The Shadow Man

I was 10 years old and my mother, sister (8 at the time), and I had just moved into a basement level apartment. The place was very dark and gloomy (as most basements are, I imagine!). It had only 2 bedrooms, a small eat-in kitchen that adjoined the living area, a small hallway that lead to the bedrooms and bath. I can still remember the fact that it had only 3 windows and one set of sliding glass doors (in the dining area) that allowed any natural light in. One window was in the living room, one in mine and my sister's room (we shared), and one small window in our mom's room. Like I said, very dark and gloomy.

We had only lived there a few weeks when at first, only my sister was noticing weird things. Since our mother worked full-time, and I was bussed across town to a different school than my sister, she would arrive at the apartment first in the afternoons. She would later tell me about the noises she heard and the strange shadows she saw darting around from the corner of her eyes.

I clearly remember one afternoon when I had arrived home (which was about an hour after she did) only to discover my sister huddled on the top of the steps that lead down to our front door. She had her arms wrapped around her drawn up legs, her head lowered to her knees, and she was shaking and rocking back and forth. It was obvious that she was terrified. I asked her what was wrong and all she did was point down the stairs. Curiously, I walked down and started toward our door. I noticed absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, and marched back up the steps to ask her what was wrong with her. She finally related this to me:

When she came home from school, she walked down to our door, only to find it standing wide open. She knew I wasn't home yet, and neither was our mom (she would have seen her car out front). She walked slowly to the open doorway and peered into the living room. At which time she says the chairs at the dining room table all flew away from it simultaneously, and what sounded like all the kitchen cabinets and drawers slammed shut, their contents rattling from the force. She said she SAW the chairs move, but nobody was in the apartment. She then said she was so scared that she dropped her books and ran up the stairs and sat there until I arrived.

I explained that she must have imagined it all, as the door was closed and I saw no books on the walkway. She SWORE it happened exactly like she said, but I was still skeptical. So, me being the oldest, I pressured her into going back down there with me. I mean, we had to go in sooner or later, right?

I unlocked the door and slowly opened it while my sister hid behind me, clinging to my shirt. Everything was as it should be, with the exception of my sister's school books all piled neatly on the coffee table. The chairs were where they should be and nothing was amiss in the kitchen. Needless to say, I didn't believe a word my sister told me. Until I saw The Shadow Man.

A few weeks after finding my sister cowering on the steps, I bought a walk-man radio and some cassettes (we're talking early 80's here) to go with it. That night, I decided to listen to my walkman after my sister and my mom went to bed. I believe it was around 11 p.m. when I started getting the distinct feeling that I was being "watched" from the open doorway to our room. I don't know why, but I was instantly afraid. I just knew it wasn't my mom. Since I was lying on my back, all I had to do was turn my head in the direction of the doorway and find out if there was anyone there.

I turned the walkman off and waited, lying stiff as a board and holding my breath, just waiting to hear anything unusual. I was still getting the impression that someone was in the doorway staring at me, but I was too terrified to look. I just knew that I wouldn't like seeing who was there, and now I was certain there WAS somebody there. Finally, I got the nerve to slowly turn my head toward the door. To my absolute horror there was a man standing there! I had never been so scared in all my life! I didn't dare move or make a sound, or even breathe for that matter. I just kept my eyes glued to the doorway. That's when I noticed that I could see through it! Before I could really panic, it occurred to me that it must be a shadow of someone that was standing out at street level. I rationalized that the street lights were casting the shadow into the hallway, through the window that was in our room.

I was starting to calm myself down and decided to prove my theory by turning around and looking at the window that was behind me. As soon as I did, panic assailed me all over again. There was no shadow on the sheer curtains. Nothing but the soft glow of the streetlight in the parking lot. I immediately looked back to the doorway, hoping and praying desperately that the figure would be gone. It was still there! Only now it appeared darker, but I could still make out the thermostat for the heating and air on the wall THROUGH "it". It also seemed to be projecting a seriously negative feeling. I don't understand why I felt that, but I did, and I was definitely terrified. It made no movement whatsoever and I was able to really look at it. It appeared to be a man wearing a long trench coat and a fedora style hat. All of this was in outline with no other distinguishing features. No face, hands, or feet for that matter, and it seemed to "hover" in one spot.

I didn't know what to do and it seemed an eternity had passed since I noticed it's presence. It occurred to me then that I didn't hear my sister snoring, which was a usual thing for her and the reason I had bought the walkman, with the hope of falling asleep to something less annoying. I figured she had to be awake, so I whispered her name. Imagine my disbelief when she responded, and I could tell she was terrified too. I couldn't blame her one bit. After all, the foot of her bed was only 3 feet from the doorway and "it"!

I whispered to her, "Do you see it?"
"YES!" she hissed and then started whimpering. "We have to get out of here. On the count of three...we run as fast as we can to mom's room" She didn't want to, but I wasn't staying, that was for sure! Our escape would mean running THROUGH the thing, but at that point I didn't see any other options. I counted to three, bounded off the bed, grabbed my sister from her bed, and we both ran screaming from the room. We jumped into the bed with our mom, she was already sitting up, having heard us screaming. I don't recall what she said, or what we even told her. It seems I just passed out from the fright. My mom didn't ask us about what had happened the next day, and my sister nor myself brought it up then. Maybe my mom didn't need to ask, who knows.

We never saw The Shadow Man after that, thank God. As it happened, we moved out shortly thereafter. I don't think it was coincidence either. Our lease wasn't up until 6 more months. I didn't complain and neither did my sister. We never spoke of it until I brought it up to her during a phone conversation in 1996, 12 years later. We were both surprised that the other remembered the incident so clearly. After all those years, the details of that night were still very clear to the both of us.

Thank you for your time and I apologize for the length of my account, but it's exactly how I remember it. I could never forget The Shadow Man!

Submitted by Abbie, NC, USA