Dark forms in the corner. A sense something is moving just out of sight. A figure reflected for an instant in the window or TV screen. People have been jumping at shadows for at least two millennia—probably longer. Some of those cave drawings of weird stick figures and wavy clouds may be the cro-magnon equivalent of Ghost Hunters. (Yeah—I know that’s wrong for a lot of reasons, but go with me here.)
Theories abound about shadow People but I think we can boil them down to just a few:
A––Watching too many episodes of X-Files
B––Alcohol-related or psychosis-inspired hallucinations
Probably ninety-nine percent of all reports of shadow people fall into the first three categories, which leaves the one percent of Something Else to deal with.
OK—if you have a light source, you will have shadows. The differences between shadow people and plain old shadows like the rabbits Uncle Bob used to make on the wall to get you to go to sleep are many. Also, unless Uncle Bob had some issues, those little rabbit shadows didn’t reach out their little bunny noses to touch you. Shadow people, on the other hand, do. (Who knows if this is photoshopped or not, but it’s fun to watch at least.)
So what scares people enough to risk the humiliation and mockery of reporting the phenomena?
- Solid looking black figures—The shadow seems to have mass. Light does not pass through it, but sometimes seems to outline the figure as though it were three dimensional.
- A hat—Yep. The well-dressed shadow person may don a Zorro sombrero or a top hat. Enough people report this to justify a separate kind of shadow person called Hat Man. The guy in the top hat seems to be friendly, but the guy in the fedora is a real jerk.
- Glowing red eyes—Not all shadow figures have red eyes, but then they don’t have to. Of course, red eyes automatically mean Satan.
- A menacing feeling—some suspect the shadow people feed off fear ala Star Trek episodes “Day of the Dove” and “Wolf in the Fold.” This fearful reaction tends to make people assume shadow people are evil. It could be that we feel a menace not because they are demons, but because of the electromagnetic discharge—a result of inter-dimensional travel or a characteristic of the creature. Electromagnetic fields can make people feel uncomfortable and can even elicit a kind of hysteria.
- Quick, disjointed movements—This is freaky! Victims say the shadow person seemed out of sync with the laws of physics. Remember those little black critters who got the bad guy at the end of Ghost? Eeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwww.
- Sudden disappearance—You look away and look back and Bang! the figure is gone leaving you wondering if that third glass of Scotch was such a good idea after all.
- Occasional playful behavior—hiding and peeking from behind doorways or furniture. Peek a BOO, ya sonuvabitch.
- Occasional aggressive behavior such as jumping on the chest and choking—which leads skeptics to cite instances of sleep paralysis as the impetus for a nightmarish reaction.
- Sometimes preceded or accompanied by bumping on the ceiling or walls.
And now for the theories—excluding A-C above.
- Inter-dimensional beings–They appear black to us because we don’t have the colors they do on their side of the inter-dimensional divide. Whether they are friendly or not depends on why they are here and what they want.
- Time Travelers—Could explain the jerky movements since they are not totally at home in this time. Again, why are they here? I’m hoping one of them isn’t my great-great-great grand child who will accidentally erase the entire family with one inopportune stumble against the gun rack.
- Astral projection—What we see when someone is on an astral road trip into our bedroom—not comforting.
- Ghosts—Since Shadow People is a generic term for any black shadowy form, some may be run of the mill ghosts.
- Demons—OK—I have to tell you that I do not believe in demons in the sense of sent-by-Lucifer-to-steal-my-soul demons. Bad things exist, however, who are totally unrelated to the boogey men of man-made religion. And by bad, I mean, bad for me either because I am inconsequential to the entity or because I am in the way somehow. Demon is a broad term (like Shadow People and Republican) which needs to be refined.
Now to the real-life case study.
An acquaintance, let’s call her Betty, related this experience.
Betty was sleeping in an old house that had been empty for a number of months. She heard noises on the roof and persistent thumping on the walls. Assuming some little animal had taken up residence, she turned over and went to sleep despite the uncomfortable feeling that someone was watching her.
Betty spent the next night with a friend, let’s call him Billy the Wrench. During the night, Betty jolted out of sleep. In the corner of the bedroom stood a dark figure with red eyes. Betty stared at it for a number of minutes, feeling an intense and disturbing menace from the figure. When she blinked and reopened her eyes, the figure was gone.
The next morning, Betty investigated the room to see what could have caused the shadow. No coats were draped over chairs, no electronics reflected red buttons in the window. And this is a good time to say that Betty was totally sober at the time. She is a reliable witness and a skeptic of most things spooky and paranormal. Though she will admit the possibility of such things, she does not jump willy-nilly into instant belief and must be convinced.
Betty, feeling that the figure must have just been a very bad dream, didn’t mention it to Billy the Wrench. Without such prompting, Billy the Wrench commented that he had also observed the figure of a man in the bedroom during the night. He had also assumed the appearance was part of a dream but told Betty about it to explain any restlessness Betty might have noticed.
The two of them have not experienced anything since, but the weird feeling lingers. When Betty told me the story, I was (unbeknownst to Betty) working on the Skinwalker post of last week and for a minute we were a little worried that my curiosity had attracted the interest of such a creature. Since then, we’ve decided (partly because we just don’t want to consider the alternative) that this was a regular shadow person, possibly attracted to a bit of drama in Betty’s life.
Whatever the reason—a bad dream or honest-to-goodness shadow person in the flesh (or whatever), it made for a nice blog topic!
Next Week: Demons