Sleep Paralysis Stories – Intruder, Demon Or Delusion?

Sleep paralysis stories typically involve unusual and often frightening experiences. Perhaps you have one or two of these tales to tell of your own.

If not, I’ll first share one of mine to give you an understanding of what it can be like. Then we’ll have a closer look at whether sleep paralysis demons really exist, or if there is a perfectly logical explanation.

 

sleeping man seeing a sleep paralysis demon

 

Imagine, if you will, the following scenario: you’ve fallen asleep as usual after a long day. You hoped to have pleasant dreams and wake up the next morning feeling refreshed. But instead of waking up peacefully in the morning ready to groggily hit the snooze button, you awaken at an unknown time in the middle of the night.

Two things immediately spring to mind: you can’t move – at all; and you’re not alone.

You feel a weight on your chest, pressing you down and preventing you from sitting up. But it’s worse than that – you can’t move your arms or legs. You can’t move your lips to call out for help. You’re not sure who or what is pushing on your chest. It’s too dark to see. But you just know there is a presence there. Something strange. Something uninvited. Something frightening…

This happened to me last year, and was a very unsettling experience. Fortunately there was no demon, ghost or lost burglar. After a brief moment of panic the feeling passed, and I was able to stumble to the bathroom to make sure my face didn’t have any demonic symbols drawn on it.

It was a classic case of sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis stories like this one are in fact surprisingly common – A study in 2011 found that 7.6% of people will experience sleep paralysis in their lifetime. The figure is much higher amongst people who have narcolepsy (around 40%).

You may well then have experienced this phenomenon yourself, whether you knew it or not. But what do you think causes it? Is there a scientific explanation, or is there some kind of sleep paralysis demon to blame?

 

What is your experience of sleep paralysis?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

 

What causes sleep paralysis? – The scientific explanation

 

The causes of the physical aspect of sleep paralysis are slightly different depending on the stage of sleep you experience it:

  • Some people experience sleep paralysis while they are initially falling asleep. The body naturally relaxes, and you would normally lose consciousness. But if you remain aware that you are falling asleep, your mind can remain alert while the body shuts down.
  • During sleep, you cycle through several different stages. During the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stages you tend to dream more, and the brain ‘switches off’ your muscles. One reason is that this prevents you from acting out your dreams in bed. Sometimes you might wake up mentally from REM sleep, but the body may take a while to catch up and remain ‘frozen’. In that way you will be mentally waking up while still physically paralyzed.

 

How does science explain the strange sleep paralysis stories?

 

The explanation for why you feel physically paralyzed but awake is one thing, but how does science explain 3 of the main sleep paralysis stories that people report?

 

  1. That there is an intruder in the room
  2. That there is some kind of sleep paralysis demon pushing down on your chest, strangling or generally frightening you
  3. The out-of-body experience that people might experience

 

The first two are usually explained by a combination of three occurrences:

  • During the REM stages of sleep, and the muscle paralysis that comes with it, your breathing is affected. It becomes shallower, you might feel a blockage in the airway and when you try to breathe deeply, you may feel that you cannot. This can then lead to either the feeling of being strangled, or a presence pushing down on the chest. This then feeds into your ‘threat vigilance system’:
  • When you are in a vulnerable and threatened state, the body naturally reacts with its fight or flight defense mechanism. For example when you suddenly feel that someone wants to attack you and you get that surge of adrenalin that makes your heart beat much faster. So when waking up but feeling paralyzed, and in a hyper-vigilant state where everything you sense seems much more than it is, you may react to the sensation of paralysis and breathing difficulty by thinking that something bad is happening, or about to happen to you.
  • In addition to the above two processes, several brain structures might interact to create a hypnagogic hallucination. For example the common sleep paralysis stories of an intruder or a demonic entity. The hallucination may not initially take on any particular form. But when the threat system comes into play, you might interpret the feeling that you are not alone as being that the additional presence is something bad – thus creating a hallucination which is demonic or malevolent in some way.

