Shadow People is a mysterious phenomena that has been reported all across the world. For the witnesses, the strange apparitions bring upon a heavy darkness that engulfs their every fear. This is L’s story.
In January of 2011, I was living with my then boyfriend in a single family house. One evening, my best friend since childhood, Allie, was visiting from out of town. Sometime after dark, I remembered that I was supposed to go let another friends dog out for her. Our house was built in the 70s, and had the same 1970s odd architecture as all of the other houses in the neighborhood. The front door actually faced perpendicular to the street, then you walked around the front of what was the living room to the little driveway which faced down the other side of the house to a big wooden privacy fence that led into the back yard. I suck at gauging distance, but it wasn’t a big house so it wasn’t very far (it would take maybe 10 seconds to walk the distance at a normal pace). The fence stretched from our neighbors house (which was pretty close) to ours, but it was not perfectly aligned to the back corner of the house. There was a little space between the fence and the house where the electric meter was, and then the fence boxed in that space. It was a little space, enough for a person to get in there at any rate.
Allie’s car was parked on the street directly in front of the house, and she went straight to her car to retrieve her phone charger. I began to walk around the front of my car, and stopped when I got parallel to the fence (where the gate would be). It was dark outside, but not very late, maybe 9 at the latest. There were street lights on the block which illuminated a soft white glow (the front yard was tiny, so close to the street). Anyway, there was enough light for me to see pretty well. I stopped in my tracks, and turned to look at the fence. There was a solid black figure standing there. Just standing, turned toward me. I distinctly remember staring back at it for maybe a few seconds (it felt like longer), because I was thinking “is that MY shadow?” and looking at the ground to see if it was my shadow casting on the fence. As I stared at it, it calmly stepped sideways into that space between the fence and the house. Not turned and walked, it seemed to step – even though it was not particularly close to it (the space). I remember having the reaction, “OK!” and quickly got into my car, started it and turned on the headlights. I sat there and stared at that space – fully expecting a person to come out. I was also staring at the grass. We had terrible lawn maintenance skills, and that little space was overgrown with weeds, which I could see sticking out. I was watching the weeds to see if they moved, and also the fence (it was an OLD, crappy fence and was not very sturdy, especially in that corner – I tested it later) to see if it moved. If a person had stepped in there, surely they would be afraid of being caught and would try to climb it (to only be trapped in our backyard?). Anyway. I sat there staring, wide eyed. Allie climbed in the car next to me, and immediately was worried because I looked so freaked out. “What’s wrong… WHAT IS WRONG?” I kept staring for almost a minute, with her becoming increasingly frightened because I wouldn’t respond, and finally said “nothing. Yep, nothing. Let’s go.” I backed the car out and went to care for my friends dog.
I mentally/emotionally couldn’t handle what had just happened. I couldn’t process it at that moment, so I refused to acknowledge it until the next day. I called Allie and told her what I had seen. We had been friends for 10 years at that point, and she said ” I believe that you saw something. I saw how absolutely freaked out you were, and that freaked me out. You are one of the most rational people I know. If you say you saw it, I believe it.” My boyfriend was going to be working an overnight shift that night, and I was so scared to be alone that I asked Allie to come spend the night with me. When she got there that day, I told her in more detail what I had seen, and we went over the logical explanations for it. #1, obviously, it was a person/prowler. This would make sense, the town I lived in was notorious for residential break ins and we had been burglarized before, and as I sat in the car with the lights on watching the space I did fully expect a person to be there. What else could it be? Allie had just graduated from Basic Law Enforcement Training several weeks before this, so we went to that spot to look for physical evidence of a person having been in that spot. We couldn’t find any, there were no footprints and the overgrown grass was not trampled (we stepped in there and it matted, like weeds would) and we tried to climb the fence in that spot. It could be done, but it would have been hard for someone bigger or heavier than Allie (she’s pretty small, and having just completed BLET was in great physical condition) – but mostly, as I said, that fence was old and crappy, and would shake and start to bend when you put weight on it – I think it would have collapsed if she’d been heavier and less agile. I never saw that fence move.
