I’ve never heard of a ghost who — during his or her lifetime — was a ghost hunter or paranormal investigator.
In fact, those who’ve left this world intending to convey a message from the other side – such as Harry Houdini – have yet to make a credible connection.
If you’re asking if any famous ghost hunters returned as ghosts… I have no idea.
Famous ghost hunters… are any of them ghosts?
If any readers have heard about ghosts of the following famous ghost hunters — or people like them — let me know. (I’m not asking if anyone has contacted them via psychics or divination. I mean an actual ghostly appearance — something that’s happened in front of enough witnesses to be credible.)
Can ghost hunters become spirits who visit this world? Maybe. That answer depends on your theology.
My spirituality is somewhat eclectic. I can’t imagine any benevolent Deity who’d refuse to let people return here to check on the well-being of friends and family.
So, whether you call the entity a “ghost” or a “spirit,” I think it’s normal for people to visit us after they’ve crossed over. That includes ghost hunters, your great-grandmother, and maybe your favorite teacher from “way back when.”
Can a ghost hunter choose to “test drive” the experience from the other side?
Maybe you’re asking: Is a ghost hunter likely to remain in this world, not cross over, and stay here to haunt a location?
I suppose that’s possible. It seems unlikely. Most of us have cajoled and argued with dozens (even hundreds) of spirits stuck here. Repeatedly, we’ve told them to go to the light or find Grandma.
So, I think we’d know what to do if we felt constrained here.
It’s possible that a ghost hunter – like any other spirit — might choose to be a ghost and haunt some location in spectacular fashion, just for fun.
It sounds pretty silly to me, but I think we all have free will. I believe anyone could choose to stay here.
This is one of the stranger questions I’ve been asked. It seems odd to me, but several people have asked about it. Maybe I don’t understand, because I’m not sure how anyone would know if a ghost reincarnated, in the first place.
If you believe in reincarnation or past lives, how might that look? Here’s one way to think about it:
First, perhaps someone lived on earth, and at the end of a normal (or even unusual) life, he died.
Next, he became a ghost for awhile, by choice or by default. Maybe he was waiting for something specific to happen. Or, maybe he had unfinished business on the earthly plane.
Then, after some time, the ghost decided to re-enter this plane for another life experience. (That’s a plot device in some paranormal romance novels and movies.)
He’d be a ghost, reincarnated.
Possible…? Maybe. I can’t rule it out.
So, that raises several questions.
Taking this question to an extreme
If people reincarnate — or have multiple past lives — can the ghost reincarnate as the ghost of any of those past identities? (That is, can the deceased choose which past life to represent, as a ghost?)
If a person can choose between reincarnation and becoming a ghost, why become a ghost? (That may be a rhetorical question. If there’s unfinished business, the new incarnation might take 18 or more years to be able to finish whatever-it-is. Maybe the person thinks he or she can accomplish more, sooner, in spirit form.)
If doppelgangers exist, could a person encounter himself (or herself) as a ghost?
To me, it seems like those concepts wander far out on a limb. I’m not sure any of them are worth serious consideration.
Can a ghost reincarnate? If you believe in reincarnation, it’s possible that anyone deceased — even if they’re having a short-term adventure as a ghost — could be born into this reality again, in a new identity.
But, if it happened often, I think more people would remember past experiences as a ghost.
To date, no one has shared that kind of memory with me. If you have, let me know.
Shadow people aren’t new, but in recent years, they’re being reported more often. Are you afraid of them? So far, they seem harmless. Here’s a brief history of shadow people, and what we think we know. (We’re still learning.)
I’ve received a lot of emails asking about shadow people.
Frankly, we see a lot of weird things at haunted places.
A brief, moving shadow or two…? Not so unusual.
A full, shadowy apparition…? That used to be something rare. Now, they seem to appear more often.
Grant popularized the phrase
The first time I heard the phrase “shadow people,” was in a conversation with Ghost Hunters’ Grant Wilson. Oh, I knew what he was talking about, but — at the time — I had no idea that lots of people were seeing them.
Since then, it seems as if many more people are seeing shadowy figures. Is it because they’re looking for them? Or, maybe some entities aren’t as reticent as they used to be.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen many shadow people in TV show footage.
I’ve also taken photos of one, in a weirdly haunted private residence in Laconia, NH.
I saw what I thought was the shadow of a living person, and I decided to get some photos for future reference.
The best picture is shown at right. In real life, his shadow looked like a normal person’s shadow… except that the hat shape looked like something from the Colonial era, or very early 19th century.
The figure moved like an everyday person.
It didn’t float.
It didn’t fade in and out.
It looked like someone was walking on the other side of the basement, in front of a light source. (That’s why the photo is a little blurry. He didn’t pause and pose for the photo.)
And then it walked away, moving towards the wall at the far end of the basement, and the figure vanished.
Since many people in New England take part in Colonial and Revolutionary War re-enactments, I expected to see someone – in costume – when I rushed ahead to see who’d caused the shadow.
No one was there, and we’d have heard footsteps, running, if someone had dashed upstairs. Had it been a prank, the basement was too large for anything but the hastiest getaway.
We checked everything to see if a normal shadow could explain it. We found nothing. The basement wasn’t very cluttered, so no one could have been hiding from us, either.
Only one other person was in the house during the investigation, and we’d have heard his footsteps. Plus that, his build differed completely from the shadow. We found nothing to explain this figure. At least two of us saw it.
“Hat Man” connection?
I’ve heard speculation that shadow people are connected with the phantom “Hat Man.”