The third kind of happening, the out-of-body experience, is not explained by the activation of the threat system. It is explained by the parts of the brain involved in coordinating movement and also working out where the body physically is in space. When you are not actually moving, there is a confusion in understanding where your body is, with the result that you feel like you are floating.

 

Sleep paralysis causes – the not so scientific explanation…

 

astral projection - one of the rarer sleep paralysis stories

 

If you don’t believe that the scientific explanation is sufficient, then what else remains? Let’s look at each of the 3 main types of sleep paralysis stories in turn:

1. The Intruder

If you wake up in the middle of the night and you have a sudden feeling that there is a human intruder in the room, then the possible explanation is simple. There really is a human intruder in the room…

If you were not paralyzed, then there would be an obvious way to find way out if this were the case. Turn on the light and have a look, or prod your partner and tell them to do something about it. But you are paralyzed though, so that doesn’t work.

In all seriousness, this does actually happen to some unfortunate people. But rarely, thankfully. And it is unlikely a common burglar would have been able to paralyze you and somehow choke you whilst helping himself to your jewelry.

So if you wake up paralyzed and struggling to breathe, and then notice a presence on the other side of the room, it is probably safe to assume there is no intruder. Unless you are incredibly unlucky and experiencing both an episode of sleep paralysis and a burglary at exactly the same time. That does seem particularly unlikely though.

 

2. The Demon

If you are the type to believe in supernatural entities, then there is probably not a great deal of science that could convince you otherwise. It is a personal choice to believe in such things, and I respect your choice more than to simply tell you to not be so silly.

But if you are also the type to experience sleep paralysis, wouldn’t it be more comforting for you to stop believing that you are being tormented by demons? The scientific explanation would make sleep paralysis demon encounters so much easier to shrug off and go back to sleep.

Interestingly though, around the world there are many cultural interpretations of the forces at work in this particular kind of sleep paralysis event.

For example in Fiji, the demon is often seen as a deceased relative come back for some unfinished business or to tell the person something important. In Chinese folklore it is also seen as a ghost rather than a demon or intruder.

Some countries such as Iran and Pakistan interpret it as being demons or spirits who have taken over a person’s body, often due to black magic performed by an enemy. In Turkish culture the entity is literally seen as sitting on your chest and stealing away your breath.

Most countries and cultures appear to have their own explanations for the sleep paralysis demon – some very similar, and others quite different. The common theme being though that the entity is up to no good and something to be feared! I am yet to find a culture which believes it is an angel or fairy spending some quality time with you in the night.

 

3. The out-of-body experience

When I was a teenager I once picked up a book in a library which claimed to be a training manual for Astral Projection. The idea being that there is a separate part of you that is able to leave the body and venture into other planes of existence. The manual mostly involved visualization practice which I played around with for a couple of days before deciding it wasn’t for me.

There seems to be some overlap between the concepts of out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, lucid dreaming and astral projection. Many people report having experienced one or more of these, and the internet and bookstores abound with writers who believe they have the next great technique to consciously leave the body and have an amazing adventure in the spirit, dream or astral realm.

There is no dispute that people do experience the sensation of an out-of-body experience during sleep paralysis. The point is whether it is best explained in biological terms, or whether there really are other realms which a part of you is capable of accessing.

Again it is a question of belief and I am not here to tell you either way what you should think. You may even feel that both explanations can co-exist.

There are many websites claiming that Sleep Paralysis has a biological cause, but can then be used as a springboard to try to attempt astral projection. An online search will turn up many, though I won’t reference any in particular.

I also recently came across what is actually quite a sensible book explaining how to do this. It’s called ‘Sleep Paralysis: A Guide to Hypnagogic Visions and Visitors of the Night’. It provides a detailed background to SP, but also aims to help you find a way to convert sleep paralysis into a lucid dream.

The point being that you can then take control of the experience and actually turn it into something positive. It still hasn’t worked for me, but you might find it interesting if you haven’t found any other way to manage your SP. You can find it here on Amazon.

 

Intruder, Demon or Delusion?

 

A delusion is typically seen as a fixed belief in something even though it contradicts reality – in the way that reality is defined by the majority or people or scientific explanation. On the face of things then, it would appear delusional to believe in demons or astral worlds. Yet many people do.

