Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Clark Meets the Hat Man

Clark’s grandfather died in 1977 and his grandmother moved to a small apartment leaving her old house empty. Shortly after, 10-year-old Clark’s family moved in. Although the house was nice, the basement always bothered Clark.

He soon discovered the reason.

“My first friend in the new neighborhood was my next-door neighbor, Jim,” Clark said. “We are good friends to this day.”

On a day in 1979, Clark invited Jim to his house to play Ping Pong – and it’s haunted him for 31 years.

“I had always been a little wary of going into that basement,” Clark said. “There were lovely treasures there; first edition Wizard of Oz books, some old Playboy magazines in the wine room, and boxes of old comic books and pulp magazines in an alcove in the back.”

The basement was, as basements tend to be, home to spiders “and an unshakeable eerie feeling.”

That day after school, Clark and Jim had about two hours before Clark’s parents came home from work, which meant Ping Pong, Playboys, and something they didn’t expect – something paranormal.

“During our game, I was facing the alcove,” Clark said. “At a certain point, something caught my attention.”

Standing in the alcove was the shadow of a man wearing a fedora.

“It was creepy, and I had to pause,” Clark said. “I could not figure out how any combination of the boxes could cast such a shadow. Then it moved.”

Clark stood at the Ping Pong table, staring at the alcove. He then quickly looked at Jim who was looking at him.

“He realized I had seem something,” Clark said. “I was struck by the realization that no man was casting a shadow on the wall, the shadow was solid and was not attached to any object. I turned and scrambled up the stairs with Jim right behind me.”

At the top of the stairs, their breath coming fast and heavy, Clark slammed and latched the basement door, then “looked at Jim with wide eyes.”

“What was it?” Jim asked Clark. “What did you see?”

Clark didn’t understand how Jim missed the Shadow Man.

“Didn’t you see it?” he asked.

Jim shook his head.

“A man,” Clark said to him. “A shadow of a man with a hat. You didn’t see it?”

Jim shook his head again.

“I began to feel silly, foolish, embarrassed,” Clark said. “I got over it, as did Jim. It took a while before we felt secure enough to travel down there again. I would only go down when my parents were home.”

Clark could never make logical sense of what cast that silhouette.

“Try as I might, I could not identify any source for the shadow,” Clark said. “Though I knew it must have been something that did it.”

Although the memory would stay with Clark, he filed it with other childhood memories and went on with his life. It didn’t resurface until decades later.

“I was browsing the Internet and heard mention of a Shadow Man and Shadow People,” he said. “I had to shudder at the memory of my experience. I wondered if what I saw might be a more common experience than I thought, but I knew one thing for sure, if my sighting wasn’t unique, I bet mine was the only one with a hat.”

As he surfed the Internet for more information on these Shadow People, he found the hat was more common than he thought.

“I saw (a drawing of) the Hat Man,” he said. “My jaw dropped and I got goosebumps over my entire body. I was fascinated and scared, yet grateful that such an odd mystery from my childhood should be so unexpectedly validated.”

His memory soon became further validated by an unexpected source – Jim. Clark moved to Oregon in the 1990s and didn’t see Jim until 2008. The two talked and relived their childhood – and Clark mentioned the Shadow Man in the hat.

“Jim sunk into his chair and spoke in a whisper, ‘I’ll never forget that hat.’ I was stunned,” Clark said.

Clark then asked the same question he’d asked three decades ago, did you see it?

“Yes, I did,” Jim told him. “I was scared.”

Clark almost couldn’t believe what Jim had said.

“For almost 30 years, I thought I was the only one who saw this thing,” he said. “Then I find a bewildered (Internet) community that has also experienced this. Then I discover my friend who was present also saw it.”

The Hat Man is out there. People have reported seeing the Hat Man from the United States to Brazil to Europe to Australia. And Clark’s childhood basement isn’t much different from theirs – or yours.

Copyright 2010 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, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or jasonoffutt@hotmail.com. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s latest book, “What Lurks Beyond: The Paranormal in Your Backyard,” is available at amazon.com.

8 comments:

hall442 said...

Harmless. Just a watcher is all. As with MOST people and MOST supernatural occurrences, he was unnerved by it. But that doesn't mean any harm was meant to him. It's just what happens when the unknown pops up and says hello to us. :) My advice; be sociable. Say hello right back. Find out if he's lost or needs help. Pretty much like we should do with any LIVING person. They can't help being non-living, and being in such a state does not automatically make a soul evil.

Red Beard said...

I must disagree. You've jumped to the conmlusion that this being is non-living. I personally, and from experience feel that this "Hat Man", is very much alive indeed. This isn't some spirit or ghost of the dearly departed; it exists independantly of humans, and has its own agenda. Until we can (if ever) figure out what that agenda is, I would hardly jump to the conclusion that it's harmless.

hall442 said...

I am simply going by the evidence provided. No one was harmed. No threats were made or stated. Just "feelings," which are truly up to interpretation.

My main thrust IS; IF this is (was)a non-human, they are usually NOT hands off. There would be physical assault of some sort. This did not occur, according to the information given.

