Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Followed By The Hat Man
The horror started slowly, almost playfully. Five-year-old Sinthia lie in bed with her grandmother when something pinched her feet.
“I woke up (my grandmother) and told her, but she brushed it off,” Sinthia said. “I tried to go back to sleep, this time putting my knees very close to my chest, but it kept pinching me.”
Sinthia’s prodding knees kept her grandmother awake, so her grandmother moved, sliding her legs where Sinthia’s would have been. Then the grandmother felt the teasing fingers.
“He pinched her,” Sinthia said. “She jumped up turned on all the lights but no one was there.”
Her grandmother dropped to her knees at the side of the bed, said the Lord’s Prayer, and crawled back under the sheets next to her granddaughter and they both tried to go back to sleep.
Then Sinthia saw something that made sleep impossible.
“I remember I had the blankets over my head but felt compelled to peek and when I did I saw this arm – just an arm and hand – over the bed. I remember the fingers were very long and the nails were pointy.”
She screamed and the appendage disappeared.
“It began to dematerialize,” she said. “It went away in pieces. I found that so odd even as a kid.”
The strangeness didn’t stop at her grandmother’s house.
“The next night I was very afraid to sleep,” Sinthia said. “I felt as if I was keeping watch.”
For good reason. Someone was there, in the room with her and her grandmother.
“All of a sudden I looked toward the door and could clearly make out the shape of a man with a hat on,” she said. “I froze in fear, praying he would not walk toward the bed.”
Young Sinthia lie helpless, fear freezing her to her grandmother’s bed.
“I finally said out loud, ‘wake up, it’s a man in here,’” Sinthia cried. “When she woke up I said, ‘look at the door.’ But he was gone. I knew at that point he was only really after me. I was no longer a fan of going over granny’s house.”
A few years later, Sinthia’s experiences grew worse.
“In middle school, my family had moved from the ghetto to a nice house in the suburbs,” she said. “I felt safe from everything.”
That night, when the sun crept over the horizon and Sinthia crawled into bed, she knew she wasn’t really safe. Not at all.
“The first night in my new room I could feel the mattress vibrating.” A feeling that became a nightly occurrence. “I shared a bed with my sister at the time so I asked her if she felt the bed shaking and she said ‘no,’ so I went to sleep.”
Later that night, Sinthia dreamt of dark, faceless people with long, boney arms reaching for her. The next morning her sister said she’d heard Sinthia moaning during a bad dream, but didn’t wake her.
“I was more angry at her than the Shadow things,” she said.
In the seventh grade, Sinthia found someone she could talk with about her Shadow encounters.
“At the time I had a very bad stutter and all the black kids would tease me while the white kids embraced me,” she said. “I became friends with a white girl named Kim and began spending time with her and her family. I mentioned my nightmares to her mother.”
Kim’s mother had experienced this herself.
“She mentioned Old Hag Syndrome,” Sinthia said. “She told me that I must have pissed off someone in a previous life.”
Kim’s mother told Sinthia to pray every night before bed, and the paranormal encounters faded away.
“It did stop for a few years until one night in 1990,” Sinthia said.
One night during Sinthia’s senior year in high school she fell asleep on the sofa and woke to a bright white light shining through the front window.
“I thought maybe it’s a police light, but at the same time I was paralyzed,” she said.
Although she couldn’t move her arms or legs, she could turn her head, and when she did she wished she hadn’t. A little white person stood in the room.
“I don’t mean white as in race, I mean white as in color,” she said. “This short, kinda white person walked into the living never taking his eyes off me and was sorta smiling. He walked up to me and I blacked out. I know for a fact I was not asleep.”
Sinthia is now an adult with three children and although she’s gotten used to these paranormal occurrences, they’ve started to become way too personal.
“Since my daughter was born I have seen the man in the hat about five times,” she said. “Once I totally ignored his ass, but what got me afraid again is when my daughter saw him.
Sinthia never mentioned paranormal experiences to her daughter, but the little girl described exactly what Sinthia had seen at her grandmother’s house so long ago.
“She was so scared I could see the fear in her eyes when she described him,” Sinthia said. “She said, ‘a tall man stood at my door wearing an Abraham Lincoln hat.’ Those were her words. Now I was pissed at it. As a mom, you don’t want nothing or no one to mess with your kids.”
The Hat Man came back weeks later, and spoke to Sinthia.
“I clearly heard a demonic voice in my left ear as I slept. I heard it say ‘lover’ (pause) ‘friend,’” Sinthia said. “I woke up to find Mr. Hat Man at the end of my bed.”
The Shadow Man with a square face and no neck loomed over her.
“This thing is far from being a spirit or ghost.”
Drawing all her strength and anger, Sinthia said “no,” then stared at the Hat Man until it disappeared.
But the Hat Man didn’t stay gone for long. Sinthia’s cousin took a picture of her holding a young relative in her living room – but they were not alone in the picture. A few days later her cousin called.
“She said, ‘I have a photo of you and the baby and it looks like a really tall man is standing behind you,’” Sinthia said. “Chills ran down my back. My cousin was confused because she had never heard of a Shadow Person, nor cared to. The subject of the paranormal is something black people stay clear of. That’s why I felt so alone all these years.”
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.”