Shadow People: What are we talking about?

(*Don't forget Thursday is "Fact or Faked" on SyFy. Friday is review of "Fact or Faked," followed by another episode of LAUGH, followed by an evening for those who are lonely to post comments live back and forth as we did last Friday*)

I’ve covered shadow people on this blog several times (use the search bar on the right). For those who haven’t heard of them, shadow people are human-like shapes seen by people anywhere, any time. They are usually seen first in the peripheral vision and then when one turns his head, these figures disappear or disappear as soon as they realize they have been seen.

That’s what intrigues me the most about these figures; that there are signs of present-based intelligence. This is to say that these figures appear to be startled that they have been seen and then retreat. They are interactive in the present time. They are also quite intriguing because they can be seen in cemeteries (often) and people’s homes (modern homes without histories), outdoors and in hospitals.

I’ve interviewed people who have seen them often in cemeteries. I’ve even been with someone who saw them in a cemetery and he looked quite baffled by these dark moving figures. In fact, it was the same cemetery where I had witnessed one when I was alone there. It was inquisitive and actually poked its head out from behind a headstone. My son and his best friend had seen and had a lengthy encounter with one at a cemetery. That two people saw it at the same time verifies its efficacy at being visible and not in one’s imagination or a trick of the eye. I have also interviewed people who saw them in the hospital during a stay there. Many report seeing them in their homes, even recently built ones.

So, it would appear that we can assume these are not necessarily a haunting figure in the traditional sense. They aren’t sticking around the place of their death. In fact, their very size and shape shows something that is quite unusual. Most often, these are reported as small, about 3-4 feet in size with human appendages and looking human shaped. There is also another variation that appears to be tall, slender, with a top hat and possible cape.

As ludicrous as these descriptions sound, it gets even more eerie when people report that they are so black that they seem to suck the very light out of the spot in which they stand, as if they are solid. My son used the target light on his camera on one in the cemetery, expecting to be seeing a homeless person tucked in for the night. Instead, the light sat on the black figure and did not go through it. It appeared to have substance.

There is a device I spoke of recently on a post about whether Predator from the movies was possible with our technology. One of the things discussed was camouflage that allowed complete cloaking and invisibility. A possibility is that this “thing” has the ability to refract light in a way that makes it remain dark no matter what illumination is put upon it or what surroundings it stands in. Why would it be this way? Perhaps it’s not an alien design for invisibility. It could be a biological evolution for whatever environment it normally inhabits, like the fish at the bottom of the sea that are luminescent.

There are a lot of questions about why we’re seeing shadow people as more of a modern phenomenon. One theory that I find interesting is that our eyes are used to looking at screens that refresh at fast rates of speed and that perhaps we have retrained our vision to see things in the spectrum we didn’t see before. It’s a nice theory, but I work at a screen at least 12 hours a day between writing, work and blogging and correspondence and I have seen 4 shadow people which is not an impressive rate for someone who uses screens so often.

It would appear that the conditions that allow for the sighting of a shadow person are rare. Somehow, things come together to allow us a glimmer of a sighting and it is in those times that this “creature” that otherwise thought it was invisible gets startled and hides.

Someone asked me once if a shadow person watches us all the time and then is shocked when we see them finally. I don’t view it that way. I’ve often said that perhaps we are ghosts to ghosts. They walk along and pass by us and catch a glimpse or a sound or a scent and say “what was that?” I think that happens with this shadow person phenomenon. They are doing whatever it is they do and the conditions make it possible for both of us to be visible and both of us to be shocked and both of us to run and hide. It’s like someone turned on the light in a co-ed locker room and we’re all suddenly standing there naked and startled, intrigued and embarrassed, terrified and bashful.

If you’re interested in this subject, you might check out a shadow people archive online with stories written by people who experienced them. Look for commonalities and running threads in their stories. You will come to some of your own conclusions about the phenomenon.


  1. Nice to see I'm not the only one that posts late at night lol. I was about to crash when I saw this.

    Do you think there could be shadow animals? Cause this is what happened to me a few years ago and I swear it's true.

