The ‘Hat Man’ Won’t Leave My Family Alone

Flickr / Loren Javier
Flickr / Loren Javier

When I was first married, I lived in a home my husband had built while I was pregnant. It was in a huge subdivision in Riverton, Utah.

But despite the newness of the home I was always creeped out there. I heard strange sounds coming from the basement and what sounded like footsteps walking back and forth in the hallway at night. When the home was first completed I loved it, but over the next three years I became very afraid of it.

My husband told me I watched too many scary movies and there was nothing in our house. But I noticed that the basement light was always on, no matter how many times we turned it off. You could see the band of light at the bottom of the door. And I swore I saw shadows moving past it. I tried to tell my husband, but I guess he thought I was either playing a prank or just being paranoid.

So one night I decided to prove it to him. I asked him to go down to the basement and turn the light off. He did and came back upstairs. We spent the evening watching TV and We would occasionally go to the top of the basement stairs and check to see if the light was on. For a few hours it stayed off and my husband was making fun of me about it. But it got late and we turned off the TV to go to bed.

I was heading down the hall to our bedroom when my husband yelled in a panicky voice, “Michelle come here!” I ran back to the living area to find my husband at the top of the basement stairs looking ashen and staring down at the closed basement door. There was a band of light shining.

We were the only people there and we had windows in our basement. My husband gathered his courage and barreled down the stairs and burst into the basement sure there was an intruder down there. It was a big open unfinished room with very little stuff in it. Only a few boxes of Christmas stuff. We were newly married and didn’t have much yet. There was nobody down there and the windows were closed and locked. Freaked him out. But I felt vindicated.

We had our son, Krue, while living in this home. The light thing continued and the footsteps in the hallway at night had become such a part of our lives that it didn’t really bother us anymore, especially since nothing else happened. But as my son grew older and began walking I would catch him at the baby gate I placed at the top of the basement stairs to keep him from falling down there and getting hurt. He would stand there and stare down at the basement door, then look at me with a perplexed expression. I would just pick him up and refocus his attention on something else.

But one day in the middle of the afternoon, my husband and son were watching a kids’ movie on the couch together while I was cleaning the windows in the same room. It was a pleasant family day for us. Krue would walk back and forth on the couch, climbing on my husband and just having fun.

Then suddenly he snapped his head toward the stair landing leading down to the basement and let out a shriek of terror like I’ve never heard. He froze for a split second and then literally jumped off the couch, ran across the room and, I kid you not, CLIMBED me like a tree! I was shocked and scared for him and wrapped my arms tightly around his trembling little body. After he calmed down I asked him what happened. He was only beginning to talk but pointed to the landing and said, “man.” My husband was very upset and desperately wanted to comfort him so he went over and stood in the landing, kind of waving his arms around and said, “Look buddy, there’s no one here.” At which point my son craned his head as if trying to see down the stairs and replied, “man.” He would never go near the stairs again and we did not even try to get him to go down to the basement. He was terrified of it.

We moved from that house about year later and moved to Montana for my husband’s new job. Same scenario. Brand new duplex. We were the first occupants. One morning my husband, son, and I were all in the big bed in the master bedroom, enjoying time together, reading to my son, who was three years old at this point. He was talking well and enjoyed getting to be in mom and dad’s bed. The master bedroom door was open and our view was of the galley kitchen. Everything was pleasant and fine and then suddenly my son sat straight up and pointed to the kitchen and said, “It’s the man!” The kitchen had a pass through into the dining room and my son was again craning his head trying to see around the corner to catch a glimpse of “the man.” I completely believed him and asked him if the man saw him, too. He replied, “Yes.” And then, unable to verbalize the event, he got in front of me and turned his head and looked back at me over his shoulder and said, “like this.” My husband and I didn’t know what to do. Had the basement thing followed us?

It was during this time that my husband was out of town a lot for work. He would be gone for three weeks and home for one out of every month. So Krue and I were on our own a lot. And I began to notice the garage light was always on, no matter how many times I turned it off. We used the garage for storage instead of parking in there. We had a fridge for drinks and extra freezer space out there as well, so I went out there quite frequently.

One day I opened the door to the garage to get something. The light was on as usual. I got what I needed and was sure to turn the light off at the switch right by the door. I consciously turned it off and went back into the house letting the door swing shut behind me. Then I realized I forgot something, turned back, opened the door and the light was on. But worse, I saw what appeared to be the shadow of a man’s bust on the far wall down near the garage door. I froze in terror. The shadow bust thing had a hat on. Like an old bowler style hat. It didn’t move at all. I panicked and ran back into the house, locked the door, grabbed Krue, and left the house. When we were in the car I asked him what the man he sees looks like. He said, “Did you see him too? He lives in the garage.” I asked again what he looked like and he said, “He’s tall and he has a funny hat on.” We stayed at a friend’s house for a few hours that night but eventually had to go back home. We took to both of us sleeping together in the master bed. But nothing else creepy happened for several weeks.

Then we had two bad events within a week of each other.

The first one happened in the morning. I was in the kitchen making breakfast and my son was sitting on the master bed watching TV. When he said, “Mommy, he’s looking at you,” I looked across the kitchen into the bedroom and he was looking just past me with an expression of terror on his little face. I asked, “Where is he?” and he pointed to a spot right next to me. I froze and asked, “Is he still there?” And my son nodded his head yes and started to cry. I sprang away from the spot Krue pointed to and ran for him. I grabbed him up and we raced out the door again.

