Earlier this year, I moved into a new apartment. I doubled my square footage and gained myself a bedroom for the first time in my history of living on my own. I was not sure how to approach having a bedroom for a while, but more importantly, I was skeptical about having a bedroom door. I live alone, when I first moved, I had no reason to keep that door closed. I don’t have roommates, I don’t have many people over, I have no reason to close my bedroom door when I sleep.
My evening routine is pretty simple. I come home, I shower,I change into my night clothes, I wrap my hair, I watch TV in the living room until I’m tired and then I retire to the bedroom.
This is my routine day in and day out.
But one night, something was different. One night, something caught my eye.
The way my bed is positioned, I can see my open door from the corner of my eye, usually before my cooling eye mask goes on. And as I did my best to “unwind” by mindlessly scrolling through my social media feeds in bed; one night, out of the corner of my eye I swore I saw something. I sat up to get a better look at it was gone.
Just some image my tired mind conjured. No big deal.
The next night, the routine went on as usual and as I climbed into bed and once more I swore that something was watching me. I sat up and saw something that truly did scare me: I saw the shape of a man. The man was tall, there were no features, but it was clearly a man: standing there; imposing, watching.
I was scared; I immediately shoved the covers back over my head and prayed that whatever horrors may come will be swift and that my end will be painless. My brain was lucid enough to see that this wasn’t a physical threat: I didn’t think it was an intruder; no one who could cause me corporeal harm but something that could damage me psychically, spiritually, or even just emotionally.
I woke up the next day and assumed that it was a just a weary brain adjusting to a new home.
But when I saw the Shadow Man again, I became worried. From what I knew no one had been horrifically murdered in my new apartment. I didn’t notice things going missing. I didn’t hear any phantom noises. I didn’t notice anything else that would signal a typical haunting.
The Shadow Man haunted me for a few days and as I did my best to sort through just why my brain would imagine such a haunting visage. I, of course, blamed myself because anxiety does that. I assumed it was a hallucination; the machinations of a tired mind or just a failing of my eyes but seeing the Shadow Man more than and at different times made it difficult to assume that it was just a sleepy brain and if it was a hallucination, it was a damn good hallucination.
I bought sage on my next trip to my local apothecary. I was determined to rid my home of the spirit. I wanted the creature to be gone. I wanted sleep. I wanted safety. I wanted to feel secure in my new home.
I never did light the sage but I did keep it safe and for a moment, the evil seemed to vanish. Incense was burned. Crystals were kept. Runes were taken out of bags and tarot cards stayed in the damn box because I inherited a deck that isn’t mine and it’s old and I don’t trust what is in it.
I haven’t seen such a cruel spirit before in my life. I have tangled with demons before after staying in two haunted dorm rooms but I never saw anything or really felt anything emotionally. I had scratches that one time and things did go missing but I never saw shadows or faces in my room.
Shadows are a common form of ghost that appears in homes with lots of energy. Shadows aren’t always evil, but they’re usually negative in a vague sense. But most shadow figures are airy, fluid, and fleeting: the fact that this one stood and stayed reminded me so much more of something solid rather than a fading spirit. It felt more like the stories of those stalked by Bigfoot or Skinwalkers or even the famous Smiling Man. It felt like there was something in the room with me; watching me, menacing me.
I think the Shadow Man is gone now. It’s been months since I’ve seen him last. I have a ghost radar app on my phone and every once in a while, I’ll turn it on just to see how things are. One day, the app gave me a strange string of words: wrong and one. I was a little confused as I had not asked a question but talking a friend did help provide a little context. The weeks prior, I had been slowly poisoning myself. I have food allergies and I had been feeling poor for days. I didn’t realize that the coffee creamer I purchased with almond milk based, something I am very allergic to. I told a friend about the strange words I got and she said “well, the creamer you got was the wrong one.” and I practically threw my phone across the room.
The concept of ghosts is one that is both comforting and terrifying. It does seem to confirm that for some, there is some manner of afterlife, an existence after death and thus perhaps a second chance at life. But it also seems to be a form of punishment, an entrapment, a lack of rest and a lack of a conclusion or peace.
Whatever that thing was that kept me awake at night was not an entity of peace or of good feelings. It wasn’t a lost parent or memory of a loved one.
It was a monster.