A shadow person (also known as a shadow figure, shadow being or black mass, is believed by skeptics to be a type of hallucination where the subject perceives a patch of shadow in their peripheral vision to be a living, humanoid figure. However, paranormal researcher Heidi Hollis has expressed the belief that shadow people are malevolent supernatural entities.
A number of religions, legends, and belief systems describe shadowy spiritual beings or supernatural entities such as shades of the underworld, and various shadowy creatures have long been a staple of folklore and ghost stories.
Several physiological and psychological conditions can account for reported experiences of shadow people. These include sleep paralysis, illusions, or hallucinations brought on by physiological or psychological circumstances, drug use or side effects of medication, and the interaction of external agents on the human body. Another reason that could be behind the illusion is sleep deprivation, which may lead to hallucinations.
Heidi Hollis’ appearances on the Coast to Coast AM late night radio radio talk show helped popularize modern beliefs in shadow people. Hollis described them as dark silhouettes with human shapes and profiles that flicker in and out of peripheral vision, and claimed that people had reported the figures attempting to “jump on their chest and choke them”. She believes they can be repelled by invoking “the name of Jesus”.
Although participants in online discussion forums devoted to paranormal and supernatural topics describe them as menacing, other believers and paranormal authors do not agree that shadow people are either evil, helpful, or neutral, and some even speculate that shadow people may be the extra-dimensional inhabitants of another universe. Some paranormal investigators and authors such as Chad Stambaugh claim to have recorded images of shadow people on video.
Shadow people feature in two episodes of ITV paranormal documentary series Extreme Ghost Stories, where they are described as “black masses”.
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