Then one evening as we sat down for dinner in the dining room we both heard a sound from the living room. It sounded like people talking, but we couldn’t understand what was being said. It was like the din of party chatter coming from a small sound source. Like a transistor radio. It came toward us and passed right by us as we sat at the table, then disappeared around the corner into the kitchen and faded away. It was so distinct that both Krue and I actually watched the sound as it passed us. It happened over a few seconds. When it was over I looked at Krue and his eyes were the size of dinner plates. I’m sure mine were as well. Then he put his finger up to his lips, silently telling me not to speak. I got up from my chair, grabbed him up into my arms, and headed out the door for the third time since we had lived there. And it hadn’t even been six months. When we got in the car I grabbed my cell phone, called my husband, and announced that we were moving. I’d had enough. He was in Arkansas all the time anyway so we decided to just move there. I was so panicked and adamant that my husband took time off work and came home the next day. We were packed and moved out within a week. As we drove away I looked back at the big picture window expecting to see something there, but it was empty.

We settled into our new rental home in Arkansas and everything was quiet for a while. The house didn’t have a basement or a garage and didn’t make strange sounds so I was feeling like whatever had been plaguing us was gone. Until Krue, who was four now and had been potty-trained for well over a year, suddenly started having accidents. When pressed to explain what was wrong he admitted he was afraid of the bathroom. I asked him why and he said, “The man lives in there now.” So I started going with him when he had to use the bathroom and would let him leave the door open while I stood right outside (so as not to embarrass him) talking to him. This went on for a few months. But then my husband thought I was feeding his fear and when he was home wouldn’t allow me to do it. Krue would hold his urge to go until my husband wasn’t around and then we would resume the bathroom routine. It was getting strange for me too because I wasn’t having any experiences myself.

Until one day when we had just returned home from the Laundromat. Krue was out front playing with the dog and I was bringing in tons of clothes from the car and putting them on the couch to be sorted. I had just set a load on the couch and turned to go back outside for more when I happened to glance out the picture window and saw a man sitting in my car. He was very thin and was wearing a soft-brimmed, bowler-style hat. He just sat there in the driver’s seat looking at me. I freaked and ran to the front door and outside. But once I crossed the threshold there was no man in my car, even though I clearly saw him just a second before. Krue was out front near the car at the time I saw the man but was out of my line of sight. I ran over to the car and jerked the driver’s side door open in a panic, drawing Krue’s attention. He came over and asked me what was wrong. I asked him if he had seen the man in the car. He said no, he hadn’t, but he sees him in our house all the time again. And that it was the same man from both Utah and Montana. “He follows us, mommy,” he said. “He watches you.” When he said that I started trembling uncontrollably and nearly collapsed with fright. Then and there decided it was time to get help with this problem.

I rang up a local medium that I found on the Internet and told her my story. She was very open with me and didn’t make me feel stupid about it. But she said she tried to reach out to the man and he came up behind her and wouldn’t show himself. She said he didn’t come across as friendly and recommended I burn sage and demand that he go away and leave us alone. Which I did immediately. In fact, I did it a few times over the course of the next several days. It seemed to work.

Shortly after this event we moved back to Utah for a couple of years and then back to a different town in Arkansas. There were no strange occurrences or sightings during that time. But then my husband and I decided to divorce, and my son and I moved in with my father in Cincinnati while I looked for work and tried to get established.

One evening we were standing near the stairs leading to the upper floor and we were talking to my stepmom. Krue and I were facing her and she had her back to the living room where there was a huge flat-screen TV. I just happened to glance at Krue while saying something and he gave me a really weird look and then cast his eyes toward the television. I followed his gaze and there was the Hat Man, his reflection in the TV. We both played it cool because my stepmom is not a believer and we didn’t want her to think we were crazy. We were guests in her home, after all. But when we were done chatting we both made a beeline upstairs and frantically whispered to each other, confirming the sighting between ourselves. We hadn’t seen the Hat Man in years and we were surprised and concerned that he would just appear like that again.

A couple of months later we moved into our own apartment, but neither of us saw him there. However, the building we lived in was horseshoe-shaped and my living-room window faced my neighbors across a small courtyard. I was friendly with her and would sometimes go to her house to chat. One night at about 11 PM I was over at her house visiting. Krue had been in bed for hours since he had school the next day. My friend’s couch was pushed up against the wall with the windows that faced my apartment. I had left the lights on, since I was only going be at her place for a short time. We were sitting on her couch and she occasionally glanced out her window at the courtyard. Then suddenly she jumped up and said, “Someone is in your house!” Her boyfriend had been standing near the couch facing us and saw it, too. He ran out the front door and raced across the courtyard with me hot on his heels. My son was alone in there! We burst in the front door and ran down the hall to my son’s room. He was sound asleep. We searched the house frantically to see if someone was hiding in there. Now mind you, there was only one door to this apartment. And there is no way someone could have gotten out without our seeing them. After our search turned up nothing, my friends stayed with me for a little while to make sure I was all right. When I asked them what he looked like, she said, “He was tall and dark and had a weird hat on. Like a cowboy hat with a floppy brim. And he walking across the room toward the hallway.” I nearly fainted. He had followed us yet again.

The next day I went out and got more sage and did my “demand that he go away” thing again, hoping desperately it would work this time. And it must have, at least for me. Because since that time I haven’t seen him again. But my son, who had gotten himself into some trouble and now lives with my brother, says he sees him every now and then in his room in the basement of the home. But he says every time he sees him he slips around a corner or fades into the background around him. My son says it seems like he doesn’t want to be seen now. But when he does see the Hat Man he is always looking at him.

From the beginning we called this thing the “Hat Man” or “Hatty” for short.

So you can imagine my surprise when I was on YouTube one day and came across a video called “Hat Man.” I played it and it described our entity perfectly. Apparently it’s a worldwide phenomenon that has been reported by thousands of people. So either we aren’t the only ones he watches, or there are a bunch of these things. And they are all watching us. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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