I believe it was late May or early June of 2008. I was working for a Christian camp in Alabama and living in a house down the road from the camp with my wife and 2 children (at that time). One night I was awakened by the activation of the motion light on the back of my house. I thought an armadillo had activated the light, as had happened many times before. These pesky creatures had been tearing up my lawn, so I slipped into my sandals, grabbed my shotgun, and stepped onto my back porch to eliminate the creature. I had done this many times prior. However, on this occasion there was no armadillo or anything else in sight, at least in the back yard. I then proceeded around to the front yard, still intent on eliminating an armadillo or chasing off whatever varmint or animal had activated the light. However, as I came around the corner of the house, I saw a dark creature. It was sitting down on a line of stones that had been placed approximately 20ft from the house to prevent erosion. It was facing away from me, but I could see its glowing eyes through the back of its head as though its essence was a translucent shadow. I simply froze not believing what I was seeing. The creature noticed my presence and stood up turning to facing me. Its eyes were now in full brightness and the color its eyes seemed mostly orange, but bordering on red to me. Its eyes had a dark slit down the middle like a venomous snake. The figure looked like it was 8-10 ft tall and had a smooth round head. I recall it seemed to be wearing a traditional grim reaper cloak, but with the hood off. I’ve since read about the “Hatman,” but this figure did not have the hat. I remained in disbelief and just stood there. The creature immediately fled from me, but did not turn its gaze away. It moved away, as though hovering along the ground as I could not perceive any shoulder movements or swaying consistent with walking. It went to the road and proceeded along the road away from my house with a continual gaze, staring at me until it went out of view due to trees. I ran to the road to see if I could get another glimpse of the creature, but upon getting to the road, it was no longer in view. Since the creature didn’t mess with me, I was tempted follow and try and see where it went. However, I could see the beam of headlights coming over a hill up the road. At this time I realized I was standing next to the road holding a shotgun, wearing nothing but my boxers and sandals and I didn’t care to have the police called on me, so I retreated back to my house.

I stayed awake for a little while trying to come to terms with what I’d seen. Being a Christian, I initially thought it was a spiritual entity of some sort, but I’d never heard of shadow figures and it was not how I’d imagined a demon would appear if we could see them. I was in my early 30’s and up until this time, I’d only thought of the grim reaper as a fictional character and didn’t think at all to consider his character as a possibility. Not really knowing how to categorize what I’d seen, I spent some time in prayer and went to back to sleep with relative ease. I told only my wife about this encounter and we decided not to dwell on it. Over the following days, I thought it could have been a demon, or possibly a human with some type of undisclosed cloaking technology and glowing night vision goggles. For some reason, even as a Christian, I wanted to believe there was a natural explanation. I tried to be content with it remaining a mystery and not dwell on it, so as to distract me from whatever God would have me doing.

Weeks later, a former employee of the camp, whom I had become good friends with prior to his leaving, came to visit. I shared the incident with him and he responded with certainty that I had encountered a shadow figure. He advised it was a common enough phenomena, and there were numerous sighting stories on the internet. I did a little research and resolved, that I had indeed seen a shadow figure and they are demonic entities. I have not dwelled further on it, other than to retell the story on rare occasions in appropriate company, and only when it’s been appropriate to share.

I’m sharing this account in 2023 and can also share that I believe I had another encounter 3 to 4 years ago. We’ve since left the rural Alabama camp and live in residential neighborhood in a coastal South Carolina city. One night I was startled awake and I could see as though I was simultaneously in my body while in my bedroom, and also see as though out of my body looking at my front door from outside. There was a shadow figure trying to force his way through the front door. There was an overwhelming sense of dread with its presence this time. I immediately (in a whisper so as to not wake my wife) started reciting Romans 8 from the beginning which I have memorized. As I said “Christ Jesus” at the end of verse 1, the entity turned and fled and the sense of dread was immediately gone. As it fled, I exclaimed (still whispering) “You are a conquered foe!” I got out of bed and checked to make sure each of my children (now 4) were alright. They were sound asleep and I spent a little time walking through the house praying and again went back to sleep with relative ease.

While I believe it best for Christians not to give too much attention to these creatures, as it can be a distraction from God’s purpose in our lives, it is simply important to know that whatever these things are, they have no authority oppress a genuine believer. I don’t know whether it was the presence of the Holy Spirit in or upon me, or a guardian angel of sorts that caused the first one to flee as I was literally speechless in disbelief of what I was seeing. However, I know from the second encounter, they will flee at the name Jesus spoken by a person with sincere faith in Him.