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Due to a childhood trauma he has experienced as a child, the Doctor has been pondering questions that have plagued him for nearly his entire life: "When we are alone to ourselves, are we truly alone? Why do we choose to speak aloud when no one else is around? Could something have been with us watching and listening without us ever knowing its existence?" Whether possible member of an undiscovered species or the imagination of the last Time Lord, the Figure in the Doctor Who episode "Listen" is a being shrouded in mystery due to the possibility that it could very well be just a thought experiment constructed by the childhood fears of the Doctor.
According to the Doctor's hypothesis on the Figure, it is has the inept evolutionary survival tactic of being able to hide and stay out of sight of other sapient or sentient beings without making a sound. It's because of this ability, the Doctor believes is how their presence in the universe managed to stay hidden for their entire existence. But at times, it does make its presence known and reveals itself to people by (from under their beds) grabbing the foot of those young and old who try to get out of bed in the middle of the night it's because of acts such as this as well as others that could've given the Figures reputation as the inspiration of various bogeymen-like legends throughout the universe. The Doctor had a similar experience as a child back on Gallifrey before it was destroyed.
Much like the Midnight Entity, the Figure's true appearance stays off screen throughout the episode it stares in, but unlike the Midnight Entity, the Figure's existence is mostly shrouded in ambiguity and it's never really confirmed if it is a real creature in the DW universe or if it's nothing but a mere urban legend.