violet filter attached. He shot the camera out the airliner window at thirty-five thousand feet. According to Constable, he was able to record UFO’s in full color, right through the UV filter.