Sleep Paralysis Defined
Sometimes when people are awakened and become aware of the paralysis, they are in extreme distress because they are immobilised, unable to move, speak, or even open their eyes.
This can be so scary that it sometimes induces nightmarish hallucinations.
(But not always,) and when it happens frequently, it is classified as a sleep disorder.
A Sense Of Suffocation
Anyone who has ever awakened from sleep and been unable to move may relate to this one.
Often this experience is accompanied by laboured breathing, as if something is pushing down on the chest and keeping the person from drawing a deep breath.
Sometimes, even worse things happen, many hear approaching footsteps and experience the feeling that someone has grabbed their feet or climbed upon the bed or their chest.
In Newfoundland, this experience is apparently prevalent enough to have a name:
A person who has undergone this ordeal is said to have been ridden by the Old Hag amazingly, the folklore and myths of many countries refer to this phenomenon, and it has been portrayed in paintings and sculptures, the most famous being The Nightmare by Fuseli, which features a demon perched on the chest of a sleeping woman while a horse looks on.
This nag must be the night mare, a visual pun.
Sleep Paralysis and Mediums
Author Will Murray discovered that he had some latent psychic abilities and began to develop his psychic skills. Shortly thereafter, he had a very disturbing experience. He describes this ordeal by saying: "About 10 years ago, while I was training to be a medium, I seemed to wake up from a sound sleep, I was lying on my side, unable to move. I began wondering what the heck was going on. Then a small black cloud came through the solid wall of my bedroom near the open door. It emerged from the angle where the ceiling meets the wall.
"This thing felt intensely malevolent, and I was immediately alarmed. It floated toward me and I could hear it speaking, It said; "Death is all around you! Your eyes! Your eyes!
"Although unable to escape, I had the presence of mind to shoot white light at it.
By that, I mean spiritual light. The small black cloud immediately retreated.
"At that point, I really woke up. It had been a nightmare.
Yet, I was lying on my side just as in the dream, and I was completely unable to move a muscle!
This was truly frightening. For the first time of my life, I experienced the emotion of terror.
I wondered if i was dying, I don't know how many minutes I lay there, but eventually I was able to shake off the paralysis.
There was no sign of the black cloud.
"I later mentioned this experience to a colleague, and she told me that it was a rite of passage for a medium in development. Later, I discovered that the phenomenon was called sleep paralysis, and it;s not limited to mediums. "The experience reminded me of the H.P Lovecraft story, "The Dreams in the Witch-House," specifically the part about the witch coming through the angles of the walls, It makes me wonder if Lovecraft experienced sleep paralysis.
The black cloud never came back, Years later, I've not had a single nightmare."
If only most SP stories could have such happy endings.
Unfortunately, most do not.
On Rare occasions, people in SP state may have the experience of a recently departed loved one coming to them to convey a message of hope or support, so the presence is not seen as threatening or oppressive but instead is seen in a totally positive light.
Demons In DreamLand
In 1889, historian Ludwig Laistner opined that sleep paralysis might be the:
"Father of all mythology," the source of all stories of demons and devils.
Further study of this may have affected the current perception of alien abduction, UFO's, Poltergeists, out-of-body experiences, and a whole range of paranormal experiences.
Author Louis Proud says in his book, Dark Intrusions:
An Investigation Into the Paranormal Nature of Sleep Paralysis Experiences.
"SP is the doorway to many possibilities, some terrifying, some interesting and delightful,
others simply weird and baffling. "Wilhelm Roscher, in 1900, observed that Medieval and Renaissance depictions of the devil might be derived from nightmares.
Likewise, the folklorist Wolfgang Golther noted, "The belief in spirits took its origin in nightmare."
Belief in demons actually begun in the millennia ago in ancient Mesoptamia,
with stories of Lilu, a male demon, and Lilitu, a female one, who according to ancient myths found their way into bedchambers and either seduced or raped their victims.
Tales of this sort of behaviour persisted down through human history.
In Europe, many folklore told of these creatures and their horrific nighttime visits.
They came to be known as incubi and succubi.
What Are Incubi and Succubi?
An incubus is described as a male demon that visits and rapes woman in their sleep, presumably to impregnate them. The terror induced by such attacks is shattering for its victims. The succabus is the female counterpart of the incubus, seducing mean rather than woman, though there were some who claimed these demonic beings were actually the same entity, taking on the necessary aspect and form at will to seduce victims.
Undoubtedly, these nightmarish activities seemed real and provided incontrovertible proof and perhaps a face-saving explanation for those trying to explain away nocturnal emissions and mysterious pregnancies.
Male SP victims of succubi sometimes feel the experience is a positive one,
And in fact, they say:
it is more enjoyable and intense than any real life relationship could ever hope to be..