It sounds so awful to say that you wish that there was an intruder lurking around your house in the dark, but I wish I could reconcile that belief with what I know that I saw. I don’t think what I saw was a person. There was enough illumination from the street lights that I could see well enough to recognize a person standing there (again, tested this). It was a solid black figure that seemed to be on the fence. The fact that I stopped, turned my head and stared at this figure for several full seconds – all the while thinking “is that my shadow?” and looking to see how that could be my shadow – before it just stepped into that space, and that it scared me so bad that I couldn’t even process it emotionally…Like I said, I am a very rationally minded person. I am an academic, I am not overly excitable and I dislike things and people that are irrational and believe things without educating themselves on whatever it is first (I’m a bit of a buzz kill actually, always have been – debunked Santa and the Easter Bunny at a very early age because the stories didn’t quite add up!) – but anyway, I know that if I had seen a person, or really thought I had seen a person that I would have called out to it thinking it was my neighbor (again, I would have recognized him in that light) or if it were a stranger I would have screamed for Allie or immediately backed away towards where Allie was. As much as I want it to have been some creep, I just don’t think that it was. I know criminals aren’t the brightest bulbs (I’m a criminologist), but I would think that if it were a prowler, freezing like a deer in headlights (although its posture was not defensive or agitated, it was standing straight and…calm? That’s the best word, almost like I would imagine the posture of a disinterested person watching a street performer…and when I was walking around the car and stopped to look, it wasn’t because I saw movement, I just saw the black on the fence), staring at me (although I never saw eyes, it had no features), and then stepping into an almost inescapable space (where the only escape would be our fenced in yard, which leads only to other fenced in yards) would seem like a poor decision on their part – why not react, play it off or even just take off running? How would they not know that we would confront them or call the police or scream for the neighbors who were only feet away? But again, I don’t think what I saw was a person – there were no features, no depth…just a two dimensional solid figure that seemed to be male.
Knowing what I know about the psychology of eye witness testimony, cryptomnesia, false memories, etc. – I cannot honestly say whether this thing was wearing a hat. I think remember that it was (like a cowboy hat/fedora…something with a brim) but I’m not sure if I really remember that or if that is something I think I remember given what little I knew about shadow people at the time from TV shows like Ghost Hunters – I just remembered the idea that they were inter-dimensional and for some reason wore stupid hats. I did used to enjoy those dumb ghost hunting shows, I had since high school and they had become my favorite thing to turn on if I needed a nap. But after that experience…I honestly have not been able to watch any of those things since. It creeps me out now. I used to enjoy the skeptical aspect of it (along with the guilty pleasure of it obviously being staged reality show crap)…but now, it just scares me.
Anyway, after talking with my friend I decided that I would actually sit down and research the shadow man phenomenon. As an academic, I started with published journal articles on parapsychology, the society for physical research, etc., and had little luck beyond seriously pedantic discussions of physics and medium/esp hoaxes. So I moved to amazon to find books and came across an author named Jason Offutt, and was linked to his website From the Shadows. I clicked on one post called Followed by the Hatman, found here http://from-the-shadows.blogspot.com/2012/04/followed-by-hat-man.html. When I read it, my heart literally fell to my stomach because of this one excerpt:
Sinthia never mentioned paranormal experiences to her daughter, but the little girl described exactly what Sinthia had seen at her grandmother’s house so long ago.
“She was so scared I could see the fear in her eyes when she described him,” Sinthia said. “She said, ‘a tall man stood at my door wearing an Abraham Lincoln hat.’ “
When I was little, I used to hate sleeping by myself. I would always crawl into bed with either my parents or my big brother after they had fallen asleep. I always felt creepy in my parents house. I hated being alone there at night, always felt like someone was watching me, and always thought I was seeing things out of the corner of my eyes. I was also always terrified of the windows at night (we lived out in the woods, so the blinds were never down). I used to always carry our pet cat with me if I walked through the house at night, and always did that super quick slip into my room and shut the door because I thought someone was behind me. But this went on until I moved away for college, and I’ve never felt that way anywhere else (even in the house I had the experience in, I didn’t feel creepy or uncomfortable there, I was just scared the next night because of what I had seen). But anyway, one night when I was about 5 years old, I had crawled into bed between my sleeping parents. I remember, very vividly, laying there between them, and looking at the doorway and there being the ethereal, white figure of a tall man standing at the doorway. Just standing there, looking in. I remember that image very clearly. I don’t remember how I reacted, but I do very clearly remember going to school the next day and telling my then best friend (in kindergarten, which is how I know I was at least 5) that I had seen Abraham Lincoln’s ghost in my house. I remember that part because she called me a liar and I argued with her – he was tall, and had a beard and a tall hat on – OF COURSE it was Abraham Lincoln! (haha). I actually facebooked that friend and asked her if she remembered me telling her that, and she does. 20 years and she remembers that conversation, so apparently I was pretty emphatic about it at the time.
Even though the experience from my childhood was not a shadow man per say – the little girl from the story describing him as Abraham Lincoln hit pretty close to home. I don’t remember ever seeing these figures except for those two times, maybe the things I always thought I was seeing out of the corner of my eyes growing up were them as well, who knows.