To: The Official Shadow People Archives
Date: August 29, 2014 at 12:57 PM
Subject: shadow "people"
Okay, first off, I am using the email address I had when I was in college- about 15 years ago- because there is no way I would want anything about me associated with what I'm going to write. I don't know if you are still taking submissions, but if you are and you post this, please don't publish my email address. If you have questions or whatever, you can e-mail me but I don't want this run up the flagpole.
I'm a nurse. I have been in nursing for about a dozen years. I started out in Long Term Care (nursing homes), went to Hospice, and now I'm a psychiatric nurse. I also had a very short stint in the NICU (the Neonatal Intensive care Unit). In school I did clinical rotations in obstetrics, pediatrics, urgent care/ER, OR, and Med/Surg. I tell you all this because I want to convey to you how not-crazy I am. I'm a medical professional, I'm licensed in 5 states, I'm in good standing with the medical boards, I keep up with my CEUs and there is not a single blight on my record anywhere. I have never had any substance abuse problems or been diagnosed with any psychiatric illness of any kind. Medically, I am healthy with no history of head trauma, stroke, or neurological issues. My eyes are working great except for the normal slight degeneration that comes with age. I wear reading glasses now, the kind you can buy from a drugstore. (I use +1.25) I mention this because if someone came to me with what I'm bringing to you, these are the things I would need to know as part of a full assessment.
I had never seen any shadow men and I still haven't, not exactly. What I see aren't men, they aren't man-shaped. They aren't person-shaped at all- what I see are ... they look like bags. They look like sort of grey, wispy, see-through bags. They move kind of like a trash bag would move if it caught a draft. They don't make noises, they aren't scary, exactly. I don't think they have any awareness to them and they don't react to my presence or to light or sound. Other people can walk through them and they dissipate and slowly reform until they are the shape they were before. They just… hang out.
Their sizes vary; the smallest being about the size of maybe a toaster, the largest being about the size of... I don't know.. maybe a standard oven door. They appear as 3-dimensional, usually a roundish-but-not-spherical shape, like a weirdly shaped bubble. Sometimes they show up in groups (of varying size) and sometimes there's just one lone wolf, the loners tend to be larger. When they show up in groups, they tend to be smaller than any of the loners I've seen. I classify them to myself as Rogues (those are the ones who go solo) and Herds.
I started seeing them when I started my clinical rotations. My first rotation was on a med/surg floor of a local hospital. The first one I saw was a small one, in the room of a patient just out of surgery who had just been admitted to the floor from Recovery. The patient was a 56-year-old Caucasian male who had just undergone a cardiac bypass surgery. When I passed his room, I saw the Rogue but I thought it was a shadow, so I didn't think much of it.
I had to take his vitals every hour until he was completely recovered from the effects of the anesthesia. The more aware he became, the more the Rogue shrank until it was gone. I wasn't really watching it too closely because it was just a shadow and as the day gets used up, shadows change, that's what's supposed to happen. It wasn't until I went home and was in bed running through my day that I realized that shadow wasn't being cast from anywhere. There was nothing there to make that shadow. I thought I was just tired and stressed out.
To make an already long story a bit shorter, as I progressed in my schooling and later in my career, I had the opportunity to see these things more and more. Eventually, I figured out what their presence meant. When I see those things, it means illness. The more of them I see or the bigger they are, the less time the person they are "visiting" has. Herds always mean the person they gather around is going to die. Always. Rogues... it depends. If it starts off smallish and gets bigger, it doesn't bode well for the patient. If it starts off smallish and never gets any bigger but also never goes away, that's a patient with a now-chronic diagnosis- think COPD or Diabetes. I think that patient takes that thing home with him or her when he or she is discharged. If it starts off smallish and grows a little but then shrinks again and then disappears, that's a patient who WAS sick but has healed up pretty well. For instance, this one kid was in a motorcycle accident and his right leg had been crushed. The trauma was so severe that his limb was amputated above the knee. That patient had a Rogue for a little while- it started off medium sized and it got a little bigger over the course of a few days. It topped out right after the amputation, and then began to shrink. When that kid was discharged, it was gone. His leg was still missing, of course, but he was out of danger and was going to be fine health-wise.
