Supernatural Magazine

Shadow’s Reflection: My First Shadow Person Encounter

“Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings-always darker, emptier and simpler.”

— Friederich Nietzsche.

A few years back, I wrote an article on shadow people and possible explanations for them. Looking back at that article, I find it lacking substance and for a few odd moments, I couldn’t figure out why. It had facts, sources, and valid points. Then I understood what was missing.


As of that article’s writing, I had not personally experienced the shadow person phenomenon. In fact, I had only had one experience in which I witnessed a paranormal event with my own eyes while fully awake and aware. It was an apparition of a small boy who had died in a plane crash in the late 1960’s in Middle Tennessee.

That fact has changed as I have now experienced a shadow being, not once but twice in the last six weeks. In many ways, it has left me intrigued and conversely set into a deep state of unease. The unease stems not from the shadow person itself but rather my being able to see it. I’ve had a special connection to psychic phenomenon since I was nine years old. It all started in a hot July of 1996 and 1997 turned my world upside down. I’ve never been “normal” ever since. Any time that I have had a flash forward, a warning, a perception, its rarely when I am awake, usually only appearing in dreams as messages. On rare occasions, I would have a flash when I was awake, or a feeling, nagging at the back of my brain or my hair would stand on end as a cold shiver ran down my spine to my feet. That was mostly it.

Things are different now I feel and I cannot explain how or why.

I suppose the best place to start is the beginning. This article will be much more subjective than most of my drier science leaning writing. You may get a personal glimpse into my life and my being. You’ve been warned, jokes aside, that we are stepping off the safe rails of my usual logic and going into the realms of my experience and instinctive speculations.

When my boyfriend and I moved into our townhouse style apartment in Kingsport, we thought it would be a great peaceful place to start out, our first place together. Bear in mind that at the time, I was only one year out of tumultuous relationship that ended on bad terms, though I was trying to make peace with it as best as I could. Ending it was the best thing for myself and my ex, whom I wish no ill will. He and I have talked since then and made peace with each other, noting it was really the most honorable and responsible thing we could do.

Given the circumstances of that relationship and the ones before it, I honestly should have gotten professional counseling. Unable to afford such luxuries, I did what I’ve always done with emotional trauma, especially anger and grief. I buried them, and forced myself to put one foot in front of the other. I wanted to be happy. I wanted my friends back, and I had already lost so much over the years that there was truthfully nothing left of the person that was me. I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t investigating, my team had fallen apart and for that moment, I had Ben, my mother and my best friend Brian, but I couldn’t really open to any of them and I will always regret it but that’s one of my quirks.

The apartment itself is situated on a relative quiet suburban street, part of a large complex. It’s an older building, built of brick and surrounded by trees in which squirrels run all over the place, squabbling over nuts before the winter’s chill puts the trees to sleep and quiet descends on the world. The building has three other units in it, all two story, like ours. We are one of the end units, so the only thing we share with any of the others is a wall, otherwise we are on our own. The bottom half of the house is brick, while the top is white wood siding with dark shingles. A decent sized cement porch with white pillars adorns the front. It doesn’t look like an alarming place and in fact, for the longest time, it felt warm and welcoming. It felt like it was exuding a second chance to start over.

I got no bad feelings from it and when I looked at the history, I could find no violence, only happiness. The one crime that was committed on the property was back in the late 70s when the resident at the time had his check book and wallet stolen out of his car. The building is old, I’d say at least 1950s possibly even 40s. It’s easy to tell where the expansions were made. White walls, white door frames, light brown soft carpet, carpeted stairs and a small kitchen, the house is not large. Downstairs, the living room goes into the kitchen and the kitchen into the laundry room and from the laundry room, you can step out onto the relatively small wooden back porch. To get to the bathroom and the two bedrooms, you must go up a set of carpeted stairs.

The smaller bedroom is my office (which I never use, I’ll get into that later) and the larger one facing the street is our bedroom. We have central air and heat, the modern conveniences. We moved into the house on the 5th of October of 2015. After a while, we got to know our neighbors a bit, after a fashion. We never met the ones who lived directly next door but we certainly heard them. They were constantly fighting, screaming at each other, slamming doors late at night, the situations would escalate at times to where furniture would be slammed against the wall we shared, shaking the house. More than once, someone would run out of the house at 4 AM, jumping into a car, screaming angrily at someone behind them.

This went on for months and months turned into a year. I’m not sure when but one night Ben got up to use the rest room and as he crossed back across the short hall way to come back into our bedroom he glanced up into my office and saw there standing a man, a young man, in his early twenties dressed in a plain shirt. Ben said nothing and the man was gone as soon as he was seen. Ben came back to bed and told me about it the next day.

Our neighbors were finally kicked out by our landlord and it was found that they did massive damage to their unit, so much damage that even now it is unrentable. No one lives there now, which makes what I am about to tell you even more unusual.

There were sounds for weeks after the salvage attempts stopped and the unit was sealed. Sounds of heavily furniture late at night, banging and thumping, dragging across the floors. Sometimes the house would shake from the loudness. Sometimes, I could have sworn I heard voices. That slowly faded and then something new began to happen.

Ben and I would be lying in bed and there would come three knocks, like someone rapping on a door, wanting us to come to the door. The first few times we thought it was someone at the door, so we dressed quickly and ran downstairs to answer the door, only to find no one was there. We did find the source of the knocking however; it was coming from our own headboard. Once we localized it, we found that when it would happen (at random), we could feel the slight tremor through the wood just like if a person would rap on it.

We joked about it even as we heard footsteps in the hallway (Once we even heard someone go into the bathroom and turn on the water and flush the toilet) that when we were napping alone, each of us thought it was the other. Then the bed sheets took on a mind of their own.

Ben and I had been working on laundry (a hated task) and we had stripped the bed, washing the sheets blankets and pillow cases. After everything was done, we took the bed clothes upstairs, dumped them on the floor (we’re men. We don’t tend to be neat with tasks we don’t care for. Ask any woman who’s married to a male) and went to grab lunch. After we ate, we decided we probably should go up and make the bed so we trekked upstairs and entered the bedroom and found that someone had beaten us to it. Mostly, anyway.

All the bed sheets and blankets were put onto the bed and the pillow cases were now on the pillows and the pillows were neatly against the headboard. Stunned, we didn’t know what to do or say so we just said “thanks!” again, half-jokingly and made the bed. A few nights later, we had bought some new spices and herbs. We wanted to test them before using them in a larger meal so we made some toast with the new spices. After taking a bite from the toast, I said it was a damn good spice and we were going to be using it. Ben needed me in the kitchen, so I sat my bitten toast down on my saucer and went to help him. I came back to find that my toast was still there but it was unbitten, as if it had just come out of the oven.

I told Ben to come and look and he turned a bit pale and said “I clearly remember hearing you bite into that, the crunch and you said it was great. You did bite it, right?”

I told him I did.

Things settled down for a while and nothing really happened except strange dreams from time to time and gradually, we began to lose interest in leaving the house. Slowly, our sleep schedules began to drift away from normal and slide into insomnia. We were becoming vegetable like, having no interest in going anywhere or doing anything, even basic house chores or grocery shopping. We noticed that when we did finally drag ourselves out of the house, we felt much better, energized and awake and swore we would do something like conduct an EVP session or maybe just for good measure find someone to do a cleansing for us since that is not my expertise but every time we crossed the thresh hold into the house, we lost any desire to do so.

One night I did do an EVP session of about thirty minutes and captured nothing but a rhythmic clicking.

In February of 2016, I came down with appendicitis and nearly died, thankfully, however, I recovered after emergency surgery. In November that year, is when the first and probably most striking experience yet occurred.

For months, Ben had been complaining he was short of breath and didn’t have the energy he used to. He used to exercise every day, pull ups, push ups, weights. By then, he had stopped entirely. He would get chest pains every so often but they would always go away.

One afternoon, feeling drained, I went up to take a nap by myself. I fell asleep and hours later, I woke up and in a sleepy haze, I saw Ben come into the room, open the door and move silently across the room, come over to his side of the bed and then I felt his weight (he’s just over 200 pounds so it’s not mistakable for anything else) press down on the mattress. I felt his body heat as he put his arms around me and hugged up to me in the spoon position. I felt his hand pat my shoulder in a reassuring way and comfortable, I went back to sleep, thinking Ben was sleeping next to me.

A few hours later, I woke up and it was dark. I found Ben wasn’t next to me anymore and he came up stairs to check on me and I asked him where he went. He was puzzled. I explained to him what happened and what he said next made me literally run cold.

He had never come up the stairs at all, let alone got into bed with me. He said he was downstairs the entire time. Baffled, I could do nothing but wonder what had taken on the shape of my partner and what I had shared a bed with for several hours that could look like him, feel like him and not set off any warning bells. It was the first time in years that I was left genuinely unsettled by a seemingly paranormal event. Just three days later, Ben was in the emergency room.

He had a heart attack that could have killed him had we not gotten to the emergency room on time and he was hospitalized for several days. After a stint was put in, he recovered, though he did have to do one more overnight stay

That was the first time I saw and felt anything directly with my own eyes but it would not be the last.

The next thing to happen was in January of this year on the 22nd. We had just washed the dishes and went to make our lasagna pasta (whole wheat penne noodles, hamburger, green peppers, onions, diced pepperonis with spices and Italian seasonings, four cheese sauce, bacon crumbles, real shredded Parmesan and mozzarella if you were wondering) and we noticed that there was sauce all over the stove. Confused, we found that the pot the sauce was in was spurting sauce through the sides.

We quickly took it off the stove and changed the sauce into another pot and then we found out what happened. The pot, which was washed not ten minutes prior and was fine, had suddenly developed six holes in a perfect circle all the way around it, turning it into a colander. The steel had been punched clean through, with no indication of how the holes may have been punctured. It was if they just appeared

Sighing, we threw the pot away.

