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Spirit Encounters: The Imaginary Friend

Cindy is an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.

Sometimes children are the bridge between the living and the dead.

Sometimes children are the bridge between the living and the dead.

The New Addition

This story was shared with me by Pennsylvania resident Nicole Peterson,* whose family was given a gift that not many receive. Nicole's unexpected brush with the supernatural offered a sense of closure that had been a long time coming.

Over the years, Nicole and her husband Kevin had suffered a number of miscarriages in their quest to start a family. Finally, in 2003, the stars aligned, and their daughter Sara was born.

The child they feared they would never have was the center of her parents' universe from day one. Nicole recalls that nearly everyone who encountered Sara remarked that she was the calmest, most agreeable child they had ever seen.

Her proud mother agreed. As an infant, she seldom cried, even when she was wet or hungry. At the time, her parents assumed that she was simply a good-natured baby. Knowing now what they didn't know then, they wonder if perhaps there was more going on in her world than they thought possible.

As Sara grew, she began to exhibit signs that she was engaging with another child. When she was learning to crawl and pull herself up, she seemed to always move with a purpose. As soon as she was mobile, she would make a beeline across the floor, stopping abruptly in front of an obstacle no one else in the room could see. She would then smile and reach towards whatever it was she found so entertaining.

When Sara could walk, it was a repeat of the same behavior. She would race to join someone who seemed to always be close by. The toddler would then wave her arms around and prattle endlessly to a presence known only to her.

For their part, Nicole and her husband found their daughter's actions endearing and made no attempt to redirect her attention. Instead of taking her away from whatever it was that enthralled her so, they embraced what they believed to be her imaginary friend.


Best Friends

When Sara began to talk in earnest, she enthusiastically shared her newfound skills with her constant companion. Nicole noticed that she was using the same phrase over and over again anytime her playmate was present. Although she didn't know exactly what her daughter was trying to say, the words she was using sounded like "saw-saw."

It was only after observing Sara squeal the word with delight whenever she woke up from her nap that Nicole came to the conclusion that this was the name that her child had given to her invisible friend.

Nicole and Kevin played along with their daughter for several years, treating Saw-Saw like a member of the family. When they sat down to eat, she had a place right beside Sara. When it was time to take a bath or go to bed, Sara and Saw-Saw went through the trenches together. For the Peterson family, participating in their daughter's make-believe world was all part of watching her grow.

It was only when Sara was able to clearly articulate her feelings that her parents' eyes were opened to a possibility they had not previously considered. One day, while her daughter and Saw-Saw were playing dolls, Nicole let them know that lunch was ready by calling out to them by name. It was a routine they had practiced for quite some time and she had no reason to believe that this day would be any different.

As she entered the kitchen, Sara curtly informed her mother that her friend's name was not Saw-Saw. Taking that to mean that she had decided to rename her companion without telling anyone, Nicole asked what she should call her now. She was floored by her child's response. Her playmate's name, she said matter-of-factly, was "Sasha."

This would have meant nothing to most people, but it was monumental for Nicole. She knew something that her daughter didn't. One of her pregnancies had ended late in the sixth month; the baby girl died in utero. Leaving the hospital empty-handed after a prolonged delivery was one of the most difficult things Nicole had ever endured.

The baby that she and Kevin lost was the only one, besides Sara, who had survived past the first trimester. As a result, she had been given a name: Sasha Michelle. After hearing Sara refer to her imaginary companion by that name, Nicole came to believe, as incredible as it was, that their daughters had somehow found each other.

Kevin wasn't as quick to accept this scenario, but after looking back on the things that Sara had said and done over the years, the pieces seemed to fit. In the hopes of learning about the child they had loved but never known, they started pressing Sara for information.

Nicole now admits that they grilled their daughter to such an extent that she retreated into herself for a while. During that time, even though she still kept company with Sasha, she refused to talk about her with either of her parents.

Realizing that they may have pushed her too far, the couple scaled back their efforts to delve into the mind of their five-year-old. Rather than pushing her, they decided to wait until she felt comfortable sharing details of her relationship with Sasha. They hoped that if they tread lightly, she would open up to them of her own free will.

