Of late my daughter is scared of Ghosts. It all started when she saw a program in the Discovery channel on ghosts – how a hotel in the US of A is said to be haunted by ghosts and people claiming all sorts of the usual stuff – hearing strange noises, things moving on their own and so on and so forth. So the bottom line is she would not stay by herself nor go into a dark room. When she was scared today by an innocuous noise I took her to the balcony and showed her that it was empty and it was just people walking in a distance. To which she retorted, “But you cannot see ghosts.”
I said: “Oh, okay, then ghosts are invisible like gods ( the other myth she believes in ). Then why can’t gods kill the ghosts.”
She: “Because ghosts are in the earth and god is outside.”
I: “Oh so god is not very powerful, right?
She did not even take a moment to reply – “That is a long story. I will tell you.” And so here it goes.
Once there was a Ghost near God. The Ghost was troubling the gods and goddesses. So god locked him in a cage and put him in the earth so that people can see them (ghost has now become ghosts) and kill. Why god did not kill? Because ghosts will come in the night only. God will not have that much power in the night because he will get his power from the sun.
When the ghosts were fighting god, they made one bad god their friend. That god has power during night. So every night he would come and make their life good. One night the ghosts asked the god to make them invisible and open the cage. The bad god opened the cage, made them invisible and let them free.
Even now ghosts come only in the night and god cannot defeat them. If somebody like robbers or bad people die they become ghosts. There are many more stories like this but this is the most famous story of ghosts. So people tell this story if they want to scare the children. So be very careful. The ghosts may harm you.
I was surprised to see the process of 'myth creation' in such a simple manner - There is a good entity and a bad entity; the good entity powerless in some way; the bad entity enlisting the help of someone and becoming powerful. I was also surprised by the 'inputs' she has received from the society including the television programs in creating the myth. And I liked the concept of god deriving energy from the sun. Finally I was happy that she realizes that 'there are many such stories and people tell the story to scare children.'
But then I don't know how I can help her to outgrow the fear of ghosts. Any suggestion?