I didn't in the traditional sense of the word, as in having an invisible friend appear when I was little who I believed was real, but I did make up some friends as I got older. One, Guiseppi, has come alive in the last almost-20 years and is with me still.
Maya, 5, has an invisible friend (God help you if you call him “imaginary”). His name is Killi, and he's a black (friendly) monster with big white hair. He lives in the woods behind our house but hangs out here with us most of the time. Sometimes weird things happen with no apparent cause, and we always say Killi did it. Perhaps he really is real. This is a case where he appeared out of the blue one day, really-real, and has stayed with us ever since.
(As an aside, one other thing I hope to always remember is how Maya calls me “Bamanda” when she says my name.)
Eden and Ivy both had stuffed tigers that they named Hobbes and had many adventures with after I introduced them to my Calvin and Hobbes books. I think they still have the toys even if they don't have the imaginary adventures anymore.
When I was about 9 or so, I was kind of bummed that I never had an imaginary friend so I decided to make some up. I had a whole menagerie of exotic creatures that I pretended were imaginary friends, but they weren't real. I tried.
In high school, I had an imaginary cousin-friend named Pedro. Every now and then his brother Paco would show up. I was a weird teen and my friends and I were a bunch of goofballs. We always made these stories about partying with Pedro (and occasionally Paco) and blamed him for random stuff. I kinda feel compelled to mention that I am actually Hispanic, although we don't have anyone with names like Pedro or Paco in the family.
As for Guiseppi, he came in a round-about way. When I was a junior, I think it was (maybe senior), I interned at a preschool for the Deaf. There was some small, plastic cow toy - I'm sure it went with a farm set. I used it to tell a story about how I found a tiny cow on the side of the road on my way in that morning and decided to put him in my pocket and bring him with me. Only I'm not really a cow person, and somehow when they wanted more stories of Guiseppi in the following days, he turned into a moo-ing turtle instead. I created a little moo-ing turtle drawing that I would leave everywhere as kind of my 'signature' – very uncool tagging? As time progressed, we also learned that he writes exceedingly bad but heartfelt poetry. Allow me to give you an example:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Only they're really more violet now,
aren't they? I mean,
Some can be blue, but
More are purple.
'Least as far as I've ever seen.
Anyway, I think you're swell!
I sometimes make comics for my children. After my doggie soul-mate, Achaiah (aka WonderPooch), died, Guiseppi became The AMAZING Awesome Mom's new sidekick and now has a superhero alter-ego known as the Preternatural Poet. He wears a purple cape.
What are your experiences with imaginary friends?