It comes down to choice. Yet if you are one of those people with sleep paralysis stories full of terror and panic, would you not prefer to choose to believe in the biological explanation?

Sleep paralysis treatment usually starts with ruling out the possibility of Narcolepsy. You would also receive an explanation of the biological processes involved in sleep paralysis. This may not prevent the experience occurring, but it provides the possibility you can learn to respond better to incidents of sleep paralysis.

For some people sleep paralysis is a terrifying experience, and can be very hard to fall asleep again afterwards; presumably much harder if you actually believe you have been attacked by a dark force rather than acknowledging that it was a creation of your own mind.

Choosing to believe in astral worlds that you can access and fly around in doing whatever you please sounds harmless and fun. If I’m honest I would like to believe this is possible – even though I’m not convinced. But choosing to believe you are having the life sucked out of you by a sleep paralysis demon doesn’t sound like such a healthy belief to hold.

So if you are able to choose what you believe, would it not be better to choose what is most likely to get you through the night a little easier?

Feel free to leave your own sleep paralysis stories in the comments, and offer your thoughts on what best explains it.

 

Further Reading and the exciting new sleep paralysis project

Throughout 2013, a British team of film-makers, researchers and academics will be working on an exciting project exploring sleep paralysis. They are currently working on a film on the topic and also have an excellent new website with detailed information.

If you’ve ever searched on YouTube for sleep paralysis videos, you will have noticed that there is almost nothing worth watching. So we’ll be looking forward to seeing what this team produces. Head on over to the sleep paralysis project website for more information.

And if you were hoping for some more practical advice on dealing with sleep paralysis, then there there are two more sources of help you might find useful:

1. Since writing this article initially, many people have left very interesting comments, some with some good ideas on things they find help or make sleep paralysis worse. Have a look through (if you have the time as there is a lot to read!) and also feel free to add your own sleep paralysis stories to the discussion.

2. Even though they’re not strictly related, you might find some useful ideas in my article discussing how to stop nightmares and night terrors. I think you can definitely put some of those tips into practice and see if they help at all.

 


238 Responses to “Sleep Paralysis Stories – Intruder, Demon Or Delusion?”

  1. M Wood says:

    I think this is an intriguing subject, especially since I am narcoleptic and a regular Sleep Paralysis sufferer. Though I am a Christian, I’ve never attributed any part of any occurrence of sleep paralysis to demons or otherwise. I fully understand what is going when it happens and am very much aware of my environment and that it is not spiritual influence. Mine usually happens in either the sinking in or waking stage and always involve some type of hallucination. I have the feeling of suffocation, the total body paralysis, the inability to speak or even to whisper, the agitation and fear. In fact, when it happened a couple of days ago, as I felt my body losing its strength I actually whispered “no”, trying to make it stop. My command failed of course. Recently, I’ve started experiencing the Exploding Head Syndrome. Though what I’ve read on it states that it’s harmless and painless, I have to disagree with the painless part. My EHS is like a deafening electrical arcing and I do actually feel pain in my ears, though it does stop when the noise stops. It scared me the first time I had it. I had a hallucination of being at an old drive-in theatre that had been abandoned and sat completely empty. The electrical arcing sound was actually coming from the wooden structure that the movie screen was built on and there were bright blue flashes of electricity coming out of it. I was relieved to find out that I wasn’t the only one suffering from SP and that the terrible noise happens to others also.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi there M Wood

      Thanks so much for leaving this detailed personal story about sleep paralysis. You are right in that it is a very intriguing subject! I have experienced a similar sensation to you, though luckily for me, rarely. And certainly nothing as intense as you describe. It’s interesting how even when we know what is causing it, we can still feel fear when it occurs. The power of the body and mind to defy logical sense is sometimes staggering!

      I’d be interested to know if you have found anything that helps with sleep paralysis at all. Or if there is anything that you feel triggers it, such as tiredness or stress?

