Paranormal Experiences - Shadow People


Shadow encounters on the increase?

Although shadow people seem to be a new phenomena within paranormal investigations, it may date back thousands of years. Most religions and cultures mention encounters with shadows that are very similar to present day cases. For example both the ancient Greeks and the Romans describe 'shades' and were believed to be the remnants of people who had died and now inhabited the Underworld - is this a similar situation as a trapped/earthbound spirit we know today? Within the Hebrew religion there are beings known as 'death-shadows' (tsalmaveth). In my own country of Scotland there has been for centuries written accounts of spirits called 'wraiths'. These were also deemed to be the remnants of people's souls.

However, it's only in more recent times that this activity has come into the limelight and encounters are increasing.

Not that long ago when people started to become more aware of the 'shadows', the experience tended to be 'corner of the eye phenomena'. This is where activity or movement is witnessed, not in the direct line of vision, but from the peripheral field of vision. This may happen due to the way that paranormal activity manifests. Often when people look directly at a manifestation it instantly vanishes. From corner of the eye, it seems to linger. It's theorised that when the physical eye and brain make the connection with spirit energy, it may break the link with the mind due to bringing the mind state back within the physical world. There are many other theories out there and this is only one suggestion.

Today, it seems that these shadows are witnessed more and more in the direct line of vision and the encounters are lasting longer. Although intriguing, it's also worrying in some respects since we don't know what we are dealing with. In addition, we don't understand why the phenomena is on the increase and why it seems to be getting stronger.

But firstly, let's see what has been learned so far.

Table showing some theories on shadow people

1. Negative forces/demons
Thought by many to be the true nature of shadow people, basically due to the feelings of an evil presence often experienced when shadow people are around. People have also experienced attacks and being chased by these entities.In addition there are incidents where shadow people may be involved in incubus/succubus-like attacks.
2. Spirits/ghosts
Due to their ability to walk through walls/vanish quickly.
3. Earth bound spirits
Many shadow people are witnessed in locations with sad and traumatic histories such as prisons, lunatic asylums etc. There is therefore, speculation that shadow people seen in these locations are lost or trapped spirits.
4. Thought forms
In a number of cases witnesses have stated that they believed shadows and black mists they encountered were their own fears and stresses projected outwards.
5.'Night Hag'/sleep paralysis or incubus/succubus
In a few cases there are similarities between sleep paralysis but also an incubus/succubus attack.
6. Inter-dimensional entities
There are theories that these shadow people are possibly alien entities/entities from dimensions that overlap our own.
7. Alien entities/MIB's
In some cases there seems to be a similarity between MIB's (Men In Black) and shadow people.

Shadow spirits - are they human?

In addition to the phenomena being experienced in the direct line of vision and for longer periods of time, many witnesses also report that 'red eyes' appear within the shadow. Why only some of the shadows have this peculiarity, is unknown.

We can also compare shadows with regular human ghosts or spirit sightings. Human ghosts and spirits might be anything from transparent to full-bodied. When seen, it is nearly always possible to distinguish some features as well as clothing, and if the spirit/ghost is male or female, adult or child. With shadow entities, features - apart from the red eyes seen by some observers - are not visible. The only clue is the shadow outline and size.

Many witnesses also report that the feelings associated with these shadows, range from disturbing to evil, leading many to speculate that these entities are negative or even demonic in nature. This theory is further enhanced by some cases that would seem to involve shadows not only chasing people but attacking them as well. However, not all shadow people encountered are actively aggressive, but witnesses report that they feel as if the shadow is hanging around them in order to feed off their energy. Some shadows merely stand and watch or even sit on the bed, but don't communicate or make physical contact.

Other theories put forward by some researchers indicate that at least some of the shadow people act in similar fashion to entities described in UFO cases - in particular the MIB's or Men In Black. In these cases witnesses have reported that the shadows observe only, they don't usually interact and seem to be robotic at times - similar descriptions are given with MIB cases. However with the classic MIB's there does tend to be interactions such as giving witnesses a warning to keep quiet about what they have seen and/or asking witnesses to describe a UFO sighting. Sometimes these MIB's will then vanish as quickly as they arrived.

