The scariest creatures in horror films are not the giant red dragon demons, but the ghosts of dead children who are barely half the size of an adult. For most of us, especially parents, the natural instinct is to protect a living child, but the ghost of one paralyses us with fear. But we see children everyday, so what makes them so terrifying as members of the undead?

The Popping Post investigates this supernatural phenomenon to show you why these tiny undead horrors are undoubtedly, the worst.

1. They were harmless in life

But they look so harmless... (The Spirit Guide)

But they look so harmless… Credit: The Spirit Guide

You see, we’re so used to children needing our protection and help that we automatically let our guard down with them. So when they return as grotesque mockeries of their original selves, we’re completely unprepared. It’s a subversion of our expectations, and that’s why their attacks are so much more horrific – how do you protect yourself against something you’ve never had to defend yourself from?

2. They represent innocence that’s been corrupted

The black-eyed child of Cannock Chase. Credit: The Huffington Post

The black-eyed child of Cannock Chase. Credit: The Huffington Post

In the living world, we’re always shielding children from the harsh realities of life. That’s because they’re still innocent and have a beatific view of the world, and we don’t want to deprive them of that purity. But as ghosts, they represent a corruption of the natural order and the very opposite of the innocence espoused. The fact that they had their lives taken from them at such a young age is a tragic reminder that even the purest of humans are subject to the rot of evil.

3. They’re very single-minded

They just want to play... Credit: Equinox Paranormal

They just want to play… Credit: Equinox Paranormal

The problem with children is that they can be really stubborn – once they’re fixated on something, they’ll pursue it relentlessly. Unfortunately, if they are fixated on haunting you, it means that you’ve got their full attention. If handling a living toddler is already a handful, what more an undead baby with supernatural powers?

4. They are a perversion of our childhood

All those hijinks don't look so fun now, do they? Credit: The Ghost Diaries

All those hijinks don’t look so fun now, do they? Credit: The Ghost Diaries

You can tell you’re haunted by a child ghost when random objects that represent happiness and fun start appearing in ominous ways. Like a colourful ball rolling into view, or the sound of a child’s laughter. The problem is that these objects now represent evil, and the juxtaposition of their true meaning and our fond memories of them creates an uncomfortable perversion of all the things we used to love.

5. They are difficult to reason with

How do you talk to her? Credit: ITV

How do you talk to her? Credit: ITV

Have you tried reasoning with a child? It’s impossible to understand what they’re thinking at times. Now imagine that with a child ghost, and you now have a creature of the night that cannot be convinced easily. At least adult ghosts have an objective for their hauntings. Child ghosts can be wilful and temperamental, and that’s not what you want when dealing with incomprehensible forces.

6. They force us to override our natural instincts

The horror. Credit: Creepy Collection

The horror. Credit: Creepy Collection

So what happens when you have to fend for your life against a horrifying child ghost? You have to try all means to destroy it. But this goes against our natural instincts to protect a child. Again, this incongruence between what our subconscious desires and what our conscious intends amplifies the fright that comes with child ghosts.

The Other Side of the Door poster. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

The Other Side of the Door poster. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

We can’t deny that there’s a certain thrill in scaring ourselves silly, which is exactly what The Other Side of the Door does! Featuring Sarah Wayne Callies running for her life from a child ghost, it’s a perfect example of these terrifying tykes in action. Catch The Other Side of the Door soon, and remember to be extra careful when you hear a child’s laughter…

Credits: The Spirit Guide, The Huffington Post, Equinox Paranormal, The Ghost Diaries, ITV, Creepy Collection, Golden Village Cinemas