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Shadows and Shadow Beings

Sooner or later anyone who engages in paranormal investigations or has read about ghost/spirit hauntings will encounter the topic of shadows and shadow beings. While the study of shadows and shadow beings (aka shadow entities) is a whole field unto itself, as paranormal investigators we feel it is important to discuss the subject to some extent.

Shadow beings, as the name suggests, are characterized by simply a dark black shadow figure. Sometimes the figure is wispy, other times more solid. The shape is usually a human form, though non-human (possibly animal) shapes have sometimes been reported. The shadow usually is from 3 to a much as 7 feet tall. Sometimes faint facial features can be seen, most notably eye openings. On rare occasion a full face is seen. The shadow usually doesn’t show any signs of arms or legs. Shadows seem to have the ability to move a great speeds. They can be seen standing still then quickly accelerate out of view. They do not seem to be contained by walls or other solid structures as they have been seen passing through them.

Shadow man in East Wing
Photograph of a "shadow man" in the East Wing of Rolling Hills Asylum.
(picture courtesy of Lori Carlson & RHGHS. Reprinted with permission.)


Close up of Shadow man in East Wing
Close up of the "shadow man" in the East Wing of Rolling Hills Asylum.
(picture courtesy of Lori Carlson & RHGHS. Reprinted with permission.)

Shadows can be seen in both bright daylight or at night. Most often they are capture by photographic equipment (still photos or video) but have been seen with the naked eye. When seen with the naked eye they are often seen indirectly. That is, it’s rare to look straight on at a shadow. Rather, they are seen off to the side of direct vision. Some individuals seem more prone to viewing shadows than others. For these reasons the very existence of shadows are subject to much criticism.

People often associated a sinister meaning to shadows, owing to the black color. This most likely is a false assumption. Black simply means the absence of emitted or reflected color. Whatever shadows are composed of it’s possible they do not emit or reflect any visible light (visible to the naked human eye at least) so they appear black to the human eye.

As previously mention the true nature of what shadows are is the subject of an entire field of study with in the paranormal and is beyond the scope of this discussion. However, there are a few theories that should be reviewed:

  • Ghosts/Spirit Manifestations – Some theorize shadows are just another way ghosts and spirits can manifest themselves. While not as common as the more usual white or bright light manifestation, it is possible that for whatever reason some spirits manifest more darkly. As mentioned before, whether this can be interpreted as having purpose or meaning is uncertain at best.
     
  • Non-Human/Inhuman Entities – It is theorized that shadows are another class of paranormal entity, possibly representing non-human or inhuman entities. If so, whether they are angelic or demonic is not known.
     
  • Aliens – Some believe that shadows are an alien life form. They could be the actual alien itself or a telepathic manifestation of their projection to our world. This theory isn’t widely discussed or accepted as it leans so much towards the science-fiction. But it deserves to be mention in the interests of completeness.
     
  • 2-Dimensional Entities – Some have theorized that shadows are only 2 dimensional in structure (they have length and wide but no depth). It is theorized that shadows can only be seen when looked at by right-angles (i.e. 90 degrees or close to its profile). When viewed straight on or directly from behind they can not be seen because they have no depth (thickness). When a shadow seems to appear and disappear it might just be turning from side profile to head-on and visa-versa.
     
  • Alternate Life Forms – The sometimes observed animal-like form of a shadow leads some to believe these are a type of rare and undocumented life form. Some paranormal researchers have taken video they believe shows a shadow in a very animal-like form. One video we have seen claims to show a shadow moving along the ground then "sprouting" wings and flying off. Since we did not take this video nor have access to the source LIPI is unable to perform an analysis of the claim.

There is no report we are aware of that indicates shadows are dangerous or threatening (other than their appearance). Some people have reported shadows moving small objects but there are other types of paranormal activity as well as non-paranormal events could also explain it.

To summarize, shadows and shadow beings (shadow entities) are an aspect of paranormal investigations. The probability of encountering a shadow is low compared to the other paranormal events that are more commonly reported. Still, investigators should be aware of the theories about shadows to better understand what they may encounter on an investigation.


In March of 2007 Long Island Paranormal Investigators took part in a 4 day trip to the famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO. During the trip Rosemary Ellen Guiley gave a presentation on the subject of Shadows. The following is a summary of her presentation.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley presents on Shadows
Rosemary Ellen Guiley presents on the subject of Shadows and Shadow beings.

Rosemary has spent years researching the shadow people (shadow entities) phenomena and cataloging accounts of encounters with shadows. She stated her studies show that:

  • Most shadow entities appear while a person is asleep, or about to fall asleep/wake up.
  • They usually enter a room (or building) through a door way but have been seen coming right through solid walls.
  • Encounters can be occasional or throughout a person's life time. Sometimes they seem to "follow" a family from one generation to another.
  • Encounters can start when people move to a new location. They sometimes are seen lurking in woods and undeveloped areas around buildings.
  • The most commonly reported physical characteristics of a shadow are:
    • Tall 5-6 feet, sometimes 7 feet
    • Male in appearance
    • Dark and slim
    • Very black - "Blacker than black"
    • Looks like they are wearing a long black trench coat and a large brimmed hat
    • They appear to be 3-dimensional, opaque and seem to have physical mass
    • No eyes
    • Silent - they make no noise as they move but movement is clearly known
  • They react when their presence is noticed, usually moving away very quickly
  • They don't seem to obey common physical laws - can move through walls, unnaturally fast movement, can appear or vanish instantly.
  • People often feel a sinister or mischievous feeling when they are encountered.
  • Direct verbal communication is rare but some kind of thought-level communication sometimes appears to be occurring.
  • Pets often react very negatively to them and places they have been
  • They seem to "invade" your personal space
  • She described 6 sub-categories of shadows:
    • Sentinels - They stand in corners/edges and just watch us
    • Lurkers - They move through an area, often the same path over and over.
    • Predators - They seem to want to invoke intense fear/terror. Physical attack is sometimes reported.
    • Visitors - Groups of shadows. Often described as appearing other worldly.
    • MTB - Minding Their own Business, similar to Lurkers they seem not to notice us as they move through an area.
    • Omens - Often appear just before a bad luck event or death happens. Often follow a person or entire family for generations.
    • Haunters - Are associated with accepted haunted locations
  • Possible explanations for shadows include:
    • Ghosts/spirits
    • Shape Shifters
    • "Old Hag" legends
    • Thought Forms - beings that are formed out of our subconscious thought (like in the old movie "Forbidden Planet" with Walter Pigeon).
    • Ultraterrestrial beings - "Moth Man"
    • Extraterrertrial beings - May be related to the M.I.B. (Men In Black) reports
  • Things people can do to try to rid themselves of a shadow haunting:
    • Prayer
    • Spiritual cleansing
    • Mediate for emotional harmony
    • Change your environment
    • Sleep with the lights on (they rarely show during the day or in the light)

 

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