When I was a child I saw these things, these Shadow People, and those memories have stayed with me as I've grown, and they still help keep my sceptical mind open. The main experience sticks particularly out in my mind as, thanks to my beloved Auntie Melly, some confirmation that part of the events really did happen.
I was only 4 or 5 years old, living in my Nan's house in Snodland with her, my Mum, Auntie Melly and my Uncle Graham. On the night I want to talk about everyone had gone out, except for Melly who was babysitting me with her boyfriend, Mick. Now the house, number 9 Sharnall Lane, sat opposite a graveyard, and on 2 sides of it was a spooky (for my over imaginative imagination anyway!) disused road leading to a large house that had been abandoned... it was partially obscured by trees and my young mind always pictured it as some old colonial style house with a porch etc (in Snodland? Yeah... right). And to knock it off the rumour among the children of the street was that it was built over an old plague pit. So I'll admit... I was always in the state of mind to expect the unexpected.
That night she put me to bed, leaving the door open on to the hallway. The stairs ran at right angles to the hallway down the side of my room. It wasn't more than five minutes later, as I stared lazily out the door into a hallway lit only with the light from downstairs, that it strode into view as if it'd walked down the hall from my Nan's room, not up the stairs. It nearly filled the doorway. It was pitch black, man shaped shadow, and beyond its outline and its rather large size (I'd guess 6'8" and built big, so pretty much like me now!) there was nothing discernible... no facial features or clothes... except that is for his bright red eyes. Now like any young child seeing that I SCREAMED!!!! Melly came crashing up the stairs and the Shadow strode of out of view down the hall. I told her what I'd seen and she seemed worried. She rushed out and called for Mick and together they checked the other rooms. She came back and calmed me down as best she could and they both wandered downstairs relieved. It was just a child's nightmare...
And as they got comfy on the sofa again, he strode back into the doorway just as before and now this time I know I was awake and he stared at me. The level of malevolence in that stare is not really describable, as if he was a shadow superman firing beams of pure hate out of his eyes. I know this sounds silly but this time I was too scared to scream. It was the barks of my Nan's toy poodle Lucy that scared him away this time. She came charging up the stairs and down the hallway after him. I called for Melly and she came and I told her what happened. Lucy was now sitting in the hallway growling (this wasn't unusual... she was a mean tempered little creature who would growl all day long just for fun). Melly told me not to be silly, it had been Mick all along, trying to scare me.
I was so relieved, not quite believing her but wanting to believe her, and I fell asleep quickly after that. The door was closed this time.
He never came back any other night, but it was a long, long time before I started sleeping with the door even slightly ajar. It wasn't unusual for me to close every door in the house if I was ever left alone in it until well into my early twenties.
A year or so before Melly died I was talking with her about something and the subject of that night came up. I laughingly joked to her about how silly it had been for me to think Mick was a demon! She then said something that made me feel rather ill
"Jay" (for that is how I was known back in the day!) "it wasn't Mick, I just wanted you to go to sleep so said it was. You and Lucy really freaked me and him out!!!"
But at during this same period I also encountered, very often, another form of Shadow Person. Often I would see two small figures wearing hooded cloaks. They were always outside and whenever I saw them they would run away at impossibly fast speeds. Sometimes I'd just spot the tops of their hoods out the window as if they were sneaking past the house. Other times I'd catch a glimpse of them running down the footpath opposite. At the time, as a child, I thought they were witches and as I grew older and moved away I put them down to my childish imagination. In fact I almost completely forgot about them until I began researching Shadow People online. I came across a fundie site about Shadow People and almost fainted when I saw this page. My imaginary witches were not just things I'd been dreaming up alone. Worse came when I found this video which features a brief clip of one of the Hooded Shadows.
This is where I face my conundrum. On the one side I am a sceptical atheist who scorns the weirdo beliefs of woomeisters worldwide. On the other hand I have this set of experiences in one house as a child which are almost certainly not figments of my imagination (although that does not suggest they are absolutely "paranormal") . It's something I find hard to fit into my nice neat little world view and something I struggle with every day. But it's time to stop. The Shadow People are no longer part of my life and I shall put them to one side for now, a mere blip in my worldview and not something to worry about. Time for me to start leaving my bedroom door open again...
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