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San Antonio’s Shadowy Hat Man Spooks Residents

September 14, 2012

Just recently I interviewed a local woman named Stacy Alejos who related an extremely creepy and disturbing tale to me. According to Stacy, when she was a very young girl living on the far Westside of San Antonio, she was awoken one night by an uncomfortable sensation and felt eerily compelled to look out her bedroom window. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, Stacy could clearly make out the outline of a humanoid figure standing behind the white picket fence that surrounded her yard. Though she couldn’t make out much in the way of features, she could clearly discern what she interpreted to be a “pork pie” hat atop the figure’s head. As Stacy watched fearfully, the being began to sidle in a strange sideways motion, all the while keeping its outstretched arms on the top fence post. When she noticed the audible crunching of dried leaves beneath the entity’s feet, Stacy was quite sure that she was not dreaming, nor imagining things. Understandably terrified, the young girl dove underneath her sheets, quaking in fear until morning. Her adamant attempts to wake her aunt, who was sleeping next to her at the time, were futile. It almost seemed as if her aunt had been in a trance.

This event had a profound impact on her since, as she grew older, Stacy admittedly developed a fascination with all things paranormal much to her parents dismay. Though remarkably, she also learned that her parents had claimed to have sighted an inexplicable disc-shaped object hovering above their property one night, though they didn’t like to talk about it. The utterly synchronistic aspect of Stacy’s experience occurred just recently when she met another San Antonio woman who related a nearly identical sighting to her. In fact, the other woman had volunteered the information with absolutely no knowledge of Stacy’s encounter, and perhaps even stranger still… both women discovered that they grew up in adjacent neighborhoods!

As unbelievable as it sounds, within the field of paranormal research, there are many references to specter-like apparitions known as shadow people – ghostly, black figures that appear in people’s peripheral vision and suddenly vanish into thin air. These phantoms are believed to subsist on fear and are often perceived to be bad omens.  Interestingly, there are numerous accounts of a specific shadow being known as the Hat Man, whose black fedora is immediately recognizable by all who see him. Skeptics would be quick to explain the shadow people as the product of mere hallucinations or perhaps imaginations gone wild. But, there are some intriguing theories that have been put forward to explain the phenomenon, including demonic manifestations or inter dimensional visitors.

If any San Antonio residents think they have seen the phantom Hat Man, I would love to hear about it.

– Ken Gerhard

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  • Anacelia Farias Tillery

    I cannot believe I am reading this story! I had an encounter with this same shadow figure when I was growing up. I grew up on the West side of town, right around the Culebra / Benrus area. I remember the night so vividly. I woke up in the middle of the night and I saw a shadow figure standing in the middle of my room, it was facing me, staring at me, yet I could see no face. I do remember he was wearing a trench coat and a fedora hat. I remember thinking it was my father for some reason, although my father didn’t own a trench coat or a fedora. I knew the type of hat immediately because my Grandfather would wear fedoras all the time. I called out to the figure, all I said was “Dad?” … I obviously got no response… So I said again “Dad!” At that point the figure turned, walked out my bedroom door, walked down the hallway and into the back bedroom of the house, where I saw it kind of just vanish. At that point I started yelling “DAD, DAD!” and both my parents ran in to ask what happened. I was sweating profusely and shaking I told them there was a man in my room with a coat and hat on and he was staring at me. My father proceeded to bless me with an egg and stayed with me until I calmed down enough to fall back asleep. This was a very real episode and thankfully I never had another encounter with the shadow figure.

  • Scott A Jones

    I had the same thing happen to me then I……….grew up

  • Scott A Jones

    dont point at a rainbow you’ll get a stye in your eye!

  • Scott A Jones

    If you see things that nobody else see’s your probrably crazy!

  • Jeremiah McMillan


  • Louis Guajardo

    they say that slenderman is a internet meme it is not real but i know he is real i seen it when i was a child i seen him he is real and i think he shows up in a figure with no face sometimes .

  • Villalobos Vazquez

    my brother i think had the same situation happen to him but it was in his room. the shadow stood tall over him. :S

  • James Campbell

    Haha. These ridiculous stories crack me up.

  • Jose Carlos Alvarado

    What are you talking about? What slenderman?

  • Adam

    I aslo had an experience with a shadowy figure in my room. I also live close, off of Hemphill. Very creepy to hear this!!

  • Mandy McMoy Skogebo

    Lots of children see the shadow man in a hat. It’s common until they close off that side of their brain. My daughter and son both saw him. He is not unique to San Antonio.

  • RobT

    I also had the same experience one night while driving down hackberry st around 3 o’clock in the morning. A man in a trench coat and top hat just stood at the corner watching as we drove by. I couldn’t make out his face. I know I wasn’t just seeing things because two of my friends were with me and they saw it also. We didn’t even stop at the red light only because it was kinda creepy. We later came to the conclusion that maybe it was just some crazy person.

