Childhood fears

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What do you do when your child suddenly starts fearing everything and believing in horror?

Ameya, for one, has suddenly started feeling inexplicably scared. She refuses to enter an empty room even in broad daylight. She chooses to maintain proximity of only a foot with an adult at home. She runs down the stairway literally screaming to minimize her time alone. She frequently moves from room to room-baggage, box and all to follow me around even if I am gone only for about 30 seconds.She even denies having the urge to go to the loo because she wont be able to follow us if we happen to move. She refuses to sleep without me at her side, tightly hugging her. For sometime, even hugging her tightly did not seem to comfort her- she had to sleep on top of me…no matter how late it was or how tired she was..she could never sleep it out. One particular night, she was so scared that she was breathing heavily and begged me not to let her go.

Apparently, one accidental mention of a ghost by a cousin and following it up with the friendly horror flick “Chota Chetan” while on vacation at their grandparents’ started it all. She particularly fears that “skeleton”.

We have tried showing her in all ways possible that there are no ghosts anywhere. I took a science book and showed her we are all made of skeletons telling her she is the small skeleton and I am the big one. Nothing to fear there. I have tried telling her stories of brave children. Have sung Hanuman Chalisa ( by the time I reach the phrase
“Bhooth pishach nikat nahi aave”, she closes my mouth- doesn’t even want to hear the word). Have also teased her playfully. Her (hero)dad locked himself in a room just to show her he is back safe…NOTHING has changed it yet.

One thing I know that will worsen it or stretch it into later years is trivializing it…or thinking she does it for attention.

There is also this clear feeling I have when I know, ” It won’t work THIS time…”

Any suggestions?