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The Shadow Man is the secondary antagonist and final boss of Hello Neighbor and the main antagonist of Secret Neighbor and Hello Engineer. He is a strange, unknown shadow that seems to stalk protagonist Nicky Roth as he tries to find out what is in his neighbors basement and to overcome his three fears from his childhood. He is the arch enemy of the Rescue Squad.
The Shadow Man first appears as Nicky looks around the ruble of Mr. Peterson's burned house, stalking Nicky without his notice. Once Nicky finally notices the Shadow Man as it teleports infront of him, he begins freaking out before the Shadow Man disappears, Nicky than runs back to his house. When Nicky picks up his phone but no one is on the other end, a car passes by. Once the car passes the Shadow Man appears, stalking Nicky again.
The Shadow Man can be spotted somewhere in each of the nightmares Nicky has to go through to overcome his childhood fears, known as Fear Levels, the Shadow Man appears on a rafter in Fear Supermarket, it appears standing on a hanging pipe in Fear School, and is seen watching from under a table in Fear Darkness.
Once Nicky enters the basement, he will encounter the Shadow Man. If Nicky gets to close to the Shadow Man then he will die. Nicky must use the Hide ability he earned from beating Fear Supermarket to hide from the Shadow Man until it lumbers through the wall. Once Nicky defeats the giant neighbor and enters the door on the house on his neighbors back, than he will be transported to a area full of Missing Posters. In one window the Shadow Man is seen bigger than before looking down on a grave, possibly Mya's grave. In another window the Shadow Man is seen hiding behind some stairs that lead down to the basement. In the final window Mr. Peterson is seen crying at a Missing Poster. Once a car passes by the Shadow Man will appear and watch Mr. Peterson as he grieves.
Going through the door in the area will lead Nicky to a strange house with a younger version of himself playing with toys. Suddenly young Nicky becomes afraid and runs to the window, from the white void the house is in appears the Shadow Man in its final form, the Shadow Boss, a gigantic version of itself that is possibly bigger than the giant Mr. Peterson. Young Nicky will then run around the house, however he will eventually fall, Nicky must get infront of young Nicky to absorb the Shadow Boss' attacks. Every time Nicky absorbs the Shadow Boss' attacks he becomes bigger. As the Shadow Boss' attacks slowly tear apart the house, Nicky becomes bigger and bigger until he is as big as the Shadow Boss, confronting his fears.
The Shadow Boss falls and explodes into light, appearing in a white void with only an Exit Door and a crooked house. If Nicky peers into the house, he will see a panicking Mr. Peterson who has barricaded himself into a room to escape the Shadow Man, who is one the other side of the door, enraged that it cannot get to Mr. Peterson. Unable to save Mr. Peterson from the Shadow Man, Nicky leaves through the Exit Door.
This ending shows that Nicky did not defeat the Shadow Man, but merely freed himself from its influence.
The Shadow Man can be briefly seen whenever the children successfully kill Mr. Peterson. Revealing that the Shadow Man is the true culprit of kidnapping Nicky.
As Mr. Peterson, the Shadow Man can disguise as any nearby child, enter a rage mode when damaged enough that makes him faster and invulnerable and he can also place down bear traps.
The Shadow Man can also take the form of Mr. Peterson in a clown costume, in this form he can disguise himself as a random object, distort the vision of kids that escape from his grasp and even throw smoke bombs that damage any kids near to where it is thrown and releases a cloud of thick smoke.
The Shadow Man can also take the form of a slightly obese Mr. Peterson in the attire of a butcher, in this form he can create fake crows to prevent the real crows from helping the kids, see smoke trails left by kids and can throw meat hooks tied to ropes to grab kids and objects from a distance
The Shadow Man itself, after its Mr. Peterson disguise is destroyed, will teleport into a different room and regenerate its disguise before stalking the children again. It can also shape shift into household objects such as chairs, tables, and during the halloween event, a jack-o-lantern
The Shadow Man is a man that is entirely black with white glowing eyes and spasming black particles for hair, its body sporadically becomes smaller and thinner or bulkier and bigger with strange black particles appearing and disappearing close to or on its body.
In his first disguised form he appears as Mr. Peterson but with gray skin with black burn-like spots on his face.
In his second disguise he once again resembles Mr. Peterson only in a bright clown outfit with white makeup, puffy red hair, and a red clown nose (closely resembling the appearance of Tim Curry's version of Pennywise).
In his third disguise he once again resembles Mr. Peterson but more closely resembles his first disguised form only with more slicked down hair and sideburns, he also appears more obese and his sweater is now red and black, he also sports black boots instead of tennis shoes and an apron with various tools such as a meat cleaver.
The Shadow Man seems to enjoy watching Nicky as he progresses through the Fear Levels, possibly wishing for Nicky to utterly fail so he can forever be haunted by his fears, he also seems to enjoy tormenting Mr. Peterson, as he tries to enter Mr. Peterson's hiding spot. It is unknown if anyone else is a victim of the Shadow Man, however it is possible that Aaron is tortured by the Shadow Man like his father. The Shadow Man seems to primarily target victims who have been emotionally scarred, as he targets Mr. Peterson, who has had his daughter and wife taken from him by death, and also targets Nicky, who is scarred from been trapped in Mr. Peterson's basement. The Shadow Man also seems to exhibit a strong dislike towards it when one overcomes their fears, as the Shadow Man begins hunting Nicky once he has overcome his fears and has entered the basement, being the only threat in the basement along with Mr. Peterson.
The Shadow Man is generally a demonic bully at its core, picking on the weak like young Nicky and tormenting Mr. Peterson due to the loss of his family. Despite its demonic powers and threatening appearance, if one where to overcome their fears, the Shadow Man would be completely helpless similar to IT, as Nicky, once completely overcoming his childhood fears, his fear of Mr. Peterson and his fear of the Shadow Man itself, he was able to easily defeat the Shadow Man by merely pushing it into the white void before it exploded into light.
- There are theories that the Shadow Man is the Devil or some kind of demon.
- The Shadow Man seems to be the embodiment of Mr. Peterson's guilt and Nicky's fear, as when Nicky defeats the Shadow Boss, he is rewarded with the achievement "No More Fears".
- When the Shadow Man first appeared in Alpha 3, he looked more like a child.
- In the scrapped Fear Gym, the Shadow Man can be seen watching on the other side of the barb wires.
- It is very possible the Shadow Man is The Guest
- In Secret Neighbor both of the Shadow Man's forms have a variety of costumes:
- for his first form:
- His Halloween outfit consists of a pair of black pants a red and green striped sweater (referencing the same sweater worn by Freddy Krueger and a jack-o-lantern head
- His Christmas outfit consists of a Santa Claus outfit, more human skin, and a gray beard
- His Easter outfit consists of a black sleeveless hoodie with an image of an egg and the word EASTER on the back and a bunny mask with ears
- His summer outfit is a vacation outfit
- His space outfit is an alien
- for his second form:
- His Halloween outfit consists of a dark red and purple jester outfit with red line facepaint going up his face (closely resembling Bill Skarsgard's version of Pennywise)
- His Christmas outfit is a snowman
- His Easter outfit is a scarecrow
- His Summer outfit is mime
- His space outfit is his clown appearance with frizzier hair and a spacesuit
- For his third form:
- His Halloween outfit is a some sort of cyborg
- It has been theorized by some that the Shadow Man may have been responsible for the car crash that led to Mr. Peterson's wife's death. If this is true, then the Shadow Man is the Greater Scope villain of the video games.
- for his first form: