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If you’ve ever been spooked by an ominous figure that follows you home at night, or a silhouette that lingers on your wall after turning off the downstairs light and running to your bedroom, you’ve known the fear of shadows. Despite being a completely commonplace occurrence, shadows can conjure the most menacing visions in the mind of what lies beyond the mortal realm.

In reality, shadows are nothing more than scientific lightwork at play; an opaque object blocks a light source and the surrounding rays create an outline of said object. Still, why do shadows feel so creepy and foreboding? Even more bone-chilling is thinking you caught a shadow of something, when nothing in the physical world was there to cast it.

Throughout humanity, darkness has been perceived as a sign of risk and danger. It makes sense, as people once had to be fearful of enemies attacking after the sun went down. As our species evolved, we’ve continued to carry this fear of darkness into our lives, even in the comfort of our own homes. We have our brain’s amygdala to thank for inciting these fearful reactions; in the dark, this region is even more susceptible to entering fight-or-flight mode, sensing danger could be around any corner. Thus, we’re apt to feel even more visceral fear from seeing an irregular shape in the darkness as opposed to a five-headed monster in full light in front of us. Perhaps it’s the fear of the unknown that truly spikes our anxiety.

In honor of the dark and eerie months that lie ahead, we’ve found a selection of shadow tattoos you can adorn to get one step closer to befriending these daunting creatures of the night. And remember, if you think you saw a shadow when there was really nothing there, it’s probably just all in your head.