Aliesha Watson was five years old when she first met 'O' ( short for his real name ), when she ran down the hall to retrieve a mirror for a school assignment. While most women dream about meeting a tall, dark, and handsome stranger, 'O' seemed somewhat too tall and dark for young Watson, and she was terrified. Confused, she informed her grandmother, a religious Pentacostal,
about the experience and was told it was demonic.
For the next 13 years, Watson would encounter 'O' in various places, especially outdoors while residing in the country. While curious of him as he seemed to be of her, she remained wary, believing him to be evil as her grandmother advised. Yet, she didn't feel endangered.
When asked to describe 'O', Watson explained he was around 7' feet tall with skin the texture of bark; "He likes to remain in shade, and enjoys climbing up into trees," she said. Many others have also described them in the same way, including Natalia Kuna, a psychic medium, who recounts the figures as "tall, about seven feet in height, though they can configure and transform into different sizes and shapes. Often their limbs (arms and legs) seem quite long, and very occasionally fingers seen."
Who is 'O'? Or, what are Shadow People?
They're a phenomenon existing for thousands of years, yet no one knows conclusively what they are. While they appear harmless, some report feeling extreme fear and overwhelming dread during a sighting. Others, such as Watson, say they felt more curious than threatened despite family warnings. Another recollects: "Although I was acutely aware of this being and the fact it was not of this earth as we perceive it, it did not seem to arouse any fear response in me. I would say it aroused a feeling that would fit somewhere between 'creepy, awed, and curiosity', especially considering the fact that it was aware of me as I was aware of it." ( source The LineUp )
One legend says you receive exactly what you present to a Shadow Person, whether benign or hostile; shadows are mirrors of your darker self reflected back to you. The fear instilled by the religious community, society in general, and the negative connotation portrayed by mainstream culture throughout history may influence the anxiety and feelings of impending doom that people commonly report when seeing these autonomous entities. Regardless, PsychonautWiki reports that de-stigmatization of the shadow person experience and rational discussion of their true origin may grant many sufferers relief from the associated stigma of paranoia and mental illness.
Stories of Shadow People come from across the world. Some wander through the periphery of our lives; others stay for years. They are shadowy figures that often appear in corners -- or, as Watson experienced, in dark halls or doorways.
They are also seen largely outdoors, and seem to range in appearance from mist-like to solid, assuming a definite human-like or a myriad of other indescribable shapes, including animals.
They sometimes appear to have faces, eyes, or mouths and are able to move or change shape. Some people share the belief that these creatures are supernatural spirits who manifest as dark shadows. Others believe them to be ghosts of the deceased, or extraterrestrial aliens from alternate dimensions. In the book “Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat” author Michael Kinsella wrote that shadow people are “extra-dimensional inhabitants of another universe.”
The first reports of Shadow People I could find date back to Ancient Egypt, early 600 BCE. They were called khaibut and believed to be one of seven souls that each person had.
Romans called them "umbra", also meaning ‘the shade’. They believed them a ghost of an individual whose shadow went to a place called the Land of Shades after death.
Greeks thought shadow people were literal shadows of themselves, offered up to Zeus as a gift. While this was a selfless sacrifice initially, it became fearsome. Especially if a person went to the temple of Zeus Lycaeus ( believed to be the origin of Werewolves ), where it is said they lost their shadow. In medieval times, werewolves and vampires lacked a shadow, reflection, or their soul, something demonstrated in film throughout decades.
In biblical times, a person’s shadow was cursed. For example in Numbers 14:9 –“Their shadow is departed from them.” Saying something like that equals telling someone to literally "Go to hell" in today's times. Or refers to the 'Shadow of Death'.
The Quran references pitch-black sapient creatures created from fire “not purely spiritual or physical in nature.”
Wahde, a Cherokee, said “These Shadow beings are the product of medicine men that have strayed from the path of healing. They either take that form to attack other people, or they use some other spiritual being as a spiritual attack.” These dark medicine people are sgili, or witch. “They’re still alive to some degree, but they’re not necessarily considered human,” said Wahde. According to Cherokee Folklore, the "Raven Mocker" was the spirit of a dead Cherokee witch and it came back from the other world to prey on the living.
In other countries, sometimes these terrifying experiences are known as "hag attacks", as it was said that witches or hags would sit on one's chest at night and prevent them from moving or fighting back. Many have recounted an old woman figure accompanied by a shadow person working in unison.