      I also wrote an article about exploding head syndrome not so long ago. If you haven’t read it, then I would very much appreciate your thoughts about that topic as well. It is a rare sleep disorder, so I would be interested to hear more about your experiences, and I think it would be helpful for other readers also since I was not able to give a personal story on that one.

      Thanks again
      Ethan

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi I had a SP event happen recently all I remember was falling asleep after a lack of sleep and boom I can’t move, I even found it hard to keep my eyes open at first, but I have found a way to make it last shorter here’s my methods which I’ve used previously: when the event begins don’t panic as it only gets worse, keep your eyes shut and try to clear your mind, I also kept my eyes closed while counting to thirty sometimes higher, but whatever you do don’t fight it as it tends to be a lot harder to get out of it!

        • Hi

          Thanks so much for sharing these techniques for dealing with sleep paralysis. It makes a lot of sense what you suggest about not panicking and keeping your eyes shut. And I especially like the idea of counting. I know that distraction techniques like that can help in other situations also, so it sounds like a good trick to try.

          It’s great that you have a few practical ideas that people could try out, so it’s good of you to share them:-)

        • Anonymous says:

          Just last night, I was laying down then I started feeling soo much pressure on me. I couldn’t move at all, I was screaming for my sister but I couldn’t talk. I felt a hand sliding on the left side of my ribs, then I kept screaming and trying to move. That’s when I felt these two hands pick me up and take me to my room door. It was so scary I woke up crying! I’ve had this before but never to the point where I can feel my soul going away from my body. Was it because I fought it?

          • Hiyah

            Thanks for sharing your story with us, and it sounds pretty scary! It’s hard to tell from what you describe whether it was actually sleep paralysis or something else – like a nightmare. At first it sounds like it could be sleep paralysis, but then you said you woke up which suggests you were dreaming. Unless you meant that you just snapped out of the sleep paralysis.

            If it was sleep paralysis, it’s impossible to say whether fighting or trying to relax would help. For some people it seems to help to remind themselves to relax and that it will pass. But not everyone has that control, and the fear of the moment is too strong. If it happens again, and you’re able to have the thought of remaining calm, it may help. But let’s hope it doesn’t happen again at all:-)

          • aj says:

            I had an sp event about 2 years ago. I was trying to go to sleep when all of a sudden I can’t move or talk at all I was really scared then on the bunk bed over me (no one was sleeping there) I hear a noise I can’t explain it best I can describe it is 2 spoons hitting each other repeatedly but to this day I haven’t heard anything that can imitate the sound. After about 2 minutes of hearing this sound only able to move my eyes I finally manage to get up and leave to my living room. I stay there for 15 min and then to scared to go back to sleep I start playing Xbox till the morning

          • Hi aj

            Thank you for your comment. I’m not surprised you ended up playing the xbox – I imagine many people have found comfort in their video games following experiences like that!
            Regards
            Ethan

        • lenette says:

          Thank you for the tip… I’m actually getting worried now that it happened to me more often than before… I get panic and fight coz I’m afraid I might not be able to wake anymore….

          • Hi Lenette

            Sorry for the delayed reply – I’ve been studying and had no time.
            I can understand the panic you describe, and it can be hard to tackle it. Hopefully over time you’ll be able to reduce the sense of panic if you keep telling yourself that you can and always do wake up. Hopefully some of the advice here will help put you at ease and give you ideas of new ways to deal with sleep paralysis.
            Ethan

      • Robert says:

        Hi,
        I’ve had these experiences off and on for a very long time now. About a year ago I read something that made some sense to me. It stems from reduced blood flow to the brain. If you sleep with more than two pillows..which I did, reduce it to two pillows.

        It went away. Until last night. Last nights was a little different though. Someone spoke to me. Just before I came out of it I heard someone say very clearly and right in my ear.. “Look motherfxxxxx”

        I also have heard the electricity and felt the electrical current going thru my body.

        • Hi Robert

          Thanks for the comment – did you have just the one pillow that time? It’s an interesting theory, I wonder if anyone else has anything to say about it.
          Regards
          Ethan

        • vanessa says:

          I also had this experience with the presence in my room speaking to me. I was 13 or 14 years old when this experience happened to me. The voice was angry and was saying “I hate you, I hate you.” I believed every word, still do. My grandma and I were close,she is the only one I told. She instructed me to say the lords prayer or just think it if I couldnt speak, I did. It worked everytime. I said, you are not welcome here, I rebuke you.” Its been almost 30 years since the last visit.

          • Hi Vanessa,

            Thanks for your comment. Many readers have also reported that turning to their faith helped them. If it works, then great!
            Regards,
            Ethan

    • Anonymous says:

      Just woke up from SP after a hungover nap. I had a dream that my room just had a pipe break and had nearly two feet of water and the room was empty with wooden floors, the door in the back (wasn’t actually my room) just had closed , for some reason was open to the outside. The door in front of me then closed , a shadow silouhette appeared on the wall and I started seizing on my bed while It was forming words that sounded like a different language except I picked up the word soul , in my dream I couldn’t move or yell and I tried to say @*$! you and flick it off , I woke up still kinda shaking and crying just now . Not fun

      • Hiyah

        Thanks for your comment. This does seem to be another case though where you call it sleep paralysis, but talk about dreaming. If you’re following this comment thread, would be great if you can clarify whether you were asleep and dreaming the silhouette, or awake and paralyzed but still sensing/seeing these images.
        Regards
        Ethan

    • Jay says:

      The intruder thing has happened to me several times in my life . I can hear them breathing and walking around me and I can’t wake up and then I feel my feet being lifted and I am getting dragged by my feet . I feel my arms dragging over my head and can feel friction on my back. I can never see who is dragging me . One day at work , I did cable tv I was a lineman and had to splice a run on a street out of my town and I got an eerie feeling like I knew that place and my dream came to mind for some reason . My hair stood up on end I was panicking and don’t know what made me connect that place with my reoccurring dream but to me in my mind that place is where I would be murdered . I told my boss to get someone else to finish that run or I was going to quit . He saw the fear in my eyes and said no problem . It even gave him the chills . I never went back to that town again . I had that dream over 50 times easily .

    • Rojae' says:

      Whether you choose to believe it or not is your opinion. Its funny how the writer passes his judgement on those that are fully convinced that there is a supernatural force or entity at work during sleep paralysis. He was very much telling them they are in fact silly. I am a Christian who gives great credit to that which science is able to explain. I love science greatly; however, there are some things that science will never be able to fully explain, in fact, I believe that scientific deductions are simply the best tangible explanation of spiritual events.

    • Jeff bryson says:

      My experience happened when I was twelve. I fell asleep one night in the house we were renting and woke up at 2:30 in the morning. I could not move and there was a three foot demon sitting on my chest. My mouth was open and it was sucking the air out of my mouth. All I could do was close my eyes so I did, while praying to God of course. When I opened them it was gone. I only had my eyes closed like three seconds. I ran to my parents room crying like a baby. And slept in there for the rest of the night. Refusing to sleep in there again I slept in the living room for a few weeks and had no problems. I finally went back in the room and slept in the bed and at 2:30 in the morning I woke up to the bottom left corner of bed being pulled on three times. For the next three days it happened again at the same time of the morning. After that I stopped sleeping in that room or that bed. I never had it happen to me again. I’m 32 now. So does that sound like sleep paralysis to you?

      • Hi Jeff

        Thanks for the comment and sharing your story. If you ask me, it does sound very much like sleep paralysis. You are not the first person to comment about it only happening in one room, and I don’t know whether that to you means it is more likely to be something other than sleep paralysis, which is the conclusion which I think some come to.
        My theory would be that you perhaps associated that room with the first experience, and so when you went back there, it happened again. Or it could also just be the physical sleeping conditions which weren’t the same anywhere else you slept, for example the bed, the position you slept in, the lighting or any number of other things.
        Whatever the case, the main thing is that it hasn’t happened again, and hopefully won’t either.
        Regards
        Ethan

    • Courtney Geer says:

      I just experienced some sort of this and am scared out of my mind. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia before I was born. What I experienced was out of this world. I heard voices , a million voices at once all laughing, all talking. I couldn’t move at that point in time. I saw two people (sounded both male) and tried to call out for help and I couldn’t move my mouth. When I did finally get to scream it wasn’t loud at all. I yelled be quiet to all of the voices in my head repeatedly. Then , I awoke. Went and got myself a drink. Fell back asleep, and started hearing pounding on my door along with screams to let them in, the dope was here. I tried my hardest to get up but couldn’t. I was almost glued to the bed. Finally, I am awake and checked my door, no one is here. I am terrified. What does this mean.

