Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shadow People: Let's Theorize!

I’m fascinated with shadow people. You’ll find if you do a search in the bar on the right down below a few posts on the subject. As someone who likes to knock around theories, I decided the best way to tackle the shadow people phenomenon is to study the accounts of people who’ve run into them.

What is a shadow person? It seems to be a more newly reported phenomenon. They’re described in many ways from 3-foot tall (most common) completely black opaque, human-shaped figures that one sees out of the corner of his vision and then turns and witnesses usually briefly after that, although some people have stories of more lengthy encounters, such as the one my son and his friend encountered in a graveyard.

Upon occasion, people see human-sized ones, ones with hoods, and strangely tall slender ones with what looks like a top hat. As ludicrous as these descriptions may seem, they’re seen at an amazing rate nowadays. There’s even a site where people can go and share their stories.

Let’s look at some snippets of people’s descriptions involving shadow person encounters:

“My sister would wake up and see a tall thin ‘man-looking-thing’ standing by her bed and when it realized she was awake, it would run away out the back of her house.”

“I was coming back to my house from a shopping trip, loaded up with bags. I opened the front door and glanced down the hallway to see my brother, silhouetted, standing there just inside the kitchen. That is, I assumed it was my brother as there was nobody else in the house. I looked back down to gather up my shopping bags, then realised that the person in the kitchen was taller and thinner than my brother. As I looked up again the figure was still there. The figure seemed to be made of darkness, no discernable features other than the outline. It was mid afternoon and the kitchen was quite bright, yet the figure seemed to just absorb the light. It was about six and a half feet tall and very skinny, almost looking like it was 'stretched' vertically, with it's arms by it's side. Legs were visible, though not clearly defined. There was no odor present and I didn't feel threatened. For two or three seconds I stared at the figure, then it seemed to notice me. As soon as it did it moved off to the left at incredible speed, almost seeming to melt away in that direction.”

“I was inspecting an air compressor, with the headlight beams from my shop truck pointing on me for better visibility. I was leaning into the equipment, about to sign the inspection forms, when I saw a person walk past one of the headlights, which were about six feet away from me. I saw this out of the corner of my eye. Of course I turn to look in surprise; at three in the morning I wouldn't have expected to see too many people around. The person passing the light was a walking shadow that walked past the second headlight before I could scream, run to my truck, and take off. The light did not pass through the figure, and I was close enough to see that there were no discernible features on it. He walked away into the night.”

“Behind my right shoulder was a closet door with a tall mirror. I bent down to pick something up, turned around as I rose, and caught a glimpse of an archetypical tall shadow man with a hat in the mirror. It was solid grayish black, two-dimensional, and moved like a large piece of flexible plastic. The shoulders resembled those of a trench coat. The hat was more "Pilgrim" than "cowboy".

Some common factors are reports that they are first seen in peripheral vision. That when you look at it and it seems to realize you saw it, it leaves very quickly—unnaturally quickly. It is also associated with a sense of doom even before seeing it. It’s also described as very opaque and black and human shaped, no matter what size or clothing it appears to be wearing. When my son used the red light for aiming on his camera to see it, he described the light as sitting on the surface of it as if it were solid and not against the wall behind it as if it were a shadow.

We can make some assumptions:

1. People usually see it first in their peripheral vision.
2. When it realizes it’s been seen it rushes off, so obviously it can see us.
3. It brings with it a feeling of dread often times preceding seeing it.
4. It appears to be human shaped and solid black, not like a true shadow.
5. It can be seen in day or night and is very often reported at bedtime

I’ll begin with #2 and #5. What if this “thing” is viewing us at bedtime because it’s the time we are less likely to notice it? It’s tendency to rush off when seen shows us two things; that it thinks we can’t see it so it can go about its business and it’s rather surprised we can see it at all. It's not trying to communicate, so apparently it's just a silent observer.

Supposing you had an invisibility cloak. What would you do? Go and listen to conversations between friends talking about you? Sneak into government facilities and learn about Roswell? Maybe hang out in a football locker room shower (okay, you guys might pick out something else like a girl’s shower at the gym). But, if this wasn’t your culture and your people, you wouldn’t care about sex and secrets and gossip, you’d be intrigued by the beings. So, perhaps some of us humans are more interesting than others to them. Perhaps they get an affinity for one or the other and stays to see over time what that human is up to. This might explain why some people experience them repeatedly. It doesn’t cover all the situations; however, such as when my son and his friend saw one in a graveyard at night where no one would be visiting.

