- Religion and Philosophy
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.
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.
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