I will be honest and admit this may have only been a vivid dream. In the moment, I felt like I was awake but also as if something wasn't quite right with reality.
It actually happened while we were at Beaver camp. We were in a cabin with bunk beds for a dozen people, but only me, my father and my boys were in it. I was having a lot of trouble falling asleep and even more trouble staying asleep once I was out.
At one point, I opened my eyes and looked at the bunk across from me and saw a little boy sitting on it. At first, my sleepy mind dismissed it as one of my boys but then I remembered they were in the beds behind me. Also, as I looked closer, I could see this little boy had dark hair and was wearing grey pajamas. (Both my boys are blonde.)
Again, I sleepily assumed someone had arrived late and this was an extra Beaver who had been assigned to the cabin. I smiled at him and he smiled back at me and then lay down on the bed. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.
Sometime later, I woke up again and this time my brain was functioning on all cylinders. No one would put a child into a room with strangers without his parent. Even if they had, we had bells on the door (in case Alex went wandering) so I would have heard them come in. And even assuming I slept through it, that bunk had all of our backpacks and gear on it. I looked over at the bunk again and the gear was all there. No child. And nothing I could get to resolve to look like a child by squinting my eyes or moving my head.
I wasn't weirded out or frightened when I saw him. It was no more remarkable than seeing any other person.
I could believe I half-awoke and saw a piece of gear which my mind translated into a figure. Humans are very good at finding patterns and the ones we see the most are faces and human figures. It's a common flaw with most apparition sightings.
However, I distinctly saw the child smile and lie down. He seemed pleased I had noticed him and comfortable in the room. Maybe it was a dream but I could have sworn I was awake.
It's not the first time I've seen or heard something which seemed real but couldn't have been. Most of the time I can dismiss them as dreams or misperceptions. But part of me wonders, could I have experienced something beyond the normal world? It would be pretty cool if I had but also a little frightening. This didn't frighten me and I'll probably eventually decide it was a dream, but for now, it's still an interesting experience.