The Gray Man
The Gray Man (also known as Grey-Coat or The Mysterious Gentleman) is an entity that will appear at seemingly random times throughout certain areas of the dream-scape, and will slowly approach the player. Upon getting close, he will disappear in a bright flash, similar to a camera taking a picture. He is notorious for being terrifying when he appears out of nowhere. The Gray Man seems to appear most often in Happy Town.
The Gray Man is described as wearing a dark gray bucket hat, and a trench coat of the same color. His hands are always inside his pockets; his elbows sticking out slightly. His face is entirely blank. He appears to 'glide' instead of walk, as his feet never move.
It's possible to lose the flashback option after an encounter with him. If you approach him during a flashback, it will end shortly after. The Gray Man seems to erase your "memory" of past dreams, slowing down progress on things such as textures.
He seems to be the main antagonistic figure, as he is the only in-game entity capable of hindering your progress.
Theory's Behind His ExistenceEdit
The Gray Man could likely be the result of a sleep disorder known as Hypnognia, where the mind automatically assumes there is a dangerous entity around. A sense of dread accompanies this sleep disorder causing one to only remember the fear and not the dream. As a result, in game, you lose your flashback.
The Gray Man may exist for one of many reasons. In the "Alien Theory" he represents an alien probing too close to your conscious mind in a dream, hence the 'mind-erase' effect. In the 'sexual-texture theory', he may indeed represent a rapist, or a murderer. Your mind may be trying to block out the Gray Man, as if he gets too close, repressed memories may be awakened. Your mind might actually be trying to forget him, rather than him actually being some sort of entity invading your thoughts. He might indeed be an image always lingering the back of your mind that you'd rather forget, and that makes much more sense if this were a real-life situation! Or he's someone you met before in your life, and you keep remembering him, putting him in your dreams.
Some have also suggested that this is a reference to the common drug diphenhydramine, which is commonly found in Benadryl. This recreational drug has been known to create instances of a "Hat Man" or "Shadow Person", who can be similar in appearance to The Gray Man. Diphenhydramine is also known in causing short memory loss of most of the drug's effects.
Dealing With The Gray ManEdit
If the Gray Man happens across your path there is one sure fire way to ensure your safety, simply break into a run and look backwards, as the game places him in the direction that you look, not the direction you go. There are other ways to do this as well, such as to walk backwards with the run button held, press the button to look back quickly, and you will start running backwards.