Last week I woke up naturally. I wasn't working early so had not set my alarm clock. However, as I emerged from my dreams and opened my eyes I found I couldn't move. My entire body was paralyzed except my eyes. I looked around myself and recognized my bedroom with morning light at the window filtered by the curtains. I struggled as I tried to move and wake up fully. It felt like trying to swim up though a pool of sticky mud. I popped awake with a jolt and sat up; I suddenly felt incredibly drowsy as if the force that had kept me asleep was trying to drag me back down into it again. This is something I experience regularly; it's alarming to go through. I once had it when I was visiting my girlfriend and was lying beside her in bed and she was awake. I called to her for help through my frozen lips and could hear my own voice; however when I finally did wake up she told me that I hadn't made a single sound. This happens to me about once a month, usually when I'm in a light sleep, in the early morning or when I'm napping. It's very common and known to doctors as "sleep paralysis". It's caused by the mechanisms in the body of sleep and wakefulness overlapping. There's a function in our brain which paralyses the skeletal muscles; this prevents us from physically moving in the way we do in our dreams; when this is not working people sleepwalk. Sometimes when we wake up, this paralysing mechanism continues to work when it shouldn't, leaving us wide awake but unable to move. For me this involves just a few minutes of discomfort every so often, but a few times this experience has taken on a sinister additional element. Last year I woke up to find myself in a state of paralysis as usual, but when I opened my eyes and looked around my familiar bedroom I saw that I was not alone. Standing beside my bed was a figure the size and shape of a tall man. It was dressed in a black hooded cowl that completely covered its head, yet it was turned towards me and I sensed that it was looking at me even though I couldn't see its face. Because my bedroom is quite small this being seemed to fill it up with its bulk. It resembled the ring-wraiths from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3HRwoOs2FU. Obviously I felt an additional urgency in my struggle to escape sleep paralysis this time, and the moment I jerked awake properly the creature completely vanished. Since then I have encountered this shrouded ghoul on two other occasions. Every time it does the same thing, it just stands there are studies me; it never moves. What is it? The scientific view is simple; because I was only partly awake I was still dreaming and so my sensory input of the world outside became briefly blended with my inner landscape. I've been in this kind of state before without paralysis too; these are known as "hypnopompic experiences", see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk3c9hSYkqU.
Sufferers of sleep paralysis can be found all over the world and descriptions of the experience date back through all of history. The painting The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli from 1781 is a depiction of sleep paralysis, see background links at the bottom. Oddly enough wherever you go in the world, no matter what culture the sufferer comes from, they often report the same entities in their encounters. One of the most common is the "shadow man", a humanoid that is completely featureless, just a black shape often appearing two dimensional, like a cardboard cut-out; sometimes it wears clothing and a prominent hat. Such creatures are sometimes seen by people in waking life, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/river-ghost.html. Another being that very regularly haunts people at night is called "the Night Hag". It resembles an elderly woman with a wizened and deformed face. It wears a ragged and dirty black dress and wears a broad-brimmed pointed hat. I find it interesting that the archetype of the Hag closely resembles the
depiction of a witch, as in The Wizard of
Oz and Walt Disney cartoons etc. I really should consider myself lucky
because the hooded figure that stands over my bed just looks at me and doesn't
harm me, whereas other people report being violently assaulted by these
creatures. The Hag in particular has a reputation for extreme cruelty. It will
sit on a victim's chest and attempt to stop their breathing; it is said to be
very heavy. It will try to strangulate its victim, beat them with its hands or
even sexually abuse them, whether they're male and female. The Hag has been
reported in places far afield as Fiji,
England and Thailand;
in my view this calls into question the official explanation, that these
experiences are simply our dreams overlying our waking life, a creation of our
imagination. If so then why do people from many different places across the
world all encounter the same beings in these experiences? For the official
hypothesis to be true then there has to be a physiological explanation, which
means that the brains of all human beings are hardwired to create the same
images in these circumstances, regardless of their race and culture. How? And
Why? Until that question is answered nobody should be criticized for postulating
that the sleep paralysis hallucinations might have some objective reality; for
me this theory should be taken seriously out of common sense alone. Also it
ties in with other areas of research into the world of the spiritual. What goes
for sleep paralysis could also apply to other kinds of unusual mental effects,
such as psychedelic drug trips, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/fluoride-and-pineal.html.
Sleep is an altered state of consciousness that we all experience every day.
Our only memory of it comes from our dreams and phenomena like sleep paralysis,
but it's like a visit to another world. Based on what I've learned, I think
it's a world worth exploring. It's a world which may contain many horrors and
dangers, see the background links below. However, within its borders lays the
answer to something fundamental about who we are and the universe we live in.
See here for background: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/sleep-deprivation.html.