It seems reasonable that recent perceptions of demons may be derived from either those experiencing night terrors or sleep paralysis. Cultures worldwide for centuries have believed tales of demonic entities who visited in the night and either terrorised or seduced their victims....
Or did both simultaneously.
But all things considered,
It may be better to be attacked by a demon that to be possessed by one.
Night Terrors and Demonic Possession
As opposed to a person in the grip of sleep paralysis, a person suffering from night terrors may thrash, scream, have his or her eyes wide open, and seem to be awake but actually still be in a sleeping state.
Attempts to awaken the person can be difficult, and when the person does wake up, he may be disoriented with no memory what ever of what has transpired.
This lack of memory and atypical sleep behaviour may be what led onlookers to identify this behaviour as a form of demonic possession.
It should be noted that only a small percentage of the population will ever suffer from night terrors,
And they are very distinct from regular nightmares.
Dread and Horror
Often, a pervasive sense of dread and horror follows and may be triggered by the feeling that something vile and evil has entered the room and is causing the paralysis and suffocation.
Whether the phenomenon is a supernatural event or a biomedical mechanism we do not yet fully understand; this seems irrelevant to some anthropologists, particularly folklorists, as they study the phenomenon. Indeed, some say that we have been too dismissive of first-person accounts,
And some significant portion of supernatural belief is associated with;
"Accurate observations interpret internationally.
This approach is in partly based on the conclusion that poor observation and incorrect reasoning cannot account for each and every description and report describing supernatural experiences.
Paranormal Investigators need to be aware of the existence of this phenomenon and its variations when evaluating witness testimony and weighing the evidence for proceeding with an investigation.
If you weren't previously aware of it, educate yourself further.
If you are approached by a client who is presenting the following primary symptoms, you may opt to refer the person to a sleep specialist and recommend that she familiarise herself with the literature on sleep disorders. Always looking for the natural explanation versus the supernatural is the first tool in every scientific investigators arsenal. But if the person requesting your assistance is already aware that the unexplained phenomena began as a result of SP, you may opt to proceed after ascertaining as much background information as possible.
Common Sleep paralysis elements include:
⚫ Awake, aware of surroundings
⚫Unable to move
⚫Overcome with a sudden, sickening dread or terror
⚫Sense of an evil presence or a sinister being
⚫Crushing weight that settles heavily on the chest
⚫ Induces a natural abhorrence and feeling of revulsion
⚫ Sense of suffocation, difficulty breathing
Secondary elements include:
⚫ Sounds such as footsteps, whispering, rustling, scratching, or buzzing:
(worst of all, perhaps, hearing one's name being called!)
⚫Smelling an odour of death and decay
⚫Feeling a sudden chill, coldness in the air
⚫Experiencing bodily sensations, such as being touched, sometimes sexually, covers yanked off,
⚫or a sensation of falling.
Lucid Dreaming and Out-Of-Body Experiences
The SP state is obviously linked to lucid dreaming and Out-of-body experiences.
The person having an SP experiences is in the borderland between two realms and can slip from ordinary consciousness into an altered state at this point, sometimes without even trying...
What Exactly is Lucid Dreaming
It is training yourself to become conscious that you are dreaming in order to take control of your dreams and do as you wish in them. It is rare to hear of someone spontaneously finding himself in a lucid dream, though it does, of course, happen.
If you are interested in lucid dreaming, read about and research it.
There are safe techniques for getting there.
Sp is not one of them,
There have been instances of injury to people during the SP state,
So deliberate induction of it is foolhardy.
Journeys Out of The Body
Many have said that there is little effort involved in gaining an out-of-- body experience (OBE)
While in an SP state, but again, this is something that can be extremely dangerous.
Many people have encountered things that were literally the stuff of nightmares.
One cannot talk about astral travel or OBE without talking about OBE pioneer Robert Monroe.
A successful businessman and science-oriented person, Monroe's book Journey Out of Body,
Published in 1971, was a sensation when it first appeared.
It described Monroe's personal experiences of astral travelling, or out-of-body experiences,
Which first happened in 1958,
To say critics greeted this with skepticism and derision at the time is putting it mildly.
It began quite spontaneously for Monroe.
He was not attempting to astral travel when he had his first experience, which shook him to the core and sent him running to his family doctor, who could find nothing physically or psychologically wrong with him, In Journeys Out of the Body, he said,
"I was not attempting any mental feats,l It was not during sleep, so I couldn't dismiss it as simply a dream. I had full, conscious awareness of what was happening.
Which of course only made it worse, I assumed it was some sort of hallucination caused by something dangerous - A brain tumour, or impending mental illness.
Or imminent death".