Shadow people. Black masses. Shadow figures. You’ve probably heard about them. In folklore and eyewitness testimony, we have reports of humanoid silhouettes menacing many misfortunate men. They are ubiquitously described as sinister, malicious, threatening, sometimes described as crafting plots and plans. They often appear in conjunction with a haunting. Indeed, they may be perceived as the very entities that carry it out.
So what brings them? Why are they here? Are their appearances random, or is there some way we can predict where they might be? Well, I can do better than that. I know a few methods that might actually cause you to see one for yourself.
Why would you want to? Well, you shouldn’t. This list is more of what-not-to-do. If you avoid doing these things, then your chances of encountering shadow people is severely reduced. But hypothetically, let’s say you did want to see shadow people. How exactly would you do it?
I can’t make any guarantees. While, to my knowledge, sightings of shadow people are not particularly common, this is how they typically occur. These methods are known to have caused a variety of strange outcomes in the past. Hauntings are common. Shadow people are possible. Oddly enough, they may even be associated with alien abduction.
I don’t recommend you do these things. I recommend you see them as risk factors that should be minimized or avoided entirely. They have dangers; they have risks; they have consequences. But, if for some ungodly reason, you still feel the need to see shadow people, these methods represent your best bet. Just don’t say you weren’t warned.
Do you monitor the air quality in your home? If you don’t, it just might cause you to experience the classic signs of a haunting. There are many natural factors that may lead to the perception of a haunting, and perhaps the most insidious among them, if not the most dangerous, is the presence of certain airborne hazards.
Carbon monoxide is a compound found almost everywhere, at least in low environmental concentrations. It’s produced most notably as a result of combustion reactions of organic matter, and it accounts for the majority of fatalities associated with acute smoke inhalation. When in particularly high concentrations, such as you might find in a burning house, it can quickly result in unconsciousness and death.
But what about less extreme concentrations? Chronic exposure to higher-than-safe levels of carbon monoxide can result in a variety of health concerns that may go unnoticed. Tightness in the chest, dizziness, sleepiness, hallucinations, and feelings of dread are all symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure. Coincidentally, these may be perceived as the signs of a supernatural presence. As you have probably guessed by now, carbon monoxide leaks have been associated with sightings of shadow people.
Another culprit that may be lurking in your own home is toxic mould. While the exact effects any particular mould may have on your health are not well understood, it is generally recognized that some are particularly dangerous. This includes the infamous Stachybotrys genus, commonly known as toxic black mould. (Not to be confused with Aspergillus niger, a common and relatively safe species also referred to as black mould.) In addition to posing a significant risk to human health, chronic exposure to mould-infested environments has also been associated with the perception of hauntings, including sightings of shadow people.
If you don’t monitor your home’s carbon monoxide levels, you should strongly consider doing so. It could save the lives of you and anyone else in your home. You should also be aware of any potential water damage and take steps to prevent a mould infestation. Otherwise, you might just see a shadow person. Or worse…the grim reaper.
#3. Sleep Paralysis
Sleep paralysis is a relatively common phenomenon. Estimates range from 8-50% of people experiencing it in a lifetime, and about 5% are believed to experience it regularly. It is not considered a serious condition, as the only real harm it seems to inflict upon affected individuals is fear and distress. That being said, I don’t want to downplay the degree to which it might affect someone psychologically. Seeing your greatest nightmares as if they were real can be a traumatic experience for some, although it may only produce mild inconvenience in others. Some may even enjoy it. But I’m getting ahead of myself. What even is sleep paralysis?
Essentially, sleep paralysis is a state in between sleep and wakefulness, in which voluntary movement is prohibited. It’s often described as your mind waking up while your body is still asleep, but that’s only partly true. You see, the brain shuts down the body’s ability to move during REM sleep in order to prevent the body from acting out what’s happening in your dreams. Like, if you were running from wolves in your dream, you wouldn’t want to be thrashing your legs like an idiot.
Funny enough, I know a guy who dreamt he was repeatedly punching someone, only to wake up to find his hands bruised from striking the ceiling multiple times. (He was on a loft-bed, after all.) That’s not the only story I’ve heard of this nature. Some people report rolling onto the floor because of something they were doing in a dream. So failures in this system can certainly lead to some interesting results, no doubt.
Sleep paralysis, however, seems to be the opposite problem. Instead of your body moving before you become conscious, you become conscious before your body can move. Only you aren’t entirely conscious…you’re still partially dreaming.
Hallucinations are the hallmark of sleep paralysis. Alien abductions, monsters, and, yes, even shadow people. Of course, those are just the visual hallucinations. There are also commonly whispers, screams, roars, hums, and buzzings that might be quite otherworldly. Then we have the tactile sensations. Pressure on the chest, feeling unable to breathe, and feeling like you’re being dragged off the bed.
Furthermore, these hallucinations tend to work synergistically, giving the very convincing impression that what you’re seeing is oh-so-very real. You see aliens appear in a burst of light before performing experiments on you? You might hear a vivid array of sci-fi horror sound effects drone around you as, followed shortly by the sensation of probes and instruments invading your body. You feel unable to breathe? You might see a demon bearing its weight down on your chest, hands clasped firmly around your neck as it chokes the life from you. You hear ominous whispers growing ever louder in your ears? You might glimpse shadowy figures plotting out some nefarious scheme from the corners of your dimly-lit room. Isn’t sleep paralysis just peachy?
