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Shadow People: Who Are They?

Shadow People, also known as a shadow figure, shadow being or black mass, is a paranormal phenomenon somewhat similar to ghosts. Like ghost these entities have been reported countless times and seem to have certain characteristics that distinguish them from ghosts and other figures.

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Ghosts are generally white or misty white and often have a definite human form. In many cases it is possible to make out distinguishing features such as clothing. Often, witnesses of ghost sightings can describe facial features and other details.

Shadow people however, almost by definition, appear dark and shadow-like. Because of this it is usually not possible for a witness to provide any details, other than the sighting of a shadowy presence.

When witnesses report their encounter with a shadow being they tend to fall in one of several categories.

The Black Mass Shadow

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The black mass shadow is perhaps the most common shadow being witnessed. These beings take the form of a shapeless shadowy mass.

They often appear in one’s peripheral vision and when one tries to view it directly the being vanishes. Witnesses also report an overwhelming sense of dread in the presence of a Black Mass Shadow.

The Human Form Shadow

The Human Form Shadow, as its name states, takes the form of a human in outline except with the absence of fine details like ears. It is often described as male, and unlike the Black Mass Shadow, remains for several seconds when viewed directly.

Witnesses frequently report a feeling of being watched before seeing the Human Shadow Form but typically otherwise do not feel threatened.

The Hat Man

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The Hat Man is a variation of the Human Form Shadow. The Hat Man appears to wear a trench coat and what can be described as a gaucho hat.

Like the Black Mass Shadow, witnesses report a sense of dread in the presence of the Hat Man and sometimes paralysis.

The Red Eyed Shadow

This shadow being’s main notable appearance is its glowing red eyes. Witnesses describe this shadow as being of pure evil and report a feeling of terror accompanied with paralysis.

As you might expect, skeptics will have one believe that it is simply the mind playing tricks and that the shadows are caused by curtains moving in the breeze, or perhaps car headlights creating a real shadow.

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We catch something on the periphery of our vision and an over active imagination creates something that simply does not exist. No doubt in many cases that could be true, but is it true in all cases?

Another explanation puts forward the possibility that shadow people may be a variation of Old Hag Syndrome or sleep paralysis. Old Hag Syndrome can be thought of as a glitch in the sleep process.

During the dream state of sleeping the body is paralyzed to protect it during sleep. Sometimes a person may experience a state where they are still paralyzed, but partially awake, yet not fully out of the dream state.

During this time a subject may sense or see an ominous presence but be unable to move.

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There are Paranormal explanations.

James Long, Archbishop for the United States Old Catholic Church, an independent Catholic Church, believes shadow people are demonic.

Archbishop Long, a student of demonology for many years, believes “Shadow People must be taken seriously and they can be quite dangerous,” he said. “When a human spirit tries to manifest itself, its form is black, or otherwise known as Shadow.

It is energy trying to manifest itself so that it can appear to have the physical characteristics it had when living on earth.”

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These entities can move, communicate, and attack, drawing energy from their human victim. “Certainly Shadows that attack are demonic in nature and should be avoided at all times,” Long said. “I would strongly encourage anyone who witnesses a dark Shadow to be careful.”

Another theory is that shadow people are visitors from a parallel universe. Many scientists now consider the possibility of parallel universes as fact. In theory it may be possible under unusual conditions to glimpse these parallel universes.

A third theory is that a shadow person is created from the energy of a real person who had an extremely strong personality when he was alive, and he has left some of his energy still here after his spirit moved on. This idea bears some resemblance to some ghost theories except the spirit has moved on.

Finally there are those that think shadow beings are aliens. The reported actions and sensations reported with the sighting of shadow being closely parallels reports of alien abduction and observation.

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Whatever the truth of the matter, most investigators advise that a shadow person should be regarded as a possible cause of harm.

Certainly it is the case that people who have reported such sightings – even though they have not been physically harmed – have suffered severe shock and trauma which, in every case, they will never forget.

Naturally, since the appearance of shadow people cannot be predicted, it makes them quite difficult to study even for those who believe in them.

To date, there has been no physical evidence of their presence and any scientific study would have to be able to capture images of an apparition that only shows up in the peripheral vision as few, it seems, get a direct look at a shadow person.

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Until further evidence is found, it certainly seems that most accounts of shadow people can be attributed to optical illusions and fervent imaginations.

The “boogie man” under the bed is a common childhood belief, especially for young children trying to sleep in a room with changing shadows where optical tricks can play wild with the imagination.

However, for paranormal researchers they have compiled enough anecdotal evidence to be convinced that shadow people are more than just optical illusions and hallucinations.

While they concede that many accounts are probably centered on natural phenomenon, that other accounts simply defy explanation and are worthy of further research.

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What the established scientific and paranormal communities will probably agree upon is that sighting of shadow people will continue on into the foreseeable future with reports numbering in the millions.

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of, a website he created in 2013.