Hello everyone. I have a more personal post for you today.
I know it took a while to get to posting this, but it also took more time than usual to write, so sorry about that. Anyways, this is about my experiences with Sleep Paralysis and some information and thoughts on it. It's not as polished as I'd like it to be, and I'm sure I've forgotten a couple of other experiences, but it's been a while since I made a post now, so I'll come back and update again later.
Thanks for stopping by.
The first time:
My first episode of sleep paralysis was brief.
So brief, that at the time, I didn’t actually associate it with sleep paralysis.
I was a kid and my friend was staying over at my house.
After my parents had retired for the evening, we had taken our torches, bundled up blankets and pillows and crept downstairs to the living room to set up a camp. We made a tent from the blanket and a couple of chairs and set it up in the alcove of the bay window in the living room, pulling the curtains shut to section off our own little part of the large space. The draped curtains were long and heavy; however they didn’t fully touch the floor and left around a foot of space.
We ate snacks and read scary stories from a book we had and talked about school before eventually falling asleep.
I awoke without reason, it wasn’t morning yet and nothing had disturbed me.
I stared out into the dark room, my eyes adjusting; it looked exactly the same as it did before.
I stared at the open door, which lead to the front door of the house and also to the second floor.
Basically it was just a little entrance space, with a framed picture of Van Gogh’s Starry night.
From nowhere a head appeared; a male head on an awkwardly bent neck, snaking around the wall to stare into the living room, staring directly at me. The eyes were missing, and instead there were two pools of swirling black.
At the time I thought it was my father, however he was a well-built man and the Pre-world war 2 house had its original and incredibly creaky staircase. Nobody could walk up or down those stairs undetected. I hadn't heard anyone approach. It was dead silent with the exception of our breathing.
I convinced myself it was my dad, but the elongated neck, the gauntness of the face, the swirling eyes and the tall height that it was at, screamed otherwise.
I backed up away from the gap in the curtains, moved closer to my friend, closed my eyes tightly and must have eventually fell asleep.
The next morning my father opened the curtains and jumped back in shock to find us there in our makeshift tent. He laughed and asked us how our adventure was.
From the shock we initially gave him, I didn’t even have to ask if he was the one checking up on us last night.
I was scared and nervous throughout my whole childhood following that episode of sleep paralysis.
I was very much into ghosts and vampires and loved scary stories and scary TV shows, but I never enjoyed them in the same way again after that. I didn’t know what sleep paralysis was and I insisted that our house was haunted. I slept with the lights on every night, much to my parent’s annoyance. They eventually bought me some night lights and I continued my routine of using them well into my teens.
Return of the swirling eyed man:
I experienced the head with the swirling black eyes one more time, around a year after the first time I’d seen it.
This time I “Awoke”, stood up and left my room, walking to the hallway, past my parent’s room, in order to go downstairs for whatever reason. They had their door open as it was an uncharacteristically hot evening. My mother had her back to the door; however my father was lying on his side, facing the open door, with the blankets pulled up, so only his head and part of his neck was sticking out. His eyes were open, but they weren’t his regular hazel eyes, they were big, black pools, swirling in the sockets.
I eventually woke up in reality, and crept out into the hallway to peer into their room. They were sleeping deeply, my father slack jawed and snoring.
Strangely, their previously closed door was now open, and it hadn’t been earlier in the evening. It was small coincidences like this that made the sleep paralysis experiences feel as if they were real.
Door to another dimension:
The next episode was years later.
I was staying over at a friend’s place. He lived in this huge, old, four story house (including the basement and attic) which he shared with his girlfriend and another housemate.
I slept in the basement, which had a couch, a mattress, some pillows and a blanket, as well as the house PC.
I chose to stay in the basement because it was far away from the others and I really needed some alone time. It was also home to the PC and the kitchen was also down there, so I could cook the food I had brought with me, as I would be staying for five nights, at the end of which I’d make the five hour journey back to my city.
Honestly, it was pretty spooky down there, and to make matters worse, my friend and his house mates were all hippies, who at night time, had me carry a candle around in the dark to conserve electricity. So if I ever needed the bathroom, I’d have to stumble around the darkness with a candle in this old fashioned brass candle holder that would only stay lit if you walked at a snail’s pace. I looked like something out of an Edgar Allen Poe book.
A couple of nights into my stay, I was sitting on the couch in the basement, with a torch balanced and propped up on the arm of the chair reading a zine. I had found a box of them in the corner and had been slowly making my way through the pile I’d selected each night. I was reading a zine on living for free, dumpster diving and whatnot, if I remember correctly.
