Shadow People

4:12 PM Posted by Heidi

By popular demand, I bring you my first blog on the Paranormal and Unexplained.

par⋅a⋅nor⋅mal  /ˌpærəˈnɔrməl/  [par-uh-nawr-muhl]

–adjective of or pertaining to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation, as psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.

To kick off the series my first subject will be on Shadow People. There seems to be growing interest in these entities among the public lately, and though they scare me to bits, I'll turn my eye to the subject and see what I can find.

So just what the heck are Shadow People? From various sources on the web listed at the end of this blog, I've compiled a brief introduction to the phenomena.

Shadow people (also known as shadow men or shadow beings) are a supernatural phenomenon reported by some individuals. Most accounts of shadow people describe them as black humanoid silhouettes, lacking mouths or eyes, although they are sometimes reported to have red or yellow eyes. They are generally described as lacking mass, although their specific nature varies from two-dimensional (like a shadow) to vaporous or distorted. Their movement is often reported as being very quick and disjointed, or "jiggly", in the sense that they first may move slowly like a fluid (similar to jello rather than water), then rapidly "hop" to another part of a witness' surroundings. Some witnesses describe this movement as though the shadow entities they have seen "danced" from one wall to the next.


Several explanations have been proposed for the appearance of shadow people.

Paranormal explanations


Some explanations for shadow people come from the fields of parapsychology, metaphysics, crypto zoology, and demonology, and are considered by many to be pseudoscience. Other explanations make no scientific pretense whatever, and lie more within the realm of religion and the occult.


One of the more creative theories is that shadow beings are manifest thought forms (known in occult circles as egregores or tulpas), meaning that they are either collections of negative psychic energy from areas where traumatic events have taken place and evil people frequent, or have been intentionally created for some nefarious purpose. The negative psychic energy begins to manifest and takes on form and motive, thriving on fear and negative emotions for sustenance (astral vampires).


Shadow beings have also been described as forms of ghosts, demons, inter-dimensional beings, and extraterrestrial lifes. One of the more popular explanations seems to be that they are some sort of other-dimensional beings whose dimension of origin occasionally overlaps with ours, which is said to explain their ethereal appearance and fleeting nature.


Many who attach religious significance to the phenomena apply more credit to the demonic explanation. This is due to the phenomena usually being witnessed in places said to have a stigma of great negative energy. Such places include "haunted locations" or places where extreme emotional or physical abuse has transpired and feelings of fear, dread, and hatred somehow linger in the atmosphere beyond the temporal passing of sad events. Some however have made a connection between the black smoke appearance of this phenomena and the Jinn of Islamic belief. The Jinn are described as normally being invisible to humans and when seen having the appearance of Black smoke, making them very similar in appearance to the phenomena of shadow people.


In Native American Cherokee mythology there is an evil witch known as the Raven Mocker that takes the form of a spectral bird and shifts into a humanoid, shadow-like phantom. These beings are said to steal the souls of the ill or dying. Such creatures are alleged to fear the shaman or medicine man and so do not enter a home where one resides. A medicine man was sought to watch over the infirm and also to watch over the bodies of the recently deceased, as according to myth once the body was buried the Raven Mocker could not steal the soul.


A much less held view is that shadow people play a guardian angel role, protecting the individual from, or more accurately warning them of, impending danger; similar to the moth man.


Some witnesses reported that they have seen hooded figures much like shadow people, blinking barely. This could explain some shadow people accounts of people seeing standing or hovering shapes.


Non-paranormal explanations


Eyewitness accounts of shadow people are neither hoaxes nor actual paranormal experiences, but rather hallucinations or delusions.


Hypnogogia (waking sleep) is an accepted state of semi consciousness in which a person can be thinking clearly and yet perceiving images that are being dreamed. This state is often used to explain apparently paranormal experiences.


Scientists have theorized that under the right conditions erratic electromagnetic field behavior can interfere with the electrical impulses or firing synapses of the human mind, thus influencing people subjected to such environments over time to believe that they are hearing or seeing ghosts, aliens, or perhaps shadow people. Such environments include old buildings with substandard wiring, power plants, and areas with naturally occurring strong magnetic fields.


Drug induced hallucinations, such as those experienced by habitual heroin users, are known to reflect experiences similar to this phenomena. However, many witnesses do not use narcotics so the majority of accounts cannot be linked to this explanation. Individuals who recreationally use or overdose on diphenhydramine products such as Benadryl, or plants such as Datura, often report seeing shadow creatures and people, but more commonly, the amoeba-like entities that usually prelude the appearance of shadow people . These cellular entities are said to be often incredibly detailed beings (complete with vacuoles, plasmodium, and mitochondria, etc.)


The brain is also wired to perceive faces and other human characteristics in random patterns, called Pareidolia.


The similarity between eyewitness accounts of shadow people remains difficult to explain scientifically. In particular the tall gingerbread-like man with a hat that is reported as often by 4-year-old children as with adults. The similarities may, however, simply reflect common archetypes.

Many people who have experienced nightmares, especially during childhood have seen an entity that fits this description. In many cases, this being is of indisputable power during the dream sequence, and frequently chases the one experiencing the nightmare relentlessly. Whether or not a shadow being is playing games with them in their dreams or merely their own imagination running wild is impossible to assess. Frequently this dream is not a single occurrence, and is sometimes every single night, which can lead to sleep deprivation, somniphobia (clinical fear of sleep), and nyctophobia (fear of night time or darkness, with which both sleep and the shadow being would be associated).


People who are relaxed, weakened, or otherwise vulnerable seem to be the most at risk of seeing one of these things. I say risk because though there are few if any accounts of physical contact with Shadows, there is inevitably a psychological event that occurs, from simple fear to terror. "Direct visual contact is rarely reported by most eye witnesses of shadow people; they are said to usually disappear before they can be seen clearly, and are seen "in the corner of one's eye. These beings are said to often appear in mirrors." (EFF THAT)

I think these things fall in neither the paranormal or the non-paranormal catergory. I think they fall into the "Yet Unexplained" category, which to me lends itself to further study investigation.

My personal theory is that these shadows are cast by beings that exist in dimensions of our own universe, perhaps even our own dimension that we can't fully experience with our limited senses. It is already well known and accepted that the human eye can only perceive a tiny sliver of the light bouncing around in the universe, and further that the very matter that our eyes are made of is only a small part of all matter that exists in the universe. With new discoveries such as dark matter and anti matter for example, perhaps these shadows are strictly that- shadows cast by beings that we can't perceive or even interact with in our limited scopes of being. I don't mean to try to debunk or discredit any other theories or that they could very well be something much more mystical, but to me the idea of inter-dimensional shadows is just as supernatural, and far less freaky to comprehend.

If you have a personal experience with Shadow People or know of someone else's, please share it in a response to this entry! If you'd like to read more personal accounts, follow one of the links below and look for the personal stories sections.

Thanks for listening to my brain, and I'll see you back here tomorrow where I begin to delve into the realm of Sleep and phenomena associated with it.

http://www.monstropedia.org/index.php?title=Shadow_people
http://www.shadowpeople.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_people
http://paranormal.about.com/od/trueghoststories/a/shadow-people.htm