How does the belief in the soul leaving the body during sleep relate to photographing a sleeping person?

How and Why Pregnant Women Capture Moments

Many expectant mothers relish the opportunity to document their unique journey through pregnancy, sharing these moments with friends on social media. After childbirth, the focus of the lens often shifts to the newborn, capturing every significant milestone from hospital discharge to breastfeeding, bathing, and the first attempts at movement. Particularly endearing to parents are the images of peacefully sleeping infants, curled up and blissfully unaware. However, does the act of photographing a sleeping baby come with a plethora of superstitions, and is there any scientific validity behind them?

Superstitions and Old Beliefs

While photography is not an ancient practice, numerous superstitions and beliefs surround the process, especially concerning small children, and it appears that capturing a sleeping infant is deemed particularly risky. Let’s delve into some of these beliefs:

Table: Superstitions Related to Photographing a Sleeping Child

Superstition Rebuttal
The soul of a sleeping person can leave the body and traverse into a parallel world. Photographs showing a bright spot near the sleeper are seen as evidence of the soul’s departure. The click of the camera or the flash might wake the person before the soul returns. This is especially concerning for the “unsettled” soul of a young child unfamiliar with the world. If true, one should never wake anyone, and we should patiently wait for natural awakening.
Capturing a sleeping person brings them closer to death. In ancient Greek mythology, Thanatos (death) and Hypnos (sleep) were brothers. A blurry photo of a sleeping individual foretells their imminent demise. The similarity between a sleeping and deceased person (closed eyes, still posture) is conditional. Blurry photos are often attributed to the skill of the photographer.
Photographing a sleeping infant steals their health and happy future, with the degree of theft proportional to the closeness of the shot. Childhood illnesses are common, and attributing them to photographs is an attempt to explain why one child might fall ill more frequently than another (even though genetics and immunity play a more substantial role). Concerns about an unsuccessful adult life are often attributed to external forces rather than self-reflection.
The camera’s click can scare away the guardian angel protecting the child’s sleep, leaving them vulnerable to misfortune. While the child may not die from this, it could lead to general unhappiness and ailments. Similar to explaining life’s challenges, this superstition attempts to externalize problems, attributing them to the whims of otherworldly entities rather than natural occurrences.

Religious Perspectives and Scientific Considerations

Superstitions often intertwine with religious beliefs, and the fear of disturbing an angelic presence during sleep is no exception. However, from a scientific standpoint, these beliefs lack empirical evidence. The subconscious desire to explain life’s uncertainties through supernatural forces persists, yet science urges us to question such assumptions.

Insights from Dr. E.O. Komarovsky

Dr. Eugene O. Komarovsky, a renowned pediatrician, dismisses these superstitions, emphasizing the importance of separating cultural beliefs from medical realities. According to him, capturing a sleeping infant holds no inherent risk, and the fears associated with it are products of folklore rather than scientific observation.

In conclusion, while capturing a sleeping infant might be a heartwarming gesture for parents, the superstitions surrounding such photographs lack scientific grounding. As Dr. Komarovsky suggests, it is crucial to differentiate between cultural beliefs and evidence-based medical knowledge. So, go ahead and capture those precious moments without fearing any supernatural repercussions. After all, the beauty of a sleeping child is meant to be celebrated, not shrouded in unwarranted concerns.


How does the belief in the soul leaving the body during sleep relate to photographing a sleeping person?

The belief stems from the idea that a sleeping person’s soul can wander into a parallel world. When capturing a sleeping individual, a bright spot in the photo is thought to represent the departing soul. The fear is that the camera’s click or flash could awaken the person before their soul returns.

Where do the superstitions surrounding photographing a sleeping infant originate?

Superstitions about capturing sleeping infants have roots in various cultural and historical beliefs. For instance, the notion that photographing a sleeping person brings them closer to death is reminiscent of ancient Greek mythology, where sleep and death were personified as brothers.

What is the rationale behind the superstition that photographing a sleeping child steals their health and happy future?

The superstition suggests that the act of photographing a sleeping child somehow siphons their well-being and future happiness. This belief likely arises from attempts to explain why one child may experience more illnesses in early life or face challenges in adulthood.

When did the association between a camera’s click and scaring away a guardian angel protecting a sleeping child originate?

The fear of disturbing a guardian angel during sleep is an age-old belief. The superstition suggests that the camera’s click can frighten away the protective presence, leaving the child susceptible to misfortune. This belief has likely evolved over centuries, intertwining with cultural and religious narratives.

To whom should we turn for insights on dispelling these superstitions surrounding photographing a sleeping child?

Renowned pediatrician Dr. E.O. Komarovsky offers valuable insights into dispelling these superstitions. According to Dr. Komarovsky, capturing a sleeping infant holds no inherent risk, and fears associated with it are often rooted in folklore rather than scientific evidence.