Jul 08, 2024 I Jazz Shaw

Animals From the Shadow Realm

Paranormal reports dating back many decades have been rife with sightings of shadowy figures (literally) that have visited witnesses. These have largely been lumped into categories including the Hatman, Slenderman, and the more generic, ubiquitous "shadow people." Most such encounters are described as being unpleasant or at least disturbing. One thing they all share in common is that they seem to resemble the general shape or outline of a human figure. But while far less commonly reported, these are not the only types of shadowy figures being observed. Sometimes they take the form of animals as well, including common housepets. This is a subject that I have hesitated to cover for some time, but given events that have transpired over the past couple of years, I decided to dive in and do some research to report on it.

To come clean up front, I will begin by saying that my interest in this phenomenon was largely driven by the fact that it has impacted my own family directly. In order to put this report in context, I will begin by summarizing our own experience. Between November of 2020 and August of 2021, my wife and I witnessed five UFOs. (Some of which we filmed.) Those were remarkable experiences and I am always on the lookout for more sightings. But in the spring of 2021, a different phenomenon began showing up much closer to home. More accurately, it was showing up in our home. I will leave it to the discretion of the reader as to whether the two occurrences are related, though others have reported similar connections, referred to as the Hitchhiker Effect, particularly among those who have visited Skinwalker Ranch. I honestly couldn't say. 

One evening, climbing the steps to the second floor of our home, I saw what appeared to be a black housecat in the hallway, turning and walking into the bathroom. But it was featureless, appearing to be composed of shadows. I hurried to look into the bathroom, but of course, there was nothing there. I shrugged off the incident, particularly since we own two black cats, so it's not an unusual sight. A few weeks later, however, the same thing happened, this time on the steps leading down to our basement. These brief sightings continued every few weeks, though I said nothing to my wife, not wishing to appear any crazier than I already did. But after the fourth time, upstairs once again, I stomped down the stairs only to find both of our black cats napping on the couch with her. As I stared at them, she could tell something was amiss and she asked me what was wrong. Reluctantly, I spilled the entire story to her, worrying that she would be frightened that her spouse had finally lost his mind. Instead, a broad smile broke out on her face and she said, "Oh! You saw the ghost cat!" It turned out that she had been seeing it also but similarly didn't want to say anything for fear of alarming me.

My wife refers to the apparition as a ghost cat rather than a shadow cat because she came to believe that it was the spirit of one or more of our departed pets hanging around to assure us that they are waiting for us on the other side. I must admit, that's a much nicer image to hold in one's mind than a potentially sinister shadow being. She even has a coffee mug with such a silhouette that reads, "I Heart My Ghost Cat." Rather than simply seeing the creature, my wife described once having it jump up on the bed with us while I was sleeping and feeling it settle onto her stomach. (This element of the report will become more relevant shortly.) While it only happens sporadically, this has been going on for three years now, with the most recent sighting being only a few weeks ago. As my recent research revealed, this happens to more people than some might imagine. Shadow dogs are more often reported than shadow cats, but both types of pets are represented.

One person from the American midwest recently called into Derek Hayes' podcast (look for Season 17, Episode 10.5, and fast-forward to the 51-minute mark) reporting a nighttime encounter with a shadow dog. He claimed that it not only appeared in his bedroom but jumped onto the bed and sat on his chest. This was another instance of a reported physical presence of a shadow animal, similar to my wife's experience. That is far from the only such report, however. There is an entire podcast dedicated to the subject of paranormal pets with more than one hundred episodes in the books. 

Another online outlet features a large collection of stories or reports from people who have had similar experiences and are seeking explanations. Not all of these experiences are as pleasant or at least innocuous as ours, however. Some sightings are fleeting, caught only out of the corner of the witness' eye. Others are more confrontational. One man reported being out in front of his home in the evening taking in the night air when he spotted a shadowy dog figure on the side of the street. He called out to it and it turned its head to look at him with what he described as red, glowing eyes before charging at him. He bolted into his house but said he heard it slam into his mailbox. The next morning he claimed to find bite marks and a dent in the mailbox, again suggesting a physical presence. Another woman had multiple sightings of a featureless shadow dog inside of her mother's house, which ran into the bathroom and disappeared. (What is it with these shadow animals and bathrooms?) If you read through the rest of the reports at that forum, you will find many more examples.

Of course, most scientists and the majority of the mainstream media dismiss these reports. (The normies, of course.) They are typically written off as the result of Sleep Paralysis, Peripheral Vision Illusions, Hypnagogic or Hypnopompic Hallucinations, or the byproducts of Stress and Anxiety. In an effort to be fair to some of these skeptical critics, I will readily admit that those explanations could indeed apply to at least some reports. Sleep paralysis is a real phenomenon and some witness do recount being awoken in bed when they had their encounters. At least three of the reports from the forum I linked above described instances where the witness described seeing "something shadowy" out of the corner of their eye which disappeared when they attempted to look at it directly. Similarly, both of the types of hallucinations mentioned involve people who are in the process of falling asleep or waking up.

But that hardly speaks to all of the reports. Being able to now address the phenomenon as a direct "experiencer" with a corroborating witness, such explanations fall painfully short of the mark. All of my sightings of our shadow cat or ghost cat (or whatever you wish to call it) happened while I was wide awake and moving around our home. Most of my wife's did as well, so sleep paralysis and related hallucinations should be off the table. Further, we both saw full-on apparitions while staring directly at the feline, not out of the corner of our eyes, and they lasted for several seconds, not just a passing glance. Nearly everyone has stress or anxiety in their lives, particularly during these traumatic times. But you're giving a lot of credit to stress if you believe it can account for multiple people seeing the same thing repeatedly in the same location.

Further, how do these supposed explanations account for the sensations of physical contact reported by not only my spouse but multiple other witnesses cited in the reports linked above? There are certainly more than enough medical records out there to support the idea that some people experience hallucinations, but hallucinations don't press down on your chest or pull down the covers on your bed. An illusion of peripheral vision doesn't smash into someone's mailbox and leave scratches and bite marks behind. There are simply too many people experiencing this phenomenon and earnestly reporting their encounters to chuck the entire idea into the wastebin of conspiracy theories and hoaxes. As has been discussed on this site for years, we live in a vastly complex and - yes - mysterious universe that we are far from fully understanding and decoding. Intelligent people should allow themselves to remain open to the possibilities and consider alternative explanations to the many observed phenomena that fall outside of mainstream scientific thinking.

Jazz Shaw

Jazz Shaw is a U.S. military veteran and journalist who has written for and appeared on multiple outlets including Salem Media, National Review, and MSNBC, along with many American radio outlets. His quest for the truth revolves around both the paranormal and the perfect martini.

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