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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

45

Ridden By the Hag: My Sleep Paralysis Visitors

I was 19 when I first experienced sleep paralysis, and that time it took the form of man lying on top of me, so heavy that it was hard for me to breathe. I’d been dreaming of a heritage village in the South Island town my mother lives, a fenced in collection of buildings with a windmill and a cafe and a book fair every year. It was a pretty innocuous dream, at first; everything was sunny and gentle and not much was happening. At the front gates I saw a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a long time, and while I was trying to talk to her I became aware of a man approaching me to my left. He was trying to get my attention. From the corner of my eyes—or perhaps just because you know these things in dreams without having to look at them directly—I could make out that he was a bit shorter than me, and unshaven, with lank blonde hair that fell to his shoulders. When I ignored him, he came and stood very close, which was when I turned, and the minute I looked at him I woke up. By which I mean I seemed to wake up, but he was still there.

He was heavy. I tried to shift my arms, but they were pinned to my sides. And I could smell him, which was the worst of it—the bitter combination of feeling a rough jaw against the skin of my neck, and the terror of being unable to breathe. I choked. He smelt like sweat and something else—something ugly.

Over his shoulder, I could see the objects of the furniture in my room, all regular and known and ordinary. I think I knew I was dreaming because I remember something turning in my mind, like something was trying to rouse me. Something was forcing me upwards into consciousness like a swimmer through currents. Wrenched into wakefulness, the man vanished, the pressure left my chest, and my room was the same as it had always been. I was shaking and terrified and confused. I’d read about sleep paralysis—and thank god we don’t believe in demons—but trying to move and finding myself unable to had left me feeling exhausted and also intensely, intensely vulnerable. It took a long time to get to sleep again that night.

I don’t know I spoke to anyone about it for a few days, because what do you say?

•••

Reduced simply, sleep paralysis occurs when, in transition between sleeping and wakefulness, the mind is alert but the body still sleeping. For most people, this happens during their waking process; while REM sleep allows for sight and hearing, movement is suppressed. Typically, this muscle atonia is accompanied by the idea of a direct threat: the hallucination of an intruder in the room, or something or someone pressing down physically on your chest.

Folklore the world-over has provided explanations and narratives for these experiences (which feel, at the time, so real—the smell! the touch!) and have given us a dense library of different, terrifying nighttime visitors: incubus, succubus, the Old Hag. Newfoundland gives us the terrifying expression of being “hag rid," or ridden by the hag. In Chinese culture it is called, in pinyin, guǐ yā shēn (“ghost pressing on body”), in Turkish karabasan (“the dark assailant”), and in Vietnamese ma đè means “held down by the ghost.” The Hungarian term boszorkany-nyomas means “witches pressure”, while German has alpdrucken, or “elf pressing." This is an old story. The experience, though terrifying, is nothing new.

My hallucinations have never taken the form of a "hag," but I have experienced sleep paralysis of most the other, archetypal obvious types, so I can imagine it. I get the weight and fear of it, the visceral and necessary experience that would lead to that term: ridden by the hag. 

For me it is like this: I open my eyes and feel like I am totally awake, except for a peculiar sense of dread, or perhaps some piece of dream that had previously been in my head will now seem to be fully outside of me. It is always menacing. Usually, the dread comes first, and then, slowly, I am hit with the realization that I cannot move. By now I will know that I am experiencing sleep paralysis, and I will know that if I ignore whatever is threatening and concentrate only on my breathing I will fall back down into darkness and wake a few minutes later, properly, to a normal room and total control of all my limbs. Still, it’s never pleasant.

To a critical mind, it's easy to track the hallucinations back to a probable cause: the clothes on the ground that look like they could be a body, a mark on the wall which could easily be confused for a face. Once I woke to find a small man standing beside the bed in my boyfriend’s room. Talking rapidly, he let off a shrill narration of things that would happen imminently—things he would do to me, and bad things in the world, like earthquakes, fires, and bombs. Sleep paralysis, I thought dimly. Breathe it out. But it was hard to ignore the monologue from the man beside the bed. He spoke so urgently.

"He’s going to wake up soon," he said, pointing at my sleeping boyfriend, "And then he will get up, he will leave the room, and he won’t see me." He started to giggle.

"He’s going to wake up soon," he said, pointing at my sleeping boyfriend, "And then he will get up, he will leave the room, and he won’t see me." He started to giggle.

