Shadow people« WHAT WAS THAT? » You were watching TV at night when movement across the room caught your attention from the corner of your eye. It seemed dark and shadowy and seemed to move quickly. You returned to your TV show and a moment later there it was again. You looked up quickly this time and saw the fleeting but distinctly human shape of the shadow pass quickly over the far wall… and disappear.

What was it? Some natural shadow caused by the neighbor’s car passing by? Your imagination? A ghost? Or was it something that seems to be a spreading phenomenon – apparitions that are coming to be known as « shadow people » or « shadow beings. »

Perhaps this is an old phenomenon with a new name that is now being discussed more openly, in part thanks to the Internet. Or maybe it’s a phenomenon that, for some reason, is manifesting with greater frequency and intensity now.

Those who are experiencing and studying the shadow people phenomenon say that these entities almost always used to be seen out of the corner of the eye and very briefly. But more and more, people are beginning to see them straight on and for longer periods of time. Some experiencers testify that they have even seen eyes, usually red, on these shadow beings.

The mysterious sightings have become a hot topic of conversion in paranormal chat rooms, message boards and websites, and it is given widespread attention on paranormal talk radio.

What are shadow people and where do they come from? Several theories have been offered.

Scientific explanations

Several principles based in science can be used to explain reports of shadow people, including optical illusions or hallucinations brought on by physiological/psychological circumstances, drug use, and the interaction of external agents on the human body.

When a specific region of the brain called the left temporoparietal junction is stimulated, it can create the illusion of a shadow person.

Images seen in peripheral areas of vision can be caused by pareidolia, a condition in which the brain incorrectly interprets random patterns of light/shadow or texture as being familiar patterns such as faces and human forms. The same condition can also be observed in macular vision in low light conditions, or when viewing a complex but random image. A common example would be perceiving a shadow, thrown by an item of furniture in a darkened room, as being a person.

Hypnagogia, also known as « waking-sleep », a physiological condition in which a person is part-way between sleeping and waking, can also account for such perceptions. During hypnagogia, a person can be conscious and aware of their environment, but also in a dream-like state where they can perceive images from their subconscious. People experiencing waking-sleep commonly report the sensation of lights or shadows moving around them, as well as other visual hallucinations. A feeling of dread is also a sensation that occurs when experiencing hypnagogia. Hypnagogia is sometimes known as ‘the faces in the dark phenomenon’ because those who experience this state commonly report seeing faces while experiencing waking-sleep. Similar hypotheses have been put forward linking this condition to a number of other apparent paranormal experiences, including alien abductions, paranormal nocturnal visitations, and religious experiences such as contact with angels or demons.

Imagination

The explanation we get from skeptics and mainstream science – and who are usually people who have never experienced the shadow people phenomenon – is that it is nothing more than the active human imagination. It’s our minds playing tricks on us… our eyes seeing things in a fraction of a second that aren’t really there – illusions… real shadows caused by passing auto headlights, or some similar explanation. And without a doubt, these explanations probably can account for some if not many experiences. The human eye and mind are easily fooled. But can they account for all cases ?

Ghosts

To call these entities ghosts demands first a definition of what we mean by ghosts. But by almost any definition, shadow people are somewhat different than ghost phenomena. Whereas ghost apparitions are almost always a misty white, vaporish or have a decidedly human form and appearance (very often with discernable « clothing »), shadow beings are much darker and more shadow-like. In general, although the shadow people often do have a human outline or shape, because they are dark, the details of their appearance is lacking. This is in contrast to many ghost sightings in which the witness can describe the ghost’s facial features, style of clothing and other details. The one detail most often noted in some shadow being sightings are their glowing red eyes.

Emotional projections

Some websites talk about these Shadow people and say they are created by the same people who experience them. They would come from all the kept bad emotions, as rage, fear, jealousy, dark family secrets, etc. But then again, how to explain it when a shadow is seen by a totally balanced family?

Demonic entities

The dark countenance and malevolent feelings that are often reported in association with these creatures has led some researchers to speculate that they may be demonic in nature. If they are demons, we have to wonder what their purpose or intent is in letting themselves be seen in this manner. Is it merely to frighten?

Astral bodies

One interesting idea is that shadow people are the shadows or essences of people who are having out-of-body experiences. According to Jerry Gross, an author, lecturer and teacher about astral travel, we all travel out of the body when we are asleep. Perhaps, this theory says, we are seeing the ephemeral astral bodies of these twilight travelers.

Time travelers

People from our own future, another idea states, could have found the means to travel to the past – our time. However they are able to accomplish this incredible feat, perhaps in that state they appear to us merely as passing shadows as they observe the events of our timeline.

Interdimensional beings

Even mainstream science is fairly convinced that there are dimensions other than the three we inhabit. And if these other dimensions exist, who or what (if anything) inhabits them? Some theorists say that these dimensions exist parallel and very close to our own, although invisible to us. And if there are inhabitants in these other dimensions, it is possible that they have found a way to intrude on our dimension and become, at least partially, visible? If so, they could very well appear as shadows. It has long been held by psychics and other sensitives that beings on other planes of existence are of different « vibrations. » Science is beginning to look at reality, on a quantum level, in the same way – that particles of the smallest size exist as vibrations. Perhaps, some theorize, the vibrations of our existence are beginning to mesh with those of another dimension, which accounts for the increase in such phenomena as ghosts and shadow people.

Conclusion

There is no way to prove or disprove any theories about a phenomenon that is so mysterious, that happens so quickly and without warning. Science finds it virtually impossible to catalog or study such phenomena in any methodical way. All we can do, at present, is to document personal experiences and try to piece together what the shadow people phenomenon might be. Perhaps it’s an old mystery becoming more recognizable… perhaps it represents a doorway to and from different planes of existence… or perhaps it’s just shadows.