The "Shadow Man" Phenomena and the Terrifying "Hat Man" Visitations

Investigating the Link Between the “Shadow Man” Phenomena and the Terrifying “Hat Man” Visitations

If the countless online accounts of paranormal investigators have taught us anything, it’s that there’s no shortage of terrifying supernatural entities to fear. With the internet’s recent obsession with Black Eyed Kids encounters and “Shadow People” visitations, you might not notice another phenomena that’s quickly becoming part of the paranormal pop-culture consciousness: The Hat Man.


Shadow men weren’t really thrown into the paranormal spotlight until around 2001, and that was all thanks to the world’s most prolific paranormal radio personality: Art Bell. Anyone unfamiliar with Art Bell, firstly, should be ashamed of themselves, and secondly, should go listen to every episode of Coast to Coast AM that you can get your hands on.



There are plenty of authors, bloggers, and investigators who would love to take credit for uncovering the mysterious Shadow Man phenomenon, but their first real public mention goes back to April 12, 2001 when Art interviewed Thunder Strikes, First Nation elder, teacher, and co-founder of the Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society. During that episode, the pair talked at length about the topic of Shadow People, and even encouraged listeners to send in their own drawings of the terrifying phenomenon. As it turns out, way more people than anyone could have anticipated were experiencing these frightening encounters.

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Over the years, there’ve been plenty of debates about whether or not these “Shadow People” are good or evil, with many landing on both sides of the fence. Dead Files’ resident physical medium Amy Allen has spoken quite publicly about her belief that Shadow People are inter-dimensional entities that fall on the side of evil time and time again.

Since that fateful episode of Coast to Coast AM aired, there have been countless stories, photos, and videos of Shadow People uploaded, but what most people don’t know is that while many were being tormented by Shadow People, a select group were experiencing something similar, but just a little bit different: the “Hat Man” syndrome.


The Hat Man appears much in the same way that Shadow People do, but unlike the phenomena that was made popular by Art Bell and Thunder Strikes, the Hat Man encounters bear a few striking differences that set it apart. When he appears, often during the night, the Hat Man is always seen wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and though most people are unable to make out any distinct facial features, he is usually described as a solid black mass. Witnesses are often unable to describe the Hat Man’s lower body, as if he seems to float silently above the ground.

I saw a tall human-like figure and the figure looked like that of a man. The man had no distinguishable features whatsoever. I could see no eyes, no nose or mouth, only blackness. He looked like a shadow, only darker–much darker. He had a very wide brimmed hat and a long trench coat that flowed as he moved… He stood there for what seemed like an eternity, He then moved very slowly and without sound back into the hallway just out of view. – Tim Brown (The Hat Man Project)

The phenomena seems to center around basements and, according to the experiencers, appears to manifest in situations of intense negativity and family disfunction. In fact, many times if one person in a household has started experiencing visits by the Hat Man, it’s almost guaranteed that another family member will begin seeing the strange shadow man soon afterwards.

He has the shadow of a younger man carrying a bag.

Many who report experiences with the Hat Man believe that the entity has been present with them since their childhoods. I, myself, have a very vivid memory of having a run-in with I can only describe as a Hat Man. As far as my memories go, I would always spot him in the same long hallway in my basement, usually paying me no mind whatsoever. I continued to have these harmless encounters for a year before he disappeared altogether.

All of a sudden this black -two-dimensional being appeared. it just walked right through the door. I was paralyzed with fear. I sat there looking at it and hoping it would not notice me because i was in the dark area. It stood for a moment and I could see the very detailed contours of its form. It wore a derby, carried a briefcase and a cane . It appeared to be dressed like someone on business or a traveler. – The Hat Man Project 

At first glance, it’s easy to want to clump the Hat Man into the same category as Shadow People, but once you do enough searching, you quickly discover just how many people are having their own truly unique experiences with this strange entity, to the point where there’s no doubt that the Hat Man is a separate phenomena.


