My mum told me that as a young child (we’re talking around 6 years old or younger), when it was just mum and I, before and also at the time that she met my step-dad, I had an imaginary friend. This isn’t uncommon, especially amongst only/eldest children who have no siblings to socialise with (and my sister hadn’t come along yet).
Apparently I used to have in depth conversations with this person as though I was talking to someone who was actually there. Adults have long theorised that imaginary friends serve a purpose, in developing linguistic and social skills, but also serve to combat boredom, loneliness and to act as a ‘conscience’ for a young child.
I think my imaginary friend was a ‘she’ and her name was Mackie, although I don’t recall this now, this is all information my mum has told me in the past. Now I consider myself quite spiritual, I’ve attended spiritualist churches though I’ve been raised a Catholic (now Protestant?!) and I’m very much open to all this kind of stuff. I’ve even had a couple of recent very real, unexplained experiences. It makes me think that perhaps children’s ‘imaginary’ friends aren’t necessarily imaginary, and that they could be spirit guides. If they are in fact spirit guides, then perhaps mine was sent to guide and protect me during the upheaval of my early years when my parents were fighting and separating and I was about to be thrown into a completely new world where I had to grow up fast and learn to look after myself. Unfortunately, shortly after my mum met my step-dad, Mackie disappeared. Or maybe I did, I’m not sure which way round it was because we moved out of the house we were living at and away from everyone and everything that was familiar to me, all my friends and the school I enjoyed so much. I had to give away my two pet goldfish, Bonnie and Goldie, named after the Blue Peter dogs at the time, (and not the first time I would be forced to give up a beloved pet), but it seems I also lost another major source of comfort at that time, in Mackie.
The following excerpt I took from Wikipedia:- Kutner (n.d.) reported that 65% of 7-year-old children report they have had an imaginary companion at some point in their lives. He further reported: Imaginary companions are an integral part of many children’s lives. They provide comfort in times of stress, companionship when they’re lonely, someone to boss around when they feel powerless, and someone to blame for the broken lamp in the living room. Most important, an imaginary companion is a tool young children use to help them make sense of the adult world.
I’d be really interested to hear if any of my readers had imaginary friends or similar experiences as I find this stuff really fascinating.