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10 Bizarre Theories That Suggest Shadow People Might Be Real

by Marcus Lowth
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

Accounts of the “Shadow People” are some of the most chilling and outrageous of all strange phenomena. Perhaps not least is that no one appears to know exactly what they are, where they come from, or why. Yet sightings of them continue to be reported around the world. And what’s more, they appear to be increasing.

Of course, we should take most of the suggestions on our upcoming list with a large pinch of salt. However, they are intriguing, nonetheless. And very much worthy of our consideration, if only on a temporary basis. But who or what are the shadow people? Well, that is where we will start our list.

Related: 10 Paranormal Mysteries That Are Not Paranormal Mysteries

10 Who or What Are the Shadow People?

The Legend of the Shadow People

The shadow people are essentially exactly what their name describes—a human-shaped shadow that people often see, usually from the corner of their eye for a brief second. They then disappear again as quickly as they were noticed.

These figures are often seen for a period of several days or weeks before incidents usually begin to escalate. This sometimes results in the shadow person rushing toward them before disappearing at the last moment. Or, in extreme cases, a person might wake to find the shadow person sitting or pressing on their chest. Some people even speak of these shadowy entities trying to choke them.

Shadow people are perhaps the thing of urban legend to most of us. However, the number of people who claim to have seen these strange entities is not to be taken lightly. There might one day be a rational explanation for the strange creatures. At the moment, though, they remain a complete mystery. There are, however, several potential and speculative explanations for just what the shadow people might be.[1]

9 They Are Actually Ghosts

Classic Shadow Person – Dead Will Rise Again | Ghost Lab

Perhaps the most obvious explanation is that what people are seeing is a ghost or a spirit. This is perhaps one of the most palatable answers to those in paranormal circles. And many sightings of shadow people often occur alongside a whole host of other paranormal activities.

The claims of these mysterious entities actually being ghosts are perhaps more credible than we might think. Especially when we note that some sightings speak of these shadowy figures not being a complete figure. For example, only the head and shoulders might be visible. Or even just the legs. Many people who report seeing “ghosts” also speak of how the apparition was not a complete form of the person. They instead often describe a partial view (the head and shoulders, for example).

Of course, anything that is unexplained and mysterious often falls into the box labeled “ghosts.” So, it should not surprise us that the connection to such entities from the other side is made. There is also, though, another popular theory.[2]

8 They Are Aliens Using Advanced Cloaking Technology

Ancient Aliens: Strange Shadow People Terrorize Humans (Season 18)

Okay, those who are regular readers of my lists will be waiting for this one. So, let’s get it out of the way early. According to some researchers, the shadow people are aliens. And what’s more, they are using some type of advanced cloaking technology. Of course, many people find the idea of aliens to be silly in itself. Much less having aliens using such technology to make them invisible.

We should note, though, the claims of many people who have suffered alleged alien abduction. Many often recall seeing the strange shadowy creatures in the weeks leading up to or after the abduction. On some occasions, these shadowy entities have even been captured on video.

Incidentally, the notion of making oneself invisible is the stuff of science fiction to most people. However, as we will discover a little later on our list, some scientists suggest similar ideas regarding invisibility. If invisibility was something that could be achieved, the results would likely be similar to the descriptions of shadow people from around the world.[3]

7 A Result of Astral Projection

Astral Projection: Getting started | Vishen Lakhiani

Another suggestion from some researchers is that shadow people are actually the result of people astral projecting. Essentially, the shadow is the essence of their energy. Or, to put it another way, their soul.

As crazy as the idea might sound to most of us, astral projection is something that many people claim to be able to achieve. And what’s more, these claims have been around for decades, if not centuries. So might it make a certain amount of sense? Let’s assume a person—or the energetic essence of that person—was able to leave their body. Might they leave behind a “shadow” of themselves as they did so?

Like the idea of ghosts and aliens, most will dismiss the notion of astral projection outright. However, many mainstream scientists have carried out in-depth research on the subject. And what’s more, the findings, while not conclusive, certainly suggest there might be more to the idea than many might think. Of course, whether astral projection and the shadow people are connected is a debate in itself.[4]

6 Hypnagogia: Walking Sleep/Sleep Paralysis

Why Our Brains Hallucinate As We Fall Asleep

Perhaps the most rational explanation is that sightings of the shadow people are simply hypnagogia. This is essentially when a person wakes up, but the body and brain remain in sleep. This often results in seeing imagined sightings. And quite often, in this position, a person can’t move. Indeed, many people feel completely paralyzed for several seconds.

