Written by: Naomi
This post is a little different since it is a topic I am very close to and wanted to do in more of an informational format.
What are they:
Most people are afraid of the dark as it is and things we are not familiar with appearing where they shouldn't be is unsettling. When these are combined it is most people's worst nightmare. Shadow people have been mentioned in many religions, folk lore, legends, ect. even the Koran refers to, "pitch-black sapient beings". People of every race and age have been seeing them for centuries, they have been seen and documented by the Egyptians, Greek, and Romans. Most people only see shadow people out of the corner of their eye but those who see shadow people clearly will sometimes report them having red eyes.
There are psychological explanations for why this happens and why people see shadow people.
Most people see shadow people from the corner of their eye, but you will always be tricked by what you see in the corner of your eye as your peripheral vision is meant to only pick up movement rather than detail. (Whats horrifying about that is it means there is still something moving where you are not expecting movement.) But the brain fills in missing information with what it thinks will make sense. Some low frequencies can also cause visual hallucinations in humans and animals.
An apparitional experience is an anomalous experience characterized by the apparent perception of either a living being or an inanimate object without there being any material stimulus for such a perception. The person experiencing the apparition is awake, excluding dream visions from consideration. These perceptions are referred to as ghosts, some in psychology feel that seeing these are a sign of schizotypy or that a person is prone to psychosis but not yet fully psychotic.
Some call them reassuring apparitions which are hallucinations that are adaptive and help the person viewing them cope with adverse life events.
(This can easily lead you down a wiki rabbit hole because these are connected to more on sleep paralysis, psychotic conditions, and even things like doppelgangers)
Speaking of it, the connection to Sleep paralysis is high. Sleep paralysis is where your body can't move but you are mentally awake and aware. You can't talk and often hallucinate during episodes, these are usually only a few minutes long. Some people can have them chronically or it can only happen once, since it can be set off by sleep deprivation, stress, weird sleep cycles, genetics, or narcolepsy there is no telling when someone may experience this. A lot of Meth addicts or users report seeing shadow people after long periods of sleep deprivation. What is more commonly seen in this state are what people think are succubi, incubi, or intruders into their home but many stories about this are downright terrifying and a lot of people do see shadow people. Scientists think that because people in this state have heightened emotions, anyone in a situation where they have heightened emotions can experience this, a plain shadow is distorted into an attacker. This is a psychological phenomenon known as Pareidolia where your brain takes a stimulus, usually an image or a sound, and perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists. It makes faces of things that resemble face shapes or turns shadows into people. Famous examples of this are the heart on Pluto or the rock formation that looks like a face on the moon. The Rorschach inkblot test uses this theory to gain insight on thought process.
Some believe shadow people are extraterrestrial in nature.
There seems to be some correlation to individuals that have extraterrestrial experiences and those who see shadow people, especially abductees. They are even considered to be time travelers to some.
Those that have actually witnessed these shadow people though resonate more with the idea that they are paranormal entities rather than a trick of the mind. They are most often thought of as intelligent, inter-dimensional beings with a conscious train of thought. They are felt as negative beings since most people feel fear and dread when they see them, they are even considered demonic in nature because of this and that they have sometimes attacked, choked, and scratched those able to see them. They are linked to poltergeist activity and even thought to cause death in extreme cases. Some think they can feed off of fear and anger like parasites and this energy in a person or home will attract them, paranormal activity in a home that is causing fear may attract them as well but others feel they are the ones causing the paranormal events.
There is one particular type of shadow person that is often reported and is the most demonic in nature, and the main reason I wanted to cover this topic the hat man. He also appears all black and often with red eyes but is described having a hat on (a tall hat or old fedora style hat) and sometimes a cane. He is considered completely evil and to see him is a bad omen. Some sources say that he only appears to people who are going to face a personal tragedy and will arrive when a person's life is in turmoil or they are experiencing depression, anxiety, aggression ect. Some have made connections between the hat man and the men in black. But a more common, and widely spread idea, is that the hat man is there to take a person to hell that is about to die or that he is the Devil himself. A man who had woken up in the hospital after attempting suicide saw the hat man briefly before disappeared quickly, telling the man, “I almost had you”. A German soldier also recounted his story about a haunted military base where he saw the hat man in his mirror, when he asked the hat man who he was the hat man responded with, “I am Scratch” which is an old term used for the Devil.
Most people first witness the hat man as children, he has been known to visit some people multiple times throughout their life. In fact if one person in a home sees the hat man it is not uncommon for other family members to also see the hat man as well. There is a site called “The Hatman Project” That has the stories of people that have come in contact with this particular shadow figure that is interesting to read.
My sister cousin and I all grew up in the same house and had experiences with the hat man years apart from one another that were the exact same and we never realized until recently.
There is also another possibility that they are astral bodies which is the essence of people who are having an out of body experience or are astral projecting where they are willingly leaving their body and exploring. Surprisingly it is supported as possible through quantum physics.
Either way these experiences are very unsettling and I have been terrorized by this stuff even though I was raised in a home that is very logical and neither of my parents believe in the paranormal at all. It is very real and even with science I feel I still do not understand or really feel like I have an explanation for what I see.