Now, let’s look at #1. That we see it first in our peripheral vision might be one of biggest clues for several reasons. One reason is that to an observer of humans, we apparently have forward vision and our peripheral is really just a motion detector for us. What the beings might not realize is that their very motion in that peripheral area, that they believe we do not perceive them in, actually makes us turn our head and capture them. There’s a theory that I actually think has some credence about how, because we use TV and computer screens that refresh quickly nowadays, our vision is actually adapting in new ways and we’re able to see things that we didn’t before. I think this is pretty interesting because a great deal of the witnesses were using computers or in the computer-use business. The only mark against this is that we aren’t seeing more than just shadow people. However, this could be explained that perhaps shadow people have a visual frequency that is rapidly refreshing so that they happen to be in a spectrum that we can get see because it’s the only rapidly refreshing image that’s out there, other than our electronics. There are some drawbacks to this explanation, as well, such as I work on computers about 10-12 hours a day and I admit to seeing a shadow person twice, but we should all be seeing them much more often one would think.

Observation #4 is troubling. This entity appears to our eyes to be solid and not true shadow. It is black, devoid of any light or color and opaque. You have to wonder if it has some actual mass to it or if there is a condition in the world where something can be seen because of lack of light—sort of a black-hole effect. It actually is being seen because it is sucking the light and everything around it from view. This is just my own theory on the matter, but I actually would put that high up on the list of theories because it explains several things…how it seems to have mass and yet it’s able to go through solid objects and disappear rapidly. Why would a creature leave a signature that is an absence of light in a humanoid shape? Might it be a human spirit on an astral plane? Could what we’re seeing be our spirits during sleep time running about and dashing in and out of dream scenes in the sleeping person whose soul is wandering? Yeah, that’s a heavy thought, but one of my theories, as well.

Some explanation for shadow people have included interdimensional, noncorporeal beings (have never been in human form), demons, aliens, time travelers and problems with eyes and perception.

I would love to hear your take on shadow people. I think the fact that it seems to think it can’t be seen shows intelligence. That it’s humanoid-shaped means it could be something biological. That looks solid but can go through walls and travel at very high rates of speed makes it seem more like energy than a solid form. That it brings with it feels of doom could be an effect of whatever means it uses to put itself in a transport mode causing an effect on our bodies like EMF can cause us to feel like we're being watched or uncomfortable.

Thanks in advance for your input! This is one of my favorite fringe subjects.


  1. Hey Autumnforest - I would hang out in the guy's locker room as a shadow person:-) this is also one of my favorite fringe subjects - and this in itself is interesting as when I first heard the subject discussed on "Coasttocoast AM" years ago - I thought "What BS!" but i have come to be a believer over time although never having had an experience - there are so many intelligent and credible witnesses out there who have had some sightings of these fascinating beings!!
    I love the thought you put out that perhaps it is our own souls going into other's dreams - I certainly like this explanation better than the "verdict" at C2C which is that they are all completely evil and representatives of hell and the like - I would love to spend the day as a ghost or a shadow being!!
    Modern physics (in some theories) says there are universes a milimeter away from ours - but in another spatial dimension so they may as well be 1 million light years away = perhaps they could be the "people" in these universes but show up as shadows in our universe? this doesn't explain a lot of the behaviors however - just throwing it out there- great subject to do an article on - btw congrats on your 168 followers!!! you will be at 200 soon -best as always to you and yours !!!!!!!!

    1. That explanation would not fit my experience because I have seen these things in my dream only to find out that I wake up paralyzed seeing these things while in Sleep paralysis. I am pretty sure they are inter-dimensional travelers. I have also been smacked on the back of my head by an unseen force in middle school. Life is much much stranger than fiction, and I can testify to this!

  2. The top hats and fedoras make the stories even odder to me. I guess it must be fashionable to them?

  3. I have been seeing Shadow People as long as I can remember.
    The frequency with which I saw them increased when I reached my twenties. I very seldom have a feeling of dread or doom when I see them. And they always seem to be about 3-4 ft. tall.

