A gray sheet of clouds stretched across the sky as 12-year-old Doug ran to the corner store to buy snacks. Andre was coming to his house to watch movies and he wanted to be ready.
“It was overcast but not raining, and in the middle of the afternoon,” Doug said. Since the day was shadowless he didn’t understand what he saw on his way home from the store.
“As I approached the corner to turn onto my street, I saw something black sticking beyond the bushes in the front of my house,” Doug said. “I yelled, ‘Andre,’ and started running toward my driveway where the bushes are.”
But the dark figure wasn’t Andre. A black, man-shaped shadow rose from behind the bushes in this gray afternoon and began running toward Doug’s house.
“After a few steps I saw the shadow running down my driveway toward the back yard,” he said. “I ran up the driveway to the gate that leads to my back yard. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I watched a pair of legs running through the yard and through the fence at the far end.”
Doug stood at the gate, staring into the now empty yard.
“I was not afraid, I was just shocked,” he said. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This thing. What could it be? Why was it black when most stereotypical stories said that ghosts were white? Could this be demonic? Could it be like me, just a person?”
The questions from his first encounter with shadow people haunted him for years. But this encounter wouldn’t be his last.
Eight years later, at the same house, Doug woke from a deep sleep and lay in the gray room, staring at his bedroom wall.
“I woke for no reason, had no weird dreams, and I wasn’t groggy or half asleep,” he said. “My room was dark other than some stray beams coming through the blinds, and I could see a man, darker than the night like a void.”
The figure, shrouded in a cloak, stood at the end of the bed.
“I could only make out the silhouette of his head and shoulders. The rest of him just went straight to the floor,” Doug said. “There were no legs or feet. No red eyes, no facial features whatsoever.”
Terrified, Doug slid low in bed, pulling the covers slowly over his face, watching the black, man-shaped figure standing over him until his blankets hid the horror from his view and Doug fell back to sleep.
Doug is now 29, and although he doesn’t know what these shadow beings were, he knows he saw them.
“These are the two instances where I specifically saw shadow people,” Doug said. “Only in the past couple of years have I been able to find anything on the subject matter. It’s almost like re-victimization when reading stories from other people that describe experiences like mine. I never knew it could be so widespread and am still dealing with the shock.”
But the shadow beings haven’t left Doug. They visit him in his sleep.
“I have dreams of floating black heads with red eyes and extremely bright, tiny white teeth,” he said.
In these dreams, the shadow beings stare at him. In 2011, he realized these shadow figures might not be just a dream.
“Last summer, the first night I slept in my last apartment, I woke up in my old bedroom in the dream,” he said. “I thought I saw a shadow go past the doorway, and as I turned and stretched enough to be able to check, the most ungodly deep voice breathed my name in my ear and down my neck. It was so real.”
Doug is convinced his dreams of shadow people are more than dreams, and that these shadows are torturing people’s minds.
“That’s the thing with shadow people, I think they confuse people when appearing to them, make them question their sanity, only to show up again and make the person go through that whole process again,” he said. “They’d leave long enough for one to question themselves, only to reinforce their existence a few years down the road.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
Jason’s newest book on the paranormal, “Paranormal Missouri: Show Me Your Monsters,” is available at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.