George was about 10 years old when a friend’s mother spoke of a vision she’d had. A man with a tall black hat and trench coat approached her in the darkness.
“She referred to him as ‘Death,’” George said. “That was his name for whatever he represented. It wasn’t good.”
The image that story implanted in George’s head manifested itself into his life a few years later.
“I had my own vision of this same man,” George said. “He was pure evil with a very cold deep look in his eyes. I had to rebuke him in the name of Jesus to go away. It was very frightening.”
But it wasn’t until George’s family moved from Alaska to Texas that he discovered he wasn’t the only member of his family who had seen this entity.
“Years later, my mom started to tell me of a vision that had woken her up in the middle of the night of a man standing at the foot of her bed,” he said. “I was in shock. It was so chilling we were talking about the same old man.”
But George had never told his mother of his encounter and he doesn’t want to have another one.
“I haven’t seen him since that one time in Alaska,” George said. “I wonder, what does it mean? Who is this man many people see? Whoever he is he is pure evil and nothing good. Maybe he’s a worker for Satan to test us.”
George and his mother had seen an entity many have dubbed The Hat Man. This being is generally a shadow-black, slightly out-of-proportion, sometimes two-dimensional entity that often wears a trench coat, cape, or long out-of-date suit, and can appear and vanish without a trace.
This usually-threatening entity has been labeled a ghost, a Shadow Person or a demon – such as this explanation from an anonymous reader of “From The Shadows.”
“The men of darkness – or men of old, or men of perdition – do not reveal themselves. They are revealed by another to warn those that they come to discourage of their presence,” Anonymous wrote. “They have no fear of men. They only fear the One that has the power to send them to the abyss before the time. They flee at the mention of the Name that is above all names.”
Denise lounged on the sofa in her grandmother’s house one day when she was 17 and saw something at the window.
“I didn’t care about that because I did think it was just an impression,” she said. But it wasn’t. “I got up and went to the kitchen to drink water and was coming back, and I had the clear impression of a man in the window with a very long hat and a long coat. It was possible even to see the contour of his face, but it was not a human face, (it was) a horrendous one with a bad smile.”
Then the image vanished quickly enough Denise doubted she had seen it – until she spoke with her grandmother and aunt who were chatting in the next room.
“I told my aunt what I saw, it was black, like a shadow, well-defined contours outside of the window,” she said. “It was like he was trying to hear something, you know?”
Both women looked at Denise, terror painting their faces.
“She asked me to describe it,” Denise said. “Both said to me they saw the very same thing.”
Delta Elise, now in her 50s, was 11 or 12 and living in Austin, Texas, when she met the Hat Man.
“I came home after being out running around in the neighborhood with my friends,” she said. “I went to bed very tired and since I was the oldest girl, I got the bigger side of the bedroom with my own bed which faced the window with the curtains.”
As she lie there, looking at the curtains, the curtains moved.
“The top right hand side of the curtains moved aside as if someone was moving it with their hand,” she said. “And then there appeared to me a very tall man in a long black cape or trench coat with what I call a witch’s hat with the top cut off just standing there. Even though his appearance was dark and I couldn’t really see any eyes, I knew it was staring right at me.”
Delta Elise pulled the covers over her eyes and eventually fell asleep, but woke up shaking in fear.
“The house we lived in was definitely haunted but this was the scariest part of living there,” she said. “I always see Shadow People. It never stops and I always feel a presence in my back seat. I also always feel something touching me or calling my name.”
Copyright 2009 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 email@example.com. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” is here. Order online at: tsup.truman.edu, www.amazon.com, or visit Jason’s Web site at www.jasonoffutt.com.