    I had gotten up late at night to grab some water in my kitchen. I got my drink, put my cup down and turned around to see the shadow of a fucking cow. I kid you not. Right against the wall in my kitchen was the black mass of a cow, it's head moving and everything. I made damn sure there was nothing in that room that could've cast that kind of shadow. It wasn't exactly a terrifying experience, but it's something that has perplexed me even to this day.

  2. I occasionally think I'm seeing my black cat out of the corner of my eye, but when I turn to look there's nothing there. Sometimes I think I hear her, too, and but she's not there.

    I have never seen a shadow person, though.

  3. This post is fascinating. I have always been interested in shadow people but I never would have considered them as something other than a ghost.

    I have been up close and personal with a ghost, but have sadly never seen a shadow person (or animal!).

    The screen theory seems sound but I don’t think that simply using a computer would help improve one’s vision. It would take the flickering slides of television and movies to change how we see. The human eye does not work like a screen; we see a continuous flow of information. Perhaps the change of watching something move as frames per second (FPS) is what allows us to catch the glimpse of a shadow person. It could be that time works differently for them and that being exposed to high FPS really lets us see into their world. The issue I have with the screen theory, though, is that one would think that sightings of shadow people would have drastically increased with the invention of higher FPS televisions. Standard televisions have a rate of 25 FPS, while some HDTVs can reach 50 to 60 FPS. Maybe we should invest in top of the line HDTVs and watch hours upon hours of television to test this theory. :P

    Would you mind if I linked to this post in the forum I moderate? I think that people there would find it just as interesting as I do.

  4. I have experienced seeing a shadow person on a few occasions in my house. Sometimes they would be outside and quickly walking by the window. Each time I ran to the window to look out and no one would be there. This subject always fascinates me.

  5. I've always found the concept of shadow people interesting. I immediately wonder about shadow animals.

    Part of my fascination is probably due to the "corner of the eye" scenario. Most of us have had this happen (especially those of us wearing glasses) and it's delightfully creepy to think maybe it wasn't nothing! I also had a children's story book with a story about a trickster shadowman with a crooked stove-pipe hat (I think it was a book of German fables or stories) that fascinated tiny me.

    The thought crosses my mind that perhaps a being in such a form may take on different shapes. The commonality of witness descriptions could potentially be a result of this.

    If we assume the SP are sentient entities, I wonder what they see in that moment of mutual recognition. Perhaps it's all brightness and glare for them.

    I like the idea of an entity so adapted to an extreme environment, like the deep sea creatures, that they appear so improbably foreign to viewers in our environment.

    Thoughts of such a bizarre entity can flood the mind with strange theories (hence my rambling shambling, death-defying commentary here).

  6. Leave it to those dang computers to add a bit of darkness to our lives. Life was so much more simpler without the internet and cell phones. Old rant over.
    BTW..interesting shadow pic? Anyone we know?

  7. HB;
    I have heard people say they saw shadow animals, dogs and cats being most common, but I see no reason why there couldn't be any sort of shapes for these things.

    Deep Thinker;
    Not an uncommon one. I have heard the sound accompanying the cat more than the dog in shadow shapes.

    Go right ahead and post it. I've written many times about this phenomenon but sometimes there is something new to add to the mix and I like to keep people thinking about it because it's becoming much more common nowadays and this is an exciting arena to theorize. I often say, if we evolved into intelligent land beings, why not intelligent sea being? Why not an intelligent being that our senses can't see? Not so much a parallel universe, but more like something in our space, but usually unseen. Intriguing subject. I can't get enough of it.

    It's interesting how when we first see them, our gut instinct is "which family member is wandering around?" I saw two full-sized ones in my home and on my patio and both strode right into oblivion as I was watching their strides.

