Byberry Mental Hospital opened in 1907 and in spite of all the bad publicity it received in the 1946 Life article it did not close until 1987. I am left hoping that conditions improved for the patients housed there after “The Conscientious Objectors from Byberry started a national association that helped train and professionalize workers at state hospitals.” (npr.org)
Byberry Mental Hospital holds a special place in history. Images taken there highlighted the need for changes to be made in the treatment and housing of the mentally ill. Byberry is where many conscientious objectors worked during WWII. One of those CO’s was a compassionate man named Charlie Lord. Charlie Lord would sneak a camera into the hospital and he captured 36 photographs that were later published in Life magazine in May 1946. “The photos reminded the American people of photos from Nazi Concentration Camps. So it created a kind of mass uproar, nationally.” (npr.org)
The conscientious objectors had witnessed attendants that would often use violence to try to control the mentally ill patients. The attendants would use items such as cut-down broom handles, or rubber hoses filled with buckshot to strike the patients. Attendants would even choke out a patient with a wet towel around the neck of the patient as the attendants had learned it would not leave any evidentiary marks.
Two buildings in particular housed living nightmares for the patients of Byberry Mental Hospital. The “incontinent ward” was where men were kept mostly naked with no furniture, activities, music, or bathroom facilities. It was a large concrete room full of urine and feces. Another building was referred to as “The Death House or Violent Ward” where the patients would often attack each other using whatever they could turn into a weapon. This building contained a room that held row upon row of patients strapped down to the frame of their beds.
Before Byberry was eventually demolished, it had been reported that the catacombs were spooky and haunted by ghosts of former patients with one that was a particularly violent entity. It was also reported that Satanic Rituals were said to have been performed on the grounds as well. It would seem that some of the souls of the departed are not resting in peace.
I found myself wondering if ghosts have shadows and decided to see what I could find through researching this subject. What I discovered was that ghosts do not cast shadows but a ghost can be a shadow. Confused yet? Sorry if you are. Let me try to explain what I mean.
A ghost cannot cast a shadow because only solid objects can do that. But a ghost can be seen as a shadow. Those types of ghosts are referred to as shadow figures within the paranormal scene.
Shadow figures or shadow peoplehave been explained through different theories within the paranormal world. One theory I found states that if you think you are seeing a shadow figure that your mind is actually filling in the blank areas to make a shape that appears to you as a human would. Shadow figures are usually seen from the corner of your eye as a quick movement. To me, this theory is discounting the existence of shadow figures and explaining them away as an over-active imagination. Therefore this theory seems too simplistic of an explanation.
Do Ghosts Have Shadows? Are Shadow People Ghosts?
Another theory regarding shadow figuresstates that you may see one of these when you awake from a nightmare or night terror. As if the dream state has not ended and the inability to catch your breath is accompanied by seeing a shadowy figure sitting on or pressing down upon your chest. This theory could be a way for our human brain to try to explain what is happening if you wake up with sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is when you wake up and are fully conscious but you cannot physically move. Sleep paralysis is said to occur in about 6% of the population and most often the “victims” are young adults. Scientists believe that stress and sleep deprivation can increase one’s chances of experiencing sleep paralysis. It is said to be terrifying and that sufferers often feel an unseen presence or even see a shadow figure.
Yet another theory states that shadow figures are demonic. This theory of them being evil relates to the dark and frightening feeling that the witness has when in the presence of a shadow figure. Often witnesses of shadow figures will communicate that the shape did not seem to be of human origins.
Click here to watch a video of Psychic Medium, Amy Allen speaking about shadow people on her TV Show “The Dead Files.” I hope you have learned something new today or at the very least I have given you something to think about. Let us know if you have had experience with a shadow figure or any other type of spirit. We would love to learn about any paranormal experiences you have had.