“I see dead people…”
The line above is one of the most infamous ever uttered in the history of horror. In this pivotal moment of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, Cole (played by Haley Joel Osment) explains he sees ghosts all the time, that they walk around among the living, and “They don’t know they’re dead.” This chilling moment is given additional significance during the film’s big twist/reveal: Malcolm (Bruce Willis) was a ghost the whole time, meaning Cole wasn’t just talking to him, but about him.
Or was he?
Over the years since the film’s release, fans have been divided over a postulation without an obvious answer: Did Cole really know Malcolm was a ghost?
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It seems like Cole’s way of knowing ghosts from humans is pretty straightforward: They’re someplace they don’t belong, and they show remnants of the fatal wounds that killed them. Since the bullet that killed Malcolm exited through his back, is it possible Cole never saw the blood?
Proponents of the theory have scrutinized every frame, but the truth may have finally been revealed back in 2016. Then, Sixth Sense producer Roger Birnbaum was speaking to The Huffington Post about The Magnificent Seven, but when someone brought up this controversial fan theory, he didn’t hesitate. Did Cole know Malcolm was dead?
You can see the clip for yourself, HERE. When you take in the entirety of Birnbaum’s response, his body language, and the way he elaborates on the necessity of keeping audiences in a state of uncertainty, it seems like the answer actually is: No.
Perhaps a better question is: Does it matter? What do you guys think?
Official Synopsis: Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is haunted by a dark secret: he is visited by ghosts. Cole is frightened by visitations from those with unresolved problems who appear from the shadows. He is too afraid to tell anyone about his anguish, except child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis). As Dr. Crowe tries to uncover the truth about Cole’s supernatural abilities, the consequences for client and therapist are a jolt that awakens them both to something unexplainable.