This past November Miles Klee, writing for The Rolling Stone, began his piece with:

“Since the late 2000s, people have shared their stories of a strange vision that sounds remarkably consistent from one account to the next. It’s the tall silhouette of a man in a brimmed hat, a presence that tends to appear when you’re in bed at night, somewhere between sleep and consciousness.” [1]

Mr. Klee follows this statement with a quote by a victim of the phenomena, who wrote on his own blog:

“What I saw gripped me immediately with fear and dread. The man had no distinguishable features whatsoever. I could see no eyes, no nose or mouth, only blackness. He looked like a shadow, only darker — much darker. He had a very wide brimmed hat and a long trench coat that flowed as he moved.”

This testimony, submitted by a victim named Timothy M. Brown Jr., [2] is as Klee wrote—remarkably consistent—with the accounts of other victims who have bravely come forward and shared details of their encounter despite the potential of negative criticisms being hurled at them from those agnostics who cling desperately to their belief that demons don’t exist. The same agnostics that decry bullying and shaming as a means to encourage conformity to the ideals of society, but yet are the exact people who never fail to use the same tactics of ridicule and shame to destroy those naive enough to claim an encounter with that which defies the agnostic’s precious science.

In our opinion, Klee was incorrect to say that these encounters with unknown entities of the paranormal realm began with the late 2000s, indeed these same encounters have persisted since the dawn of recorded history. Perhaps the hunter gatherer, the prehistoric man taking shelter in a cave, the interior of which being illuminated by a preciously guarded fire, was sufficiently aware of base physics and reality, enough so, to realize that the dark black nebulous void watching him from across the flames was not a shadow. No, the primitive caveman was smart enough to instinctively know that something would have had to be there to cast a shadow, therefore he understood, that which he was observing was of the spirit realm and not human.

Descriptions of shadowy, human-like figures have appeared in folklore and religious texts throughout history and across cultures. Some examples include the supernatural creatures known as “djinn” of ancient Islamic theology and the beings known as “Nalusa Chito” of the Native American Choctaw tribe’s mythology. The modernly-used term “shadow people” was coined by paranormal researcher and book author Heidi Hollis, who claims that shadow people have been around since the beginning of time and usually appear as dark human-shaped silhouettes in our peripheral vision. [3] Many who have witnessed such events, will tell you that they were looking directly at the entity, not seeing it out of the corner of their eye.

In a Wikipedia entry titled, Human Guise, the online, open source encyclopedia explains that this concept which appears in folklore, mythology, religion, literature, and iconography, whereby non-human beings such as gods, angels, monsters, all at times, take on a humanoid form so that they seem human when in reality they are not. Stories have persisted for millennia depicting the deception as a means used to blend in with people. Some observers posit the theory that these entities take on a human form, so as to be more frightening to the victim who is naturally concerned about the sudden appearance of another humanoid shape in their bedroom, their home, or even in some dimly lit alleyway.

The Rolling Stone article, appears to conflate the appearance of shadow people with sleep paralysis, just as far too many other supposedly intellectually superior elitists are prone to do. Klee also suggests that the appearance of shadow people might be associated with hallucinations induced from the abusive consumption of diphenhydramine, or DHP, the active ingredient in the over-the-counter allergy medication Benadryl.

As an exorcist I have heard the—you might say confessions—of those who have had a close encounter with these so called shadow people, of course, as an exorcist I have a professional curiosity in the phenomena that drives one to seek out these strange and unusual reports. While some of these reports do seem more relative to an explainable physical condition such as sleep paralysis, far too many victims state that they were not asleep at the time, or that after the event physical evidence was found that indicated someone, or something, had been actually been there eliminating the possibility that the occurrence was simply a bad dream or a hallucination.

What makes it extremely difficult to document and study such phenomena is that as with many other aspects of the paranormal, the potential is great for cultural contagion. The propagation of a phenomena or even an ideology, can spread through a society like a virus, infecting one mind, and that individual then in turn infecting others exponentially, in this manner, the virus can relatively quickly infect a large group of people. And so it is with this subject as some only seek attention for themselves by claiming to have been victimized by that which goes bump in the night.