Additional observations - especially in locations with traumatic histories such as prisons and mental health hospitals - suggest that the shadow people are lost human spirits either looking for help or wishing to do harm. However, in other cases the shadows seem to want to keep their distance and avoid contact.

The reports that people have given about their encounters with these shadows has built up a picture of them:

  • Size - they usually range between 4 and 8 feet in length.
  • Although called 'shadows' some have different levels of both transparency and 'shadow'. People have described solid black shadows, while others have witnessed a more transparent type. The colour black also changes from the solid black mentioned to much lighter tones.
  • Although many shadows are often described as 'shadow men' there are just as many accounts that involve what are perceived as female shadows.
  • Similar to some of the usual apparitions seen by people where only part of the form is visible - for example only legs or just a torso - this has also been witnessed with shadow forms.
  • There are various shapes of shadow. Many are humanoid in shape, although some are much taller or shorter than the average human. Other shapes are described as animal like and some like small imps.
  • There are also shadow shapes that seem to crop up continually and have been given specific descriptions such as - hooded shadows, red-eyed shadows, hat man, negative shadows, and non-malevolent shadows.
  • In addition to the above descriptions, it should be said, that not all shadows are a clear and defined shape. There are thousands of reports of black or dark masses, clouds, vapour or mist that people describe and on occasion these 'clouds' may try to take on a more defined shape.

In addition to the appearances being different, their behaviour is also varied.

Some cases lead researchers to speculate if shadow people are inter or other dimensional entities?
Some cases lead researchers to speculate if shadow people are inter or other dimensional entities? | Source

Shadow people behaviour

The interesting thing about these shadow spirits or entities is that some of them seem to have no wish to interact with human beings. While others appear to be just the opposite. There are now thousands of accounts of shadow spirits from all over the world and their behaviour patterns are well documented:

  • One of the most frequent behaviours witnessed is that they disappear when humans approach. This takes the form of quickly vanishing from a room - some people describe them as running - while others have observed them dissolving/fading away. Their behaviour indicates that they have no wish to interact or in anyway communicate with people. A few investigators have tried provoking behaviour with these shadows but have had no response at all.
  • Contrary to this behaviour there are other shadows that are very curious about people and and will openly observe witnesses and paranormal investigators. On a more sinister level, there are a number of accounts where people have not only been threatened, but chased by shadows. Quite a few of these aggressive encounters occurred in cemeteries and abandoned prisons.
  • An interesting development over the last few years is that certain shadows seem to be curious about people who have psychic gifts, or those who investigate the paranormal, while others seem to focus on people who have had a lot of trauma in their lives.
  • Shadows are found in various locations both during the day and at night and they are not always alone. Groups of shadows have also been observed regularly. They are often seen in areas where paranormal activity is very high and/or where investigations take place frequently. Family homes are another location where shadow spirits have been observed on a regular basis - in these cases shadows are often said to be located in attics and basements.


It seems clear that we are not dealing with one single phenomena. The shadow people incidents may be increasing - but could this be due to modern technology and higher numbers of people now trying to capture paranormal activity on camera and video? In addition, it seems likely that shadows are not just a single group of entities, but that for some reason many different spirits, including humans, may manifest as shadows. What category of shadow person people experience may depend on the location, the history and the person seeing them.

This is a very complex subject. Instead of answering questions, as is usual with the paranormal, it just leads to more fascinating questions!

© 2013 Helen Murphy Howell

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Comments 34 comments

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

I don't know a lot about this topic, but I do find anything related to the paranormal fascinating. Great hub!

Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

Very interesting hub. I don't know much about shadow spirits, but now I want to learn more.

Voted up.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

Seeker I told you before I love these kind of hubs..

Bumpsysmum profile image

Bumpsysmum 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire

Something I haven't experienced but fascinating Hub, thanks. You put forward some interesting theories.

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Victoria, many thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the hub!

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Michelle, glad that it's inspired you to want to know more - it is a fascinating subject!!

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

LOL!!! Hi Frank, I'm always glad that you do still enjoy them!!

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

HI Bumpsysmum, lovely to hear from you again and glad that you enjoyed th hub!!

