In the early 90’s, whilst in my late teens I had a ‘hatman’ experience, although, at the time, the phenomenon was unknown to me. Despite the event seeming incredibly lucid and real, for thirty years I buried it and wrapped it in doubt as I tried to rationalise what took place. In fact, I only became aware of the ‘hatman’ phenomenon whilst listening to a James Delingpole podcast with guest Jerry Marzinsky in 2021, who described an uncannily accurate description of my experience. I was shocked that this was a common global occurrence.

My encounter happened in the middle of the night whilst staying at a friend’s house. Seemingly whilst asleep, I became aware of a dark and cold presence which woke me. In the corner of the bedroom was a tall, menacing, dark figure in a trilby style hat, with soulless but bright eyes, an aged face and wearing a long murky old coat from an indefinite bygone age. I tried to call out but couldn’t… the visitation appeared to be for me and me alone. Disturbingly, I felt immobile and transfixed. The shadowy figure which seemed evil in intent smiled ominously and stared straight into my eyes beckoning me to come toward it with an extended slow-moving forefinger. In my mind, I was shouting at the figure to leave me alone, and I tried to call out for help, but I was somehow mute. The length of the encounter, although difficult to estimate, seemed short-lived and my memory becomes hazy at this point. However, I do remember every fibre of my body being numbed by pure dread the entire time. The experience ended by me somehow breaking myself out of paralysis and burying below my pillow and duvet. Eventually as my horror subsided; not daring to look at the corner of the room again, I drifted to sleep. But I have never forgotten that night.

Over the years, periodically I have regaled my experience to family and close friends – some of whom are fascinated and open-minded; others as expected unconvinced and cynical. Listening to the podcast and discovering last year that this experience has been shared globally by thousands of people, has made me re-assess my encounter. To this day I do not understand what took place, and I accept people’s scepticism; my own reasoning finds the phenomenon hard to rationalise too. Whether fabricated through the power of my mind or an external unidentified phantom, I can only speculate… all I know is what took place that night was a convincingly tangible unpleasant experience.