One interesting and increasingly talked about area of the world of the paranormal is the Shadow Person. These are often described as vaguely humanoid entities of pure black, variously as either well-defined or more amorphous and cloud-like, which are usually only glimpsed in the periphery of vision and are known to conjure up waves of irrational fear. They have been speculated as being everything from demons, to interdimensional interlopers, to earth spirits or even angels, and they are commonly accepted as being a separate phenomena from regular ghosts. Considering their fleeting nature, evasiveness, and seeming aversion to be witnessed head-on, there has been very little photographic evidence put forward towards their existence, but on occasion some images come out that seem to be in keeping with the idea of Shadow People. While inconclusive and often blurry or vague, thee photographs offer a glimpse into a poorly understood realm of the paranormal, and here we will look at some of the more famous and indeed controversial such photos of Shadow People.

One treasure trove of shadow people reports is the notorious Waverly Hills Sanatorium, in Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States. Opened in 1910, it was originally envisioned as a hospital for tuberculosis patients during an outbreak in the region at the time. Considering its secretive operations and the pall of death cast over it, it quickly became the center of rumors of human experimentation, mistreatment, suffering, and death, and by the time it closed in 1961 around 64,000 people were said to have died here in horrifying circumstances. Considering this, it is already ripe for tales of hauntings, and it is supposedly quite imbued with all manner of spirits, some of the most often seen being the mysterious Shadow People. One well-circulated photo of one of these entities was released after a tour of the facility in 2014, during which a woman took a picture of an empty area and noticed this image when the film was developed.

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Waverly Hills Sanatorium photo

Another visitor was investigating the old sanatorium by himself when he snapped a photo of a room full of old equipment. The image shows what appears to be some sort of shadowy figure looming in the foreground, and the photographer insists that he was alone at the time. What do you think?

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Waverly Hills Sanatorium photo

Speaking of haunted tuberculosis hospitals, we also have the Lima Tuberculosis Hospital in Allen County, Ohio, which closed in 1972 and has remained abandoned ever since. The former hospital has become infamous for its various hauntings, including reports of shadow people, which are said to follow visitors about, mostly only visible in the periphery of the vision and only briefly witnessed before flickering away. Yet on occasion there have been some photos taken of these mysterious figures, and one of them was taken by an urban explorer who didn’t notice what he had captured on film until much later.

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Lima Tuberculosis Hospital photo

One location that seems to be absolutely infested with Shadow People entities is Lawler Ford Road, in Glencoe, Missouri. Built in the 1860s, it has over the years accrued a long list of strange lore, such as ghost lights and persistent reports of Shadow People, and such is its odd legacy that the road is more commonly known as “Zombie Road.” Reports of shadowy entities lurking in the wilderness here are numerous, and some of them have allegedly been captured on film. One of the more striking of these is an image taken by Tom Halstead, of the paranormal investigator group “Paranormal Taskforce,” who in 2005 took this eerie photo of a whole procession of purported Shadow People milling about in the tree-line apparently staring at him. Halstead has been adamant that there were no other people there at the time, and that the whole area was surrounded by water, due to a high water level of the river, yet the figures just sort of melted away. The picture was featured in the documentary Legacy of Shadows.

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Zombie Road Shadow People

Halstead returned to the area in 2006, when he took another anomalous photo at a bridge in the area well known for its paranormal phenomena. The photo in this case is a bit less defined, but also seems to show some sort of black, vaguely humanoid figure at close range to the camera. It is a strange image to be sure, making one wonder if it is real or just a photography trick.

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Zombie Road Shadow Person photo

Other supposedly haunted places have their own alleged photos of Shadow People, such as the famously haunted RMS Queen Mary, which was in its glory days a British ocean liner that largely sailed about the North Atlantic Ocean before being retired in 1967. The vessel was then sailed to the port of Long Beach, California, where it became a hotel and tourist attraction and has gained a reputation for being intensely haunted ever since. One of the many paranormal phenomena reported from here is, you guessed it, Shadow People. Indeed, one of the best photos of a supposed Shadow Person ever taken was snapped here, and you can see it below. Is this just a trick of lighting, or what?

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The Queen Mary photo

Another rather famous image of a purported Shadow Person was taken at the former Moundsville Prison, in West Virginia. Between its years of operation spanning from 1866 to its closing in 1995, this was the final destination for all manner of some of society’s worst offenders, many of whom spent their last days on earth here. Murders, riots, and suffering were rampant here, and it is perhaps no surprise that the location should be insanely haunted. Many types of apparitions have been sighted here, including Shadow People, said to come here to feed off the negative energy, and photos of strange things are not uncommon at all. One such picture was taken by Polly Gear, of the Mountaineer Paranormal Group, and seems to show a black figure lurking at the end of a hallway, even though Gear has insisted that no one was there at the time. What is it?

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Moundsville Prison Shadow Person photo

One figure that the Shadow People seem to be prone to taking is that of the “Hat Man,” a black figure with a hat perched upon its head that is seen in many far flung cases. The Hat Man has been sighted all over the place, and has indeed become a paranormal phenomenon all unto itself, and while there has rarely been any photographic proof of it there has been some. In 2011, a family visited Trentham Cottage, in Port Arthur, Australia, which is a former prison facility and convict settlement, when they took a random photograph of a doorway. At the time there was nothing there, but when they looked at the photos later they could see an anomalous entity clearly wearing a hat standing there. What is it and why did it appear in this picture?

Trentham Cottage Hat Man photo

It is often the case that these figures are not noticed in these pictures until later, with the photographer not aware that anything is awry until they are shocked to see what they have captured when looking through their photographs. Another instance of this comes from a photographer who was taking pics of the 4th Street Bridge, in Los Angeles, staying there with a friend for around 20 minutes. When they went through the photographs later they were surprised to find a rather curious figure standing up within the shadows peering down at them. The location is supposedly impossible to get up to, and one wonders just what this figure is.

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4th Street Bridge Shadow Person photo

As with all photographic evidence of supposed paranormal phenomena, these images are far from proving anything. They are inconclusive, perhaps able to be faked, and only serve to fuel speculation on the existence of these mysteries. Yet they nevertheless provide a rare glimpse into the specific phenomena of Shadow People, which are often considered to be the most elusive and mysteries of entities. Whether any of these photographs actually show these apparitions in action I leave for you the reader to decide, and whether there is anything to it or not they are bizarre glimpses into a particularly odd area of the paranormal all the same.

Brent Swancer
Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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