There are many different terms for what we sometimes will see out of the corner of our eye. The shadow that disappears as soon as we turn to look, or continues to float as a huge mass without ever taking on a true form.
These images; having been referred to as shadow persons/shadow figures, shadow beings, a black mass or a dark mist; tend to appear as a patch of shadow. In the realm of the paranormal, this indicates the presence of a spirit or other entity. However you define this creation, one thing is certain. This is truly an anomaly that will have you questioning yourself after having been in the presence of one.
So the first question to ask is, "why are we seeing these?"
While sitting awake, motionless in the darkness and attempting to catch a glimpse of a shadow person, you should first understand that our eyes don't send images to our brains. Images are constructed in our brains based on signals sent from our eyes. The brain is forming images based on pattern recognition. We don't see images; our eyes see line and motion, and in an attempt to recognize and make sense of what sort of thing those lines and motion represent, the brain causes us to perceive whatever that object might be. So, since the brain is working hard to force us into recognizing shapes in the shadows as beings, we need to understand how to better document and review evidence when faced with blacked out figures appearing in our investigation.
First and foremost for every investigation, the rule of thumb is to minimize possible contamination. This is especially difficult when investigating outside, during a tour, or at a location with additional people. The most effective way to minimize contamination is start before your investigation. Document your site, take baseline EMF readings, and pictures with the lights on. Get a good feeling for the layout, and also note any smells. Your senses are heightened in the dark and it is easier to notice smells then too. Try to document this as much as possible with the lights on so that you won’t focus on it during an investigation unless it is truly a paranormal experience. When your investigation begins, make sure to document any anomalies as you find them. Try to work in a small group and in small areas when you can, and when you cannot, try to work on opposite ends of the location from the other investigators.
Using cameras that focus on different spectrums of light aid in documenting shadow anomalies. For example, full spectrum cameras allow you to capture the entire range of light spectrum including ultraviolet (UV) light and infrared (IR) light. Natural lighting is the full spectrum, but our eyes will not allow UV light below the spectrum or IR light above the spectrum to filter through. Using this type of equipment in the dark allows you to document what you may not be able to see and can provide you with answers to the images that your brain is projecting. Also using burst IR cameras that detect motion work well during your investigation in complete darkness. These can be set up at different points and when the slightest movement is made, the burst camera comes to life, continuously taking pictures until the movement has stopped.
Shadow beings are not just your brain's way of putting together missing pieces in the darkness; there are documents supporting claims of sighting these creatures all over the world. However, it is good to know that your brain is almost working to contaminate your investigation as soon as you begin. Being prepared to face this challenge ahead of your investigation is key and will hopefully aid in your attempt at having an extraordinary ghost hunt.