#2. Psychotic Break
Psychosis is a multi-faceted condition with a variety of possible causes. It features a laundry-list of possible symptoms, but delusions and hallucinations are the most iconic. Psychotic individuals are largely disconnected from reality. They may be living in a world of fantasy, only vaguely aware of the ordinary events perceived by sane individuals. Reports of alien encounters are not uncommon. Many describe being stalked by shadow people. Others recall seeing demons. For some, we’ll never know just what it was they saw.
Let’s go over some of the causes. Schizophrenia and related disorders are associated with highly increased risks of psychosis. It isn’t entirely known why this occurs, but there are several theories with some evidential support. It appears to be linked to genetic factors, and developmental factors may play a role as well. There is also significant evidence that psychosis of this nature may be linked to imbalances to the microbiome. Some doctors recommend changes to diet instead-of or in-addition-to antipsychotics as a method for the treatment of these conditions.
Psychosis can also be caused by the administration of certain drugs. This includes several kinds of recreational drugs, most of all cannabis, followed by hallucinogenic drugs (ex LSD) and amphetamines (ex methamphetamine). The dangers are further exacerbated on younger individuals, namely those under 15 years of age. Drug use can actually lead to full-blown schizophrenia.
Other kinds of drugs, such as alcohol and opioids, are known to carry some risk of psychosis, particularly when used in excess. Even caffeine, when used in dangerously-high acute doses, can result in psychosis.
And, for what it’s worth, you should never use datura recreationally. Datura has historically been used as a form of chemical weapon. What good can come of that? I cannot recommend strongly enough that you never incur a dose of datura, except perhaps under strict medical supervision.
If you really want to see shadow people, a haunting, an alien abduction, or some other random nonsense beyond your control, a psychotic break is a relatively reliable method of doing so. It is not, however, safe nor wise. It is recommended that you speak to your healthcare-provider about whatever drugs you ingest, particularly if you are in a higher risk-bracket for developing psychosis, in addition to avoiding the more dangerous drugs altogether. And as always, if you suspect that you or a loved-one may have a condition such as schizophrenia, it is generally recommended that you seek professional help.
#1. Sleep Deprivation
The safest and easiest method of seeing shadow people or similar phenomena is sleep deprivation. While this may result in psychosis, it is worth noting that the effects are much more likely to be benign, and they are typically reversible with nothing more than a good night’s sleep.
Most people in modern Western society experience sleep deprivation none too seldom, only the more severe forms are likely to result in hallucination. Staying awake for days on end, or getting only an hour or two of sleep every day, is pretty much what it’s going to take to see shadow people vividly, though you might still catch a glimpse of one even if you’re only a little tired.
Given that chronic sleep deprivation is not considered very healthy, I’d recommend staying up for a while instead. This is the best method I can think of. You could just try to stay awake for an entire weekend, before going to bed early sunday night and catching up the following week. It’s not likely to cause any long-term complications, and you might learn something about your own mind. Maybe you’ll even see shadow people.
I’m sure many of you are saying, “Revenitor, that’s not really seeing shadow people. Are you saying they don’t exist?” Okay, okay. These methods induce hallucination, which is the primary cause of shadow people sightings. Maybe hallucinations are just in the mind, or maybe they’re glimpse into an unseen realm. I don’t exactly know, and neither does anyone else. We all just make assumptions.
But let’s say you want to cause such an appearance for real. Let’s say you wanted to summon these entities that may or may not exist. Entities that are probably malevolent, and will almost certainly cause you harm. There’d be no telling if what you saw was just a hallucination or confirmation bias, and even if there were, I’m not sure how many people would believe you, but fine. Maybe it’s possible. Maybe they exist. I wouldn’t recommend it, but, hypothetically speaking, how would you summon them?
There’s a little something the ancients called sorcery. Calling upon ghosts and gods and elemental spirits, sorcerers were believed to be capable of effecting minor change in the physical world. You could try worshipping the Shedim, (you might know them as demons) offering prayer and blood sacrifices, especially that of human beings and unclean animals. You could try divination. There are many forms; cartomancy and astrology are still pretty popular today. You could try mediumship, communion with the spirits. Sometimes they reveal themselves as deities, other times they come in the guise of the dead. You could try magical thinking, imposing the will of your heart onto reality. Heck, you could just mess around with a Ouija board.
I don’t recommend you do these things. I don’t recommend you associate with whatever entities they might bring. But hey, it probably won’t do much at all. Probably, nothing will happen, except maybe in your own mind, as you prime yourself to perceive anomalous stimuli under the framework of your biased preconceptions. You’ll probably feel like you proved it to yourself, and other people will probably just write you off as superstitious. Still, this method could hypothetically work.
That is, of course, assuming they exist in the first place. Who can say for sure? Maybe they aren’t real. Maybe you couldn’t contact them if they were. But maybe, just maybe, you could witness a creature from beyond the material plane…and maybe you’ll wish you hadn’t.