Kenneth Setzer

Shadow People are Real—A Halloween Post

I once lived in an apartment on the top floor of a brick, two-story house in Queens, New York. My relatives had lived in that house since the 1930s, and were only the second family to live there. The first owners lived there only very briefly as I understand, and their identity is unknown to me. It was around 1992 and I was in college. My father worked nights, my mother would be asleep by about 11:00 pm, and downstairs my great aunt would be asleep by midnight.

My favorite time was the night, after everyone was asleep. I’d bring my books and spread out on our small kitchen table to study. Every night, I sat the same way: back to my bedroom door, and facing out into our dark living room. I would study, read, think, and once in a while, every few minutes, I’d look up, just to take a quick break from studying. I started seeing a shadow or silhouette walking away from me, about twelve feet in front of me. Every time, it was exactly the same. The figure would walk away from me, along the wall in the living room, as if it were going into the front bedroom, in the opposite direction from my point of view.

It always looked the same: very, very tall, maybe 7 feet or so; lanky, thin, flowing, and utterly black. Not like a shadow, but rather like the total absence of light, except in the shape of a human body. I never saw a face, or any other features. I just got the impression it was male. That’s it.

Now you have to realize I never thought I was seeing anything unusual. I didn’t even think about it at all, as a matter of fact. I thought it was like a flash, the kind you see out of the corner of your eye when looking up quickly. My moment of realization came weeks later. I was speaking to my father about the afterlife, ghosts, the paranormal, etc. He was into the supernatural somewhat and often reported seeing or sensing unusual things. And he’d often sit in our living room at night with only the glowing orange tip of his cigarette to indicate anyone was there. It was like a light went on inside my head. I said “you know, come to think of it, I think I’ve seen something here, walking along this wall.” He immediately, casually responded, “yeah, you mean that tall black thing going into the bedroom?” I was speechless. My mouth must have dropped open. I realized I had seen it at least six times, and it was always the same in appearance and behavior.

My father thought it was the spirit of my grandfather, searching for my grandmother, since they had lived in that bedroom—the one the shadow walked towards— many decades before. It doesn’t make sense to me that it would be him. They didn’t live there that long, maybe a couple years, and this figure was so incredibly tall. No one in my family had ever been near seven feet tall!

My feeble attempt to render what I saw.

My feeble attempt to render what I saw.


I don’t recall seeing the shadow figure again. I moved out of that house about three years later. I have been back, and have even slept in the very room in which I saw the shadow person, but I have never seen it again.

Nowadays, with so much info shared on the web, I have found many other people’s tales of shadow people, or shadow creatures. However, they are almost always of a menacing nature, have glowing red points for eyes, and also often seem to confront the people seeing them. My experiences were never negative. Actually, I was always very relaxed and at ease when I viewed my shadow person, as though that was a prerequisite for seeing it at all. It never seemed to take notice of my presence.

To this day I wonder what I saw. I just don’t think it was a spirit of a departed human. A couple relatives of mine are known to have died in that house, but it just doesn’t fit that the figure would look the way it did if it were a “ghost.” I also wonder how I got to be the one to experience it. I mean, I was always calm and relaxed, in a quiet, dark house, except for the one light I had on for reading. Maybe that’s the key to seeing such a thing — being relaxed, and not trying to see anything at all. When my father saw it, he too was at ease, sitting in a dark living room, smoking.

Ultimately, it’s the one time in my life of which I am sure I had some glimpse of something paranormal, or whatever you like to call it. The house was finally sold years later. I’ll never be back there again.

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This entry was posted on October 27, 2014 by in Halloween and tagged , , , , , .

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