Chime Hour Children!

The topic of “chime children” is not one that receives much attention today, but at one time in Great Britain, the lore of the chime child was well-known, although details often differed between locations.

The chime hours were commonly accepted to be three, six, nine, or twelve o’clock. In the old monastic tradition these were the hours of required prayer and were frequently marked by church bells chiming the hour. In some locales, however, particularly in Somerset and East Anglia, the hours were recognized as eight o’clock in the evening, midnight, and four o’clock in the morning. A chime child is anyone who was born exactly on one of the accepted chime hours, although there was quite a bit of variance in that as well; some locales recognized those born within that hour and some recognized only the nighttime hours of nine o’clock, midnight, and three and six o’clock in the morning. Some other traditions even limited the hours to specifically those who were born between midnight and dawn, Friday to Saturday.

Chime children were believed to have an ability to see other things that were hidden from ordinary people, such as ghosts, spirits and demons. They were also thought to possess extraordinary skill at herbal medicine/magic and healing, the power to control both wild and domestic animals, and to be naturally immune from witchcraft and curses. Another belief was that chime children were the only ones able to hear the “Gabriel Hounds,” a pack of spectral hounds that accompanied the legendary Wild Hunt. To see or hear them was a harbinger of death.

In parts of Ireland and parts of Scotland, particularly the Highlands, chime children were believed to possess the “second sight,” a form of extrasensory perception that included precognition and an ability to see the dead. It was always noted what children were born in the chime hours and they were closely watched as they grew to see how the gift would manifest itself in them. Tales were told of chime children who foresaw peoples’ deaths before they occurred, or who saw the spirits of the deceased before even family realized they were dead. Many of those who possess this ability consider it a curse as opposed to a gift, and would be glad to be rid of it.

It is interesting to note that, while many religious people today would scorn these beliefs as sinful, or at least as foolish, the Celtic people of Britain accepted this as very normal, and believed that these gifts were God-given. Oftentimes the use of these gifts would be accompanied by prayers to aid the seer to “see true.”

Today as the chiming of church bells becomes less frequent, the use of the phrase “chime child” has fallen into disuse. But there are many who still follow the old ways and who know that, no matter the times, the chime children still exist.

About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).