I’ve lived in Southern Appalachia most of my life and my story takes place between the ages of 18 and 23. Now where I live is very rural and infested with drug abuse, so many friends and neighbors have become shells of themselves. It’s common for people to throw their hands up and announce themselves long before coming upon someone so they know you’re there. This is important for later. So, we’re tough people and it takes a lot to rattle us generally. I’ve always had trouble sleeping at night so I’d take long walks along the roads where I lived. My normal ritual was to walk to the local firehouse and back. A little under 2 miles there and back. Along the way, there is a small stretch of railroad track along the road with a river on the other side.

My first encounter with the Hat Man would have been about mid-summer in 2011. So this one night as I was walking I see what appears to be someone standing near the tracks. I throw up my hand and shout “Howdy.” No response. So that is usually a sign of needing to leave this person alone. I walk on by trying not to make eye contact with whoever was there. As I pass by however I glance over and something just feels off. I know there isn’t much light along the roads other than the moonlight but he felt uncomfortably hidden. I hasten up a bit and get to the firehouse. I linger around it for a few minutes as to let the stranger go on his way. As I make my way back I see him still there. Once again I throw up my hand and shout “Howdy! It’s nice and warm out huh?” No response again. I start to feel bad so I make my way past him as quickly as I can. For some unknown reason, I felt compelled to look back to where he was standing. Now if you know anything about railroads and their tracks you know they line them with about 3 to 4 feet on either side with large gravel. I mean a cat couldn’t gently walk across these things without making noise. He went from one side of the track to the other without making a sound. Although I couldn’t see a face, I could feel his eyes staring at me. That was the first encounter.

My second one came a few months later. I was sitting alone in my house with my dog. She was a well-tempered golden retriever. So this night around 1-4 am she is going to town barking and whining to go outside. So I get up and walk towards the back door. She is going crazy the whole way. Now my doors have screen doors in front of them. I lock both anytime I close the doors. I swing open the back door and am about to unlock the screen door when I see him. He is standing at the end of my yard in a little portion just on a little slope above the railroad tracks. My dog at this point is growling and wanting to get out to attack whomever this was. I pulled her back and slammed the door closed thinking some crackhead had stumbled into my yard. I grab her and pull her into the living room and we sit and wait till she calms down a little while later. The last time wasn’t seen by me but by my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, about 2 years later. We were in bed when she woke up and saw a man fitting the description of the Hat Man standing in her bedroom doorway. She told me the following morning what she had seen. Granted I had never told her about my previous encounters until she told me that. Since then I haven’t had any more experiences. I didn’t realize who or what this thing was till later when I saw videos about him.