  • LeeRF

    Hello. I was just idly flicking through the Internet and this story popped up and resonated a great deal. I live in the UK and had a very vivid dream when I was 12. It involved a figure very similar to the figure described. No discernible features and wearing a fedora hat. He was walking down my street and anyone who caught his glance was frozen on the spot. I followed for a while all the while ducking for cover if he stopped and looked as if he might turn in my direction. Eventually I did catch his glance and woke up immediately. It was one of those dreams that really shook me up and for a long time I would include this figure in my paintings. He never made another appearance in my dreams though, which I considered very strange as most of my dream themes (i kept an extensive dream diary in my youth) would reoccur on occasion. Very odd. Anyway, thought I’d share this. In adulthood I’ve kind of come to think of it as a twist on the succumbus/paralysis sleep quirk.
    Lee RF

  • javy

    Uh…. multiple people have seen it….

  • Javy

    so you did see it at one point in your life! Just as many others have…so you’re just as whacko as everyone else! Maybe even moreso!

  • Ken Gerhard

    That is amazing Anacelia! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. The area where Stacy had her sighing was about 5 miles south of there… at 1604 and Hwy 90. What year did your sighting occur?

  • Ken Gerhard

    Thank you for sharing! It is remarkable that so many people are having similar experiences!

  • Ken Gerhard

    Wow! Again… thanks for sharing! This phenomenon seems to be more common than I ever imagined!

  • James Courtney

    i had an experience like this that i remember vividly from when i was like 7 or 8. looked out my window in the dead of night and met the gaze of a pair of unforgettably bright and empty eyes. my parents would never believe me… said i must have been dreaming… but i find it difficult to believe i could still feel that feeling i had in the pit of my stomach if i was remembering a dream.

  • James Courtney

    my experience was on the NE side by the way.

  • Anacelia Farias Tillery

    Ken… My sighting occured in 1988

  • Mokele Hunt

    This is very interesting. I wonder if the ‘Twilight Zone’ writers used this for their ‘Shadow Man’ story, broadcast in 1985? See the link to watch this very creepy episode on YouTube:

  • elousive1

    The only problem I see is she was very young. Feeling compelled to get up and look at the window into the darkness is setting yourself up to be frightened. Matrixing occurs when shadow and light play with or minds creating illusions of figures. Looking toward the fence with the trees casting a shadow over it not to mention the wind blowing hard enough to cause leaves to blow around and we subconiously believe we hear it from our room. Putting everything together sets our imagination in motion and we create a story and believe it to be real. As a paranormal investigator I would look for more information before calling this paranormal.

  • elousive1

    I had an experience but it was during the day at work. I walked upstairs to the 3rd floor of this building and I heard someone walking behind me as I entered the hallway I turned around expecting to see one of my co workers. I noticed a male figure and I was ready to call out a name since it had the height and body structure of my co worker. It wasn’t at the corner of my eye because I was facing it and outside sounds were drowned out as I saw this one dimensional figuire go from 6ft to 7ft as it crossed the hallway.I noticed the the legs first and the strides it took then I looked up and saw the profile and the silhoutte of a male body. It came from a wall and entered another room I followed it as I entered the room it felt cold and the air felt unstable. I tried to reenact everything and look for sources of light, measurement of distance and height and look for other logical answers but could not find any. Through research i found out a recent suicide occurred the day before in the near proximity adding validation to the siting.

  • Enrique Martinez

    I had a similar experience when I was 8 or 9 years old in El Paso, tx where I grew up. I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night and saw a silhouetted figure at the foot of my bed. It didn’t have a hat and I couldn’t make out a trench coat or anything, just a large imposing figure. I was literlly paralyzed with fear so I didn’t move or say anything, just closed my eyes hoping it would go away. Opened my eyes and it was still there staring at me. I slowly pulled the covers up to my eyes and tried to stay as still as possible…eventually I fell back asleep. I remember this so well because it felt so real. I told my mom in the morning and she said it was just a bad dream. I have no explanation for this other than whatever fears/ paranoias i had at the time manifested as this hallucination or it was a dream that felt very very real. I don’t believe in ghosts or aliens, but I know this happened to me.

  • nick

    i have dozens of stories on this guy. he used to torment me. i think he feeds off it.

  • Mokele Hunt

    Demonic spirits also come to mind in many of these reports….

  • Nightterror victim

    Those of us who have experienced night terrors all of our lives are very acquainted with the shadow man. Also accompanying night terrors are spiders and a knock on the door/doorbell sound that you would swear really happened. The feeling of a night terror is completely separate from a nightmare. You are truly in the same room/house believeing that you are fully awake. I have had it many times and it is wretched. You don’t sleep after an episode and you simply can’t believe it wasn’t real. If you go on a night terror forum, you will see this is one of the most common visions (for lack of a better word).

