Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Peepshow, Creepshow - Where Did You Get Those Eyes?

By Deirdre O'Lavery

When I was 15 years old I began seeing Shadow People. I call them "Shadow People", because that's the common name given within UFOlogy and related fields, but in my case (as well as others I have read about) Shadow People aren't always in the form of people. Yet "shadow" isn't really the best term for these types of events, because shadows would require a significant light source for them to present themselves in such rich fashion against backgrounds of varying darkness-es. Also, there seems to be a three-dimensional depth to them. "Semi-transparent Silhouettes" is a much better term, but I suppose that isn't as ominous sounding as, say, "Shadow People". Oh well.

The onset of this peculiar shadowy addition to my already-then peculiar life started in the spring of 1990. For the first few months, I wasn't convinced I was seeing anything beyond floaters, shadows from an unseen source, or nothing at all. Maybe they were nothing more than tricks of the eye, I thought, as many of these shadows were caught within my vision only peripherally. But as they increased in regularity over the weeks that followed, I paid more attention to my surroundings and those peripheral sightings appeared to be more detailed than just a visual distortion of my environment. Some of these shadows appeared as figures -- humanoid, I suppose, that would move alongside of me and then vanish as instantly as they appeared. On most occasions, however, I could not discern what exactly it was I was seeing.

Over time the shadowy creatures began to appear more inward of my field of vision, to a point where I was becoming pretty certain that I was seeing certainly something. My vision at the time and through most of my life, was above optimal -- my eye sight was always one of my most notable characteristics. I was also not using any kind of medication or drugs, and didn't drink alcohol being only 15 (which you might think would go without saying, but I grew up in an interesting neighborhood). So, I feel that my state of mind and vision at the time were optimal and adequate enough to better interpret mere tricks of the eye from sightings of actual, real things.

I remember two events more vividly than the others, as they both happened on the same night, and unlike most of the other times, were detectable in my direct field of vision:

I was standing outside against the garage door around 10pm or so, smoking and looking at the stars. Star gazing was a common hobby of mine and I was apt to do it on most nights. I wasn't really looking for anything in particular, just enjoying our deliciously enormous galaxy, when I caught some movement in the distance off to my right. There was a church across the street from our house with a single light that was on every night until sunup. This light was on the right side of the building attached to a post about as tall as an average street light. What I had first noticed when my head was turned more away from that area, was a number of shapes performing small erratic movements. As I shifted my head to see what they were, I more than half expected to find nothing there, assuming they were more of the elusive shadow-objects I was becoming familiar with.

And I was right. Nothing was there. I decided to keep my eye on the spot just to see if maybe a bird or bat had been flitting about and would maybe return. While scanning the area around the light, quite suddenly -- and simultaneously -- objects appeared, displaying that same erratic behavior. I couldn't count them because they were moving so fast, but if I were to guess, I'd say there were about 10-12. Some disappeared and reappeared, or maybe it was that new ones taking the place of the old -- I wasn't sure. The patterns of movement weren't like that of a moth's or other types of insects I'd seen buzzing around luminous sources -- no, these shapes really didn't seem like shadows on a 2d surface. They appeared to morph in a way that was unlike typical rotations and positioning of solid 3 dimensional objects casting shadows on a wall. After about 20 seconds or so, they all disappeared. Not instantly, but more like a 10-frame fade and at different intervals. It took about a second for them to vanish completely.

I wasn't convinced that these were anything but bugs, birds or bats (admittedly, they moved more bat-like than insect or bird, though bats weren't common in the suburb of Chicago that I lived in. They were seen on occasion, but not often and hardly, if ever, in a group). I moved down the driveway towards the church in hopes they would reappear so I could ease my mind with some solid identification of known culprits. As I was nearer the church, which was probably only about 30 feet from the edge of my driveway (60 feet from my original position against the garage), the shapes reappeared just as before, which was near all at once. The same kind of movements and strange shapes were seen, and at about half the distance from where I first saw them, I was able to better analyze the area for whatever it was that was casting these 'shadows'. Still, I saw nothing around the light that would account for the large shapes and the strange appearance and disappearance of these peculiar forms. The way the light post was positioned against the tall, windowless brick wall of the church, there was little room for whatever might be the cause of the shadows. I was pretty baffled.

Again, about half-a-minute after they reappeared, they all vanished. There was no scattering away, no dispersing of the group -- they were just suddenly gone. While the length of each sighting was relatively short, they were long enough to know that something definitely had been there. I tossed more ideas around in my head, trying to logic myself into rationale and reason, hoping to shake loose some forgotten obvious explanation about what they could have been -- but I really had no fucking clue. Dark shapes -- that's all I could tell.

Defeated, I walked back up the driveway, lit a cigarette and turned my head upwards towards the night sky, losing myself amongst the tiny gigantic hydrogen-furnaces floating about in the blackness of space. After a few minutes, I saw another movement out of the bottom left corners of my eyes. Turning to capture this new peripheral blip, I again expected to find nothing -- but that expectation was quickly grounded. I did indeed see something. This 'something' wasn't as ambiguous as frantic shapes around a lantern, but instead was of a single shape, one that at first appeared to be a rather large, weirdly proportioned dog. It was on the street located on the east side of our house, but further down the road to the south and moving north. After a moment or two, I decided it definitely wasn't a dog. It was too massive, for one -- and two, it didn't move like a dog, but rather like a large swift ape, in that it appeared to use it's front legs to propel itself forward. There was no sound associated with the event, no paws on pavement, heavy panting -- anything of the sort.