The "Earth-Spirits" are amoral, at best. They find us amusing and mildly interesting as playthings. But they do not play "nice."

What has been described in this article, does not fit with the appellation you are giving it. This "Watcher" has caused no physical injury, and simply appears to be standing guard, at best. A non-human doesn't do that. The ONLY occurrence I can think of where a non-human has not been violent or destructive, are the Harlequin encounters. THAT entity seems to be trying to make a "friendly" contact, but is failing rather badly at it. But it is DEFINITELY not human in nature.

This entity, seems to be a garden variety manifestation. Reports of the Shadow Folk are legion. None come to mind that are violent. So, unless there is more to the narrative, that includes such activity, I'm inclined to stick by my original hypothesis.

Injektilu said...

Dark People in my opinion are related more to abductions then spirits, they serve a purpose for the visitors.

Many Experts think that most of us experience alien abductions and I agree that the shadow man is on their side.

gabagool said...

Hat man. I think I ran into him in Torrington Ct about 20 years ago.

I'll make it short.

My wife and I were driving in an industrial part of town, pretty nasty, the type of area you don't expect to see people walking. Well I did.

Around a bend and just after going under a train bridge, I saw a man about 100 yards ahead. He was boogying down the road, he was in a hurry. As I gained on him, I noticed that this guy was tall, REAL TALL, basketball player tall. And thin as a rail. And, from behind, all dressed in black.

I was starting get real curious as to what the front of this weirdo looked like. But he saved me the trouble. At around 40 feet or so, he whipped around, like he had been WAITING for me to catch up all along. And as he whipped around, I saw this dude clear as day. Black floppy hat, long coat or cloak, black again. Black vest, shiny boots, white shirt with a bolo. His face was pale. His face was real, real long, with a curved hawklike lower jaw and the BIGGEST LONGEST NOSE I had ever seen on a "human being". I mean this thing was so big that I almost felt sorry for him...except for one thing.

He was smiling. No, he was grinning.....a HUGE toothy grin. His eyes were open to big cirlces, his brow up, but he looked menacing. His grin seemed to say that he had expected me and now I was his.

We pasted him and I immediately looked in the rear view mirror, only to see him continue grinning, gesturing with his arms and stepping up his pace. I stepped on it and got out of there. I asked my wife if she saw him and she said, yep she did. And I asked her to describe him and she kept going on and on about his nose. (Now adays, she isn't so certain, which amazes me)

Never saw him again, DON'T WANT TO, cause I hear that he follows people around. Now, I didn't try to find any info on him for YEARS,until I got decent at researching on the internet. I tell you, some descriptions of this guy fit my sighting to a tee.

Don't know what the deal was with this guy. Weirdo, dangerous kook or simply some poor nutcase just trying to deal with life. I'll never know.

gabagool said...

Hat man. I think I ran into him in Torrington Ct about 20 years ago.

I'll make it short.

My wife and I were driving in an industrial part of town, pretty nasty, the type of area you don't expect to see people walking. Well I did.

Around a bend and just after going under a train bridge, I saw a man about 100 yards ahead. He was boogying down the road, he was in a hurry. As I gained on him, I noticed that this guy was tall, REAL TALL, basketball player tall. And thin as a rail. And, from behind, all dressed in black.

I was starting get real curious as to what the front of this weirdo looked like. But he saved me the trouble. At around 40 feet or so, he whipped around, like he had been WAITING for me to catch up all along. And as he whipped around, I saw this dude clear as day. Black floppy hat, long coat or cloak, black again. Black vest, shiny boots, white shirt with a bolo. His face was pale. His face was real, real long, with a curved hawklike lower jaw and the BIGGEST LONGEST NOSE I had ever seen on a "human being". I mean this thing was so big that I almost felt sorry for him...except for one thing.

He was smiling. No, he was grinning.....a HUGE toothy grin. His eyes were open to big cirlces, his brow up, but he looked menacing. His grin seemed to say that he had expected me and now I was his.

We pasted him and I immediately looked in the rear view mirror, only to see him continue grinning, gesturing with his arms and stepping up his pace. I stepped on it and got out of there. I asked my wife if she saw him and she said, yep she did. And I asked her to describe him and she kept going on and on about his nose. (Now adays, she isn't so certain, which amazes me)

Never saw him again, DON'T WANT TO, cause I hear that he follows people around. Now, I didn't try to find any info on him for YEARS,until I got decent at researching on the internet. I tell you, some descriptions of this guy fit my sighting to a tee.

Don't know what the deal was with this guy. Weirdo, dangerous kook or simply some poor nutcase just trying to deal with life. I'll never know.

hall442 said...

THAT sounds like another "Harlequin" encounter. Something definitely NOT human, trying to appear human, but failing BADLY. lol.

John said...

We've been visited by the Hat Man for a little over 4 years and he hasn't caused any harm.

We moved three years ago and hadn't seen him for awhile, but now he seems to be back.

He just walks through as if we aren't even there.