Some people, though, believe they can see things that aren’t there. In our contemporary era, this would appear to be shadow people. And these are perhaps created purely in a person’s panicked mind. Perhaps in these moments, simply due to them having read about them, they then recall them in such a moment of panic.

We should note that stories in the Middle Ages, for example, often spoke of demonic entities. These demons would sit upon a person’s chests, waking them in the middle of the night. Of course, belief in such demons was particularly rife during these times. And that might explain why so many reports were made in that bygone age. Also, it could explain why sightings of shadow people are high in our modern age.[5]

5 Remote Viewing Experiments

Understanding the Science Behind Remote Viewing

Another idea that many people dismiss with little research is the notion of remote viewing. Like astral projections, this is essentially where a person “leaves their body.” And what’s more, they are able to travel great distances and view what they are seeing. Once more, this is an area that has been extensively studied by intelligence agencies. And it would appear these went beyond just leaving one’s body to view the room next door. Some experiments, at least according to leaked documents, have seen people remote view entire other planets.

According to some, the sightings of shadow people are likely to be the essence of those who are conducting remote viewing. Of course, if there is any truth to this, then the people who claim to see these strange figures might wish to ask themselves why someone would wish to remote view them in the first place.[6]

4 A “Real” Product of the Human Mind

Photo Credit: Vyacheslav Argenberg / Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps the most likely explanation when all is said and done is that the shadow people are nothing more than the product of the human mind. And there are various branch-offs from this idea alone.

The first consideration would be that sightings of shadow people are simply people seeing things that aren’t there. Perhaps due to stress, sleep deprivation, anxiety, or all of those.

It is also noted that many people who suffer from drug addiction might “see” shadow people. This is particularly the case with drugs such as “uppers,” which essentially keep people awake. In part, this explanation comes down to exhaustion. As well as the consequence of a drug-addled mind.

Of course, perhaps the simplest explanation is that people simply confuse shadows for figures. For example, let’s imagine someone lying in bed in the dark. Shadows in the room might quickly take on a different form than they would in the light.[7]

3 Evidence of Entities from Another Dimension

This Scientists Has Invented A Technology That Allows Him To View Interdimensional Beings

Rather than aliens or ghosts, some researchers have suggested that the shadow people are actually very much human. Only they are coming here from another dimension. It is a suggestion that is perhaps even more ambiguous than ghosts or aliens. However, it is certainly one that might make us ask some intriguing questions about the nature of our reality.

Of course, why these entities from other dimensions might be visiting us in the first place is a question in itself. Might they indeed be far more advanced than us and are coming here to study us for reasons currently unknown?

All possibilities are on the table until an explanation comes to light. As we will discuss a little further in our last point, though, many mainstream scientists are seriously examining the reality of other dimensions. Perhaps the shadow people will one day prove to be a consequence of these other realms.[8]

2 They Are Actually “Invisible” People

How Does This Invisibility Cloak Work?

We mentioned above on our list the notion that some people believe the shadow people to be aliens. And what’s more, they are making use of advanced cloaking technology to make them invisible. An idea that sounds pure nonsense, even to many who believe in the possibility that aliens exist. However, modern science suggests that should an “invisibility cloak” exist, it might not leave someone completely unseen. They might instead have a shadowy presence. Basically, they would likely appear in a similar way to those who claim to have seen the shadow people.

Of course, scientists are confident that they are close to overcoming this issue. And they just might achieve complete invisibility in the near future. For now, it is the claims of some that shadow people are actually the results of experimental cloaking technology, possibly by the intelligence agencies. Of course, it is a theory that most dismiss outright.[9]

1 Evidence of an Overlapping Universe

Another Universe May Have Bumped Into Ours and We Might Have Proof

Maybe one of the most bizarre suggestions is that the shadow people are the result of an overlapping universe. And that these shadowy figures are very real people who exist in their own dimension or realm. This differs from the idea of entities from another dimension that we examined earlier. These sightings of shadow people are not a case of these creatures entering our realm of existence purposely. They are instead a case of a clashing of universes.

This might sound crazy at first. We should perhaps consider, though, that some scientists in the mainstream are looking at the idea of multiple universes. As well as other dimensions that might exist all around us. And what’s more, these other universes might, on occasion, “crash” into each other. Some have even suggested that such feelings as déjà vu might be explained by these theories. It is certainly an intriguing thought… and might be proven to be accurate one day. For the time being, though, all suggestions, guesses, and speculative theories remain on the table.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen
Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a passion for anything interesting, be it UFOs, the Ancient Astronaut Theory, the paranormal or conspiracies. He also has a liking for the NFL, film and music.

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