As you all can probably guess, I've heard of all kinds of strange beings and stories and phenomena. I've watched my share "X-Files," listened to more Art Bell than is probably healthy, and read more books on paranormal subjects than I can count. I've even gotten some odd phone calls and e-mails here at the office. I consider myself pretty well-versed in the unusual.
Last weekend, however, an entity was brought to my attention that is so widely seen there are online groups and message boards dedicated to him: The Hat Man. I don't quite know how I missed him.
Now, I had heard of a seemingly related entity, the shadow person. In a nutshell, shadow people are black masses that appear solid and generally give off an evil vibe. I know and trust people who have seen them, though I've never seen one myself. Thankfully. But a fellow paranormal investigator described his childhood experience with the Hat Man, and I had to investigate further.
It is my understanding that the Hat Man is a specific kind of shadow person. He also seems malevolent, and also appears as a black mass, but he is always wearing a fedora or other brimmed hat and a long coat or cape. In some cases, he appears with red or white eyes. Most stories about him I could find online were told by children and young adults, or by adults who have memories of him from their childhood. He's appeared in several countries to a variety of people.
Of those who have seen him, some have had physical, unpleasant contact. According to author Heidi Hollis, the most common physical contact is the Hat Man jumping on a person's chest and choking them. Scary. But this is exactly the scenario described to me by my colleague, who has dealt with the Hat Man on more than one occasion. The chest-sitting and choking make me recall stories about the old hag or night hag. Could it be a related symptom of a sleep disorder? Possibly. But old hag stories nearly universally involve physical contact; the Hat Man is often only experienced visually. So I'm reluctant to write him off as a product of sleep paralysis.
Most people who tell of the Hat Man on online forums say things like "I'm 40 now, but I remember seeing him when I was 10," or "This is the first time I've talked about the Hat Man because I thought I was crazy. I can't believe so many others have seen him." Apparently people are very reluctant to describe their encounters unless they know others can somehow empathize.
So I'm interested to hear from readers: Have you seen the Hat Man? What was your experience?
The Hatman Project
Unexplained Mysteries forum