    Don't cause a brain bruise, sweetie. Yeah, I's just the freaking weirdest thing. I'm not sold this is spirit activity at all. I am intrigued by the interaction and intelligence. It knows enough to be shocked and run. Repeatedly people report they seem to think they are invisible and then freak out when they realize they are seen. The encounter my son had years ago was probably the best description I've ever heard, along with his best friend seeing the same thing. The interaction lasted a while and because he had ghost hunted with me, he was working to debunk it as it was happening but came to the chilling conclusion it seemed to have substance and definitely curiosity, seeing them and hiding from them in a place where one cannot hide--behind an altar attached to a wall. I think that encounter really shook him up and changed his views on the paranormal from a total skeptic to a confused believer.

  8. CB;
    Just picked up the pic online. Are you trying to get a picture of me ahead of time? Ain't gonna happen cutie.

  9. LW;
    Parallel worlds is a good explanation. There's something about us both being startled and shocked by suddenly being visible that makes me think we are glimpsing something under the right conditions. I've long had a feeling about geomagnetic storms and ghostly activity being stronger, but what if they correlate with sightings of shadowpeople? It could be that our brains are just in a better place to see it. There are a lot of theories, but I'd love to see folks just shoot some ideas of their own out there to explain it. I'm game for anything.

  10. I had one of these follow me when I was a teen. It was there often and in many places other tan my home.

  11. Mr. Black; (appropriate name)
    I have heard of people getting repeated visits by what seems to be the same one. Some people thought it was a harbinger of something about to happen. One running theme a lot of them seem to contain is that perhaps for some reason this "thing" is curious about a certain human. They show up for a while, then go away. People can be a house for years, suddenly have a bout of sightings and then it goes away. They don't seem to be site-specific, such as always found in the same room for years on end like a ghost might be. They show definite signs of intelligence and the ability to be seen or disappear and they show signs that they see us seeing them because they startle and take off. A lot of people, my son included, said that they are accompanied by a sense of doom and dread that is overpowering. I'm curious if you felt that too.

  12. The fps theory sounds good but like yo, I ma in front of cpu WAY too much between work and free time...and I haven't experienced this phenomenon. But in all fairness, I just read about it in your post here.

  13. Geof;
    Yup. People go their whole lives and never see one, others see many. The funny thing is that two times I saw them, I hadn't been on the screen much that day. Two other ones, I saw many hours after being on a screen. Not that it's particularly relevant, as it could be that we're experiencing a slight evolutionary change. Perhaps this ability is showing up in some and will be passed on stronger when two shadow-people-seeing folks mate... Could be, my friend, you are just not on the evolutionary scale as the rest of us.... (haha--just kidding)

  14. My shadow figures I got as an inheritance. There quite few of them I have been able to observe. And some people I know are able to observe them too. Interesting enough there some get glimpse of them from the right corner of eye some from left. At my house they appear in threes and are not perverse or something like this. They can be very entertaining and chilling at the same time and give me thumbs up when I occasionally stumble.

  15. Decadnc;
    Interesting situation. I guess you learn to live with it, huh? Ever try some interaction-speaking to them? Asking them to show up and see if they do respond?

  16. I have seen one shadow person, but mostly, I see shadow animals...small dogs or cats. I've seen the person and dogs/cats at an old home my ex-husband and I owned, and most recently - within last year, I would see a shadow cat at a friends house on a regular basis. She thought it was mine, then she finally saw it and said it must be hers. LOL Either way, neither of us has seen it in many months. Coolness huh?! But, now these shadows are not "on" a wall, they are actually in the open. Does that still count? LOL

  17. Tara;
    Shadow people are seen usually as a free form, not against a wall, but like a person who is a shadow walking around with a sense of dimension to it. So, that's the usual way of seeing them.

  18. Autumn, That's what I thought, but just wanted to make sure! LOL I have had mush brain for the past year and a half with all the stress in my life so there ya go! LOL Apparently I attract shadow animals, which is cool with me.

  19. My husband and I have a history of shadow people in our homes. In our first house, we would both see a brownish mist about 3 ft off the ground. Then we moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, we would see a darker mist and then eventually full sized solid figures. Our living room had vaulted ceilings, so you could sit on the couch and across the room was a walled staircase and then the upstairs landing/hallway. I would most often see a tall (around 5 1/2 ft) figure standing on the landing and then would disappear onto the stairs. The cat liked to sit on the rail there and it would look at the figure too so it wasn't just a trick of light. We also saw a smaller figure (around 4 ft tall) in the garage, on the stairs and running between the bedrooms. It seemed almost like they were watching us and wanted to interact. We chose not to acknowledge them or try to provoke them in any way since I'm not sure what they 'are'.

