The tumor was large, about the size of a chicken egg. In the spring of 1971, a surgeon removed the cancerous mass from 11-year-old Rob Langevoort’s brain and Rob spent a month undergoing radiation therapy.
So, when Rob started seeing things that didn’t belong in his home, he didn’t know if they were real or imaginary. His first encounter was summer 1971.
Rob slept in on a Saturday. His mom was shopping and his dad was out repairing rental property so he had their home in Framingham, Mass., to himself.
“I proceeded down the hall to the kitchen to make myself something to eat for breakfast (and) I fell flat on my face,” Rob said. “It felt as though I was pushed.”
Rob tried to push himself up but couldn’t move – he felt someone standing on his back.
“All of a sudden things gave way and my arms had straightened out and I was staring down the hall to the living room just in time to witness what appeared to be a silhouette of a man in a trench coat wearing a fedora move from the living room to the dining room,” he said.
Rob would later call this entity the Hat Man, but despite the attack, Rob followed it.
“What I did next I find hard to believe,” he said. “I ran into the adjoining kitchen, grabbed the biggest knife I could find and ran into the dinning room.”
The Hat Man wasn’t there. The sliding glass door that led from the dining room to the back porch was still closed, the drapes covering it hung still. He ran through the house and found himself alone, clenching a knife. All the doors and windows were locked.
“I searched that house good,” he said. “Nothing. I went back to the dining room and checked the sliding glass door again. It was locked.”
But he hadn’t heard the front door open, so the back porch was the only way out. He unlocked the sliding glass door and stepped onto the porch, thinking the Hat Man had somehow locked the sliding door behind him and leapt off the porch. But 10 feet below the porch railing was rock – and that was the only way down.
“My father had the builders purposely not install a stairway up to the porch to prevent any intrusions,” Rob said. The Hat Man was gone, and he didn’t jump off the porch.
Was the Hat Man real, or just a side effect of the brain tumor? Rob wondered.
“What exactly did I see or did I see it?” he asked. “And how am I gonna tell Mom?”
Rob’s mother listened to his story, and filed it away as a product of radiation or an overactive 11-year-old mind … until she saw the handiwork of the Hat Man herself.
Seven days later, “my mother prepared breakfast in the dining room, opened the drapes and got the shock of her life,” Rob said. “The sliding glass door was shattered.”
The entire six-foot glass door had been broken into small pieces. Not by a projectile from outside the house, but from something inside – only the interior of the double-pane glass was shattered. Rob was sure the Hat Man had been hiding inside the door.
But that was just the beginning. Although Rob hasn’t seen the Hat Man since he was 11, he’s seen similar shadow beings all his life, although nothing has pushed him or broken glass in decades.
Now an Internet programmer with two children, shadow people remain a part of his life.
“I still see them after 30-plus years and more often now since I have moved in with my elderly father,” Rob said. “It’s not disturbing to me other than they won’t stay still long enough for me to take a good look at them. They appear as semi-transparent charcoal gray foggy silhouettes that I catch in the corner of my eye.”
When Rob tries to look at them straight on, they zip away.
“I see them mostly in doorways and hallways,” Rob said. “I saw one once dash around a sofa. This tells me they can see objects – probably including me. I don’t get excited, (they’re) pretty commonplace with me after all these years.
“How often do I see these shadow people?” Rob said. “All the time.”
Copyright 2007 by Jason Offutt
Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt c/o The Examiner, 410 S. Liberty, Independence, Mo. 64050, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, address and telephone number. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
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