    I have yet to see a full frontal glimpse - they are always out of my peripheral vision that I catch the glimpse of a shadow. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to my seeing them - no particular time of day or month. And no notable events occur before/during/after their appearance. I have come to accept them as part of my life.

    I do not feel that they are 'evil creatures' and I entertain several possibilities of their origin. Beings from another dimension, souls traveling in an astral state, or possibly an entity which lives in our dimension that we 'have yet to discover'.

  4. Hey Baby Bro Dev,
    I have been fascinated with the interdimensional concept. It explains how sometimes these are viewed briefly and not straight on. Of course, the vision in our periphery takes light in a whole different way, so it's possible to have eye issues. I held a concept at one time that I still float around about how ghosts are in another dimension and we occasionally brush against each other and go--"hey, what was that I heard?" or "Why am I smelling roses?" So, to each other, we're ghosts, but we're actually just in different dimensions. It could even explain EVPs that seem to answer questions. If you suddenly heard a voice, you'd respond too. Could be a form of this that causes the little beings to go "Whoa!" when they catch a glimpse of us and they take off. It might explain why they're often found in places alone as if they aren't even there for us--just taking up that space.

    I agree--fashion accessories aside, that might be a trick of the eye when viewing them or it could be some necessary shape to their head...

    I admit to seeing them twice, but both times I had the feeling that they were going about their own tasks and had no idea I was there and could care less. When my son and his friend had a lengthy encounter with one, it was in a place no humans would be at during the night and seemed equally curious of them. I'm not a believer in demons or "evil" as an entity. I think if these things were evil, they'd definitely have screwed us by now. They seem to have their own goals and don't care about us one way or the other. It's very common for people to report seeing them their whole lives starting usually around the ages of 4-6. I think that's interesting because there could be something about their vision that is better attuned to these things.

  5. I have entertained the thought that these beings may be 'spirits or ghosts' going about their business in whatever dimension they should reside.
    I have also thought of the possibility that I may be more closely "tuned into" the same frequency that these beings use. Which is why I have been able to see them for most of my life.

  6. There is a great blog I read from time to time on the eye and the link between vision and cogniton in the occipital lobe. She did a blog on visual discrepancies that are common and seen out of the corner of the eye. They are sometimes called floaters. Anyhow, when the eye can't fully see something it fills in the blanks. That is why people often percieve things that aren't there in floaters. I think this is what shadow people are. They are a function of our own expectations of a partially seen event.

  7. Jessica, Interesting that you would bring up eye floaters. I have eye floaters and yes, the mind will 'fill in the blank spots'. And floaters may explain some Shadow People sightings - the mind is trying to explain the dark movement which is being seen.

    But what I am seeing - both humanoid shape & humanoid style movement - is not caused by the floaters. I have been seeing Shadow People long before my 'floaters' showed up.

    I would be interested to see how many people who have seen Shadow People are afflicted with eye floaters.

  8. Hey Jeanne;
    Yeah, I think it's possible that if they are cognizant of us, they might either be perceived better by certain people or are studied more by the beings. My guess is that it's a perception thing. Both times I saw shadowpeople, I saw them in the periphery (one time the top of my eye, the other time the side). Both of them were 6' tall and strode like a man with a wide stride. When I looked up, I still saw them walking for perhaps 6 steps, so it was a fairly good viewing. Both times the lighting was the same--kind of a twilight amount of light.

    I've studied about peripheral vision and it seems significant that we first see them there, but what intrigues me is full-frontal viewings for long periods of time. The one that my son and his friend saw they saw right away when they got up close. They studied it for a time and then shined a light on it. At that point, it scurried behind the altar and was 3' tall. My son went with his flashlight and beamed it to see where it went and found out the altar was attached to the wall, so it had nothing to go behind... Then, as they walked away, they looked back at the area fearfully. They saw it peek out from behind the wall and watch them. Later, it darted between headstones. He said it was definitely of a solid look and human shaped but very small. It also had the accompanying sense of doom and dread that both boys reported. This is probably the most significant event I've ever heard of. My son is logic-minded to the extreme and believes in nothing fanciful at all. He has logical thoughts and emotions, but when he retold the story, he was visibly still scared by it which is very weird for him--not the fearful type. He said it changed his life as far as opening him to the possibility that things exist he can't explain. It ruined his friendship with his buddy who thought it was evil and was scared by it. My son still shakes his head. He tried every logical approach to figure out what it was. He thought it was a homeless person at first and was shocked to see it standing at 3' tall. He wasn't scared of it until he found out the altar had no backing... Yikes! I'd like to think it's a visual anomaly but honestly descriptions head on and for periods of time dispute that. Can't wait to develop new theories.

