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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Decemystery (2020) 29: Black Stick Men

This story was meant to be last year’s capstone entry; it’s a sort of quasi-associate to the story of Shadow People, though it’s also most certainly its own beast through and through. Black Stick Men are as much a phenomenon as they are a cryptid—along with just about every other category of mystery imaginable. While the name may seem far-fetched, their reputation far exceeds their two-dimensional figure. Though hey, don’t take my word for it. Let’s dive in and talk about it in more detail.

The Story

Black Stick Men are exactly as they sound: they’re said to be two-dimension stick figures that you likely drew when you were a child. They’re said to sometimes instill a lot of fear into those that see them (real shocker given they’re giant stick men in the real world) and are said to move erratically or even float. Some allegedly have “hats” or growths on their head and to make things rather scary: they are said to be tall.

Ridiculously tall.

Some are said to be as large as 32 feet (9.7 meters) in height. I got that specific number because some say these entities are as tall as an apartment complex and I went with the idea that the average one is 3 stories (which is, well, 32 feet). However, I believe the average height for them is usually 10-ish feet (or 3 meters).

In the way of where they’re reported, it would appear that they pop up all over the world. Indeed, the phenomenon of Black Stick Men has taken the world by storm. Go get their latest album “Stick Figures On Crack” for $29.99 at your local Hot Topic. Also get the T-Shirt, Funko Pop, Video Game, see the movie, follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and oh dear God, this world is overrun by consumerism and narcissism. God help us all.

Ahem, anyways: as silly and goofy as here are a fair number of reported sightings of Black Stick Men. The ObscUrban Legend Wiki has three encounters that are listed, but the comments section also has a few. So, in total, I want to present to you a total of 10 supposed sightings/encounters with these enigmatic creatures before we go any further. Enjoy!

Encounter #1 - Simon Howes

In 1982, when I was a student nurse at Warley Hospital, Brentwood in Essex, England, I encountered a 'stick person' in the grounds of the Hospital as I was walking home one night. It lopped across the roadway having been, seemingly, pressed up against a wall. It stopped when it saw me and raised it's arms in fright and quickly walked off into the undergrowth. It was very tall with very thin, extremely long arms and legs and a very small oval head. Totally black and no obvious clothing. I saw no face even though it emerged very near a street lamp and so was well illuminated. I was terrified and to this day, no-one believes me....

Encounter #2 - Lecter

You know my sister told me that she saw a stick man too when she was a kid. back then it was our aunt's funeral and she was sitting outside the funeral when she noticed a strange "stick like person" walking back and forth above the electric wiring of the pole in front of the funeral that is (she is more or less 10 walking distance away from the pole). She got really frightened and she told our cousin to look at it, at first our cousin didn't believe her but after a few minutes she saw the stick man too and both of them got terrified they told our cousin's mom if she saw the stickman and she said no. it took several hours, it was noon - until dawn before it faded away. she told the story to me and I had doubts but when I saw this article I was like.. wow I never thought a lot of people saw a stickmen too from around the world. I thought my sis was just simply crazy O.O

Encounter #3 - Simon

The following account is slightly shortened but otherwise unchanged and comes from my diary record for Tuesday, 31st October 1978. Only the names have been changed. We were all aged between 15 and 17 at the time. The Loose Valley referred to is near Maidstone in Kent. My diary record also indicates that there was a new moon on that night. "I will record a rather unpleasant experience which took place tonight. A group of about ten of us were sitting chatting in the Loose Valley at about midnight. After about 45 minutes Will leapt to his feet slapping his head saying there was a bee in his hair; he looked absolutely terrified. Both Dorothy and I saw the outline of a tall, thin figure wearing a hat dancing behind him. Will said later it was if a terrifically loud buzzing was coming-up through the top of his head. However only Rachel heard any buzzing. We partially satisfied ourselves that it must have been a bees' nest, and so we moved a little distance away. As we moved away Dorothy and I saw a ring outlined in the grass which enclosed where we had been sitting. Eventually it started raining so we headed for Rachel's house. As we left I turned around and saw the same thin black figure walk across the opening between the trees to where we had been sitting. We had been sitting in Rachel's bedroom for a while, when I looked at Will who was reading and saw an amorphous black blob drop out of his hair onto the bed. I was the only one who saw this. A few seconds later a black shape started whizzing around. The main movement was from bottom left to top right as I was sitting, getting larger during the movement and inducing a great fright. About four people altogether saw this. Later the girls slept in a room together. Apparently Rachel and Molly saw the black blob in the curtains during the night. I, however, had an excellent night's sleep. On first awakening I saw the thin black figure silhouetted against the wardrobe doors. I must admit I lost my calm last night and was bloody terrified by the whole thing." I have now moved away from the South East, but I occasionally meet Will. Even twenty years later he has been extremely unwilling to discuss the events of that night in any detail as he still found the memory disturbing. During our last meeting I gained a little more of his account. He was not aware of the thin figure which I saw behind him during the initially buzzing. Unprompted by me he did recall the black blob falling out of his hair, which I thought I alone witnessed. However, he recalls it dropping onto the pages of the book he was reading rather than onto the bed as I recalled. Will also recalls more of the girls' account of their night after retiring. Apparently the blob had several times appeared near the curtains and moved them, while silhouetted against a bright light which appeared to come from outside but did not correspond to any street lamp or likely car lights. This has been the only 'supernatural' experience of my life.

