Aug. 17, 2009 -- On the face of things, Anthony, a 10-year-old from Massachusetts, is like any other well-adjusted American boy. He likes to play games with his friends. He has a quick smile. On the football field, he appreciates the thrill of a good tackle.
"If someone's running the ball," he said, "or if it's like a throw and it got tipped, it's, it's a really, really, really good feeling."
About five years ago, however, Anthony began saying he was having experiences that set him apart from his peers. He began to communicate with people he had never met. People he would never meet, in fact.
Anthony began to communicate, he says, with the dead.
"They kinda show a little bit of what happened and what they used to look like, when they were hurt," he said.
Anthony's mom, Lisa, said he started appearing in their bedroom at night when he was 5.
"Anthony, why don't you wanna sleep in your room?" she recalled asking him. His response was always the same:
"I don't know, Mom, I'm hearing voices and people are talking to me, and it's just like loud and noisy in there."
As unusual as his experience seems, Anthony is not alone. Other children and young teens across the United States say that they have paranormal encounters or psychic powers. They see phantoms or spirits, and they can talk to them. Their accounts are so remarkable that the adults around them, skeptical at first though they may be, become entirely convinced.
To get inside the phenomenon, "Primetime" followed several "psychic kids" and their families.
'Psychic Kids': 'What If I'm ... Crazy?'
In contrast with Anthony, Pablo, a 14-year-old from Peoria, Ariz., says he is terrified by his disturbing, supernatural visions, which, just like Anthony, began when he was 4 years old. Since then he has learned to partially manage them, although they occasionally still appear.
"They were, like, people who were, injured, scarred, and sometimes even armless or legless," Pablo said. "And they would just be floating, or walking around, or just staring at you."
For Pablo, seeing spirits was like living in a horror film.
"He would have nightmares that were horrific, and I'd have him draw pictures of them and they were just disfigured beings," said his mom, Crystal.
At school, Pablo tucked himself under desks to hide from the ghosts. In the middle of the night, he would wake up, screaming at faces in his bedroom window. The emotional pain was so intense, Pablo said, he considered taking his own life.
"You're, like, really scared," he said. "What if I'm, I'm just going to go crazy and end up killing myself?"
His mom, who works in cosmetics sales, and his father Jose, a truck driver, had no idea how to help their son. Exhausted and perplexed, they turned to doctors for answers. Many diagnoses were handed out: mood disorder, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder. The doctors prescribed drugs that only made Pablo sleepy or nauseous, according to his parents.
"They would tell me that I'm crazy, and just put me on more medication," said Pablo.
But none of the medicines stopped his visions, or stopped the attacks.
"We weren't ever sure that he was mentally ill, or that there was something wrong with him," said Crystal, who maintains a Web site with Pablo's story to support families facing similar issues.
Today, Pablo sleeps with crystals near his bed that he believes protect against visiting spirits.
'Psychic Kids': 'Who Do You Think You're B.S.'ing?'
Anthony's parents, too, struggled with how to respond to their child's apparent psychic abilities.
His father, Scott, who runs a construction company, was skeptical.
"Sometimes I'll look at him" said Scott, "and just go, you know, 'who do you think you're B.S.'ing here?'"
But both parents were jarred by a story Anthony told his mom one morning over breakfast.
He had had a dream about her grandparents, whom he'd never met.
"He said, Mom, I, I had a dream about Nonni and Boompa," Lisa recalled. "He said they were playing cards and she hit him upside the back of the head -- and that was just an endearing thing that my grandmother used to do to my grandfather all the time!"
Anthony said his mom was stunned.
"She was just kinda like, you know, 'How'd, how'd you know that? How did you find that out?'" he said.
Scott now says that Anthony's words often astonish him.
"Some of the stuff outta his mouth," Scott said, "will ... give you the goosebumps."
Unlike Pablo's terrifying visions, Anthony's alleged paranormal experiences have brought him new friends. Last summer he attended The Spirited Children's Summer Day Program, in Norfolk, Mass., a camp for intuitive kids with "special gifts."
"Primetime" asked Anthony why the spirits picked him to speak to.
"'Cause they knew I can understand them," he said. "And if they tried to talk to someone else, they wouldn't understand."