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Shadow People seem to be this year’s go-to response on paranormal TV shows. The immediate knee-jerk reaction is: It’s a shadow person and you’ve got to move! This is far from the truth. Likewise, it is unfortunate that paranormal investigators presume the term is new. It isn’t. There is still so much to learn about these creatures that it is irresponsible to tell a family to relocate. Instead, there is a need for more collection of data on shadow people.

Shadow people are not a new paranormal phenomena. They can be a shadow, solid form, or a black mass, and stories about them go back to ancient Egyptian times where one of the seven souls was the khailbut, a shadow. They believed that the shadow was always present, even after death. In The Egyptian Book of the Dead, the deceased was often depicted as a shadow, or silhouette, with little descriptive features. It was not evil unless the deceased was evil in life. The majority—if not virtually all—shadows were merely representative of good.

The ancient Greeks and Romans also believed in shadow people. The “umbra” or “shade” was the spirit of a dead person. Again, this was not evil or up to evil deeds. In fact, the Latin word “umbra” is used today in “umbrage” which means to give shade to a person or subject. Here the word is used negatively as taking offense or being annoyed; however, the word is not meant to be taken as literal wickedness.

In the 1690s a new use of the word “umbra” emerged. Here the word was used to identify “an uninvited guest accompanying an invited guest.” This usage evolved as the phantom was now uninvited and possibly unwanted or unknown.

This would explain today’s feelings toward a shadow person. The silhouette seen is unknown to the onlooker, who may fear the shadow. At no time should the shadow person be assumed to be evil.

It is important to note that various cultures across history have recorded versions of shadow people. One expert in the field is Mike Ricksecker, author of A Walk in the Shadows: A Complete Guide to Shadow People (2020). Mike theorizes that shadow people may also be interdimensional beings. His book includes personal accounts discussing his first experience with a shadow person, along with his multi-decade fascination investigating them. You may know Mike from his appearance on The Haunted episode “Monster in the Closet” from 2011. In addition to his book, Mike gave a lecture on shadow people for Ghost Education 101. Click here to watch the presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVjppVdtMHw.

Although the concept of shadow people is not new, several paranormal TV shows have focused on the phenomena recently. Some link the phenomena to sleep paralysis (another phenomena that should be researched more). However, shadow people should not be isolated to experiences of sleep paralysis. The key is that many people witness shadow people while awake and going about their day.

Another popular theory is that shadow people are extraterrestrial (ET). This concept differs from Mike’s interdimensional being in that an ET is an alien being coming from outer space, whereas the interdimensional being originates on earth.

When searching for online images of shadow people, it is interesting to note that many artists assign genders to them. If someone witnesses a shadow person, he generally does not note a gender. In fact, a lot of sightings lack gender descriptions. The exception is when the shadow person transforms into an apparition. For the most part, shadow people are non-gender assigned.

There isn’t one theory or explanation for shadow people; however, there is a need for more research. If you encounter a shadow person, don’t presume it is evil. Most likely, it is merely looking to communicate.