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

I can bet your a big fan of watching ghost stories like 'celebrity ghost stories, a haunting etc... I myself have always been fascinated with the para-normal and part of it is because I've had many experiences with it. I just had another experience on Christmas Eve which I plan to write about soon. Your article was really interesting and informative. Thanks

kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Helen awesome hub and fascinating read, i do believe there are shadow people because i have seen some. Well done and written !

Vote up and more !!!

samtebbutt profile image

samtebbutt 4 years ago from Ireland

Hi Seeker7 It was interesting to read your hub about Shadow folk.

I love your connection between wraiths and shadow people

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi MT - always lovely to hear from you. Hope you've had a good start to 2013!! Emmm Yes I like all those programmes LOL!!! Also 'Ghost Hunters', 'Ghost Adventures' - this show is hilarious!! There's also another one that I think is the best of the lot, but maybe not as well known 'Paranormal Witness' - It's a bit like 'My Ghost Story' but with a bit more punch to it!

Anyway, enough of me - you've got me really intrigued about your Christmas Even event! I can't wait to read it - let me know when you finish it, I don't want to miss it!!

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Tom,

Wow!! I've never seen a shadow person at all!! This subject really interests me especially when I talk to people like yourself who are first hand witnesses!.

Glad you enjoyed the hub and as always, thank you for the vote up!!

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi samtebbutt, many thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the hub. The wraiths and shadow people do seem alike in so many ways, it's very interesting to think that they might be one and the same!

dilipchandra12 profile image

dilipchandra12 4 years ago from India

Excellent hub, very well written. Well researched and analyzed. Thanks for sharing the above. It is interesting, i voted it UP...

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

Now I can't wait to check out 'Paranormal Witness. I have never heard of it. I hope we have it in Minnesota. I'll look on my t.v. guide to see if it's on a cable station.

I will let you know when I write my paranormal story that happened on Christmas Eve. I will give you a sneak peek hint: My dad visited :-) Woo Hoo

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 4 years ago from Los Angeles

This is such an interesting subject, and the video is chilling! Over 30 years ago I awoke to a light hooded figure that floated just inches from the floor across my bedrom to my bedside. I didn't feel threatened at all but kind of unable to move. It reached out to touch my arm in a comforting way, then disappeared. I never saw anything like that again.

I am anxious to read more of your hubs about this. Thank you!

Cat :)

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi dilipchandra12,

many thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the hub! Many thanks for the vote up - greatly appreciated!!

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi MT - Pararnormal Witness - in the UK is on a channel called 'Really' so I don't know if that's the same tv channel for the USA. I'm sure that 'More TV' channel and others like 'Quest' have also shown episodes. I think it's the witnesses that they have telling their stories, the majority of them just seem so credible and most of the accounts are very creepy indeed!!

LOL!!! WoooHOOOO hey I look forward to that - there's something especially spooky and great about Christmas ghosts!!!

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi cat on a soapbox, lovely to hear from you and glad that you enjoyed the hub.

That's a fascinating experience. Your 'hooded' figure seemed to have been perhaps a protector or just a gentle spirit trying to let you know they were not a threat. I think encounters like yours are more interesting than the spooky ones. I wonder as well, that although you haven't seen anything like this since, if that protector/spirit is still around you? Very, very interesting - many thanks for that!!

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

If the shadow phenom is at least in some cases an inter-dimensional entity one, then calculations made through physics calculations employed by investigators as concerns the angle or 'corner of the eye' fits exactly like an inter-dimensional being would be seen in our dimension in a physical way. Very interesting that fact. As usual Helen you've written a unusually fine article. Your also aware of my experiences with certain phenomena. I can only come, after much research and reflection, to the conclusion that the dimensional possibility is quite likely occurring in at least some of these encounters. And to add to what you've got here it is said that the young in a certain very old species in that realm will often take on the appearance of an animal to get up close and observe humans. These appearances may have a plasma type consistency and would normally be near a conducive source like granite or crystal encrusted rock. Well done and oh so fine my friend. Off to watch the video now.

PoeticVine profile image

PoeticVine 4 years ago from North Carolina, United States

I've just read this Hub and find it fascinating -- as well as rather spooky! Of course, I read it while: a) at home, at night; b) alone; c) just at midnight! Ooookay so.... ^_^

Seriously, though -- The picture of the hand you posted first really struck me, even before I'd finished reading the page. As soon as I saw it I remembered something I saw as a child. It was in my bedroom.