When I fully woke, I was kicking my boyfriend in the shins repeatedly (like this would make him less inclined to wake up and move away from me), and probably harder than was entirely necessary. Then, quiet, I lay in the dark, wide awake, staring around the room. Just above where the man had been standing was a reading lamp. It’s the type that has a bending neck for twisting into different angles. That night the neck was curved over into an arc. If you looked at it a certain way, it could appear to be the outline of a head. Maybe even the peculiarly rounded head of a person who would stand as high as my waist.

You can realize these things, as you lie there in the dark, still trying to fight off the lingering sense of vulnerability and fear, but that is not to say they help all that much at the time.

Early cases of sleep paralysis seem to be clearly linked with the idea of dreaming. The word "nightmare" can be traced back to old Norse and Germanic words ("mare" or "mara" or "mahr") that were used to describe the hag that sits on peoples chests while they sleep and brings them bad dreams; the spirit was also thought to ride horses in the night, leaving them exhausted by the morning. (Norwegian and Danish words for "nightmare" are mareritt and mareridt, which translate to "mare-ride.") A Persian medical text from the 10th century describes a nightmare in which “the person senses a heavy thing upon him and finds he is unable to scream” and suggests that "the nightmare... is caused by rising of vapours from the stomach to the brain... The therapy includes bloodletting from the superficial vein of the arm and from the leg vein and thinning the diet, especially in patients with red eyes and face."

But sleep paralysis has also, frequently, been associated with the workings of the supernatural. As time passed, the mara figure transmuted into a more current fear for the superstitious—the devil, demons, witches. In the Salem witch trials, John Louder recounted how, after arguing with the accused Bridget Bishop, "he did awake in the night by moonlight, and did see clearly the likeness of this woman grievously oppressing him; in which miserable condition she held him, unable to help himself, till near day." In 1595, in another trial, Dorothy Jackson accused several neighbors of witchcraft, saying she was "ridden with a witch three times of one night, being thereby greatly astonished and upon her astonishment awaked her husband"; in the late 17th century, Nicolas Raynes provided testimony at the trial of a purported witch and said that his wife, “after being threatened, has been continually tormented by Elizabeth, a reputed witch, who rides on her, and attempts to pull her on to the floor."

In more modern attempts to understand the occurrences, we've attempted to draw links between the brain patterns of interrupted sleep and the various and many strains of old hag folklore. During REM sleep, the body shuts down its motonuerons to stop the body from acting out dreams. In sleep paralysis, this function is still active: although the mind has woken up, the body remains locked down. The muscle paralysis removes the voluntary control of breathing, while the REM breathing patterns can feel, to the waking mind, like suffocation. The accompanying sense of terror is believed to come from the brain’s emergency response mechanisms; the vulnerability we feel with paralysis cues the brain into a hyper-vigilant response. Alert to any possible threat, and with all senses suddenly hyperactive, real-word stimuli is exaggerated to the point of hallucination.

In my own experiences, when I lie awake afterward, piecing together the shapes in the room, I've thought about how it is perhaps all made more terrifying for coming from inside the head than from without it—like the phone call that is coming from inside the building. The mind knows what the mind fears. I figure that's I’ve never been visited by a hag. Witches have never really caused me much unease.

It's been about a year since I was last seized by sleep paralysis. For a while, it would visit me every few months, and it was exhausting. I realized that I was only affected when I was sleeping on my back, and I’ve been trying not to do that. It seems to be working.

It is a strange thing, though, to see the things that scare us and look at them directly—all the murky, unshaped fears that lurk in some primal bog at the base of our skulls suddenly grow legs and arms and teeth and stare at us from the bedside or rest their chins on ours. And if I look at the forms my nighttime visitors have taken over the years, I suppose it is interesting to review their patterns—a misshapen parade of vague, malevolent intent—and to compare them to those in old folklore. For one thing, my visitors are mostly men: devilish sometimes, or shadowy and unformed, or just a regular sort of a man who might be holding something heavy. Ghoulish women, or witches or hags, never visit me in my sleep.

I wonder about that sometimes, but only in the daytime. I try not to think about these things when it gets dark.

 

Jenah Shaw writes and edits and lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

45 Comments / Post A Comment

hahahaha, ja.

Ah, just a note, "pinyin" is actually the term for the Chinese phonetic alphabet (as opposed to the set of written characters) and not an explanation for sleep paralysis meaning "ghost pressing on the body" :)

Emma Carmichael

@hahahaha, ja. Oh, thank you. Fixed.

iknowright

The small giggling man in this story is horrifying.

When I was in high school I used to dream of a man repeatedly. I had never seen him in real life. Each time I had the dream he would be closer to me and the feeling of danger would be more heightened. During our senior year, my friends and I went to a psychic -- just for fun, as we were all about to go off to college. I ended up telling her about this man, and her response? She shrugged and said, "oh yes, that is likely a man who will either try or succeed in murdering you."

I stopped dreaming about that man eventually, but I still do wonder sometimes if she's right...

meowmischen

@iknowright If I were you, I would assume he had already tried and failed and I'd never see him again.

DoMark

@iknowright The small giggling man reminds me of the dancing guy in Twin Peaks. Definitely sleeping with the lights on tonight...

frozenfresa@twitter

@iknowright Was it this man?! http://www.thisman.org/history.htm (My apologies if it is not, because once you see his face, it's hard to forget it!)

iknowright

@frozenfresa@twitter No, but that is crazy interesting! That's gotta be like a default brain setting or something, creating that guy's face? It's very symmetrical...

Betsy Murgatroyd

Thank you for this. I have serious issues with sleep paralysis and was diagnosed with apnea. The apnea machine worked for awhile to stop it, but then it came back. I still have it from time to time, but not so much since I started asking the Nightmare People to not come and visit. Also I put an ionizer in my room and I think it's been helping. I had one the other night and I noticed that my ionizer was not on. I've tried so many things and do so many things now, it's a ritual.
What do I see? I see dark things/creatures crouching at the end and sides of my bed. Sometimes they are on top of my computer tower or my bookcase. Sometimes I don't go into paralysis and end up sleepwalking and moving things around trying to get whatever it is that is stalking me.

Holubice

@Betsy Murgatroyd I used to have the same problem. I take medication narcolepsy medication, and it has gotten rid of all my hallucination and paralysis issues. You may have been misdiagnosed?

HassleFree

Is that where JK Rowling got "Hagrid?"

Man, this experience sounds so frightening.

Mandalas

@HassleFree Maybe? Scroll down to Etymology here: Hagrid on the Harry Potter Wiki

KJH
KJH

@HassleFree Both "hag rid" and "dumbledore" (which is a term for bumble bees) appear in The Mayor of Casterbridge, by Thomas Hardy. Set in Dorset, England. I always wondered if she got it from there.

leonstj

Thanks for this. I suffer from sleep paralysis and false awakenings (a lot of times I don't know which is happening at first). Sometimes they'll be next to each other, sometimes a series in a row.

Sometimes the paralysis is completed lucid - I'm fully awake, just basically "locked in" for a few minutes, until I fall asleep - but I've been in this state with the tv on the morning news, and when I 'wake up' I find out that the news I saw was real.

When I hallucinate in this state, it's usually home invasions. Sometimes I know I'm just dreaming, in which case I can usually shake it & go into a lucid dream (fun!) but sometimes I don't realize "it was all a dream" until I experience waking up out of it.

The scariest thing for me has always been that sometimes I'll have an episode of sleep paralysis accompanied by terror-inducing hallucinations, and then have a series of false awakenings - which are generally boring. I "wake up" in my bedroom, read a book, listen to music...then after a few minutes maybe it gets weird, maybe it does not, and I "wake up" yet again.

There are days when I'm not sure if I'm awake or just dreaming until I've been up for a couple hours (the 'time experienced' in my false awakenings and paralysis is generally only 20 minutes to a couple hours, so most days I'm pretty comfortable by lunchtime that I'm actually awake for real).

I'm scared though, that one day I'll think I'm dreaming and be wrong.

Nutellaface

@leonstj That's the most terrifying thing I've ever heard. Do you ever pinch yourself to see if you're awake? Would it make a difference?

leonstj

@Nutellaface I haven't really found any reliable way to know for sure. I just kind of assume I'm awake for real until obviously insane stuff starts happening, then I just kind of figure "Oh, this is probably a dream."

When I was in my teens and early 20s it was really terrifying, because I thought at any point it could be the onset of schizophrenia. As I got beyond the age range where the disease begins to manifest itself, it became a lot easier to assume safely "Oh, I'm just dreaming" when it happens.

