Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shadow People and Peripheral Vision

The phenomenon of shadow figures or shadow people seems to be increasing. I’m uncertain if this is because people are talking about it so others are admitting to it, or if it’s something new to our world.

I’m probably most aligned with the theory that our vision is changing as we live in a world with HD TV, computer screens, and other kinds of electronics that constantly update their screens at a high rate of speed. Things we didn’t see in our peripheral vision are now available to us. A spectrum of things that were there all along may now be seen. Amazingly, this does line up, as peripheral vision (up to 90 images per second) is able to handle faster light waves than the central vision (3-4 high quality telescopic images per second), which is slower. ( If something is moving in a higher speed spectrum, your peripheral vision would be more likely the place to pick it up.

I’m most intrigued by the consistent reports that shadow people startle when they realize they have been seen and then dart off a.s.a.p. That tells me they really thought they were traveling around unseen and safe, as if it’s always been that way for them. They seem very surprised we can finally see them. Of course, if they were some sort of spiritual presence they couldn’t be hurt by us, so there wouldn’t be such a vulnerable reaction. I am extremely hesitant to say that this is something of a spiritual nature based on the fact that they appear to be equally fearful of us.

Of course, there’s no way to prove any of this yet, but that’s the fun of theories. You find what best fits the parts of the puzzle that most baffle you.

How/where do I run into a shadow person?

Boy, that’s a hard one. I’ve seen a tall slender one on my patio and in my living room, both times taking long legged strides very fast. By the time I got my central vision on him, he disappeared, but as I was moving from peripheral vision to central vision to view him, I capture what looked like a tall slender man who was black, opaque, and had limbs and a head but no clothing details. It was so very realistic that I called out for my son, thinking it was him, but he was away in his bedroom at the computer screen. I won’t tell you this is a spirit. I’m extremely doubtful of that because, although I know people who have seen them in popularly known haunted sites, I’ve also heard of a greater deal of people seeing them in their own brand-new suburban homes, their work places, their patios. I will, however, say that I’ve noticed folks seem to see them most at the end of the day (when they’ve been at computer/tv screens for the greater majority of the day).

The descriptions can run the gamut from tall and slender to short and vague, caped, with a hat, even animal-shaped. Almost all the descriptions include the terms “a sense of dread or impending doom” to describe accompanying feelings. People almost universally report first seeing them out of their peripheral vision.

As a medical trancriptionist by profession, when you say “peripheral vision” to me, I become quite intrigued by the visual cortex and its play in this whole scenario. There is something called the Gestalt Effect. It refers to the form-forming capability of our senses, particularly with respect to the visual recognition of figures and whole forms instead of just a collection of simple lines and curves. The word Gestalt in German literally means "shape" or "figure." (see Wikipedia “Gestalt psychology” and “visual perception” for more). Our peripheral vision would be the ideal part of our vision to detect something that could be showing itself in a higher frequency of light. This also explains why capturing them in your peripheral vision is easy, but turning your head and using your foveal (central) vision causes you to “lose” sight of them. If a person had the presence of mind when noticing one, to turn his head, but not look directly at it, he might see more detail longer than if he were to try to stare it down. Another potential experiment would be to run a strobe light which can take things like ceiling fan's speed down to a visible slow speed we can interpret movement in. (Don't do this if you have a seizure disorder or tend to get headaches from light). Strobe lights actually do have their use in ghost hunting kits (I have one myself). When someone has reported seeing shadow people, I'm more often than not going to pull that puppy out and run it, sit in the room and observe for as long as I can stand the blinking light. This could give you the capability to see Mr. Shadow Person head-on.

I’m a logic-based kind of person and for me to say that there might be a life form out there that we can’t see but is aware of us, that we might only glimpse upon occasion if our eyes have been at the screen all day, that startles if we stare it down and rushes away, is a huge step in my explanatory style. In the past, I would have been more likely to say that it’s a visual disturbance and it’s self-limiting to the person involved, but my son and his friend saw the exact same shadow person, with the same encounters with it, seeing it full-on. That intrigues me even more because young people have trained their eyes on these high-speed computers and televisions from a tender age while their visual perceptions are still forming. What has this done to their ability to see these shadow people compared to us “middle-agers” who grew up pre-computer era?

I leave you to continue the theories, but for now, I’d like to sit back and collect people’s descriptions. So, if you have an encounter with one of these, please let me know. I’d like to ask you a few questions and find the commonalities.


  1. I have been seeing people in the forms of shadow in my living room. I am the only one that can see them, I also have seen faces in the window.
    Anyone got any ideas on why this is happening to me all of the sudden? It doesnt frighten me, but I just know when it's there and then i look and it leaves?? Any suggestions??

  2. We just moved into a fairly new home. He states he has seen several dark shapes of people, what I would describe as shadow people. I am getting a bit freaked as I have been having some strange dreams since moving here involving ghosts/demons...I have watched paranormal shows so I am thinking my imagination is just getting to

  3. I see I had a 6 year old son is seeing the shadow figures...describes them as taller than me (I'm 5'6")and grayish white. The last one was by the closet and walked towards the window disappearing before it reached the window.

  4. Here's the good news about shadow people. The phenomena is short-lived so it will go away within a brief period of time. Something else to consider when moving into a home is one factor a lot of people don't realize, even in new homes, is that there are certain feng shui issues. The way energy travels through a building is interrupted by boxes, placement of items, mirrors and windows bouncing energy back and forth. So, it's a good thing to try and keep the place light and uncluttered. A lot of people in renovation processes report activity and it's for the pure fact they are changing the flow of any energy in the house, whether it's spirit or geomagnetic energy from the earth or the solar energy. There are some simple issues for a better sleep including covering windows, not having mirrors facing the bed, closing the bathroom door if it adjoins the bedroom. A great book on these things is "Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghostbuster" and in the case of a newer home and newly moving in, I expect all these things to settle as you situate yourselves and leave your own positive energy in there. If you want to flush the house out of the past tenant's issues, you might consider a sage burning. There are plenty of places online to discuss sage cleansing. I hope this is the start of some tools to help you. You can always contact me too at