The frequent mention of a shadow image of a man apparently wearing a brimmed hat and long coat or cloak-- is baffling.
From the images I have seen, it is evocative of Sam Spade-like character in a film noir
detective mystery. Interestingly enough, I type in
"film noir" in Google, and the very first image was this...
Not too far off, is it?
Yet, I can see no reason why the mind would process a mystical apparition with such a limited cultural image-- the hat, the long coat or cloak-- they
are anachronistic to any of us on this thread.
Carl Gustav Jung, the psychoanalyst researcher of dreams, symbols and spiritual mysteries, had been asked to consider the sudden prevalence of dreams
which included flying saucers and space aliens which began with the Foo Fighters of World War II, and through the Roswell incident.
He researched the modern phenomenon, looked into history and other cultures to see if there were non-modern and non-western cultural parallels (there
were, a few).
In short he speculated that a sense of awe, marvel, dread, and or powerlessness in a dream or in a spiritual vision (a.k.a. religious experience)
seemed to be interpreted in the mind using iconic symbols meaningful for the person's culture and experience...
* You are an ancient in the orient-- perhaps, flying dragons.
* You are an ancient Hebrew mystic-- angels doing battle in flying chariots.
* You are a medieval villager-- grotesque half-animal--half human creatures.
* You are a late 19th Century Anglo-- white linen draped ghosts,
* You are a mid-20th Century westerner-- Flying Saucers and Aliens.
Mind you, all of those, to varying degrees, have existed across cultures throughout history-- but are more prevalent in certain eras. But the
seems only modern-- I could be wrong.
The History Channel, using the 1970's work of von Däniken, has been producing a series which essentially inverts Carl Jung's theories, and says
that all mystical visions involving angels, or dragons, or half-human creatures and such are not spiritual entities but ancient aliens-- embracing
modernism as the only "correct view".
However, Jung's theories, for me, are less prone to cherry picking only examples which fit the "ancient alien" scenario-- and are more centered
upon the commonality of the experience and MOREOVER, the person's reaction to such experiences.
So, why the 1930's private detective in the mist?
Could it be...
* A silent, dangerous and watchful entity who represents the key to unraveling a mystery? That fits both the descriptions of the apparitions and a
Humphrey Bogart detective character.
What I am suggesting, mostly parroting Carl Jung, is that what we now call "paranormal experiences" have long been called, "spiritual experiences"
and if they are one in the same-- then how we interpret what we perceive of the spiritual Reality is intuitively assigned characteristics by us which
are minds are to take as clues as to their significance.
* We see a floating white-robed human figure we associate that with an after-life of purity.
* We see a flying dragon, grotesques, angels or demons, we associate that with non-human power and potential for danger (benevolent or malevolent)
* We see flying saucers and space aliens, we associate that with the same as the above (and von Däniken would agree, but with the inverse
* We see a cloaked shadowy figure as if watching us in a dimly lit mist and we associate that with either malevolent or benevolent danger and
Perhaps, then, the Shadow figure represent what from early times we have called "guardian angels" (if good), or, equally, demonic presences (if