Just recently we were fortunate enough to interview Jason Offutt concerning all of the reports he has collected on the subject of shadow people. The idea of shadow people is one that tends to divide the paranormal community over those who feel that pre-internet reports of shadow people were labeled under different monickers and that the phenomena itself has been around far longer than the advent of the web, and those that feel that the phenomena itself is a web generated, or more aptly put, web propagated experience. Regardless of it's origins, reports never cease to make their way across his desk, or as in this story, into our inbox.
Considering that my own humble beginnings started in the midwest I will occasionally ask for , and receive, stories from that region. Below is a recent email received shortly after the Jason Offutt broadcast:
"I live in a Large Two Story house in Illinois with my husband and three children. There has been a lot of personal turmoil in the last few years and we have all been through some troubled times. About a year ago I kept feeling that I was being watched especially when I was alone and the kids were in school. I would see something out of the corner of my eye but, being someone that does not follow any super natural experiences or who even watches those kind of shows, I decided that I was just imagining that I saw something. This was happening quite often and then we had Thanksgiving last year and after we sat down my mother's eyes got big and by her expression I just knew that she had seen something. I looked at her and said, "Mom what is wrong?", and before she spoke I said "let's talk about it after dinner". When we were alone in the kitchen she said that she saw two dark figures walk from the foyer and move towards the stairs. My mom is very interested in the Paranormal and told me that she thought that what we saw were shadow people. Things had been fairly quiet this past summer but now I have a teenage son that is having problems in school and he has started to see these beings as well. At first he would just act funny and say that nothing was wrong but now he has confided in me about what he sees. He is another non believer and for him to be upset I believe he is truly seeing them. I also have two dogs and several times I see them cock their heads and bark and absolutely nothing. I have heard that animals are very sensitive to this so maybe they see something also."
The idea that emotional turmoil has an impact on supernatural phenomena is not a new one. In many poltergeist cases, there is usually a child entering puberty or working through a broken marriage or move that becomes a central figure in the phenomena. This is also the case in instances of demonic possession.
I was able to contact the family and soon realized I had stumbled onto something that exceeded their original story. When asked if the family had experienced anything preceding these events the mother said no, then followed with, "Well, my youngest used to have imaginary friends,but I don't see where that has anything to do with this." I pressed a little further and she revealed that immediately following her divorce with her previous husband her youngest son began to tell stories of two children who would play with him late at night when everyone would go to sleep. Her son also remarked on the appearance of the children. Both children were apparently wearing what he called "short pants". His mother had, at first believed this to just be his own jargon for shorts or even boxers. Upon seeing an antique picture, however, the boy pointed to the style of dress and exclaimed, "Short pants!".
Of particular interest to me is the fact that both phenomena started after a traumatic event in the "children's lives". Being that much poltergeist activity deals with a physical interaction of the entity and its immediate surroundings, my line of inquiry migrated to the child's toys and was met with a short story revolving around the placement toys in the room always being disturbed after the child's late night play sessions. Many toys were also displaced never to be found again.
My question now has to be whether we are seeing a troubled adolescence as a gateway phenomena or simply as fuel allowing entities to manifest themselves after leaching off of the child's distress. Hopefully with the growing number of shadow people cases that bloggers like Offutt are collecting we will see the correlation between these two phenomena and gain greater awareness of its origins.