USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Shadow Men Hat Man’
Folk Beliefs
general
Legends
Narrative

The Shadow Men

“The Shadow Men are an obscure, although certainly not unheard of phenomenon that has left it’s mark on the internet. This spectral figure is most often characterized as appearing pitch black, if not just dark with some illumination visible, and standing tall with an imposing, menacing presence. There is a variant of Shadow Men, usually referred to as the Hat Man on the internet, which exactly as the name implies, wears a hat. The hat is most commonly perceived to be in the shape of a wide-brimmed fedora hat, also black to match with the dark, dim features of the haunting figure. I have found myself to have an experience consistent with what I knew about this phenomenon, particularly in the form of the hat-wearing version of a Shadow Man. My own experience with this figure happened one night in either late spring or early summer 2013, and I had been asleep since a decent hour, probably 9:00 or 10:00 PM. I had been sound asleep, yet woke up suddenly, probably at some time past midnight or 1:00 AM, or alternately, before the sunrise closely aligned to the point after 6:00 AM. If it was not quite completely dark outside, excluding the night lights from the city and suburbs, yet it certainly was inside of my bedroom. I remember it being warm during the day, and earlier that night was not much different, at least indoors. However, I felt more of a breeze than I thought to expect. There is no air-conditioning in my house. In fact, the breeze sensation was bone-chilling. I did not feel myself to be completely awake, and strangely, I recall a feeling of sleep paralysis, not being able to turn my head, just with the corners of my tired eyes. I actually thought I sensed the presence of another person in the bedroom, not quite seen, yet distinctly with a human or semi-human characteristic. I glanced at the shadows against the wall, noticing the silhouette of what appeared to be a man wearing a trench coat or overcoat, and a hat, all black. The silhouette was human-esque, yet ominous, and strangely suggestive of stereotypical film noir characters clad in long coats and fedora hats. The entire situation was stereotypically enough as though it was befitting a horror movie. As if the cold, chilly feeling was not enough to accurately describe the experience, I also believed I faintly heard a voice, yet there were indistinct sounds. It sounded like whispers at the time, although I could not make out any words intelligibly. It was not long after my sensations of this phantom Shadow Man figure that I fell back asleep. Even though I felt unable to physically move, I do not believe this was a nightmare, and to this day, the event has left a lasting impression on me. I could not forget the silhouette, the icy chill in the room and on my face and arms, and the distinct sounds of what seemed to be a human voice, not quite audible, and never understood.”

This testimony of a Shadow Man is typically like one of paranormal sightings or sensations. The witness recalls his feelings and his apparent sleep paralysis, combined with the unexpected chilly air in the bedroom, and sensations of the ghostly figure in question. The apparition is described in painstaking detail as much as visual memory could offer.

I believe that accounts like this of the Shadow Man, or Shadow Men, may be the result of sensations gone awry when the mind and body are in unstable states. Mentally, people draw associations to things, so shadows could apply. The testimony of the figure’s shape, down to his clothes, is in line with previous perceptions of archetypal film noir, or more generally almost any film made during the era of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s heyday of that genre. This Shadow Men phenomenon also appears to have quite a bit in common with the Men in Black conspiracy, and individuals’ sightings of black-suited or otherwise darkly dressed government agents. The main difference between the two phenomenons seems to be that people sincerely feel physically attached to their sightings of the agents, whereas the Shadow Men are reported, yet viewed more ambiguously and with some skepticism. The Shadow Men may or may not be wearing hats, according to other versions of the accounts.

 

For further reference: Ahlquist, Diane (2007). The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Life After Death. USA: Penguin Group. p. 122.

[geolocation]