Thanks to the internet age, stories about people’s paranormal experiences get passed around like wildfire, and it’s easy to pass them off as being hoaxes or exaggerations, but I think many of us would agree that there has to be something strange happening if thousands of people are experiencing the same thing. We don’t know exactly who the Hat Man is or what he wants, but one thing is for certain – if you see him, you might want to start examining your relationships with the people in your house.

Have you ever had an encounter with the Hat Man? Let us know in the comments below! If you’re looking for even more weird news, follow us on Twitter at @WeirdHQ or like us on Facebook.


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  1. Kathleen S. Fleury-Olson

    08/31/2016 at 10:01 PM

    Wow, hadn’t heard of the “hat man” but one of the two shadow people that I’ve seen since I was a child wears a hat…..

  2. Patrick Doyle

    08/31/2016 at 11:30 PM

    I’ve been talking about my Hat Man for over a decade. He sticks with you for sure. Even made him a character in my first Edgar Font adventure. Good stuff.

  3. Rebecca Duhon

    09/01/2016 at 3:02 AM

    I have had a few encounters with shadow people (mainly in my childhood), but have never seen a “hat man”. Glad though.

  4. Cynthia Faythe

    08/31/2016 at 11:27 PM

    I have had a run in with the Hat Man a few years ago. It was a tall black figure in a wide brimmed hat. I didn’t realize it had a name or others had experienced it until almost a year later when I happened to see a story on the internet about it. I had photographed it in a local cemetery which I didn’t realize at the time just later looking at the photos. It might have come from there or somewhere else and followed me I don’t know. A week later it partially manifested in my house. Two days after that shortly after I woke up in the morning it manifested next to my bed and pressed on my throat to choke me. Then disappeared. I haven’t seen it again. I won’t go into all the psychological fallout from that but needless to say I was scared for a long a time.

  5. John D.

    09/01/2016 at 3:50 AM

    I had an experience with The Hatman in the late 1980’s. My roommate and I had just moved into an apartment building that was over 100 years old. Soon, I observed my roommate staring into an empty room then continuing what he was doing. I finally questioned him about this behavior, he answered “The man with the hat just walked across the room again.” Needless to say I was floored by this answer. This was not a paranormal enthusiast, this was a guy studying for his PhD in electrical engineering. Soon, all my doubts were put to rest when I saw The Hatman with my own eyes. It never seemed to be any malevolence associated with this phenomenon , I just think he wanted to make his presence known.

  6. Aziz Khan

    09/01/2016 at 10:59 AM

    I have saw a shadow people kid.

  7. carol utley

    09/01/2016 at 7:53 AM

    It is all a part of my haunting that has been going for two years. I’ve only had one experience with the “dark man”, thank God! He woke me up one night, trying to push his way into my bed. I told him no and he threw himself on top of me. I could not breathe. I felt like my entire body was filled up with something. I tried to push him away. but he wouldn’t go. The comotion woke my husband up and he turned on the light. As soon as he turned the light on, the “dark man” dissappeared. My husband asked me ‘Are you alright”? You can imagine my answer. He is hard of hearing and wharever is in my house decided that I made a better target to terrorize. The dark man was very tall and thin, with no distinguishable features. He was blacker than the night.

  8. Fred

    09/01/2016 at 1:34 PM

    Listened to most of Art Bell’s Red Elk ( Gerald Osborne ) interview. Even Bell seemed to want to yell out “oh give me a break” when Osborne claimed to be able to levitate into the air and whip down the highway with cars at 70 mph.
    That recording made at the Russian deep drill site sure is freaky – but then I’ve read that it was just some looped sound-effects from a 1970’s horror flick.
    The funniest bit is at the end, when “Red Elk” describes his beautiful female friend…who occasionally reverts to her true “lizard” self, complete with facial scales and a flitting, forked tongue.
    “Red Elk” died last year, so I guess he will no longer be cobbling together bits & pieces of miscellaneous paranormal lore and peddling it as his own special brand secret knowledge and ancient wisdom.

  9. William Tatum

    09/02/2016 at 5:53 AM

    My friend and I saw the Hat Man in his house shortly after I graduated, the day I was moving out of his house. This was decades before I ever heard of the Hat Man or Shadow People. His description is exactly what I’ve been reading about in similar accounts: about 6 ft. tall, long frock coat, his hands seemed to be in his pockets, he wore a broad-brimmed hat, and as he entered the outer wall of the house, I felt a lightning bolt flash through my head that doubled me over in my chair. As I sat back up, I looked over to my right and there he was, walking/floating swiftly into my friend’s sister’s bedroom. That was the only time I ever experienced the Hat Man, but my memory of the experience is still as fresh in my mind as if it happened today!

  10. Kayla

    09/09/2016 at 11:24 AM

    SO…weird. When I was super little I’d sit on the edge of my bed and talk to a man in the corner who wore a hat and had a cane….endlessly. I’d just babble on…they assumed it was an imaginary friend. Now I wonder. I have no recollection of it, but to this day weird things happen in my parents house and a shadow figure is seen occasionally. But no one has ever been afraid…

  11. scott stewart

    12/31/2016 at 8:51 PM

    I would like to say that I think the dark shadow people and the hat man are being impugned with incorrect infoprmation. I have met the Hat Man, and I have had several encounters with The Dark Shadow people. On each occaision they have been polite, well mannered, and not rude. The Hat Man looked carefully at my book collection, and seemed to be particularly interested in my software engineering books. The dark shadow people usually showed up with the Egyptians, especially Tutankhamun. He was bad, and very impolite and rude. I know another person who had a meetup with Tutankhamun and the Egyptians, and he gave them a bad report also.

  12. Dr Thompson

    02/26/2017 at 7:17 AM

    Yes when I was about 8 years old I was sleeping and it was very early morning. Something woke me up and as I opened my eyes I saw what appeared to a very large man standing at the end of my bed. He appeared to be looking at me but there were no features. Just a large shadow in the darkness looming at the end of the bed. It was the distinct outline of a man with a hat but not the wide brimmed ones I see in the internet drawings. So what did I do when I saw this menacing figure? I did what any 8 year old would do. I pulled the covers over my head scared out of my mind! I must have waited 1/2 hour until I got the nerve to slowly pull the covers down and look. He was gone but I just stayed there wide awake till morning. That was 1961. I never told anyone about this. A few years ago a guest on Coast to coast was describing this phenomenon and I harkened back to my own experience.

  13. michael

    06/09/2017 at 10:18 PM

    I saw the Hatman as a young boy in the 1970s. It was late at night and I was in bed and felt a presence in the room. I looked to the foot of my bed and there he was. A solid black figure well over 6 feet tall wearing a wide brimmed hat. I could not make out any facial features. I was frozen with fear. I tried to yell for my mother but no sound would come out. Although I was terrified, I could not take my eyes off of him. I saw him and I knew he saw me. He stood there for a very long time. I was absolutely paralyzed. The best way I can describe him is pure
    evil. I eventually fell asleep. I have never seen him since. I will never forget him.

  14. scott stewart

    06/16/2017 at 11:33 PM

    I saw on Google Images a picture showing The Hat Man and his evil twin brother. Both wear the same coat and hat, but the difference between them is apparently the evil brother has glowing red eyes. I have come into contact with quite a few (approx. 30) of the Dark Shadow People from 2006 until current (2017). I have encountered The Hat Man just the once. BUT I BELIEVE HE IS GOOD, not malevolent like his brother, and I believe he is the leader of The Dark Shadow People. Now these days I wonder if there might be several Hat Men, that is, there may be 10 or 20 of The Dark Shadow People who wear the coat and the hat, and they do this to get more coverage, better recognition, making them more successful at letting us know – we are not alone.

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