The upside to all of this, though, is that about once a month I'll experience false awakenings or sleep paralysis, and rather than having a nightmare, it becomes a lucid dream, which is pretty much amazing. Growing up I loved Lucid Dreams so much I wrote a couple short stories about a kid who found a bottle of pills that could make you lucid dream, and it basically was worse than heroin because, ya know, why bother going out and living life when you can experience anything you can imagine in your dreams?

I swear, if I could make them happen anytime I wanted, or even if they happened with a higher frequency, I'd be so much less ambitious in life.

Moom

@leonstj I also have false awakenings and sleep paralysis, which tends to happen if I sleep on my back. My false awakenings are also extremely boring! Having a shower or getting dressed, and its quite disconcerting to go through it all again when you wake up. I always assumed that it was some sort of stress response, like if you dream of going to the bathroom or because I thought I might have overslept. I am envious of lucid dreaming. I have read online how to induce them but too scared to try - I can see it might get addictive!

bombazinedoll

@Moom I used to have false awakenings all the time in high school. It's pretty awful to wake up halfway through second period and realize that you haven't actually started your day yet. I'm pretty weird about sleep paralysis as well. It's horrifying (although not quite as horrifying as other people have described), but I can't help wanting it to happen. I'm obviously full of the crazy though.

Millipenny

I feel you, girl! I've been dealing with SP for nearly my whole life. I also have some issues with sleepwalking, so, going to bed at night is always an adventure. Often times, I can feel it coming on and I try to fight it, but it's impossible. It's almost like I've been drugged. Anyway, I've identified my main triggers (stress and white carbs, which sucks because I love white carbs) and have learned how to manage the dreams while they are happening, but these episodes are still terrifying and exhausting every single time.

lalalaloveyou

Oh wow! Super interesting. I suffer from night terrors, which is similar except I can move around and breathe normally. I never thought I'd be thankful for just having night terrors! This sounds truly awful. Anyone have any success in getting rid of the hallucinations. I wake up my husband like 3-5 times a night because I get so scared and am so sure it's real I start talking or turn on lights. I always see stuff in the shadows. Usually it's a creepy man, sometimes it's burglars, sometimes it's demented clowns (!), sometimes it's something more innocuous but still super fucking weird, like raccoons got in through an open window. My therapist recommended EMDR but I can't afford it. Wanted to mention that. Anyway, thanks for sharing! Good to feel like I'm not the only one out there hallucinating each night. :/

AnnieM

@lalalaloveyou I also suffer from night terrors! Though I think mine are sometimes a combination of the two? Because sometimes, like you, I jump up and turn on lights and say things. But sometimes I either freeze entirely or sit part way up and freeze...and then just stare at whatever it is that is threatening me. It is totally bizarre and hard to explain to people. I agree, thanks for sharing, Jenah. Always interesting/comforting to realize you're not alone.

lalalaloveyou

@AnnieM ZOMG! I am sometimes totally paralyzed too! Usually, I sit up super fast and then just stare, frozen, at whatever the threat is. It's so bizarre. Over the years I've become less afraid and I'll physically get up and address the person - e.g. "FUCK YOU GET OUT OF MY APARTMENT." Usually when I start actually speaking aloud that jolts me out of it and then I realize I am talking to a wall again. Have you found anything to help abate them? I found counseling helped a lot (I have a history of nighttime molestation as a kid, so it makes sense in that respect that I have them). I've been in counseling though for many years and feel at peace with what happened and it doesn't really bother me anymore, at least like it used to. I've been wanting to try other stuff to see anything helps.

AnnieM

@lalalaloveyou I have no suggestions, especially since you sleep next to your husband, haha. The one thing that works the best for me is having a sleeping buddy -- I have a boyfriend but we don't live together right now. When he's with me, I definitely do it less. Mine come and go..I won't do it at all for a while, and then (like right now) I'll do it every night for a week. All in all, it is irritating but not a big problem for me, so I sort of just go with it.

Once I was sharing a bed with a friend on a trip. I sat up and starting babbling at her. In my dream, I was actually talking to her but she was on the other side of the room. She woke me up because I was scaring her and I screamed and smacked her because she had gone from across the room to right next me in an instant, haha.

katzenklavier

@lalalaloveyou I know this post is a few days old but I'm really excited that other people have the same experience as me! (I mean, not excited that it happens. Night terrors suck. But I'm glad I'm not the only one.) I had them really bad for a few years, like I would regularly be woken up by my own screams. Mine almost always involve creepy bugs and spiders crawling near me, and sometimes people sitting creepily still in my room. They really freak me out because I sit up and have conscious thoughts, but the hallucinations don't go away until I turn on a light or try to touch them(gaaaaah).