When I went to Long Term Care, I always knew which of my residents were in trouble based on what the Rogues or Herds looked like. Those things are all over every nursing home I have ever been in; they are literally all over the place. They get walked through, rolled through with drug carts or wheelchairs, laundry bags get dragged through them, doors close or open on them... people fall over onto them... they aren't wall-to-wall but if they took up space like ordinary objects do, people would be tripping over them constantly.
I got used to seeing them, though, so I knew when they had changed or if more of them had shown up at some point. When I'd see a change, I'd notice. When I would report off to the next shift, I'd mention that Mrs X seemed under-the-weather today or that Mr Y didn't seem like himself, that's not at all unusual in a nursing home. We get to know our people and even if our people can't really verbalize what's wrong with them, we will still know SOMETHING isn't right. But when my colleagues started to notice how on-point I always was with who needed to be sent out and who was probably going to die in the next few days, or who had a UTI or a stomach bug that was asymptomatic as yet... I changed jobs. I was creeping people out and I was drawing attention to myself by being weird. I couldn't NOT say anything- these people were my patients, I couldn't not help them. But I felt like if I stayed where I was and kept doing what I was doing, I was going to get arrested for conspiracy to commit murder or something. Like people would figure I was one of those psycho Angel Of Death nurses. So I left.
Hospice was sort of better because of what Hospice is- people on Hospice are going to die, that's why they are on Hospice. But all those people dying all the time... I guess I got burnt-out. At the Hospice center, though, I noticed that instead of the smallish blobs that usually make up Herds the Herds were made up of big-ass blobs. And I swear, I could sort of see a huge one that sort of enveloped the whole building. It was like it was really stretched out so it looked thinner than a regular blob, but I could see it. It wasn't clear to my sight like the Rogues and Herds, it was more like a haze over the whole building. Anyway, after Hospice I wanted to go into a totally new direction and work with babies, which is how I ended up in the NICU. There were no openings in the nursery, but there was one in the NICU and I didn't last long there. I saw too many Herds around too many babies that I knew were going to die, and I knew there was no help for them. So that sucked.
Now I'm in psychiatrics and I like it much better. I still see random Rogues and Herds here and there, but not like I used to. I feel a lot better for it, too. Those things were never SCARY, but they were... I don't know, oppressive, somehow. I have a theory about that.
If those things suck up life energy or whatever from dying people, maybe they also suck up energy from healthy people too. Not on purpose because I don't believe those things are sentient, but just because if they are sucking energy, then any available energy that can be sucked WILL be sucked and the source doesn't matter. And I think that maybe I got my energy got sucked more because of something having to do with the reason I could see them in the first place. I think those things will suck from people who CAN'T see them, but maybe because I could see them, they got more of mine. I don't know, it's just a theory. Anyway, so... I don't see them as much at all, and I feel so much better than I have in years. And... I know how all this sounds already so I may as well throw this on top of the dog pile... I can tell when my psych patients are on the verge of freaking out. I can tell when they haven't been taking their meds and their symptoms are about to make a dramatic entrance. I can tell when someone is going to try to hurt him/herself... I can tell when a psychotic break is on its way. I wish I could tell you HOW I can tell, but I can't. It's nothing I can see or hear or feel.. if I had to nail it down, it's like... I can smell it. But not with my nose. I can smell it with.. what, my third eye? I have no idea. It's like... smelling something with your memory instead of your nose. It's not a smell I can put a name to- it doesn't smell like ammonia or bananas or tires or anything I have ever smelled, but it smells like something I can almost remember. If that makes any sense... which I am certain it does not. Whatever.
I don't know wtf any of this means. I don't know if anyone in my family has ever been able to see/imaginary smell stuff, I have never asked. I didn't know how to even bring it up, so I didn't. I have never told a single person, nobody, not ever. But I know there are people who know about me, who know I'm different or something. The doctors I worked with, after a while they would confer with me like docs usually never do with nurses. In every place I've worked, my colleagues know when I say "so-and-so needs labs drawn" and they ask me what for and I say "I don't know-run 'em all"... they know to get all the labs because those labs are going to show something is really wrong somewhere. If I say, "I think that lady over there is about to lose her shit", the orderlies know to saunter over there and hang out because shit is about to get real. And I know it creeps a lot of people out- but my friends don't seem to mind, or they overlook it. So yeah, that's my story. You don't have to believe it because I wouldn't believe it either- not if I had any choice.