The Hat Man: What’s This Shadow Person Got Under His Cap?

Kristen Anderson
3 min readJul 20, 2019

Photo: Timitzer/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

(The following is adapted from segment “The Hat Man” on episode 39 of podcast Guide to the Unknown. Go listen!)

The Hat Man is an evil entity often categorizes alongside shadow people — and he’s every haberdasher’s worst nightmare. As my podcast cohost Will Rogers says: “He may look nice in his jaunty cap, but there’s nothing FEDORAble about this madman de la noche.”

Let’s break down what lurks beneath the brim.

What He Looks Like

The Hat Man is said to have a solid outline in contrast to whispy shadow people. Some people report him in old timey clothes, a long trench or cape, and various hats — usually a top hat, fedora or a gaucho hat (think southwestern cowboy, which fits since the shadow realm is nothing if not an uncontrollable Wild West). The Hat Man sometimes carries a gold pocket watch that he’ll occasionally look at, which suggests that he’s sticking around long enough to be curious about the time. Some have seen him with red eyes, others report a featureless, dark face. He’s always tall, 6 feet at minimum, more often 8–10 feet, causing him to crouch and to hunch over, which prob suits him just fine since…

What He Does

The majority of times he comes to people in some phase of sleep — falling, sleeping, waking up — but has also been seen awake. He mostly just watches, arching over the bed and putting out a super malicious presence. It’s said that you can feel he’s completely evil and wants to do you harm.

He may put out that scary vibe for a deliberate reason: because it creates fear in his subject that he can then feed off of. This may be the main purpose of The Hat Man’s visit. Your bedroom is his demonic gas station, and baby, you’re super unleaded.

He has two other common methods of viewing his prey: watching through the mirror, or sitting, watching from the corner. These methods are the most disconcerting to me: what demonic confines is he working within that force him to use a secondary source (the mirror) to watch you…or is it somehow amplifying his gaze? When he’s in the corner, is his malevolence so innate and casual that he doesn’t even have to get up?

However, those he’s just creeping on may be lucky: The Hat Man occasionally violently attacks people. In either case, when he finally leaves, he shows another contrast to shadow people by actually using the door and either walking or gliding through it, as opposed to simply dissipating.

When He Appears

As far as his nocturnal appearances go, The Hat Man often shows up when people are having sleep paralysis. He can direct other shadow people to terrorize you, like directing the old hag (a common visitor during sleep paralysis) to go sit on your chest.

He can appear to anyone at any time, but patterns show that often comes around people who are in turmoil — not unlike the appearance of poltergeists who feed off of the strong energy of distress in order to manifest. There have also been near death experiencers who reported Seeing the Hat Man, apparently greeting them to take them to hell. NO THANKS.

What He Is

So what exactly is The Hat Man? The broadest definition would say he’s a dark entity. Some say he’s an inter-dimensional being, a demon, or even the devil himself. The latter theory springs from a story of a German soldier who saw him, asked who he was, and he answered “Scratch.” Also in support of this theory is that some have said invoking the name of Jesus gets him to walk/float out the door.

But my favorite theory is that The Hat Man is an astral projection — someone traveling outside of their human body to terrorize people without risk of being caught. What kind of total psycho would have an intention strong enough to make this happen? I don’t know…but I bet they’re wearing a fedora.

Like this post? Then you may like to hear us talk about The Hat Man on episode 39 of podcast Guide to the Unknown.



Kristen Anderson

Guide to the Unknown podcast cohost, writer. I’m into weirdness, “wellness,” and pop culture. How complex! (She/her)