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Shadow figures: myth or fact in the paranormal world?

Shadow figures: myth or fact in the paranormal world?

By Rick Hinton

Wikipedia defines shadow people as, “Supernatural shadow-like humanoid figures that, according to believers, are seen flickering on walls and ceilings in the viewer’s peripheral vision.” They are claimed to be viewed as unrecognizable fleeting shadows out of the corner of an observer’s eye for just a few seconds. I’ve heard stories where they weren’t human shaped at all … more like a ball or a fluttering blanket. And occasionally some, as I have personally experienced, see these masses straight on. These figures have been around for a very long time. They seem to share a consistent familiarity – they are the most reported type of ghost sighting. Yet, opinions vary among paranormal investigators.

Some report them as menacing, scary, creepy and harboring evil intent. Some feel they are the true form of a ghost. Some claim they are time travelers and/or inter-dimensional beings on a visit to our current time and place. Many have also concluded that these flickers of darkness are on a mission to watch over and guide us along life’s path. However, those taking a different slant feel shadow people are a result of physiological and psychological conditions: sleep deprivation or paralysis, illusions, hallucinations, the beginnings of dementia, drug or alcohol use or the side effects of medication.

Jason Offutt, author of Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us, comments: “Many shadow people encounters do seem to mirror ghost encounters, and are the most common type of shadow person encounters: a blacker than night, human shaped shadow that people see walking through their bedroom, hallway, living room, etc. These shadow people are most benign, usually not taking notice of those who observe them.”

A black mass captured in the basement of the now closed Gaslight Inn on South Meridian Street. (Photo by Julie Myers)

It’s 2 a.m. and you’re at that moment in an investigation – sitting in the dark with a body and mind tired from being in a constant state of intense observation. Your mind has kicked into a melancholy mode of autopilot. Nothing has happened for hours. You are continuing to ask questions to an empty room, trying to draw a response that will be captured on a digital audio recorder. You sit and watch. The silence is almost deafening, and then it happens! Out of the corner of your eye you catch movement – darker than the already black of the room, solid and slinking off to your left. You quickly turn your head as your heart begins to race; you see nothing. You accelerate into a state of high alert, fighting to focus your eyes into a small section of the room. Then it happens again, only this time you are looking straight on as a dark mass moves out of the corner, slides along the wall and disappears into the opposite corner.

Your heart is really racing now. Adrenaline is surging like a runaway train!

The brain takes charge, trying to rationalize what you have just experienced. Was it the product of tired eyes? A hanging eyelash? Floaters skimming across the surface of the cornea? A passing car’s headlights filtering into the room, creating an optical illusion? Or … was it the real deal? Shadow people!

Paranormal investigations continue its steady path down the misty road of secrets.

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