It is football season in the U.S., which means the sports news is filled with interviews with even the lowliest players on teams extolling the reasons why they will lead their teammates to the championship – often these interviews occur moments before the poor players find out they have been cut and their career is over. At the other end of the performance spectrum, the star players are rested and coddled in order to protect them for the grind of the regular season, so their interviews are often filled with tales of everything BUT football.
One who has never shied away from a microphone is Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers who led the team to a Super Bowl win in 2010 and won back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards in 2020 and 2021. UFO fans may remember back in 2016 (a year when he led his team to the NFC Championship Game before losing) when Rodgers revealed a UFO encounter he had back in 2005 in New Jersey. Well, the paranormal side of the NFL MVP has emerged again – Rodgers recently revealed he has been followed by a mysterious figure known as the “Hat Man” ever since the quarterback consumed the psychedelic drink Ayahuasca on trips to Peru during the 2020 and 2022 offseasons. Is the Hat Man the secret force behind Rodgers’ successes? Or is the apparition trying to thwart them?
“I love myself a lot better so it’s easier to love other people and give them forgiveness and not jump on somebody’s ass if they make a mistake.”
Aaron Rodgers has never been known to be a ‘loving, forgiving’ person on or off the field, so that recent comment would be puzzling to fans … until it is placed in the proper context. Earlier this month, Rodgers revealed at a press conference that he had partaken of ayahuasca in Peru twice and it was having an effect on his relationships both in his personal life and his football life. His admission that his “three nights of journey” under the influence of the psychoactive substance while monitored by an experienced guide was good news for his family, somewhat good news for his teammates who have endured his wrath, and caused a panic state for team officials who were concerned that he had violated league drug policies.
“Both the league and the NFL Players Association have informed PFT that ayahuasca counts as neither a prohibited compound under the substance-abuse policy nor a PED (performance-enhancing drug). The primary psychoactive ingredient, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), is a Schedule I drug under federal law. It’s not a problem under NFL law.”
As reported by Pro Football Talk (PFT), ayahuasca is OK with the league -- players can use it and publicly talk about using it. So Aaron Rodgers did what Aaron Rodgers does … he kept talking about his adventures in ayahuasca.
“He will sometimes appear in the distance, usually veiled by darkness, holding the corpse of a dead rabbit and sometimes a blade.”
“He” in this case is a Hat Man and Rodgers claims he has encountered this shadowy paranormal being ever since his first ayahuasca experience. Wisconsin News reports that while the quarterback definitely feels more loving and forgiving after his experiences, that doesn’t necessarily hold true for the mysterious entity he claims has followed him back from Peru to Green Bay.
“It was behind me, not even breathing hard. I heard its feet hitting the ground in a constant rhythm. I ran to my car, opened the door, slammed it behind me and locked it as fast as I could.”
Rodgers claims the Hat Man is the reason why he fears being in the locker room alone – a fear his teammates attest to. Rodgers says once when he was alone, the lights “started to flicker and turn off one by one,” causing him to run to his car – this is from a quarterback who doesn’t like to run during a game and is fearless when hearing the footsteps of 300-pound linemen bearing down on him. What is it about the Hat Man that scares the four-time NFL MVP so much?
“When I sat and thought about [the Hat Man], the thing that came to my mind was Freddy Krueger [from the film A Nightmare on Elm Street]. This notion that you can be attacked when you’re asleep, that’s when you’re vulnerable. And of course, Krueger wears a hat.”
In an interview with The Week, Christopher French, a psychology professor at Goldsmiths, University of London, mentions one of the many fictional horror characters who wears a hat. In the TV series “The Hauntung of Hill House,” William Hill is the former owner of Hill House who went insane and bricked himself behind a wall – he appears wearing a bowler. In the paranormal world, the Men in Black are generally reported to be wearing a fedora. According to Monster Wiki, most witnesses see the Hat Man as a shadow with no visible facial features. It also makes no movements – often staying still for many minutes before simply walking away or vanishing. Whatever the circumstances, most witnesses claim to have a feeling of sheer terror in its presence – Aaron Rodgers seems to agree.
“The entity has stalked human beings throughout history, not merely within a particular society or during a specific time.”
In her book, “Sleep Paralysis: Night-mares, Nocebos, and the Mind-body Connection,” Shelley Adler, a medical anthropologist at the University of California, San Francisco, studied the Hat Man and other similar shadowy entities and found a series of incidents in the late 1970s and into the 1980s where about 100 seemingly healthy people died suddenly in their sleep and doctors began referring to it as “sudden unexpected/unexplained nocturnal death syndrome,” or SUNDS. Other cultures call this the “nightmare death syndrome” because the victims often previously complained about severe nightmares where an evil spirit sat on their chest and attempted to suffocate them. Aldler and other researchers have linked this sensation to sleep paralysis and found that many suffers wake up before the nightmare is over – supporting their belief the entity is real. The researchers found that many sleep paralysis suffers also experience hypnagogic (the state before falling asleep) hallucinations insects and shadowy human-shaped figures causing extreme fear and anxiety. A shadowy head can easily be mistaken for a hat-wearing entity by a person in a state of terror and sleeplessness.
So, is Aaron Rodgers having sleep-interrupting, ayahuasca-induced visions of a sleep paralysis entity he thinks is a Hat Man? How do team owners and his teammates feel about the chance he may encounter the Hat Man on the field and run away – possibly in the direction of the opponents’ goal where he could score for them?
Maye Rodgers needs to start wearing a helmet to bed … or to his next ayahuasca experience.