Have you ever thought about the most dangerous and creepiest supernatural creatures out there? I have. With that in mind, I’m going to share with you my five, top such “things,” and in no particular order. I’ll begin with the Shadow People. Precisely who or what they are is a matter of deep debate. Jason Offutt is an expert on the subject, and the author of a 2009 book on the subject titled Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us. He says there are eight different kinds of Shadow People – at least, they are the ones we know about. He labels them as benign shadows, shadows of terror, red-eyed shadows, noisy shadows, angry hooded shadows, shadows that attack, shadow cats, and the hat man. Certainly, the latter category – that of the Hat Man – is the one which is most often reported, and from all across the planet. Imagine a silhouetted character that had stepped out of a 1940s / 1950s-era piece of black and white film-noir, and you’ll have a good idea of what the Hat Man looks like. That he is entirely shadow-like in nature only adds to the menace.
Heidi Hollis is an expert on this topic, too, having penned a 2014 book on the subject titled The Hat Man: The True Story of Evil Encounters. She has collected literally hundreds of reports of encounters with this particularly dangerous shadow-thing. One example from Hollis’ files, and which appears in her book, reads as follows: “Dear Heidi, I was maybe 5 years old when The Hat Man started to visit me. Every night I would lay in the top bed of my bunk bed and watch as my door would crack open for him to creep inside. As high up as I was, I would still have to look up to see him and I would freeze in horror at the sight of him.” Moving on…
There is very little doubt at all that the most powerful Tulpa in today’s world is the Slenderman – the Internet sensation that is part-Man in Black, part-ghoul, and part-Lovecraftian nightmare. The story of the pale, faceless, black-suited and tentacle-waving monster dates back to 2009. That was the year in which a man named Eric Knudsen created the Slenderman – purely as a piece of entertainment and nothing else – for the Something Awful website. Knudsen skillfully manipulated a couple of black-and-white photos and inserted his creepy creation into the pictures, which showed the Slenderman among groups of children – who, in the tales, he preys on in disturbing fashion. In no time at all, and certainly surprising Eric Knudsen, the Slenderman went from being a bit of harmless, Net-based fun to a full-blown meme: blogs were created in his name, fictional stories were posted online to further expand the legend of the creature, and his devoted following of largely young children and teenagers grew at a phenomenal and extraordinary rate. Now, let’s take a look at the Dog-Men.
Since 1991, the Wisconsin town of Elkhorn has been the lair and hunting ground of a terrifying creature that is the closest thing one can imagine to a real-life werewolf. And, just maybe, that’s exactly what it is. The monster has become known as the Beast of the Bray Road – on account of the fact that many of the initial sightings were made on that particular road. Without doubt, the expert on all-things of a lycanthropic nature in Wisconsin is author and journalist Linda Godfrey, who has penned half a dozen books on werewolves, and who I interviewed about her research into this malignant beast. She told me: “The story first came to my attention in about 1991 from a woman who had heard rumors going around here in Elkhorn, and particularly in the high school, that people had been seeing something like a werewolf, a wolf-like creature, or a wolf-man. They didn’t really know what it was. But some were saying it was a werewolf. And the werewolf tag has just gotten used because I think that people really didn’t know what else to call it.”
Linda continued: “I started checking it out. I talked to the editor of The Week newspaper here, and which I used to work for. He said, ‘Why don’t you check around a little bit and see what you hear?’ This was about the end of December. And being a weekly newspaper that I worked for, we weren’t really hard news; we were much more feature oriented. So, I asked a friend who had a daughter in high school and she said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what everybody’s talking about.’ So, I started my investigations and got one name from the woman who told me about it. She was also a part-time bus driver. In my first phone call to the bus driver, she told me that she had called the County Animal Control Officer. So, of course, when you’re a reporter, anytime you have a chance to find anything official that’s where you go. I went to see him and, sure enough, he had a folder in his file draw that he had actually marked Werewolf, in a tongue-in-cheek way. People had been phoning in to him to say that they had seen something. They didn’t know what it was. But from their descriptions, that’s what he had put. So, of course, that made it a news story. When you have a public official, the County Animal Control Officer, who has a folder marked Werewolf, that’s news. It was very unusual.”
Now, what about Skinwalkers? For many Native American people, the Skinwalker – tales of which date back centuries – is a definitive witch, a crone-like thing that has the ability to change its form, and radically so, too. And it is not just one specific type of beast into which the witch can change, but multiple ones. While a shapeshifting Native American witch can take on, quite literally, hundreds of forms, the most often reported guises are bears, coyotes, various types of birds, and – at the top of the list – wolves or wolf-like animals. This latter issue, of course, emphasizes that the Skinwalker is not that dissimilar at all to the traditional European werewolf, despite being separated by distances of thousands of miles.
The process by which a witch can become a Skinwalker is a highly complex one, and one which involves several different processes. For example, witches who are both learned and skilled in magical arts can transform themselves into a wide variety of creatures, and all by focusing on its image in their minds – very often in the confines of their teepee. In most cases, however, a witch will secure the hide of the animal they wish to become and wrap it around their shoulders and back. By effectively wearing the hide, the witch – slowly and step by step – becomes the very beast it specifically seeks to emulate. And, so Native American teachings maintain, that includes adopting its keen senses of smell and sight, its agility and speed, and even its complete, physical form.
And, finally: the Black-Eyed Children. There can be no doubt that one of the creepiest phenomena to have surfaced in the last two decades is that of what have become infamously known as the Black-Eyed Children. It would be simple to suggest they are merely the offspring of the Men in Black and the Women in Black. Admittedly, though, there are deep similarities. And, also like the MIB and the WIB, the BEC are definitive drainers of energy. Of course, they have their name from their completely black eyes. On top of that, there is their pale skin and their ability to control minds. Avoid all of the above!