A small square of light formed in the darkness in front of me in the center of the room.
It expanded until it was the size of a generic door and looked as if someone had cut a square into the atmosphere that lead directly to another dimension. It was full of bright, blinding light and made my eyes hurt.
It slowly came towards me and went from being amazing to terrifying in 0.5 milliseconds.
I tried to move. I couldn’t. I struggled. Nothing. I felt as though I was about to be engulfed into this nowhere land. I would fall into this world of blinding light and vanish without a trace. No-one would ever see me again.
I woke up.
This episode wasn’t as terrifying as the swirling eyed man, but it was the first time that I’d seen something that didn’t resemble a living character.
It was also the first time that I was unaware that I’d actually fallen asleep in the first place.
In the morning I noticed the door separating the basement room from the kitchen allowed a significant amount of light through the flimsy privacy curtain that was hanging in front of it, and wondered if that’s where the inspiration for that particular episode came from. Maybe I registered seeing the door the previous night and it crept into my dream.
I later told my friend and his housemates, who seemed in awe of my experience and thought it was “Awesome”. His girlfriend showed me passages from some guys self-published book on how to lucid dream and how she’d been trying to do it for so long. When I told her I was able to control my regular dreams she was amazed and said that it was rare and that she wished she could do it do.
I believed it was normal and had never imagined people would try to induce this kind of thing. Then again they were spiritual hippies and often dabbled in drugs recreationally in order to open their third eyes and see the unseen, so…
The book directed the reader to pretend they were some kind of druid in a white cloak riding a white horse in a land of white. It was ridiculous in my opinion but each to their own. I didn’t dream of white horses and Tolkien fantasy lands, I dreamt of demons and monsters and remnants of the Catholic upbringing I’d tried so hard to forget.
In the know:
I read up on sleep disorders and eventually found a chapter on sleep paralysis.
I discovered that as a self-defense mechanism, neurotransmitters in our brains send signals to shut down our major muscles when we sleep, in order to paralyze our bodies and make sure we don’t physically act out our dreams.
This explains how we’re unable to move beyond twitching and blinking during an episode of sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis itself is an overlap of states; a sleeping state and a waking state. During an episode, our bodies are still paralyzed by the sleep state but we are also aware of being awake, meaning the visuals, emotions and audio of our dreams seep into our waking state, causing a hallucination that we are unable to identify as a non-reality.
Basically, everything we experience feels 100% real. As a result of this, while it is happening, we have no indication to believe that it is anything other than reality.
It was during a visit to my parent’s house that I had my next episode; I was tired from the journey and fell asleep in my childhood bedroom. I was sleeping on my side, facing the wall, dreaming of landscapes or something. I remember this particular dream was like the opening scene of a big budget movie, where the camera rushes, birds-eye view, over tree tops and cities before finally homing in on the main character of the film, sitting in a coffee shop in small town somewhere.
I woke up and opened my eyes.
Suddenly, impossibly, there was a face level with mine; a head.
It was a man’s head, and he was red with anger. He was wearing a suit and tie. Well at least as far as I could tell. He had a white collar and a tie around his neck.
He opened his mouth; this huge, big, black, cavernous mouth and screamed a deafening, earth shattering scream.
That’s when I really woke up. My heart was pounding in my chest, but the episode was so brief that I just shook it off as a bad dream and went about my life.
Yellow eyed shark toothed demon possesses a friend:
My last episode was by far the most terrifying, although it was a couple of years ago now.
I had just moved into a new apartment. I hadn’t furnished it yet and was sleeping on a makeshift bed, since I hadn’t bothered to buy a real one. I was sleeping sideways again, low to the ground, on a sheet covered mattress with blankets and pillows. My friend was sleeping next to me with his back turned.
I was dreaming about an old neighborhood and it was all in hues of amber and burned orange, like a sort of seventies film.
I woke up and recognized my surroundings as the new apartment; everything seemed in order, or disorder, as I hadn’t unpacked anything.
From out of nowhere a man appeared. Just as with the man in the suit, he was sideways on, as if he was laying parallel to me, mirroring my position. He smiled, a big open mouth smile, and to my horror, his huge, once again, cavernous mouth was filled with overcrowded sand shark teeth.
I remember this image vividly, as my biggest fear is sharks. Even pictures of them make my heart race.
His eyes were shining yellow, his skin was dull grey and scaled. He opened his mouth of needle teeth and bellowed and screamed a deafening, demonic lion roar.