Most religious references feel they may be some demonic entity or just a human spirit that's gone very dark and negative. All of these cultures, though, had a common belief: these shadow people were both part of the real world and the metaphysical one.
I uncovered several types of Shadow People that have been reported across cultures by those who have no knowledge of prior descriptions, yet the descriptions remain largely the same. So how many different shadow people are there? More than you might think, actually.
Types of Shadow People
1. Classic Shadow being: "dark, inorganic, phantom-like bipedal figures that look just like a dark black shadow of a figure, but don't seem to quite have full human form or facial or bodily delineation. They feel very masculine and oppressive and like something that is beyond human and out of our scope of understanding." ( source Freaked )
2. The Hat Man: Some say he often appears in a "cape or trench coat and a hat which can range from a top hat to a fedora or cowboy hat." Heidi Hollis, author and self-proclaimed shadow people expert, mentions shadow people in her book “The Secret Of War” as “alien beings”. She believes “The Man In The Hat” to be an extraterrestrial being. Theorists are of the belief that “The Man In The Hat” is part of an alien species which is known as “the greys”. Others feel the hat is a “form of disguise to cover up an unusually shaped head that could be alien in appearance, or it is some kind of otherworldly technology or even protection device.” Kuna believes the “Man In The Hat” as “an intelligent consciousness from another dimension or time-space reality, possibly the future.”
Others which Kuna describes are: Men in Black, sinister humanoid entities said by conspiracy theorists and experiencers to be created by the Government, similar in appearance to the movie by the same name, and there is also a connection to them and alien cover-ups; Red or Green Eyes, purported to have been extremely evil humans who have passed and transformed into this dark ominous form in order to continue their evil, malevolent ways; Shadow Stalkers, outdoors or in nature settings like forests, said to be protective spirits that guard nature and protect the elementals. They appear as shadow beings but are possibly not actually harmful.
The list, based on testimonies and experiences, seems endless: hooded monks, ghosts, evil spirits, demonic
entities, Jinn, time travelers, astral bodies, and interdenominational beings.
Dr. Shelley Adler wrote a book that could connect seeing shadow people to having sleep paralysis. In her book - Sleep Paralysis: Night-mares, Nocebos, and the Mind-Body Connection - people who suffer from sleep paralysis may perceive a "shadowy or indistinct shape" approaching them or standing over them during an episode. Meaning these visions might not be supernatural, but just a perception inside your brain. Others, like neuroscientists Baland Jalal and V.S. Ramachandran believe these hallucinations may have neurological origins.
On April 12, 2001, Art Bell, host of Coast to Coast AM, became the first media outlet to discuss the topic of Shadow people. Bell hosted Harley "Swiftdeer" Reagan, who concurred with Wahde, that Shadow People were medicine men who walked in the spirit world and did harm to the living. But later that year in October, Bell interviewed Heidi Hollis about her first book on the topic of Shadow People, "The Secret War", published earlier that year. She became a regular guest on the show, which shed light and defined modern beliefs of Shadow People.
How do Shadow People manifest?
It's widely believed that Shadow People feed on fear and electrical energy. Many paranormal experts have thought them to communicate through touch lamps, TV, radio’s, electrical impulses and heightening fear. Frequencies of static have also been used. Computers, phones, radio’s, and batteries seem to get low or stop working properly as they feed off that energy. While they require no sustenance such as food, they do get depleted of energy as they attempt to communicate.
Because shadow people sightings are beginning to increase in numbers, some believe we're entering a higher form of awakening. My personal theory is a correlation between growing sightings and wireless networks, which have increased over decades from 1-G to 4G, with 5G predicted to roll out by 2020. With the acceleration in energy output, is it any wonder that sightings are increasing? Could such a magnetic energy disruption be severing the dimensional veil separating worlds?
One day I think we'll know, if some don't already.
I believe us to be innately designed with protection. The three experiences I've personally had with Shadows haven't been by direct line of sight ( only a vague peripheral ), but physical feeling alone. Twice one has jumped on my chest in bed from the right side, though it didn't attempt to harm me. I knew innately to recite the Lord's Prayer in my head, only to feel it dissipate. The third was when my arm inadvertently fell off the left side of the bed in sleep. I was awakened by a firm tugging of my wrist. The harder I tugged, the harder its grasp tightened. I lowered my other hand to free the trapped one, and it was grasped too - that's when I remembered the Lord's Prayer and recited it in my mind, only to feel the grips slowly dissipate.
