Known by early Spanish settlers as Los Vigilantes Oscuros, the Dark Watchers are described at tall, featureless dark silhouettes. People report seeing them wear brimmed hats or carrying walking sticks. Seen often around twilight and dawn, they are said to motionlessly watch travelers from the horizon.
The Dark Watchers gained some notoriety when John Steinbeck mentioned them briefly in his collection of short stories, The Long Valley in the story Flight.
“Pepé looked suspiciously back every minute or so, and his eyes sought the tops of the ridges ahead. Once, on a white barren spur, he saw a black figure for a moment; but he looked quickly away, for it was one of the dark watchers. No one knew who the watchers were, nor where they lived, but it was better to ignore them and never to show interest in them. They did not bother one who stayed on the trail and minded his own business.”
Psychologists have proposed simple solutions to these strange beings. These range from illusions to hallucinations or misinterpretations of natural stimulus that can be brought on by exhaustion or isolation.
Another possibility is infrasound. Infrasound can be generated by wind and cause feelings of unease and anxiety. People frequently connect it with paranormal sightings.
Lastly, an optical illusion known as the Brocken spectre is given as a plausible explanation. A Brocken spectre can occur in certain atmospheric conditions when the sun is at a particular angle. The suject's shadow can be cast onto a cloud bank around them and create the illusion of a large shadowy figure.
What do you think? Are these mysterious figures a figment of our imagination? An optical illusion? Or something more sinister? Have you ever seen a shadowy figure that you can't explain?