Sleeping with another person helps, but unofrtunately the only thing that really helped was having them come true--last year I woke up a horrifying huge centipede crawling down the wall towards me. Since the I haven't had many night terrors. This really won't work if yours are about people in your house though.

Now I keep waking myself up by laughing in my sleep. My sleeping brain must be overactive.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Wow, this is so interesting! I've never experienced it, but it sounds so goddamn horrifying for those of you who do. Best of luck, everyone, I wish you only peaceful sleeps.

Faintly Macabre

I get sleep paralysis sometimes, though not as much as I did in high school, and I love reading other people's experiences with it. Luckily, I've never had any hallucinations that I can remember. I sometimes have trouble breathing, though, which is terrifying. I try to remember that my body isn't actually just going to let me suffocate and relax enough to either wake up or fall back to sleep. Focusing on wiggling one finger also helps me stop panicking and move, sort of like "Move your big toe" in Kill Bill.

Sleeping on my back tends to trigger it and nightmares, too. I'm not sure why--maybe because it's easier for everything to relax in that position? Though I get it on long bus trips, too, so who knows.

Gleemonex

OMFG there's a name for this? I just thought it was super-real nightmares; never thought to look it up ... it's happened three or four times in my life; the worst one was when I was studying abroad in England in grad school and mad cow disease was a thing (I can't even write about it without getting the fantods, sixteen years later). Uggggh.

pinniped

I've only experienced sleep paralysis a handful of times, and thankfully I knew of its existence beforehand so I could reassure my freaking-out brain that it would pass. I didn't experience any visions - in fact I couldn't open my eyes, or do anything but listen to the sounds of the awakening household and wait to be able to move my limbs.

The hallucination aspect is so interesting (though it sounds utterly terrifying, of course). It's like our brains try to make sense of what's happening, so they invents a man sitting on you to explain the immobility and pressure, or whatever? It's like how whenever I experience a hypnic jerk, in my dreams I'm tripping over a curb or I've missed a step on the stairs, which explain that shock of adrenaline...sleep science is fascinating!

lemonadefish

On codeine after having my wisdom teeth out, I was paralyzed while giant spiders descended from the ceiling to suck out my brains. That was terrible. I've had a few other episodes where something bad was happening and I couldn't move or scream or anything, but the spiders were the worst.

Corielle Hayley@facebook

Had this happen once while taking hydrocodone. Flushed the pills down the toilet the next morning.

iknowright

@Corielle Hayley@facebook Don't flush pills down the toilet! They'll do more harm than good! You're supposed to mix them with sand or litter and throw them in the trash.

Koko Goldstein

Sleep paralysis is awful. I have fortunately never had threatening figures appear, but I will be in my half-asleep state and terrified that I'm unable to move. I get afraid that I'll stop being able to breathe and won't be able to do anything about it. I have also found that it's worse when I'm on my back, so if I can sleep on my side or stomach I can usually avoid it!

supernovice

Ugh I get sleep paralysis all the time! When I was a kid I used to get it like three or four times a week. Now it's more like one night out of every month. If I have one episode in a night though I usually have three or four. And they're definitely triggered by extreme exhaustion or disruption in sleep patterns, for me.

I always keep my eyes squeezed shut but it feels like there's this evil, evil presence in the room. I always think someone is standing by my bed and I often feel the blankets being pulled off my body. UGH usually I can recognize what it is and I just try to relax and wait it out but it's easy to get caught up in the utter terror of not being able to move.

arachno42

@supernovice I had a similar experience last month, it was horrifying! It felt like someone was in my bedroom doorway, watching me, and then coming under the sheets with me. It absolutely felt evil, and ghostlike I'm sure, although I don't believe in that. But during sleep paralysis nothing makes sense.

During the past couple years I've been getting SP much more frequently and it usually feels like someone is laying on me. Only once did it feel not-evil, and I thought it was my friend although them laying on me wouldn't have made sense... But usually it feels like stranger and is horrifying.

Holubice

@arachno42 If it happens fairly frequently, you may have narcplepsy. I take meds for the same and it got rid of all the paralysis and hypnogogic (sleeptime) hallucinations). Maybe that would help you?

myeviltwin

Great article. I have had this on a few occasions. It is always a threatening man; I know he is going to hurt me but then nothing happens and eventually I wake up. Luckily it's only happened three times.

