When I was a teenager, the Hat Man visited me in the night, and cemented my belief in the supernatural ever since.
In the interest of transparency, I will say that many years after this, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, a sleep disorder where, throughout the night, you briefly stop breathing in your sleep. This disrupts my sleep cycle and prevents me from fully reaching an REM state of sleep, the phase of sleep when most of your dreams take place. Occasionally, people waking due to sleep apnea will experience episodes of sleep paralysis. But it was never something that happened to me- outside this single winter night, so many years ago.
The encounter itself is fairly brief, so I need to set the scene for people to understand how truly strange and unsettling it was. I was a 12 or 13 year old girl, and my six-person family lived in your typical suburban house in Kentucky, back in the early 2000s. This house is fairly modern; it was built sometime in the mid 70s, and never had any sort of history of paranormal things happening in it, neither before this incident or since.
All of my family’s bedrooms were upstairs, in a hallway shaped like an L. At the top of the L, you have my parent’s bedroom, and the floorboards under the carpet groaned horribly when anyone walked on them. My bedroom was at the bottom of the L, right in the corner. Then there was a short turn, and my brother’s bedrooms were located almost immediately next to mine. Between my room and my parent’s room was the bathroom, so it wasn’t unusual to hear footsteps and then the squeak of the bathroom door opening when one of my brothers would get up in the middle of the night to go. If you haven’t gotten the picture yet, all of our doors were really creaky.
So this night, sometime in early winter, I suddenly felt myself just flip awake. I’d been sleeping on my side, with my body facing towards the door, which I always made a habit of sleeping with closed. This was so if someone got up in the middle of the night to go pee and flipped the hall light on, I wouldn’t get woken up by it shining on my face.
If you’ve ever woken up a minute right before your alarm goes off, you might be familiar with the feeling I had then. It's a feeling of sudden alertness, and a vague “why am I awake right now?” It was then I realized that I couldn’t move, but I wasn’t super concerned about it. The entire situation had a sort of weird sense of dream logic to it; weird and normally distressing things were happening, but all I could feel was “Huh. Would you look at that.”
As I laid there, unsure of what to do, my bedroom door creaked open, very slowly, until it was about 3/4th of the way cracked open, and standing there, in the doorway of my room, was the strangest thing I had ever seen.
It was a man, seemingly made of shadow, which were somehow darker than the shadows of the hallway itself. The best I can describe the sensation of seeing him was the impression of looking at a silhouette of a person that’s made when someone stands behind a screen and you shine a bright light behind them. Despite this, and having no apparent facial features I could make out, I definitely got the impression it was a man.
He was tall- extremely tall, much taller than my father, or any of my then-teenage brothers were, despite the fact he seemed to stoop. His arms and legs were long and spindly, and despite the long fur coat he wore, I could plainly make out his slim, almost lanky physique. He leaned on a fancy-looking walking stick that had to be too short for him, and probably was the reason he was stooped over. What caught my eye about him the most, outside of his height, was his long, wavy hair, which reached to his shoulders, spilling from underneath a top hat he wore on his head.
If you’ve read up on any encounters with shadow people before, this description is probably familiar to you- people call them ”The Hat Man,” and years later, I would learn many other people have seen him as well.
But back to my story.
He seemed to peer at me from his spot in my family hallway for a few moments, the two of us just staring at one another. I didn’t get any sense of malevolent energy or intent from this shadow at all- just a sense of vague curiosity. And then, after seeming to throw a quick glance over his shoulder, towards my parent’s room, he lifted up his left hand, and slowly beckoned towards me with his almost talon-like index finger.
I felt myself able to move again, then, and childishly, instead of calling for help, I just turned my face back towards the wall and went back to sleep.
The next morning, I thought it was all a weird dream. How could it not be? Well, that’s what I thought...until I saw my bedroom door still standing open. I asked my parents and brothers if either of them had come to check on me in the night, and all of them denied even waking up that night.
Despite everything, this encounter didn’t scare me like I know it should have. For a while, I actually became sort of obsessed with trying to draw him, and I still have many of those sketches. To this day, I’ve never had any other weird encounters with any sort of entities since.
I sometimes wonder- what would have happened to me if I had followed him?