Fast forward to two nights ago, roughly. I laid down early and Ben stayed up playing ARK: Survival Evolved, a great game in which you play as a survivor teleported naked and alone onto a mysterious island populated with prehistoric animals and the goal is to not only survive, but evolve your technology and explore the island, tame dinosaurs and ultimately understand the island’s real story (it’s not a natural island at all) and escape.

We had both been playing it non-stop for weeks and I finally crashed. I was in bed and I woke up from REM sleep and there in the half open door was a figure about Ben’s height, peeking in, looking at me. It was jet black, with no features at all, as if it were a three-dimensional shadow. I felt no fear from it at all because a part of my brain wasn’t registering what I was seeing. I thought I was seeing Ben and that he was in shadow because the stair way light was back lighting him. I thought it was a perfectly rational explanation and nodded at what I thought was him and sort of laid back down.

I heard the door open, the hinges creaking and I saw the form that I thought was Ben move into the room, stopping for a moment at my side of the bed before moving over to Ben’s side of the bed. I didn’t turn over because at the time, I felt no fear and thought it was Ben. I was also sleepy but fully awake. I fully expected him to come to bed with me and I could feel him standing on his side of the bed, watching me, observing, silently.

Then I had a realization that made me open my eyes entirely.

Ben wasn’t breathing. I couldn’t hear any noise coming from him at all but I could still feel him staring at me, wordlessly. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up as I understood in a split second at last that it was NOT Ben because I could hear him talking to himself downstairs as he tamed an animal in ARK.

I finally understood what it was like to be frozen, unable to move, unable to turn over see what was in the room with me because I knew it wasn’t human, alive or even remotely anything that I could call familiar, just a human shaped blackness, thick with mass yet nothing and empty at the same time.

For days after, even after talking about it with Ben, I felt uneasy, unable to describe the unease, and yes, the creeping dread at having seen a being made of solid darkness that entered our bedroom and watched me like I was animal.

But even that wasn’t the end of the strangeness. Last night, Ben went to get a drink of water and he turned on the water filter and I heard him cussing and it turned out that a new hole had appeared in the side of the water filer that was less than a year old and that had never been dropped or anything. Water now jets out of the side of it any time you use the filter, rendering it useless.

Even tonight, more insanity as Ben went to bed and went to fill up his CPAP machine, he saw that his two filters, both the exterior and interior on his machine were gone. They weren’t in the floor knocked out by some accident. They were (and remain as of this post) missing. Thankfully, we have spares.

I don’t know what to make of the situation to be honest. I’ve managed to force myself to run checks of our magnetic fields and temperatures. Nothing is out of the ordinary. No cold spots or hot spots. None of the usual things I’m used to encountering in haunted houses. Then again, there are times that I wonder, is the house that is haunted or is us? Could either of us, somehow have created a tulpa or tulku (a less formed tulpa, less substantial). Ben has had similar experiences in his past with entities mimicking him (his story to tell, not mine). Could my unsettled depression and unhealed emotional scars that I’ve shoved down be causing the paraphysical events?

After that thought goes through my mind (I’ve been through the rational ones and can’t find one that explains it all effectively), I wonder, could something have been here before we even moved and it was somehow feeding on those neighbors and now that they are gone, it has no food to speak of and it has come to our house, using us as batteries and if so, to what end? Why all the sporadic events, none of which have any rational behavioral pattern behind them, almost as if it-whatever it is-is simply trying to annoy us, to rile us up and get us as emotional as our neighbors used to be.

I feel grateful that Ben and I have a good solid relationship. We are always laughing and talking and being silly together.

Coupled with my experience of my abilities and my experience in the field of the unknown, our laughter I think has kept whatever it is in check, not allowing it to feed on negativity, as it so gluttonously did with our former next doors.

That’s my personal belief at any rate. I wonder, what kind of entity can take the form of a loved one and mimic them? A doppelgänger? It certainly came to mind after Ben’s near brush but I don’t think it is. Its 5:26 AM here and I am going to try to rest now, having got all this out. I want to thank you, my readers, for allowing me (and by extension you) to go off the beaten path. It’s been an interesting walk, I’ll say that. What are your thoughts about all of this? Let me know in the comments below. I’m eager for your take.

I’ll leave you with a final thought from Stephen Hawking, on the nature of the universe:

“There could be shadow galaxies, shadow stars, and even shadow people.”

Sleep well, dear readers.

Anthony Justus

Anthony Justus

Anthony Justus was born in Elizabethon,TN. He has been a paranormal investigator for eleven years, starting with a small rag-tag team in 2003 and growing into the first scientific research team in his state by 2007. His team was part of the TAPS Family network, a network of objectively minded paranormal researchers that took on clients world-wide to assist those with paranormal problems. He studied at Kaplan University for two years majoring in psychology and now runs the Haunted Spots Library blog and writes for Supernatural Magazine. He lives with his husband Ben in the mountains of Appalachia.