I shared a room with my sister at the time. My twin bed was on the left immediately as you came in the door, and hers to the far right corner of the room on a diagonal. There were two large windows on the wall behind her bed that looked outside, and I faced them when I lay down to sleep. They had very long curtains on them.... some horrid flower pattern in orange, brown and white, I think.

In any case -- I was still awake after bedtime that night, and my parents were watching television in the other room. I looked at the windows and noticed the shadow of a right hand on the wall below the one on the left. It was odd... because it was so clear. I looked out to see my folks... Dad wasn't playing a prank, and it wouldn't have been so clear even if he were. I never did figure out what I saw.

The only other "tangible" thing that happened for me was in the same house. I was older -- it was during Hurricane Hugo. I got up in the middle of the night to get water -- no power, but I was (and am) blind without glasses anyway, so I knew the house by feel. I encountered something soft -- it felt like a terry cloth bathrobe, like one Mom then owned. It was tall, too... tall enough for me to touch.

I realized it wasn't Mom, went to bed, and STAYED there. When I got up in the morning, nothing was there to explain what I felt. I never experienced anything further in that house, though we stayed there for some years afterward.

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Alastar, huge apologies for taking so long to get back to you! It's been one of those weeks with everything happening all at the one time!

What a fabulous comment and outlook on the shadow phenomena! That is so fascinating about the physics calculations and 'corner of the eye' and makes sense.

There are certain theories and belief systems that feel that once we've achieved a certain level in the physical plane, then a form of evolution takes place where other dimensions - including the spiritual - come closer. Before that happens there needs to be an overall connection between the physical and other dimensions via the mind. I wonder if, and this probably sounds crazy, but when we see photos, videos and so on of entities, spirits, if this is in fact helping to create such a link? Images get routed in the sub-conscious and perhaps this is where the link grows. I say that because a number of psychics not only believe that spirit works through the mind but through the sub-conscious. There does seem to be a shift in this phenomena towards an increase and/or opening up especially with the shadow people.

The young of these entities seem to be as curious about us as we are about them! However, taking the form of an animal seems to suggest that they know more about us than we think. Most people would never think that - provided it's not a carnivore - another species is using the shape to observe!

A fascinating observation Alastar - thank you!!

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Poetic Vine - as with Alastar, huge apologies for taking so long to respond.

Wow!! That is one fascinating account you've given and many thanks for sharing it! I always enjoy hearing the accounts from adults when they were kids or from children themselves. I say that because as children we just accept what is there rather than trying to put an adult interpretation on it. It's interesting as well, that you saw just the hand as this ties in with so many experiences where only part of the spirit/shadow is seen. Like yourself, although termed 'shadow people' witnesses do describe that they can be very clear and there is no doubt in their mind what they are seeing.

What is new is the sensation of touch that you had - this is not that common. However, although you were scared it doesn't seem to be anything negative or harmful in your meetings. The only thing I can think of that might feel as if it's soft, would be ectoplasm, but I honestly can't vouch for that. What a really interesting thing to happen - you've really got me thinking now!!! LOL!

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Your worth waiting on. Oh so many things can take our finite time in this hurly-burly world we find ourselves in. A reply from you to ponder on with serious thought as usual my friend.

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Alastar - you're such a gentleman! Thank you!!

precy anza profile image

precy anza 3 years ago from San Diego

Have seen shadows twice. The first time, I didn't even know what they called and can't believed I'm seeing what I'm seeing. It's probably more than 10 years after that first one, then my second one. The very moment I saw that second one I should have known it's another shadow. But then, it didn't struck me until it just disappeared. I mean, it really didn't vanished in front of me but it was walking ahead of me, on the sidewalk and I was driving late night. When I saw it I was thinking, " weird, this guy is all dark, just all blackness." Then thou I know it's safe for my turn, (no car headlights inside the townhomes compound aside from mine) I still glanced on my left, and when I looked back ahead, the guy walking on the side was now gone. Even if he would/could walk fast, I'd still be able to see him ahead. Just then I realized why all the blackness.

