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Little Children And Three


As mentioned in my story "The Staring Man," I worked for several years in a haunted retirement home. This particular incident happened while I was working dinner in the advanced care unit.

There was one sweet little lady there who was completely out of her mind. She wandered around the locked unit muttering to herself about all sorts of odd things, utterly and happily in her own little world. Often she would repeat things said to her, and in general she was just a very pleasant and easy-going woman with advanced Alzheimer's disease.

One dinner, though, she came to me with a little box of a puzzle from the day room. She handed it to me, looked right at me, and told me to give the box to the little boy when I saw him next. I smiled, said of course I would, and she seemed satisfied and went on her way.

I set the box down and went to help the other nursing assistant feed another resident. The other girl asked me what the lady wanted, and I told her, "Oh, she just told me to give that box to the little boy."

The girl's eyes grew wide and she quickly looked away.

"What?" I asked.

She hesitated. "Every time she starts talking about the little boy around here, someone dies within two weeks. Usually just right out of the blue."

I laughed weakly, but she was dead serious. "Really? Every time?"

"Every time. It's all she'll talk about for a while. Last time, it was old Bill. He was perfectly healthy right up until then. He didn't start going downhill until a couple days after she started talking about the little boy. In two weeks, he was gone. Him and two others. You know, because they go in threes, usually. Once they're gone, we ask her about the little boy, and she'll have no idea what we're talking about."

I sat there staring at her. Then looked over at the old woman as she stood around talking to the wall about knitting.

The next day, I walked her back to her room. She asked if I'd seen the little boy yet, and when I told her no, for the first time since I'd started working there, she got visibly and vocally frustrated with me and demanded to know why I hadn't seen him yet. Now, the thing with this lady was she never held the same topic for more than a second. Her memory was just not there anymore. But without fail, whenever the time came to talk about the little boy, she would hound that topic as often as she could. I told her quickly that I would find him right after I helped her back to her room. I didn't work much up there after that. Within two weeks, we'd lost the first resident. A week or so later, we'd lost two more.

Other residents would see little children around that place. Sometimes, it was a little girl lying on the couch in their room or sitting on their bed, staring at them. Every time, the residents who saw the children were showing signs of going downhill into severe dementia. Usually, if they talked of a little boy, it meant the majority of deaths would be men. Every once in a while, a little girl would show up, and the majority of the deaths would be female. It wasn't a perfect science. Sometimes people would just up and die suddenly on their own without the rule of three or any sign of the little children. That's just the way of death, though, I suppose.

None of the workers I know saw the little children. But without fail, whenever the little old lady from upstairs started talking about the little boy, other dementia patients who couldn't hold a topic would start talking about it to. And within two weeks, we'd lose a resident. Or three.

I don't know why they always go in threes. But the little children were always there when they did.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, WesternWanderer, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Trischa_D (guest)
7 years ago (2015-05-20)
I believe that when a person or person (s) are nearing death, that their perceptions are heightened somehow and they are in tune with what we call the 6th sense. It's like they're halfway in this world and halfway in the next- kind of like being in limbo. Thank you for sharing your story. I enjoyed it and I believe it 100%.
samtillie (5 stories) (242 posts)
8 years ago (2014-10-12)
Hi, I enjoyed reading your story and would like to add some insight towards it. Many suffers of Alzheimers have other undiagnosed mental disorders which can cause hallucinations. Dont forget suffers also revert back to times when they were younger and act out behaviours and discussions from that time that are concerned with them but maybe not their carers. I have worked and taught in this industry and elderly people suffering from Alzheimer's regularly see little children and complain and comment about them as many other things too. All this naturally relates to their individual conditions and medications. Due to the Alzheimer's it can also bring along with it other illnesses which are serious to the elderly as their physical and sometime mental health is very vulnerable and they are spetiable to illnesses due to this too. Many elderly people deteriorate in their health without warning in general. There could be some truth in your story but what I am trying to say is if you asked every person who is employed in care will give you the same of similar story. Alzheimer's and the behaviour the condition displays is very complexed and individualised.
Arwen1957 (7 stories) (46 posts)
8 years ago (2014-10-05)
There is a "little boy" at the nursing home I work out too. I have only seen a brief glimpse of him once in the 20+ years I have worked there. Just like your story, every time a residents sees him some of our residents die, usually 3 of them with in hours or days of each other. There is also a little girl that is seen and we lose residents. And finally a rat like creature that seems to predict coming death.

Mayathelion our residents always want to give the little boy a drink of water.
Allen_Ph (1 stories) (4 posts)
8 years ago (2014-10-02)
Maybe because death is a traumatic experience by the people who've seen someone died, or someone close to them died. Those patients were able to hold on the topic of the little boy because there is death/dying that comes with it. Just maybe.
Argette (guest)
8 years ago (2014-10-01)
If my memory is correct, we have had similar stories here before, too. Given the previous comments, which make sense to me, I am inclined to think this might be a common phenomenon.

Very sweet but a bit disturbing, too. In a good way somehow. Thanks so much for sharing the story. Gives me something to think about.
valkricry (47 stories) (3190 posts) mod
8 years ago (2014-10-01)
WesternWanderer, definitely creepy. I have always heard that death and misfortune happens in threes. Why this is so is beyond me, but it certainly seems true.
Perhaps, in a place like that, Death dons a child's form because kids are nonthreatening. As you say, these are folks that can't retain a thought for more than a few minutes, yet they will focus on the children. They can't all be in-sync with the same delusion, can they? And from what you say, they don't seem afraid of them...
mayathelion (9 posts)
8 years ago (2014-10-01)
Hi, Interesting story. I have a friend who works in the hospital ICU who has similar story like yours. Anyways, (story) One patient was complaining about the annoying kids and die after few day. Most of the people there said the if the patients saw those kids it means that they will die soon. But one of the nurse's son can see those ghost kids, playing with them too and the kid is alive until now. My friend, explained to me that we have organ in our brain (i'm sorry I don't know the medical term, my field is different) which what we called "sixth sense". It is open on our childhood days and it slowly closing while we're growing up. Based on my theory, I think when people are going to die soon their sixth sense are opening which attracts ghost or spirits. Those kids look friendly that's why old lady are giving something to him. But who knows, there's a lot of mistery in this world. (sorry for my english)

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