As it was near parallel to me at about a distance of 50 feet, I was certain what I was seeing wasn't normal by any stretch of the word. In fact, I could see through it. Yep. This thing was all by it's lonesome. It wasn't a shadow cast by anything I could tell, but rather a three-dimensional form that was a semi-opaque black. I watched in awe (and perhaps strangely, without fear) as it finally approached a point on the road which would take it behind the house next to us and out of my vision -- only, it didn't quite make it that far. This 'creature' disappeared just before it would have been lost behind the house. Like the flitting shapes around the church light, it too, faded... gradually, swiftly -- and then gone.

It was this second, more detailed and breathtaking sighting that made me really wonder if the shadows I had seen earlier by the church light were of the same kind of makeup, or as I later imagined, were of the same kind of 'world'. Later I would dub these kinds of sightings as 'dimensional vision' (though as I got older, I'd probably have thought of a less cheesy and definitive title). The term was inspired by something my mother once told me about a rural-esque road in the town we lived in. "Army Trail Road" was created during the Civil War, though it was of course paved for some time since and served as a swift shortcut from the east side of town to our area. Mom used to take that road home from work every afternoon, and in the Spring and Fall, would often get the feeling she was briefly entering or experiencing a different time period and that the whole stretch of road itself had a 'haunted' feel to it. She told me she sometimes felt that if she were to turn her head to the fields and wooded areas along side Army Trail Road, that she might see 19th Century soldiers camping or marching through the trees. My mother considered that perhaps the past and present overlapped at certain times of the year allowing one to see or feel era's long since gone. I didn't feel that what I was seeing were fragments of the past, but I did wonder if maybe a similar kind of overlap might happen with dimensions, hence 'dimensional vision'. These days I'm not comfortable with tossing the word 'dimension' about, but at the time I used it as a sort of off-the-lip definition for 'Some place other than here'.

The shadow creatures of my early teens ceased after a few months, but would appear again for brief periods later in life, most recently, about 2 years ago. Lately I've been wondering if these shadowy events are related to another strange phenomenon that was a fairly regular occurrence in my youth. Only, this other phenomenon wasn't visually shadowy, but consciously shadowy, if that makes sense. There have been few terrifying moment in my life than when I have felt I was being tracked by an ominous blackness. It never actually looked black - it didn't look like anything, but I had the distinct impression of a giant, looming cloud of 'evil' when I felt it near. I had three specific experiences of particularly frightening intensity in which I was in the presence of such a thing: the first being between the ages of 7-9, the second, a few years later, and lastly, at about the age of 15 with a friend -- the same period as my shadow above experiences. I will go into these more in a later piece where I will try to elaborate on what these experiences were like and how utterly terrified I felt during them.

These days I think that my shadow experiences are related to these other formless anomalies in my life. Hell, everything I have experience might all be related. Many people are considering the idea that all paranormal events are really one phenomenon. I'd never been totally sold on that, but now I'm starting to wonder if a good many of them are in fact related.

What are these Shadow People? Do they really come from another realm or dimension? Are they ghosts? Demons? Aliens? Fuck if I know. Personally, I don't think they are alien. I also don't feel they are ghosts. Calling them demons might do some justice, since definitions of demons are rather varied, but even that seems far from adequate. And dimensions? Perhaps there's no dimension about it, only perception and influences on perception. These things might always be around, though not usually known or experienced by us. Like dogs privy to audio frequencies we cannot hear, maybe these 'Shadows' exist within frequencies much higher than most of our human senses are capable of recognizing -- but that on occasion the environment or an individuals perception of their environment, shifts a bit -- and what was unseen is then very much seen... and experienced.

Copyright © 2010 Deirdre O'Lavery


Mike G. said...


Oh golly, you have been listening to Erik again, haven't you? Oh dear....

The "supernatural" is not all one thing. I hate that word the same way you hate "dimension" (yeah, that word blows too!). That is because "supernatural" is a false notion - just like "dimension" makes assumptions about other "realms" in a very materialist and anthropocentric way.

Things that happen to us in our experience are not "supernatural": they are natural because they happened to us in nature. That is the definition of natural.

So why the word? Because materialists don't believe in the immaterial - even when it is happening to them! Don't they say, openly, that the supernatural is immaterial? Supernatural my ass.

Spirits exist. They do not originate in your subconscious, they exist as spirits in much the same way you do - only they are not located in material bodies like us. There is that dimension thing again.

We are all spirits. And when we die, our spirit doesn't. It moves on. Some spirits get lost in the process. Bummer for them - well, and you too if they hang around and creep you out. Others are thought forms. And no doubt, SOME of them are products of our subconscious - subjective or collective.

This is a deep subject. And maybe Erik is right...

Nah, psych! :o)

Deirdre said...

hey Mike - thanks for responding. I'm supposed to get notices when comments are posted here, but I guess not this time!

I'm not a big fan of the term supernatural or paranormal, but I use it to give some idea of context to the reader.

I think a lot of things could possibly be connected - shadow people/ghosts/spirits/whatever, but there are certainly areas where I have my doubts that there is a connection (i.e. Civil War ghostly encounters vs. up close and personal -- seemingly physical -- unidentified objects.

And as far as Erik being right or wrong, while he is my friend, I disagree with his psycho-terrestrial theory for the most part. I haven't completely dismissed it, but it's not my path, so to speak.

I'm also not very sold on the trickster idea. In fact, I'm not very comfortable with it at all. But, knowing fuck-all about what the actual 'reality' is, I haven't shut the door completely.

Likewise, I do not think (at least my experiences) are a product of my own mind. Could I be wrong? Sure. but personally, I don't feel I am.