Encounter #4 - Anonymous Fandom User

Night before last I was looking out my front window and  see this tall dark shadow-like creature move rapidy on the far side of the road, he moved very fast, I would estimate 10+ feet tall and very thin, had no features,.I described him to my wife, she knows I have had spiritual encounters before, so I assume she knows I am not seeing things.I live in Virginia USA.

Encounter #5 - Mothman96

I saw one of these late one night, it was staring at me through a window. It made me feel creeped out and nauseous. I ran to the bathroom because I had to throw up. When I got back from the bathroom, it was gone without a trace.

Encounter #6 - Anonymous Fandom User

I've had a close encounter with something similar. While in wispering Hills, Ohio, I visited a park there. There was nobody but me, my brother, and my two friends. We were walking home, and i glanced behind myself, and saw something standing in the bottom of the slide. I turned to my brother and said "look!" he turned around, along with my friends, and saw nothing. They just said "Its just a shadow. I remember it being exactly like described as above, but with white, nearly-glowing rings in place of eyes

Encounter #7 - Anonymous Fandom User

Honestly, I feel like I saw one. It was in a dream a couple nights ago too. Once, when I moved where I am right now I looked in a field. Nobody else saw it but me in real life. I looked away too creeped out to look again.

Encounter #8- Anonymous Fandom User

I Don't know how you all will take this because even after years it still feels like it was some bad dream,

It was February 2013 (I don't remember the day exactly) me and some friends were dirtbike riding through southern Utah in the Warner Valley, after about 2 or 3 hours of riding we stopped for a break, as I was getting off my bike I got an overwhelming sense that something was watching me (later all of my friends confirmed that they had felt this) I started to look around and that's when I noticed the figure which was to my left (now these are not solid numbers I'm in no way qualified to make these assumptions)  it was about 80 to 100 feet from us and looked almost 10 feet tall and was like a school drawn stick figure but it never came into focus it was blurred, and the air around it seemed like it was rippling. we were all looking at it by now and I felt it looking at us. Then after about 30 to like 40 seconds, it was just gone nothing was in its place, no change other than it being gone. to this day we still don't know what we saw. we got out of there as fast as we could after that. we still ride over there but we haven't seen anything even close to it ever since. 

Encounter #9 - Anonymous Fandom User

one night I observed what I thought was two men come out of a very lit up factories side door. I had assumed they were on a smoke break and working third shift maybe???? The two became three and then one and they wee like merging together is the best way that I can desribe it. When they turned to the side they were paper thin. Their heads WERE oval but more like an egg on it's side. Later that night, believe it or not I seen two more men come out the side door of another building but this ine was dark and looked abandoned. same thing that they merged in and out of one another to where if you were far away you thought you were seeing shadows possibly. At any rate, they went back into the building...just like the ones I had seen earlier in the night. And the ones that came out of lit up building...It's crazy cause this building was active and had a chained fence around it....what in the world ? I just dont even know. I had assumed I witnessed aliens but that never seemed to b exactly it and I come acrossed the black stick man legends....THAT"S DEF WHAT I SEEN!!!!

Encounter #10 - Anonymous Fandom User

My little brother said he has seen tall black faceless figures in our backyard

Grammatical errors aside, these are quite interesting. There are a plethora more of them out there that you can find. For now, with this write-up, I would like to take a moment to add onto something I said at the very start before we jump into the theories: the association with the Shadow Person mystery.

I have no idea where this idea originates from since the origin of Black Stick Men is, as far as I can tell, shrouded in a mystery in and of itself. Though it appears that there is a general consensus among some that Black Stick Men are a type of Shadow Person. The two share a few similarities (they’re pitch black, instill fear, and tend to stand out even in the darkest of darkness), though I’ve never heard of any Shadow Person that appears two-dimensional.

With that though, the general gist of Black Stick Men has been given. They’re a… uh, unique story for sure. If you were to ask me what sort of story is one of the weirdest out there, I think I would point to this one. When I was young and watched silly videos on YouTube featuring stick figures, I never would have imagined that, when I got older, I would be here, sitting on my bed, writing the words “people have reportedly seen stickmen in real life”. What a world we live in. Anyways, let’s get into the theories.


1. They’re hoaxes

Starting off our theories, we have the one that posits that they’re just made up. There’s honestly nothing to really say here other than: people have made up stories of real life stickmen, others decided to make up their own, and then ta-da: we have a made-up cryptid/weird entity.

“But wait!” I hear a faint voice cry out in the distance. “There are pictures and videos of them! How do you explain that?”

Yes, I am aware that there are supposed pictures (like the one that serves as the header of this write-up) and videos showing Black Stick Men. I’m also aware that there are supposed images and recordings of Slender Man. I would go over them, but guys: most of them are photoshops and CGI. It isn’t hard to slap together a half-way convincing image/video of something.