  • Jonathan Castillo

    Reading this gives me goosebumps, When I was about 5 years old I remember seeing the hat man… My whole family were in my parents room on a mattress on the floor watching movies… and I looked at the doorway and seen the figure above. At first I thought I was imagining it because we were watching movies. But my mom started screaming… and telling my dad to get him. but my dad didn’t see him and just as quickly as he appeared he was gone. She saw him as well… I was just talking about my encounter with a co-worker today which lead me to look online to see if people seen him… But it wasn’t in san antonio. it was in Providence Rhode Island in the early 90’s.

  • Destiny Tamez

    I am not from San Antonio but I have seen this man in my bedroom in the corner by my window. Nobody believed me until my baby brother was afraid to walk into my from for a couple days .

  • Doubleutf

    I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!” …

  • Chris

    I live on the North Side and 4 out of 7 people in my family have seen them at different times. 2 were witnessed awake at different times. As the Dad, I never believed in such things until I witnessed it my self and would discount the stories before mine.

    They are very real. They are not all bad and it happens throughout the world. They are what Muslims call Djinn or Genie. They are related to the watchers mentioned in the bible.

    I find 3 criteria existing usually for awake encounters. Usually 2 of the 3 is met in almost every situation. 1. Extreme negative emotional response in your relationships(fighting, family death, sickness) 2. Yourself or someone in the house have lost their way with God. You can still be a good person and have lost your way. It doesnt matter what religion as long as you have faith. 3. A child is involved.

    Almost every “ghost” “poltergeist”, all have these criteria. Now in my opinion ghosts are not dead spirits but are a type of Djinn. To show the history of this in Texas, read about Mala Cosa(Bad Thing), This was reported by Cabeza de Vaca in the 16th Century and was in Texas:

    Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America [1542]

    They said that a little man wandered through the region whom they called Badthing [Mala Cosa].
    He had a beard and they never saw his features
    distinctly. When he came to a house, the inhabitants trembled and their
    hair stood on end. A blazing brand would suddenly shine at the door as
    rushed in and seized whom he chose, deeply gashing him in the side with a
    very sharp flint two palms long and a hand wide. He would thrust his
    through the gashes, draw out the entrails, cut a palm’s length from one,
    and throw it on the embers. Then he would gash an arm three times, the
    second cut on the inside of the. elbow, and would sever the limb. A
    little later he would begin to rejoin it, and the touch of his hands
    instantly heal the wounds.

    They said that frequently during the dance he appeared in their midst,
    sometimes in the dress of a woman, at other times in that of a man. When
    liked, he would take a buhío up into the air and come crashing
    down with it. They said they offered him victuals many times but he
    never ate.
    They asked him where he came from and where his home was. He pointed to a
    crevice in the ground and said his home was there below.

    We laughed and scoffed. Indignant at our disbelief, they brought us many
    whom they said had been so seized, and we saw the gash marks in the
    places [self-inflicted?]. We told them he was an evil one and, as best
    we could, taught them that if they would believe in God our Lord and
    Christians like us, they need never fear him, nor would he dare come and
    inflict those wounds; they could be certain he would not appear while
    remained in the land. This delighted them and they lost much of their

    Especially the initial description matches the shorter variety of Djinn like I saw. Now I felt it long before I saw it and I can explain that another time. Thought I would help with anybody who encounters these what is happening. You are not crazy or seeing things. They seemed to have picked this shape a long time ago and are still using it. As you learn about Djinn, they are shapeshifters and most with effort mimic any shape. It isnt instant as they have to learn new shapes. Look at the mimic octopus it is basically a physical creature you can sort of see how they work.

    The one thing I know is I was an atheist of 20 years until I encountered what I did and it forever changed everything I thought about the supernatural. I am back with God again.

    Also, go to any group of 5 random people and ask them if they have seen one or know someone who has and you will almost always find someone who has but never told anyone because everyone will think you are crazy.

    If they are bothering you the best advice is to stay positive, resolve all family issues and ensure God is in your heart. They can still be around but their power will decrease.

  • Ana

    Summer 2013 Croatia, EUROPE. My brother was attacked in bed by some shadows. And he can’t move and he want to fight with them. And when he straight up he saw MAN in hat while he stand and Look at me while i am Sleeping. In that moment i turn in bed and say: WHO you Are? and that MAN dissapear. I dont remember that. But that day was beautiful to us and we Were so happy and also i pray that night to st MARY ( we Are catholics but true is that i dont pray so much, i dont know why i do that but i feel some need) Please excuse me for bad english.

  • adrian

    I saw him when i was about cousin had stayed the night..and i too had a wird feeling..that made me wake up..i turned over and saw it in the doorway to the restroom..i yelled and yelled at my sister who was sleeping on the floor but she would not wake up..i yelled as loud as i could..petra!!petra wake up!!please wake up!!..i was i turned and shoved my cousin who was in the same bed..i remember .i said mondo look..and as soon as he saw he too started crying..ill never forget that night..everyone i tell says..”it was probably a towel”..but our restroom had white tile on the walls..and where the object was standing there is no place to hang anything.