Regardless of your situation, know there are means to shield yourself from negative attacks, even if you can't move or speak. Thoughts communicate energy, which shadows feed off. Feed them something distasteful and they lose their appetite and leave. If it's a benign presence, send it Love and healing light.
Katie Yavuz, Reverend of Universal Life Church and Shaman, believes they are around you for healing if you're a natural healer. "Start sending them light energy to help heal them. [. . . ] The Universal light is “Love” and Love really does heal all things. The Shadow Spirit started out as a thick black substance. The more Light I sent it the colors of fire came through it. It was happier and I never saw it again."
Whether sleep paralysis, fear, or the weight of something on your chest, you can recite the prayer in your head and it will have the same effect as if orated. You can also burn white sage, light candles to diminish the darkness that shadows depend upon to manifest, or call on Archangel Michael for protection. Sprinkle sea salt around your electronics ( TV, computer, radio ), as well as the corners of your home and around your bed.
Due to his benign nature over the years, Watson came to trust and believe "O" was an Earth Guide who protected and meant her no harm. This falls right in line with Kuna's description of Shadow Stalkers, i.e. - protective spirits. Watson communicates with "O" telepathically. "I can't hear his words, but I can feel them reassure me everything is alright," Watson said.
While O's description certainly falls in line with Shadow Stalkers, there's something extra special in that his skin resembles bark. So why does "O" differentiate from mainstream descriptions of Shadow People? Well, perhaps "O" isn't a Shadow Stalker, but a form of Drus.
What is a Drus?
Simply put, a male counterpartare of a Dryad. What are Dryads? Tree Spirits or Nymphs who uniquely exist to protect and care for the tree they are born with, and in rare cases, groves and other creatures ( including humans ). While they typically inhabit oak, legends say they're
also several kinds associated with ash, pine, poplar, apple and laurel trees. Celtic Dryads are generally regarded as being female, as well as Greek Hamadryads; however, unlike the Greeks and Celtic, Greco-Roman Dryads have male Drus. Furthermore, they are not bonded to a single tree, but are free to move about between them.
Which makes 'O' special.
Some claim these Drus are ancestors of the Druids - thus their name. Greco-Roman and the vernacular Irish sources agree that the Druids played an important part in pagan Celtic society. However, when they were wiped out by the Romans, we lost the only link to their fascinating religion and culture, leaving only scattered pieces of a puzzle worldwide.
Legend also dictates if the tree dies, the dryad could die too; a tragic vulnerability. However, that seems to be negated by one famous Dryad, Eurydice, the beautiful but ill-fated wife of Orpheus.
According to the tale, Eurydice was killed by a snake when she tried to escape from the unwelcome amorous advances of Aristaeus. The fact that a dryad such as Eurydice could die demonstrates the idea that these nymphs were not immortal.
Perhaps a Dryad or Drus becomes a shadow after their death, which could explain the protective temperament
of some contrasted with the violence of others.
Much like Shadow People, there appear to be an infinite number of Dryads, as many as the number of trees on the earth itself. But, there exists only one type Drus according to legend. And do they have any connection to shadow people?
Outside of theory, we may never know.
When Watson was 16 years-old, she fell into trouble at school by channeling a message she scratched onto a test. The message recounted an act of death, or, more specifically, a murder. After the school recommended a psychiatrist evaluate Watson prior to her return, she opted to repress future experiences in attempts to live a "normal" life. Her family and friends had become afraid of her, and couldn't understand how she could write such things. Watson couldn't understand enough to explain either.
At the age of 19, Watson was married and had a special needs son, Zeffee, who was born with fetal hydrops caused by Supraventricular Tachycardia. "I was told he was the worst hydrops baby in 15 years. He was very special to everyone at Levine's Children's Hospital," said Watson. For almost two years she closed herself off to everyone and thing, devoting herself to Zeffee's care, until his death at 23 months.
Ensuing Zeffee's passing, 21 year-old Watson faced almost two years of great pain and turmoil. Being a mother had given her a sense of direction and belonging. She was her authentic self through motherhood.
This deep unrest led to drugs to numb the pain of loss. Through an experience with mushrooms a friend brought over, Aliesha explains an enlightened moment where she knew undoubtedly that everything was connected and we were all 'One'.