I struggled and struggled and woke up.
I sat bolt upright and turned to the shape of my sleeping friend under the blankets, who still was sleeping with his back to me.
I shook him to wake up but he was unusually unresponsive, so I shook him harder, eventually pulling him by his shoulder, over onto his back.
When I leaned over to look at his face he was laying there with his eyes open, they were vacant and staring up at the ceiling. He was smiling with a closed mouth and looked almost under the influence.
To my horror, his eyes flushed yellow, scales crawled over his skin and his teeth turned to needles. His head then flopped to the side and made eye contact with me.
I was suddenly back on my side in my original position, and he was back in front of me again, mirroring me, but this time with his hand pushing down on my head to keep it on the side to look at him. I felt sharp nails digging into my scalp and temple. I remember trying to thrash and struggle and turn my head, I remember the muscles in my neck contorting under the stress.
The yellow eyed shark toothed demon man leaned in closer and closer, screaming deafeningly until his face almost touched mine. It was chaotic, like there was a storm in the room. I managed to raise an arm up as a last act of self-defense and he sunk those teeth deep into the it.
I woke up; jolted into a sitting position like a bolt of lightning had shot through me.
I was too afraid to attempt to wake my friend again, who was sleeping with his back to me.
A couple of minutes of shock passed when I decided to warily shake him. He woke up drunken with sleepiness and confused by how terrified I was acting.
All day I was wildly paranoid that someone around me would suddenly turn into some kind of monster and that I’d wake up.
I was afraid that I was stuck in an infinite loop of these episodes and began having some sort of existential crisis. Maybe my life was just one big episode of sleep paralysis and I’d wake up as an 80 year old in a retirement home somewhere, having done none of the things I’ve done and knowing none of the people I know. I was rattled, alright.
The strangest part? My arm hurt all day. The muscle felt twisted and knotted up inside.
Of course I rationalized it; I’d slept on it or something, probably.
By now I knew about sleep paralysis, but strangely had not connected it to what I had been experiencing until someone explicitly told me that’s what was happening to me. That didn’t make the experience any less scary. They creep up on you and you don’t realize it’s happening until you wake up and it’s over. At least that’s how it was for me.
I thought sleep paralysis was the classic “Old hag” staring at you or the shadow man sitting on your chest choking you. Not severed heads with swirling eyes, yellow eyed shark toothed demons or doors to other dimensions.
I was interested in the link between the sleep disorder and alien abduction stories, as both things generally occur when a person is sleeping and could pass as the same thing. I decided to look up a few alien abductee stories to see if there were more similarities that could tie into sleep paralysis.
Typing “my alien abduction experience” in to Google I selected one of the links of the first page.
In this account the author writes that he’s had alien visits since he was four years old.
All of his episodes were whilst he was sleeping. There are no mentions in his brief summary of events of physical traces or evidence of the visitation; however he does mention that his mother apologized to him when she found out that he was also being visited by alien beings, as she also experienced the same thing.
I did a search to determine if sleep paralysis could be heritable, and found an article by livescience.com with a quote from a psychologist from Sheffield University in England who was involved in study of sleep disorders.
"The main thing we've learned is [sleep paralysis] appears to be heritable, and there seem to be some genes influencing sleep and wake patterns involved"
This story really does tick all of the boxes of a classic sleep paralysis episode. However the author of the alien story is either not aware of the sleep disorder or has not considered it as an explanation before.
This type of reoccurring sleep paralysis is referred to as RISP (recurrent isolated sleep paralysis) and is significantly rare. Usually sleep paralysis episodes happen only once, or a handful of times in person’s lifetime, although people with RISP may have sequential reoccurring episodes that make the hallucinations seem more real.
The author of the alien visitation story reports the first episode being in the 90’s, which was the era of the X-files franchise and all things alien and sci-fi. There was a significant boom of trashy tabloid articles on abductees and entire families claiming to be abducted during that time, as well as UFO sightings and extra-terrestrial themed magazines trying to cash in on the craze. Maybe those images stuck with the author of the post since he was a child and he’s feared them more than anything since, which is why he keeps seeing them in his episodes.
That’s my journey with sleep paralysis so far.
As always, I've found a few links if any of you are interested in further reading:
The Entity [ X ] This is a Channel4 (UK) Documentary containing reconstructions of a group of sufferer’s episodes. It is immensely creepy and also explains sleep paralysis depictions in art and literature throughout history.
I will continue to update this as time goes on. I felt it was long enough for now.
Thanks reading this far if you did!