Shadow figure encounters: a reflection of our own emotions?

By Rick Hinton

Shadow figures – fact, fiction or an eyelash across the cornea?

Jason Offutt, author of Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us, comments on evidence for the existence of shadow people: “The behavior of shadow people doesn’t correspond to any laws of physics,” he said. “They can be explained away through psychology and experiments conducted on epileptic patients. However, the vast amount of firsthand accounts where these entities have left physical evidence (broken glass, misplaced objects, pain when touched) makes me certain these entities exist; science just hasn’t caught up with them.”

Waverly Sanitarium from the rear. (Submitted photos)

One paranormal blogger related an experience while lying in bed. Her boyfriend was in the bathroom. Her bedroom was dark: “I was lying in bed when I thought my boyfriend was coming into the room. I could only see a dark silhouette. I sat up in bed and smiled in welcome. Then I heard a noise behind it – it was my boyfriend! When he came into the room the silhouette crept along the wall and disappeared at astonishing speed. I did not sense anything bad from the shadow. If they are real, I don’t think they mean any harm. Maybe they just reflect our own emotions?”

Are shadow people simply a representation of where we are in our lives? Writer Stephen Wagner thinks so: “We don’t see the world the way it is. We see the world the way we are,” he said. “In other words, how we see, and experience life is a direct reflection of how we view ourselves: seeing the world through powerful filters of our belief systems, prejudices, desires and experiences. If we fear anything, the world becomes a negative fearful thing, with demons lurking in every corner. If we’re surer of ourselves, those same entities take on a positive aspect.”

An upper floor terrace where I was followed by a shadowy mass.

Wagner reasons that shadow people differ from the general ghost phenomena. Those witnessing ghostly apparitions often note a human appearance: facial features, style of clothing, mannerisms – all things emphasizing “humanness.” Shadow people, on the other hand, while possessing a semblance of human form, are much darker and lacking any discernable appearance. There the difference lies.

“What was that? Some natural shadow? Your heightened imagination? A ghost? Or was it something that seems to be a spreading phenomenon – apparitions coming to be known as ‘shadow people’ or ‘shadow beings,’ Wagner observed. “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.”

Tuberculosis patients – back in the day – enjoy fresh air from their terrace overlook.

I’ve had a few encounters with these figures, the most memorable being at the Waverly Hills Sanitarium in Louisville, Ken. As I made my way alone along the outer terraces of an upper floor, I became aware of a dark mass following me in the adjoining hallway. It stopped when I stopped and peered around doorways at me, yet never long enough to get a photo. I sensed it was curious about what I was doing and somewhat playful, like a child (and about the size of one).

It didn’t feel negative. Perhaps – as Wagner reasons – it reflected where I was at that point in my life?