On the other hand, Those unfortunate souls who have had a very real contact with the paranormal, find that their eyewitness testimony is denigrated by the opinions of those that are far too quick to conclude that the account offered by a very real victim, is in fact no more credible than the accounts of those who either claim a brush with the paranormal as a way to account for what was otherwise an explainable event, or, who simply crave attention.

One caregiver, who attempts to explain away shadow people as just a manifestation of sleep paralysis, includes in her article links to academic studies on the subject, one of which begins with the broad statement, “Sleep paralysis is a relatively common but under-researched phenomenon. While the causes are unknown, a number of studies have investigated potential risk factors. ” [4]

Broad dismissal of what is admittedly a common phenomena with unknown causes, as naught but an explainable physical or medical occurrence, does a tremendous disservice to those who witness such an event but are far from asleep at the time of the occurrence. Indeed, while some report suddenly awakening to see a dark nebulous form that resembles a human wearing a wide brimmed hat and are unable to move or otherwise react to the intrusion, others report seeing a so called hat man or an entity whose description is strikingly similar, in rural or even industrial locales.

In one case, two young men ventured onto an abandoned Air Force base where they encountered something frightening. While exploring an open garage bay they heard unusual sounds that unnerved them so much that they decided to leave and on their way back through the field surrounding the facility, they both sensed they were not alone. The author of the report writes:

All of a sudden, they could hear footsteps coming through the overgrown brush. That is when they noticed, across the field, that snow was bouncing up and the grass/bushes were parting, as if something was going through the grass, something they couldn’t see. One of the young men, Joseph, could see the outline of what appeared to be a human, but it was transparent. He could see through it. He could see the brush on the other side of it, but it was distorted, “like an optical illusion.” Both men became frightened and headed for the fence. Joseph and Tory both kept an eye on it as they moved. They noted that there were clear indentations in the snow and the brush and snow were moving as if somebody was trudging through the grass, but they couldn’t see anything beyond an outline. Even stranger, Joseph claimed that it seemed to completely vanish occasionally and then come back. It trailed them but never got more than 30 feet away from them except when they neared the fence. At some point Joseph stopped and raised his rifle at the thing. This seemed to anger the entity. There was some brush that stood about 15 feet high and it separated “like somebody drove a truck through it.” It was coming hard. Snow was flying, brush was flying. Joseph aimed at it but, for the first time ever as a hunter, he felt a real sense of dread, like he should not shoot at it. His friend Tory also urged him not to shoot, as it would only make it worse.

Three weeks later, Joseph returned with another friend and they spent hours searching through every abandoned building and never found the beeping device, nor did they ever encounter the entity again. Looking back, Joseph senses that the thing he encountered was “something evil” and that it meant to do them harm. He likened his sighting to the alien in the “Predator” films, but noted that, while similar, it wasn’t the same.[5]

Another eyewitness reports seeing an entity that he likens to that fictional Predator in the motion pictures of the same name. A park ranger recalls:

Since Seven Falls is considered a state park at the end of the night we would sit at the main entrance into the falls at the bottom of the canyon and monitor the toll booth. During weekends and holidays, we were out there until 3 AM. On several occasions when waiting for the end of my shifts I always had occurrences that made me feel like I was going to get attacked by either an animal or a person. We would hear hissing sounds and groans. Sometimes there were glowing eyes, either red or white in color, but larger than area wildlife. These could be seen from behind the bushes and tree canopies. But what stuck with me were the shimmering humanoid shapes. The shimmering was otherworldly. The way I always described it to my family and a few friends was like that of the ‘Predator’ film alien when it cloaked.

In May of 2022, an old coworker and I ran into each other while at Walmart. we decided to go to the nearby diner next door and talk about the good old days. During the conversation, he asks if I ever saw the ‘Predator’ and its camouflage at Seven Falls? My blood ran cold. He then proceeded to tell me about his experience on his shifts that I’d never heard. After leaving the diner and arriving home I sat in the driveway for a moment contemplating what inhabits park[6]

Perhaps the association of this so called Glimmer Man to the fictional alien Predator, is no accident. The Hat Man is often conflated with the so called Men in Black who are reported to appear after one witnesses an Unidentified Flying Object. Another writer in an article that attempts to identify the Hat Man tells us:

What makes reported encounters with The Hatman different from other supernatural sightings, is that the entity is able to interact with the physical world. Multiple reports comment on how objects were picked up and moved around, with one person sharing a story of seeing the strange being move objects on a dresser, and then waking up to find foreign coins were left behind.

