Shadow Beings (also known as shadow men, shadow folk, or shadow people) are supernatural shadow-like creatures of both modern folklore and traditional native American beliefs. According to folklore, they appear as dark forms in the peripheries of people's vision and disintegrate, or move between walls, when noticed.
Reports of shadow people occupy a similar position in the popular consciousness as ghost sightings do, but differ in that shadow beings are not reported as having human features, wearing modern/period clothing, or attempting to communicate. Witnesses also do not report the same feelings of being in the presence of something that 'was once human'. Some individuals have described being menaced, chased, or, in some rare instances, attacked by shadow beings. There have also been reports of shadow people appearing in front of witnesses, in which they are said to stay there, lingering for several seconds before disappearing. Witnesses report that encounters are typically accompanied by a feeling of dread.
Accounts of shadow beings typically describe them as being black humanoid silhouettes with no discernible mouths, noses, or facial expressions, though accounts also exist of them being child-sized humanoids or shapeless masses that sometimes change to a more human like form. The eyes are usually not described as being discernible but in some reports glowing eyes are mentioned. The color of the eyes, if any, is typically given as red. Their specific form is described variously as two-dimensional shadow to a vaporous or distorted three-dimensional body (as though made out of smoke or steam). Movement is often described as being very quick and disjointed. Some witnesses describe this movement as though the shadow entities they have seen "danced" from one wall to the next, or as moving around the room "as if they were on a specific track". Rarely, they are seen "standing" in the middle of doorways or off the wall. Often they are described as being seen staring at the floor. Some accounts describe what appears to be the outline of a cloak, and in some instances the outline of a 1930s style fedora hat. This last type is referred to as the "hat-man".
Various depictions and artists rendering have been posted on the Internet.
There are different views in the Paranormal field and attempts to explain these beings.
Spectre: One proposal is that Shadow beings represent a Thoughtform (egregore), ghost or demon that was created by events in which extreme physical/emotional stress/trauma has taken place, or which have been purposefully created through black magic or other occult practices. It has also been claimed[who?] that they are unattended shadows or shades, said in some cultures to be similar to that of a ghost: a flicker of a life unable to end for some reason.
Soul Reapers or Wraiths: The second and one of the more accepted is that the beings are Reapers whom appear when someone dies and try to take their soul to an unknown dimenson. These types have been mentioned in just about every culture in human history. They are always described as malevolent. Another version of this theory is that they are Wraiths, angry and vengeful spirits.
Inter Dimensonal: A third belief is that they are creatures from another reality whose "dimension" occasionally overlaps with ours, allowing them to be partially visible, or that they represent creatures that exist on a separate plane of existence.