The end of October seems like a good time to talk about shadow people! As I mentioned in the poll before, I have a strong hypothesis about what causes people to see shadow people.
After pouring through hundreds of accounts online, keeping track of the ones that seemed credible, and then speaking to over 80 people over the years who have also seen shadow people, I had some ideas, but was missing a piece of the puzzle. Then, earlier this year, it happened again. I saw another shadow person, face to face, standing less than 2 meters away from me. As the fear built, terror gripping my chest, unable to move or scream, it stood there. And then I felt myself begin to fall, and I caught myself and it was just gone.
And it all just clicked into place.
I double-checked the interviews and other accounts to make sure. After speaking to many people who have seen them, I narrowed the group of people down to people who saw them while wide awake, were actually doing stuff (no chance they were dozing off and just dreaming normal dream-like things), were able to provide details on how they felt when seeing the shadow person, what it looked like, how they reacted, and who had seen the shadow person face-on. As in, staring right at it.
In every instance of the above, and controlling for other issues, what I found was a pretty distinct pattern. They had all experienced sleep paralysis before (although most did not know what SP was, they described all the symptoms of an SP attack), they had all seen shadow people during sleep paralysis, and all had reported that they did not get enough sleep the night before, and described how they felt when they saw the shadow person as unable to move, had difficulty breathing, could not scream, and felt very afraid. Then, after a few seconds or what seemed to be minutes, the shadow person disappeared. The same was true for the 3 times in my life that I had seen them while ostensibly wide awake.
My hypothesis is that people who see shadow people are having some kind of sleep paralysis while perhaps experiencing microsleeps. Since we don’t know what causes sleep paralysis, it is difficult to get any confirmation other than what I have done: matching symptoms and situations in which a person who is prone to sleep paralysis is more likely to experience it with accounts of seeing shadow people. Once we figure out what causes sleep paralysis, and develop a treatment, I think we will also be able to prove the link between sleep paralysis and shadow people.