This is when she began to wake up to her true self, and ironically became pregnant with her second child, Venna, when she was 23. Venna's birth and subsequent breastfeeding opened Watson up, preparing her for the future. She found her voice, started studying the tarot cards, and accepted who she was. But, it was the birth of her third child, Nova, that brought healing to Watson's world by the time she was 26.
"From the moment of conception, it was like a continuous awakening," explains Watson of her third pregnancy. "I accepted everything I had been suppressing and began releasing it." She began to recognize things for what they were, and overcame the fear ( of who she was ) and mainstream rejection that had plagued her entire life.
"I forgave myself for holding on, and accepted the realization that I wasn't crazy or alone," said Watson.
Wanting to hone her natural gifts, Watson applied for a marketing position with Astral Visions out of Corpus Christi, TX, where her family had moved. After interviewing Watson and recognizing those gifts, owner and psychic Terra Galindo offered her a different position with the company. It was here that Watson gained actual clientele experience practicing what she had been self-teaching.
When asked to describe her gifts, Watson says she distinguishes energy fields between dimensions, or inter-dimensional beings. "It's a disruption in the natural flow of light," said Watson. "You can relate it to the movie Predator". It also appears like a layered disruption, as heat on roads. "I can detect frequencies of grief, death, and transformation - thus remove energy blocks caused from traumatic experiences," Watson continued.
This, she explained, helps people face their darkness, i.e. - past traumas and experiences blocking their own
ability to heal. Moving these dark blockages opens up the flow of energy to provide light. "We're all born with unique gifts that contribute to the world," says Watson. "To deny those gifts is to deny your authentic self." It's Watson's earnest desire to help people become who they truly are without the fear or shame so associated with the bible belt.
After moving back to North Carolina, Watson left Astral Visions in 2017 to self brand so she could practice her gifts of healing and seeing to help people locally. In spring of 2018, she and fellow practitioner, Laura Beth Finley ( a local Astrologist who'll be featured in part three of this series ), combined their separate brands to form what is now known as Cosmic Sister Craft & Intuitive Holistics. They consider themselves "Sister Witches" that provide intuitive & holistic services which include: Astrology, energy work, and readings ( tarot and intuitive ).
Where was "O" in all of this? Right beside Watson the entire way, of course.
Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon of stimulus in which the mind responds to patterns of light and shadow to form particular shapes into familiar objects, such as a face on a piece of toast, or a figure in the clouds. Your mind is attempting "make sense" of irregular patterns where the majority would see none, such as this photo I took of what I believe is a Dryad in the Carolina Mountains.
I distinctly remember feeling as though I was being watched, but nothing was visible. I snapped the shot in the direction of the energy anyway, deciding to examine it later at home. Is this a case of Pareidolia? Does a feeling of being watched accompany it?
According to Harriet Dempsey-Jones, as explained for The Conversation, yes. "Our eyes are exceptionally formed to catch attention and easily reveal the direction of gaze." Dempsey-Jones said. Human eyes are distinctive from the eyes of almost any other species in that we have a large white area around our pupils and irises, known as the sclera. As Dempsey-Jones noted, the sclera may make it easier for one human to detect the direction of the gaze of another. Why is this important? In a word: communication.
It is impossible to prove or disprove theories about mysterious phenomena such as Shadow People or Drus. What's further, is that science deems it virtually non viable to categorize or research this type of phenomena in any analytic way. All that can be done is attestation of personal experience, and attempts to understand Shadow People phenomenon via pieces of individual cases.
Perhaps it will remain an ancient mystery that will never be understood by modern times, or in this dimension. Surely that means by us as well. Do you really have to understand something to accept and enjoy it? Could it be the struggle to understand something that can't be understood which produces anxiety and fear?
After all, Elisabeth Elliot, wife of the famous missionary Jim Elliot, once said, "In acceptance lieth peace."
Perhaps Watson has eyes to see where others don't, as scripture suggests:
"Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not?"
Perhaps she followed her intuition from the contrast of repression and loss into current peace and happiness, such as the Disciples. Maybe she received exactly what she presented to "O": innocence, love, and light; the mirror of her darker self reflected back.
"O" was, after all, her first step into spirituality from the confines of dogma that had judged her so harshly throughout her life.
Little did Watson know standing on that street corner ( when just in high school ), holding her favorite quote, would be only the beginning of the change she wanted to see in the world: her authentic self.
You can schedule Aliesha by appointment at Gaston County's CoWorking Social Club, The Perch located inside the Owl and Ivy, Gastonia's premiere metaphysical store, at 170 S South Street, Gastonia!