    An interesting thing is that these shadow ppl did not seem to have a spiritual presence. We would see them, but we never sensed them. When I noticed the one on the landing, it was always movement that caught my eye, not a sense of someone of someone being there watching me. Our animals never seemed to sense them either, the cat would watch it but it didn't act scared or anything. We also had several ghosts in our house and we DID feel/sense them, the animals would get very agitated and fearful with them too. That's what made us hesitant to make contact, the fact that they didn't have any sort of spiritual presence either good or bad.

  20. Ruth;
    That's pretty common. Some people describe them as coming with a horrible sense of dread and doom and others say that they seem incredibly neutral. One commonality in all the sightings is seeing them out of the corner of your eye and then turning to see them full-on, having them escape into nothing, and showing signs of being curious. Lots of people report seeing them multiple times in their lives.

    If we break it down, multiple witnesses can see them at the same time which would negate the concept that a person simply has good vision for seeing these things.

    They are not particularly associated with haunted homes, so spirit activity is less likely.

    They show signs of both being curious and not liking being seen which says to me they want to observe but think we cannot see them. Upon occasion, conditions change and we are able to see them. That some people see them multiple times would make one wonder if they study people over a lifetime.

    You have very good instincts. Most people would assume seeing an apparition such as this that it must be spirit or soul-related or even something evil since it's black. There is no evidence that these mean harm but what their purpose is, still a real wonder.

    I think it's more interesting that traditional hauntings, actually. I would be looking for anything about the time of day, the place, or my moods that might have made this thing appear so I can anticipate when it might occur again.

  21. I've seen a lot of this stuff throughout my life, especially these shadow figures. I'm not very religious, or at least not like I used to be, but I really think these things are demons, and a lot of people I know who see these things agree. I could be wrong, but I wanted to share this so that maybe someone else could have an explanation as to what these things are. Like I said I could be wrong, but I personally am firmly convinced they're demons.

    I've also recently begun to see shadow dogs, which is how I found this blog. So I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. My boyfriend sees it too, and we see it in the same spots and in the same positions. I hate to be trite, but it looks like a black Anubis type dog, but smaller on stature. Also what's weird, we've both seen it with red glowing eyes, a combined total of about four separate times.

  22. I read the post above me after typing my post. I've also personally had tons of experiences with these things where they are in fact incredibly malevolent, and so has everyone else I personally know that have experiences with them. Again everyone experiences things differently, but that's part of why I think what I think. They are, in my experience, incredibly dangerous. They do, however, come off as neutral and even at times welcoming and inviting at first.

    Also, not that TV is ever 100% reliable, if any of you watch "Dead Files" on the Travel channel, the girl on there speaks a lot on shadow figures and makes it clear she is incredibly scared of them and has known them to go so far as to kill people. I don't know how factual that actually is, I don't know enough about the situations she's referring to, but it is food for thought. In my personal opinion, these things are horrible things, whether or not you believe in demons.

  23. i have a copy of a report clearly stating an event which happened in australia and clearly states the shadow ppl run at unbelievable speeds and attack and bounce from tree to tree in a flash and a small bit states from victim : i saw it at one end of the field and when i quickly turned to see the other end he was their.

    sorry to dissappoint the theorist's but as a paranormal investigator in a team we have come across one first hand and due to respect of the team all i can say is:
    it scared the fuck out of the member who saw it ( clairvoyant )
    no other member saw it so clearly they only show to those they want to. our cameras got nuthin but evp said "i remember you"
    dont show fear they thrive on it
    dont run, they possess
    do your research, this is a world you dont fuck with, theirs a way to deal with these things
    and finally be careful they show up day or night and everywhere over the world according to my research,

    be safe

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