The reports have major differences. Read the Gaia description of “Hat Man.” He appears at night, and wears a long trench coat, a black three-piece suit, plus a hat with a brim. He’s between six and ten feet tall. His eyes may glow red. He whispers warnings or baffling messages to his victims, and he consistently instills fear.
In my opinion, that’s very different from a shadow person.
But, I may have photographed a “hat man.” That’s what people said when I posted my photo of a figure inside a former bank (robbed by Bonnie & Clyde) in Old Town Spring, Texas.
I didn’t like him, but he didn’t scare me. His eyes didn’t glow. He didn’t whisper anything, either.
So, he doesn’t fit the “hat man” profile, but I did see him as a shadow. Does that make him a shadow person? Maybe. The problem is: in the photo, he’s not just a shadow.
Are shadow people dangerous?
A while ago, I turned on a ghost-related TV show. Then, I heard one of the show’s stars declare that shadow people are killers.
She insisted they’re dangerous.
I think it’s irresponsible to tell homeowners that shadows in their homes might kill them. (In Dr. Who episodes? Sure, it’s fiction. In really life? No.)
I don’t mean to trivialize the terror someone can feel when they see a shadowy figure they can’t explain.
If your instant reaction is fear, and your instincts tell you to get away from it… run. In paranormal research, trust your gut feelings. It’s better to have a “Dude, run!” moment and feel silly later, than put yourself in harm’s way.
If you feel as if any entity – living, dead, or something in-between – is dangerous, get away from it immediately.
But, I’ll be honest. If a shadow person has ever killed or seriously injured someone, I haven’t heard about it.
Also, from most reports I’ve heard, shadow people don’t have features. Yes, it might feel as if they’re looking at you.
But you can’t see its face. Maybe it is looking at you. Or, maybe it’s looking for a place to hide.
Anything is possible.
I’ve seen the Ghost Hunters’ episode where a shadow person seemed to peek out from behind something. The shadow was probably looking toward the investigators, but we can’t be certain of that.
Shadow people look like shadows. Other than that… it’s all guesswork for now.
Here’s another researcher’s opinions about shadow people. It’s an eight-minute video.
Shadow people might be ghosts that manifest as shadows. Maybe they’re not able to create EMF spikes or generate EVP, and they can’t rap on tables, but they can create shadows.
That’s one guess.
Shadow people may be something entirely different from ghosts.
They might be fearful apparitions, trying to hide from us.
Shadow people might be minions of malicious or even demonic entities.
Then again, shadow people might be aliens in a form we didn’t expect.
Or… all of the above.
I’m not trying to be flippant. My point is, we need to keep an open mind.
So far, they’re seen most often in haunted locations. That suggests a connection to ghosts.
But what if they’re something else?
Well, aliens are outside my field of study. However, if this concept intrigues you, Nick Redfern may be the best resource.
If you have the stomach (or curiosity) for that kind of topic, you may like his book, Paranormal Parasites. I haven’t read it yet, because Redfern’s research focus is very different to mine.
His insights may be relevant if you’ve encountered a shadow person and sensed that it was deeply, powerfully evil.
Meanwhile, the following story isn’t about ghosts, but it might indicate an alien element. (Or, it may have no connection to shadow people. It’s just something strange, not ghostly.)
Dark portal to the night sky?
One of the most mysterious shadows I’ve seen… well, it wasn’t a person at all. But, it was odd, and it was a shadow, and I’ve never found a reasonable explanation for it.
One evening in 2009, my husband and I were driving from New Hampshire to Dragon Con (Atlanta, GA), where I was a guest speaker.
The sky was dark and a little cloudy.
Driving south on I-95, we saw an odd column of darkness on the left side of the road.
It seemed to be in back of a stand of trees, and about 100 yards from the shoulder of the highway. It was like columns created by searchlights, but this column was darker than the sky, not lighter.
I thought it was fascinating, and I wondered how they’d created that effect. It was a great alternative to a spotlight.
(At the time, we didn’t realize it was an anomaly. At Dragon Con, I asked a few scientists what might have caused it, and they said nothing like that was possible.)
Since then, we’ve seen nothing like it.
With the increasing reports of shadow people, was that column a conduit for them?
That anomaly may have nothing to do with shadow people. It’s just an idle thought to consider.
But are they evil?
Meanwhile, in terms of all shadow people being evil, malicious, or demonic, I’ll need more consistent evidence.
The shadow person I photographed (my NH basement photo, above) was about 30 or 40 feet from me, and I sensed nothing at all from him. He was just there.
His form didn’t seem to suck up light, like some energy vampire. He wasn’t menacing or cowering or sending evil death-ray energy at me.
He was just a shadow. For all I know, he was an energy echo from the past, or something in a parallel reality. He may have been an extraordinary form of residual energy, or… yes, he may have been a ghost.
Just in case…
Until we know more about shadow people, keep your distance.
That’s just a precaution.
So far, I haven’t seen or heard credible reports that suggest they’re dangerous.
Are they ghosts? I’m not sure. I’m still looking for more consistent reports, to make sense of why people began seeing them – in large numbers – several years ago.
I won’t pretend I understand (or agree with) everything she describes in the book. But, for now, it’s one of the best-researched – and most complete – books on the topic.
Meanwhile, as I said, err on the side of caution. If you see a shadowy figure and you feel uneasy, get away from it and perhaps leave the site altogether. I don’t think shadow people are dangerous, but I’d hate anyone to put themselves at risk, if I’m wrong.