According to Albert Bender, author of the book Flying Saucers and the Three Men, in 1953 a former Air Force officer was approached by three men dressed in black that communicated with him telepathically, handing him a strange metal disk in the process. This sighting was the basis for the “Men in Black.”

The Hatman, as the source of the famous “Men in Black” sightings, is a strange, potentially demonic follow-up to UFO sightings. Finally, users on Twitter presented a third theory, The Hatman is a demonic Dark Watcher; the famous specters that haunt the mountains of California. The Dark Watchers first appear in writings of the Spanish Conquistadors in the 1700’s. Those that have spotted these beings claim they are silently observing, and don’t make moves to intervene, but anyone that approaches them is likely to vanish forever. There is a definite similarity between the Dark Watchers and The Hatman as tall, dark, quiet observers. [7]

Another account connects a shadow person with Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, the present day terminology that has replaced the acronym, UFO:

The witness was looking out a kitchen window when the sound of what appeared to be an Army helicopter was moving by. The witness watched the sky to see the helicopter, but it never arrived, so the assumption was it went in another direction.

“As I’m starting to look away, that’s when I noticed a huge dark shadow go across the parking lot while I’m still staring at the sky,” the reporting witness stated.

The shape of the shadow was rectangular. The sky was clear. There were no clouds out and it was a bright sky.

“Meaning this object was invisible but had a shadow.”

Then later when the encounter may have seemed to be over, but the witness had another odd thing happen while taking the dog outside:

“I leave the backdoor open while I’m letting the dog out. When my dog was finished, we went into the house. As I’m going up the stairs I notice a figure going up the stairs, taking the last step and turning where the open living room is. It wasn’t an adult size, more so of kid height.”

The witness said that the figure was transparent but lightly cloudy white like Casper the Ghost with a blue outline. [8]


While the exact supernatural origin of these shadow-like beings is debated among those considered to be paranormal experts, there is one thing that most agree upon — which is that the presence of shadow people is wholly unsettling. These shadowy, human-like entities have a bit of a murky reputation, as most people who report seeing them state that they feel uncomfortable, scared, and in some extreme cases, even paralyzed with fear. Most reports on shadow people are overwhelmingly negative and are accompanied by a feeling of dread.

One victim concludes her testimony by writing: “The Hat Man was like nothing else. The sheer cold-sweating terror of the sight of him pales in comparison to everything else. Even just talking about him now gives me a creeping sense of unease. I’m neither a scientist nor a paranormal expert, so I can hardly say for certain what I saw that night. Was it a deep-seated fear of the unknown playing tricks on my brain, or a very real brush with something terrible and hungry?

Saint Michael’s Journal has visited this subject before and most likely will approach it again in the future, because it is such a common occurrence and so many people have been terrified by these evil entities. And we will investigate this subject again in the future, because, well lets just say that even exorcists are not immune from being visited by shadow people.


[1]How the ‘Hat Man’ Went From Benadryl Joke to TikTok Horror Villain, by Miles Klee, 22 November 2022

[2] The Hat Man Project. The blog of Timothy M. Brown Jr. where he claims his blog is the very first and only web site solely devoted to researching, collecting, and archiving information and stories relating to The Hat Man.

[3]What Are Shadow People? The Explanation Is Beyond Creepy, by Nina Kahn, June 29, 2021

[4]A systematic review of variables associated with sleep paralysis

[5] ‘Glimmer Man’ Entity Encountered at Abandoned USAF Radar Station, February 23, 2022

[6] Frightening ‘GLIMMER MAN’ ENCOUNTER Recalled By Colorado Park Security Guard January 2, 2023

[7] Who Is The Hatman? Witnesses Are Sharing Stories Of Eerie Encounters, By JONATHAN KLOTZ

[8] Michigan witness sees shadow of rectangular object then has ghost-like encounter, by Roger Marsh


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