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi precy anza,

Many thanks for stopping by and for the fascinating comment. That's really interesting that you've had a shadow experience twice, even although they are quite a time apart. I think as well that many people don't at first react to these things being a 'shadow' at first because they just think it's a real person's shadow or weird light or something. As you say, it's not until the basically disappear in front of your eyes or make a weird movement that folks realise there is something else going on. I agree with some theories that are suggesting shadow people are regular human spirits but they just can't get up the energy to manifest properly. But then even this doesn't explain everything!

Cynthianne profile image

Cynthianne 3 years ago

As a medium, I do appreciate seeing articles like yours.

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Cynthianne, many thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the hub. Also praise coming from a medium such as yourself is very welcome indeed!!

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morrison85 2 years ago

I remember several years ago back in dec 2005, I had encounter with shadow person. I remember I was in my room one day and it was around 10 in the morning, and I was in my room alone trying to take nap when the encounter began. I remember seeing sexual images of young couple having sex in the woods and I remember actual feeling the whole thing occur and could feel what they were doing as well. I had huge grin on my face when I saw the images appear and the images were very vivid too. Then I saw lights start appearing inside my room and it was like lightshow was going on in my bedroom. The next thing I saw was weird looking shadow pattern forming my wall and I thought the shadow figures on the wall look oddly strange and unnatural for it to be there. Then out of nowhere, I saw dark shadow coming out of the wall, and it came towards me, I watch the thing come before me and I remember I could`nt breath or move during the entire ordeal but I could smell the nasty odor which smelled like smoke,brimstone, and sulphur. It smelled like it came out of hell itself and I couldn`t leave no matter how hard I tried. I then remember as it got close to me, the shadow had red eyes coming out of it head,and It looked like the princess Anastasia. When it first came out of the walls, I remember it look like the last picture of her from Siberta, then it tranforms itself into A dark shadowery figure, with red eyes popping out of it`s head. I remember the first images that I saw earlier looked just like her when she was older. The images were showing me of her and her secret lover having sex in he woods somewhere near the palace, and I could actual feel everything that was going on in those images. I never told anyone yet about what happened because I don`t them to think I was crazy of anything. So I kept it secret for long time. Also I remember having crush on her and i was very fascinated about her too for long time so I`m guessing that problaly why she came to me that day. I remember few weeks before all this happened, I remember I was at another house sleeping ( it as dark this time instead of it being morning) and I remember sleeping by myself that night, I felt something rubbing my back,and I got freak out by it,and left to go sleep somewhere else. I don`t really know what to make of what happen but it felt very real and very vivid. I remember I had trouble sleeping by myself for very long time. I can still remember what happened as if it happened yesterday or even hour ago.

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 2 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

What a fascinating - but scary - experience. Many thanks for sharing your account.

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divot 16 months ago

I see them, it, or whatever. Frequency is increasing. I thought I was suffering from ocular damage. Doctor said eyes are OK. Most of the time, see them looking straight on. Not out of the corners of my eyes. No specific shapes. Mostly cloud like. They last about 4 to 6 seconds...some move left right up and down. No voices or sounds. Ive only told a few friends. Ive never wrote anything about anything to anyone on paper or computer. But im just getting nowhere when I question othdaviders about this. Im not an overly religious person, but this is starting me to question. help if you can. sincerely david

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 16 months ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi David, the phenomena of seeing these shadow people straight on is becoming more common. Many believe that we have portals opening up between other worlds and these shadows are visitors, others believe they are spirits of humans. In the majority of cases shadow people do not do any harm but the best way to reduce the sightings is to increase your protective aura and cleanse your house with a simple ritual. This ritual doesn't have to have any religious sayings or prayers, you can make up your own words such as 'I cleanse this space of all negative and unwanted energies.' Also try and relax yourself, one of the best ways to get rid of negative energy is by laughing and being generally upbeat, not always easy I know. Also if you're not comfortable with cleansing yourself then look for a person or group who will do this for you - the best ones usually don't take payment,so be wary of advertisements asking for money. some of the best cleansers are natural psychics and Wiccans. All the best to you and please don't worry, this will be sorted for you.

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