In most cases with the Black Stick Men, I cannot for the life of me in good faith waste my time going over the supposed proof of these creatures. They’re either in horrendous quality or the creature is so large and crawling on a frigging apartment complex in Russia and no one is batting a bloody eye. It’s way, way too wasteful and would amount to me ranting and raving about how insipid it all is. Which is honestly a shame because at the heart of this story is a fairly good mystery that relates to the legendary Shadow People story.

I digress though. The theory for this one mostly posits that the entire thing is really just… silly. It’s outlandish, crazy, and really: it’s two-dimension stick figures that people are seeing. What the heck do you expect a skeptic to say? C’mon, let’s be real. If you heard your best friend say that they saw a 10-foot-tall stickman in the middle of the street, how would you react? Me, personally, I’d probably laugh my way into the aether. Though that’s just me. Let’s continue before this gets anymore rambly.

2. Interdimensional entities

I wish to God I would stop picking stories where I have to talk about interdimensional stuff. It gets old.

Looky here, old sport, this theory depends on where you stand on the idea of alternate Universes. Believe them? Goodie, then just decide if an entity from another Universe can traverse to ours. If they can, then figure out if you like the idea of two-dimensional stick figures living there. If you do, congratulations, you can decide if this theory works. Now let’s move on before my brain melts.

3. Ghosts

Okay, this is a weird theory. It puts forth the idea that these stickmen are ghosts.

In paranormal lore, most ghosts are typically tied to a location or person and generally appear as who they were—unless it’s a demon, in which case it can appear as a child to have their target lower their defenses. However, for anyone else, it’s usually just who they were. In some cases, the ghost never appears.

With that said: nin my life have I heard of a ghost that has appeared as a stick figure though.Never. I’ve read about ghosts for most of my life, I’ve watched an array of ghost shows—regardless of how believable they are—and I’ve never heard even the fakest of fake ghost shows talk about two-dimensional stickmen.


Not once.

I guess the belief for this theory spawned from how the Black Stick Men tend to just appear and disappear, but I cannot quite figure out exactly what makes this theory… I guess function. Ghosts have, historically, either just never manifest or appear as a smokey/misty entity. So unless there were giant stick figures back before humans were around, I’m a bit lost as to how this all works. Maybe in the future, I’ll make a joke write-up about it.

4. Aliens

This theory puts forth the idea that Black Stick Men are Black Stick Aliens. Really nothing else to say here other than: ayy lmao.

5. Hallucinations

Oh theory number five, you are… a real pain to explain. Hallucinations are something that I really don’t understand, in spite of having experienced them before. Though in this case, I guess it isn’t that hard to really explain them. Given that most sightings occur at night, the idea that people are overtired, strung out, stressed, or something else akin to that would, in theory, explain why someone would hallucinate a stickman.

Though at the same time,given that there are naturally more than just ten sightings, one has to wonder if every single encounter truly was just a hallucination. I mean, you think that at some point, one would have to go ahead and think, “Hm, kind of odd that all of these people are reporting two-dimensional stickmen.”

Then again, I don’t know how hallucinations work. I don’t know how the human mind works. I really don’t know how anything works to be quite honest with you, dear reader. Heck, I don’t even get how writing works. I just type out my thoughts in a way that’s close to how I talk in real life and run with it. My friends and family say my writing is good, so I keep at it. I proceed to self-loath, judge myself overly harshly, get depressed, and wonder why I think I will never amount to anything.

It’s probably the stickmen’s fault.

6. Shadow People

Just to reiterate: given that Black Stick Men are generally described as being pitch black, have a tendency to instill a lot of fear into those that see them, and tend to just disappear without so much as a peep, some have put forth the idea that they’re Shadow People. That be our sixth and final theory and that be one of the most popular, folks! Though how likely is it? Well, if you want to buy into this theory, then you need to figure out where you stand on the concept of Shadow People. Are they themselves ghosts, aliens, interdimensional entities, or something else? Answer that question and then you know where you stand on this theory.

However, given there is a heavy consensus that Shadow People are a type of ghost, one would unfortunately have to then tie the idea to the Black Stick Men, which also means labeling them ghosts. As stated above, that seems really, really outlandish and, well, it makes the entire thing just kinda crumble. So keep that in mind.

My Take

This is by far and away one of the easiest and hardest stories to come to a conclusion on. I heavily lean towards them being fake and/or hallucinations, but at the same time: I’m a firm believer in Shadow People. So, at the same time, a part of me thinks they may be a type of shadow person. Yet, I cannot for the life of me figure out why anything would be over 30 feet in height. That just sounds comically tall; it may as well add an additional 50 or so feet so it can be Godzilla.

I guess if I really, really had to make a stand on where to put my belief/faith/money, I think I would say that Black Stick Men likely aren’t real. Though, again, take that knowing that I hold the other view. I just can’t really put my money where my mouth is. It’s such a perplexing story at its heart that denouncing it feels kind of wrong. Like, there’s something about it that doesn’t add up; like there’s a missing piece to the puzzle. Maybe I’m just gullible though.


These creatures better stop being a stick in the mud and show themselves one day! Until then, take care and have a great day, dear reader.

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