Ursula Bielski,
There's Something Under the Bed:
Children's Experiences with the Paranormal

(New Page, 2010)

I chose to accept and review this book because I am a child psychologist, and the brief description I was given mentioned helping children deal with fears and imaginary friends. The book was not what I expected.

I sought objectivity, possibly backed with a little scientific research. I sought good, solid how-to techniques that would resonate with the average parent. What I found was an author who is a believer in the paranormal. The how-to part of this book was rooted in the experiences of a professional ghost hunter and her friends and colleagues.

My training as a psychologist followed the scientist-practitioner model, wherein interventions are based solidly on widely accepted research, and intervention experiences lead to research. That is the paradigm behind my training and thinking. Ursula Bielski, the author of There's Something Under the Bed: Children's Experiences with the Paranormal, operates with the worldview that ghosts are absolute realities, as are poltergeists, reincarnation, clairvoyance, telepathy, telekinesis, fairies, angels, demons and possession.

If a reader shares the author's worldview, this is a very good book about how the paranormal affects and involves children. That reader will find chapters on each of the topics mentioned in the previous paragraph, plus a few other chapters. There are a few instances of the author making statements that might bother paranormal believers, as in paragraphs that start with sweeping statements like, "It is widely accepted that...," followed by ideas that the majority of people in American society might not accept. There are also a few instances of the author stating, "As detailed in research mentioned below," and then forgetting to mention the research.

A scientifically-minded reader or skeptic, however, will likely find this book to be unsatisfying, because of the lack of research cited and strongly delineated logic supporting the claims made and the techniques suggested.

The part of the book I found most difficult to agree with came near the end, where Bielski talks about three new groups of children being born contemporarily: the Indigo Children, the Crystal Children and the Rainbow Children. The children labeled as Indigo are, according to this book, children diagnosed by non-believers (in the paranormal) with autism or Asperger's disorder. Also per this book, children who have autism or Asperger's disorder eschew regular communication because they possess the ability to communicate on a higher level (i.e., telepathy) with both other people and animals. I have been around, and interacted with, quite a few of these "Indigo Children," and I have observed no evidence of telepathic communication.

There's Something Under the Bed goes on to say that the Indigo, Crystal and Rainbow all play a part in preparing the world for the second coming of Jesus Christ in 2012. Traditional society misunderstands these children, and diagnoses them with psychiatric disorders. I guess we'll soon know whose worldview, the scientist's or the author's, provides a clearer understanding of these children.

book review by
Chris McCallister

29 January 2011

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