  9. Jeanne;
    Yeah, I've had floaters before. In fact, at night, when I'm lying in bed, I see what looks like shadow people on the ceiling, moving and morphing and then when I turn my eyes--they're gone. That's a factor of lack of light in the periphery. Shadow people can be see in day and night, so lighting doesn't seem significant. Quite a few report them in bed and I've had night terrors involving a face leaning over me and coming right up to mine--I scream and wake up in a frenzy. That's not the same thing. Those faces are actually gray and part of my dream state. The shadow people encounters like you're describing, Jeanne, are pretty classic. Lots of people watch them startle and dash away--head on. It's like ghosts--- some can be explained by rattling pipes and flexing floorboards, others defy explanation...

  10. shadow people kinda freak me out. with ghosts or spirits i assume that they were at one time living humans and so they don't freak me out as much. but the existence of shadow people is less understood. the description of them seems very weired and scary to me. i've never seen one and hope i never do, cuz i do believe in evil and demons.

  11. Sandra;
    Isn't that an amazing thing in the field of ghost hunting? How you can believe in demons and evil and I don't. Neither of us will come to any bad end. It's really just what you call it that creates your reaction. The reason I'm not scared of any of this and am fascinated and excited to encounter it is that I'm a curious person who thinks nothing can actually hurt me, just startle me when I'm not expecting it. I'm the type that gives chase immediately and excitedly. I welcome these encounters. The fact is that no shadow person has hurt someone, except in that person's reaction to the shadow person. They appear to be equally startled by us. Pretty funny when you think of it, kind of like walking in on your house guest taking a shower--oops--sorry!

  12. I've seen a shadow person. I didn't know it at the time. I thought I was dreaming. But it happened a bunch. Then I read about how it's common when people have sleep paralysis kind of incidents. I don't know if it was just my mind or not. I also saw it twice when I wasn't asleep so...That's why Waverly Hills fascinates me so much. Probably one of the most active shadow people haunts around. I'd love to go there.

  13. My fiance and I both has seen a shadow man.
    I thought mine was a really vivid dream until I started telling him about it and he interruped me and was able to describe the guy I saw in perfect detail.
    When he was younger (about 7 or 8 I believe) he woke up and saw it in his bedroom. He was tall and thin with a trenchcoat and a hat bending over a box on his night stand. But his face wasn't visible. He sat for a minute looking at the shadow man, but then he moved to sit up and the shadow man quickly ran away into his mirror and dissapeared.
    Mine was only about a year ago (Some 20 years later). I woke up feeling someone was there, and looked in the mirror in our bedroom. Our closet has mirrored doors. I saw a very tall man, almost the height of the closet. He was wearing a trenchcoat and hat, completely black. It was hard to tell if he was in the mirror or right in front of it. But I sat there for a minute focusing my eyes and thought it was maybe a reflection of something hanging off the dresser across from the mirror. I looked, and no, nothing was hanging. It was the side of a white IKEA dresser. So definately shouldn't have been reflecting black. I looked back and he was still there. I sat up to get a better look and he sank back into the mirror and dissapeared. I didn't feel threatened, so I went right back to sleep. When I was telling my fiance the next morning, I mentioned, "Tall shadowy man" and that's all the prompt he needed to describe the trenchcoat, hat and relation to the mirror.
    Neither of us has seen him since. This seems to match the shadow people desciption, and maybe this one is following my fiance, and is not situated in a certain place or tied to an item like a regular ghost.
    Well, that's my story.
    I saw this picture on google pictures that is really close to what we both saw Its kind of relieving that lots of other people have seen the same thing.

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  15. Syreen;
    That is a brilliant and classic description. I would try and find if there are any correlations between when these were seen by yourself and your husband, perhaps if there was something happening in your lives, some kind of changes, emotional problems, whatever that might be a commonality. Otherwise, it could be very random and yet you two experienced what sounds like the same one and the same exit method. This is really interesting and I will be following up soon with more theories on shadow people on Tuesday the 16th of November.