Lauren Van Slyke@facebook

So I am an SP sufferer as well. I didnt realize it was Sleep Paralysis unti I experienced it in college and l I called my mom, a medical professional, terrified that I was dying or something equally dramatic. She asked me some questions and then deduced that I was sleeping too much.

You know when you go to sleep but don't have to wake up at a certain time, so you just keep falling back asleep because you are comfortable and lazy? That can trigger SP because your mind is like "i'm not tired any more! TIME TO GET UP! but your body is still all " no... i'm warm and comfy lets sleep all the sleeps!"so you get this shit storm of a mind that is awake with a body that is asleep.

I've always been able to shake it one of two ways. Jolting myself awake, by trying to "break free" or letting my self fall back asleep. I try to do the later more often but sometimes when I'm really out of it the jolt method makes me feel more in control. I must admit I do feel pressure and like I cant breathe. I don't feel like someone is sitting on me but I do feel like I am in a perilous situation. My breathing feels like my nose is super clogged so I get freaked out. I cant imagine all of what I experience combined with a crazy man threatening to kill me!

EmmaBlogs

I've had sleep paralysis only once in my life. I must have been about 10 or 12, because my sister and I still shared a room. We had bunk beds and I was on the bottom. I awoke from a nightmare about a haunted mask. Lying flat on my back, I saw that very mask floating in the slats of the bed above me. Grinning. Evil. Surely about to devour me. I tried to jump out of bed and couldn't move so much as a finger. I tried to call out to my sister, and though my mouth was open, I couldn't make more than a soft "Ah, ah" sound. I remember a tear sliding out the side of my eye. I couldn't wipe it away. Eventually I woke up for real and spent the rest of the night on the floor. It wasn't until years later that I learned what sleep paralysis actually is. It lessened the horror of the whole ordeal just slightly...

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Nana Yaney

I feel immensely grateful for this article on a topic that half the people I meet refuse to take seriously. It is a very accurate description of how it feels. Even though I don't remember "a first time", I just remember it happening since I have memories.

As a child I was treated by a psychologist who failed to diagnostic it, he would blame the TV we didn't had and suggest that my panic for night time was a consequence of horror movies, which I didn't really watch at all. My family lost all faith in therapy as a result and I was left in the dark

I battled sleep paralysis for years without knowing what it was. I had the most terrifying nights. I would avoid sleeping during the night and I would fall sleep during classes and daytime activities, and have episodes in public. I was afraid of ending up in a metal institution. I was truly scared of having schizophrenia, like my grandmother, and therefore refused to go to a doctor.

I am better now, as long as I don't have stress, I don't sleep alone, and I go to sleep at the same time every night. A few nights a week it gets me again, but at least now I know, my husband knows helps with everything he can.

I like to think things are changing and now people will be more aware that it is real and horrible. I really hope that little children can be actually diagnose and help today.

Thanks for writing this.

Nana Yaney

I have actually never ask this to anyone else but, this seems like the appropriate place: Do you guys jump (like having tiny convulsions for a few seconds) while you sleep? I do it a couple of times every night, without SP, I tent to not move at all during SP and that is one of the cues my husband uses to know. That and the fact that I try to scream. Im just curious about how is it for other people.

tunasandwich

i love this topic, because i have this quite often. i come from a superstitious family and we always believe that it's a spirit from a family member or friend trying to contact you. or, sometimes it's just a demon. yes, as children we would understand that demons were trying to invade us. they would call it 'riding the witches back'. i am not so sure that the explanations that we were told as children helped us cope with these sleep paralysis issues or it fed into our fears, but whatever the case I still have a hard time coming to grips with the reality of it. most of the time, the sleep paralysis comes in the form of a devil with a gruesome rotting face looming over me and speaking in tongues. it seems like hours before i have enough mental strength to escape his clutches. frickin' terrifying.

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mochi

taking melatonin can cause some people to experience sleep paralysis. that's the only time i've ever experienced it.

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des
des

I get sleep paralysis all the time. At first I would hallucinate and see a creepy skinny ghost that would sit on my back. then I realized it was me just hallucinating and now I just try to move even though I cant. I remember the first time this happened and I tried screaming out to my boyfriend next to me, but no words could come out. its so terrifying when you have no idea what is happening to you

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