The Shadow Man is the only thing that holds me back from falling completely into scepticism and losing the last vestiges of my imaginative youth. Maybe I should thank him for that, although I have no doubt if he ever presented himself to me again I'd be beating a hasty retreat for the nearest exit.
For many years he was a secret between me and my Auntie Melly. But one day when I was about sixteen I was at a BBQ with my Mum and lots of her arty friends (she was into that stuff that year, no doubt prompted by her Salvador Dali obsessed artist boyfriend) I happened to tell a group of people the story. One woman stared at me open mouthed and told me her own story. In her house she and her family often found a shadow man crouched in the corner of her landing. Whenever they spotted him he'd get up and run away but not before they'd catch a glimpse of his bright red eyes. It chilled me then to think that we had both encountered/imagined something so similar.
I put it out my mind until a few years ago when I was busy writing up my Shadow Man story for a Halloween blog post. I decided to do a little search on the net and was truly horrified to discover... the shadow people are something many people have encountered. Be it an illusion of the human mind or a group of entities, there is something in it worthy of further investigation.
After I wrote my blog post on the shadow man many Halloweens ago, one of my workmates read it and got freaked out by it. She told her entire department about it and later that day one quiet member of the marketing team sidled up to my desk and asked to talk to me. Jo told me about how she'd woken up one day to find the shadow man in her bedroom... and he didn't just stand and watch her but "freaked out" and attempted to attack her before she fled the room screaming with terror. Again I felt a chill run down my spine... she told me she had never told anyone before because she was afraid they'd laugh at her and she'd never heard anyone else talk about them but my description matched hers exactly. And it scared her quite a bit. How many others around us have met a shadow and keep it to themselves because they are afraid of ridicule?
As I said in one of my first posts on this subject on this blog, the Shadows is a particularly good website. Yes it's a fundie site. But it has some good info hidden in there too. The Shadow Gallery is the most useful part for me and page 3 especially interesting; it was here I discovered something even more disturbing.
The pair of Hooded Shadows haunted me at Sharnall Lane (where I saw the Shadow Man). I'd often see them hiding behind things outside, staring through windows and even running off down alleyways if I caught a glimpse of them. I know, it sounds insane, but even though I'm referring to them as "beings" I am more than open to the probability they are but figments of my imagination, and others imaginations too. But still the question that interests me the most is why do so many people reports the exact same things? Are our brains wired up to see shadows? Possibly. Pareidolia is the condition that causes our minds to interpret some images from our eyes as human faces or forms like the Face of Mars, and Hypnagogia is a form of waking dread that causes hallucinations, feelings of dread and the feeling of paralysis. Plus there are multiple other explanations... but still whilst my rational mind nods with approval my other mind, my now tiny irrational brain, that has slowly given up territory on religion and supernatural phenomena to my rational side, clings with desperation to this one last thing. I just can't shake the feeling that there's something more to shadow men. And if there is something more to shadow men, then the entire rational world I've bought into these last few years will go up in smoke and I'll have to reevaluate my entire way of thinking. That is why this topic will return again and again.