It took a while, but Sara eventually gave her mother a glimpse into the world she and Sasha shared. One day, while she was sitting on the floor playing a board game with her daughter, Nicole asked Sara if she remembered the first time she met Sasha. To her surprise, she piped up with an answer.

She said that Sasha had been at the hospital on the day she was born. Nicole informed her, ever so gently, that she wouldn't have been able to remember such a thing. Sara, thoroughly exasperated with her mother, told her that she knew it happened, not because she had memories of the occasion, but because Sasha had told her so.

Eventually, Nicole was able to piece together the story of how her living daughter and the one who had died before birth came to forge their seemingly unbreakable bond. From what she could gather, Sara did not realize that Sasha was her sister. She had always referred to her only as her best friend. She did, however, know that Sasha was a soul that lacked a body. Again, she was aware of this because it was how Sasha described herself.

Nicole was curious if Sasha appeared to her sister as a little girl, an adult, or something else entirely. When the question was posed to Sara, she didn't know how to answer.

According to her, Sasha glowed like a light, but not the kind that came from a lamp or even the sun. The light that was Sasha was alive. It could speak and move things around, although only she was aware that this was happening. Her sister had explained to Sara long ago that she was there for her and her alone.

When she was a bit older, Sara had urged Sasha to show herself to her parents, but she had refused. She explained that she was forbidden to interact with them. She went on to say that if other people saw her, she would have to leave for good. Afraid to lose her most trusted confidant, Sara never asked again.


Home at Last

As the years went by, Sara began speaking less and less of Sasha. Her parents attributed the change to the fact that their daughter was active in school and had a social life outside of their home.

Nicole thinks that it was around the time that Sara reached puberty that Sasha bowed out of their lives. Although she knew that the day would come, she had dreaded it just the same. She had never seen or heard Sasha, but knowing she was close by had given her a taste of what could have been.

Kevin had never been as invested in the situation as his wife, but he also admits that it felt a bit like losing Sasha all over again when she ceased being a force in Sara's life.

Today, Sara speaks freely of the years she spent communicating with a spiritual being she now believes was her sister. She would later confide in her mother that it had not been her idea to send Sasha away. As she became more independent, Sasha had explained to her that it was time for her to go.

When Nicole asked Sara if her sister had told her where she was going, she replied that it hadn't occurred to her to ask. She had simply accepted that her companion had to leave. She had known instinctively that their relationship had come full circle.

The Peterson family holds firm to their belief that, for well over a decade, their daughters, one mortal and the other ethereal, had coexisted under the same roof. They have come to the conclusion that Sasha was an angel sent to guide and protect her sister until her services were no longer needed.

Nicole likes to think that perhaps she is somewhere offering comfort to another child. She believes that Sasha was always meant to be a guardian angel, a calling that had prevented her from being born into this world.

Whether Sara's imaginary friend was just that or her unborn sister returned to the family she never knew is impossible to say. Even so, it does seem odd that a child who knew nothing of her parents' painful past had pulled the name Sasha out of thin air.

Nicole is adamant that neither she nor her husband ever mentioned any of the pregnancies that were lost to their surviving daughter. She adds that, for personal reasons she chooses to keep private, no remembrances were ever displayed in their home. And yet, somehow, Sara had known everything.

Whatever the case, a family that had suffered unimaginable loss before knowing the joy of parenthood, feel that they were blessed twice; once with the birth of Sara and again when they learned that Sasha had joined the family, at least temporarily. Despite losing her twice, they are forever grateful that an angel entered their lives for the sole purpose of giving her sister wings.

*Names have been altered to protect the privacy of the parties involved.


Cindy Parmiter (author) from United States on March 20, 2021:

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Although spirits are known to visit their loved ones in dreams, I believe that your daughter came to you in a place closer to consciousness so that you would know the encounter was real. It's always heartwarming to be reminded that once souls touch, their bond is eternal.

Nell Rose from England on March 20, 2021:

What an amazing story, and I totally believe it! When I lost my second baby, I named her Kelly. Six years later, I had a most amazing dream. Or was it a dream? I was in bed, and the door to the bedroom started to glow. A little girl, Kelly, ran to my side of the bed, chatted to me, she had pigtails and looked like my son. Soon I saw a hand appear in the doorway, and she said she had to leave. She ran across the room, took the hand and walked through. Waking up seems a strange thing to say as I feel as though I was already awake.