You've No Doubt Seen Or Heard Of Shadow People...But What ARE They?

Shadow people have been scaring people for thousands of years - but what are they? Some people believe these humanoid figures are a supernatural spirit or entity that manifests as a dark shadow. 

The history of shadow people dates back as early as the 600s CE. Creepy shadow people stories come from all parts of the world and are eerily similar. The Quran makes mention of pitch-black sapient beings created from fire that were "not purely spiritual or physical in nature." Heidi Hollis more recently described shadow people in her book The Secret War as "dark silhouettes with human shapes and profiles that flicker in and out of peripheral vision." But their emergence in popular culture can be attributed to some paranormal investigators who've dedicated their life to researching and finding these shadow people. 

But what are shadow people, and where do they come from? Read these creepy stories and see if you can discern for yourself. 

  • They Look Like Huge, Ominous Black Shadows In The Shape Of A Human

    The most common form a shadow person presents themselves in is the "classic shadow being," which is described as "dark, inorganic, phantom-like bipedal figures that look just like a dark black shadow of a figure, but don't seem to quite have full human form or facial or bodily delineation. They feel very masculine and oppressive and like something that is beyond human and out of our scope of understanding."

    Natalia Kuna, the psychic medium, describes the figures as "tall, about seven feet in height, though they can configure and transform into different sizes and shapes. Often their limbs (arms and legs) seem quite long, and very occasionally fingers seen."

    Some believe their dark form is used as camouflage and they take on a rough humanoid form to blend in with us. Others report seeing shadow people with red or green glowing eyes, or even wearing a hat, like the "Hat Man" who often appears in a "cape or trench coat and a hat which can range from a top hat to a fedora or cowboy hat."

  • Some Believe That Shadow People Are Extraterrestrials

    Author and self-proclaimed shadow people expert Heidi Hollis mentions that shadow people are "alien beings" in her book The Secret War. More specifically she believes "The Man In The Hat" to be an extraterrestrial. Some believe the figure's hat could be a "form of disguise to cover up an unusually shaped head that could be alien in appearance, or it is some kind of otherworldly technology or even protection device."

    Theorists believe "The Man In The Hat" may belong to an alien species known as "the greys." These types of aliens are what most people associate with extraterrestrials. 

  • Others Believe They're Interdimensional Beings

    Natalia Kuna, a psychic medium, describes shadow people as "conscious, intelligent, interdimensional beings." She writes that they're able to dematerialize very quickly and "shape-shift into other forms such as in the figure of a cat, dog, rodent, oddly-shaped spider, insect or other creature or shape." On Kuna's website, she says the "Man In The Hat" is "an intelligent consciousness from another dimension or time-space reality, possibly the future."

    She's not the only one to think this. Author Michael Kinsella wrote in his book Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong's Hat that shadow people are "extra-dimensional inhabitants of another universe." 

  • Ancient Cultures Believed In Shadow People

    Ancient Cultures Believed In Shadow People
    Photo: Unknown / Needpix / Public Domain

    Mythology of shadow people dates back to early 600 BCE. Ancient Egyptians believed in shadow people, and called them the "khailbut." Romans believed these people came from the Underworld. Greeks thought shadow people were literal shadows of themselves, which they often gave up to Zeus as a gift. All of these cultures, though, had a common belief: these shadow people were both part of the real world and the metaphysical one.

    In Ancient Egypt, in particular, shadow people often went and did the bidding in the spirit world for humans who couldn't reach it - sometimes for good and, sometimes, for evil. 

  • Most People Who Experience Shadow People Suffer From Sleep Paralysis

    Dr. Shelley Adler wrote a book that could connect seeing shadow people to having sleep paralysis. In her book - Sleep Paralysis: Night-mares, Nocebos, and the Mind-Body Connection - people who suffer from sleep paralysis may perceive a "shadowy or indistinct shape" approaching them or standing over them during an episode.

    Meaning these visions might not be supernatural, but just a perception inside your brain. Others, like neuroscientists Baland Jalal and V.S. Ramachandran believe these hallucinations may have neurological explanations as well. 

  • People Recall Spooky Encounters With Shadow People While They Sleep

    People Recall Spooky Encounters With Shadow People While They Sleep
    Photo: Unknown / Piqsels / Public Domain

    Here's a personal account of an encounter with a shadow person from The Line Up:

    While lying there unable to sleep, I became aware of a presence and suddenly and silently a figure moved through our bedroom door and proceeded to our bed. Then rounding the corner of our bed took up a fixed position at the foot of our bed. I was aware that this entity was conscious of us and was intently watching us as we lay there. The entity can best be described as a something that had the appearance of black smoke or a shadow, however it was more material that either of these but less material than a real person.

    The most odd thing about this is my lack of fear. Although I was acutely aware of this being and the fact it was not of this earth as we perceive it, it did not seem to arouse any fear response in me, I would say it aroused a feeling that would fit somewhere between “creepy, awed, and curiosity especially considering the fact that it was aware of me as I was aware of it. After some time I almost convinced myself that I was imagining it but then I became aware of the fact that my wife was no longer breathing like she was asleep but was breathing almost silently. I then said "Honey you awake? ” to which she answered “Yes.”

    Then I said “do you see anything?” Expecting her reply to be “what do you mean?” but much to my surprise she said “You mean that thing standing at the foot of the bed?” At this time I did become somewhat “nervous”. We laid there for about 10 minuets and then it was gone. It just over a period of about 10 seconds became less solid and our perception of it’s presence became weaker until it just wasn’t there any more. Then it was if it had never been there. Nothing like this has happened since and the only evidence it ever existed is my wife’s and my memories of it.