      • Hi Courtney

        I can understand your distress, especially considering your family history. I think there is a higher chance that it is just sleep paralysis / nightmares or a combination rather than you developing a mental illness. If you start hearing voices or experiencing other unusual occurrences during the waking hours, not just when falling asleep or waking up, then you can always talk to your family doctor to get yourself checked out.
        Try not to worry about it, which I know is easier said than done. Hopefully it’s just a passing bad experience, as happens to many people and doesn’t mean anything more serious is behind it.

        Regards
        Ethan

    • A girl who just saw something and is curious what it is says:

      Yes, i am a christian as well, and i am 12 years old as a matter of fact, and what in the world am i doing on a site like this? I dont know and im not here to help anyone or give advice because im the one seeking for it. So look, mine did NOT happen in the night, and mine is really strange…

      I woke up from a thing we call “siesta” and i went back to sleep because there wasnt anything productive to do. So here it started. I went back to sleep and then i saw a black iphone 5s (and its really weird) and then i was using it… After a while everything went black and someTHING asked me a question. The voice said “two black things… What does it remind you?” I didnt even have the chance to answer the question, and suddenly i was back in our room, and I KNOW that im awake. I cant move my limbs or anything, and i cant shout for help (although the door was wide open which would be a good loophole for shouting) and then my eyes were blinking wildly and i saw a black kind of thing beside me. I didnt see it because like i said, i cant move. And then i dont have a choice anymore. I prayed for forgiveness and said “in Jesus’ name” again and again, because i believe in the power of His name. (And mind you, i cant breathe and it feels like my mouth is slowly being closed by the black thing because its where i can only breathe, because i cant through my nose) and then i woke up. Mind and soul, fresh from what just happened. I quickly came to my mother and told her everything, and she said that the black figure MIGHT actually be me, aka my old, sinful nature trying to get back at me.

      End of story, was just really curious about what happened, although i dont believe that science can explain all these. Okay please reply if you have anymore advice and precautions.

      • Hi there,

        Thanks for the comment and sharing your story. And don’t worry, there is no expectation for you to give advice or help. I am also sure many people ask themselves what they are doing here. But looking for answers is the main reason I think.
        So your experience is strange, but I don’t think there is a sleep paralysis experience which is ‘normal’. They are all strange, and most of them very scary or unpleasant. So you are not alone.
        I think you have experienced something which seems to happen a lot. You have a weird dream or a nightmare, and then when you wake up you enter into sleep paralysis. Then parts of the dream continue in the sleep paralyis, along with some new experiences.
        Personally I think science explains it, but if you do not believe that, then I guess you have to continue to use whatever you can to deal with it. If prayer helps you, then that is a good thing.
        But I think your mum’s possible explanation is a bit negative. I am sure at the age of 12 you don’t have such a sinful old nature!
        My advice would be to try not to worry about it, and stay calm if it happens again. If you think prayer can help, then try to remind yourself that nothing bad happened last time, and that you can make it stop. And if you need to, you can always sleep with some light in the room next time you have a siesta, or allow some sunlight into the room, assuming your siesta is in the middle of the day.
        Hope that helps
        Ethan

  2. M Wood says:

    Hi Ethan,

    Thanks for posting and responding to my comment. Unfortunately, I have extreme difficulty in controlling the onset of Sleep Paralysis. Rarely, I can avoid it if I really fight it, but most times I cannot. It’s hard to say if it’s just tiredness that causes it or stress because I’ve experienced Sleep Paralysis so often. The only time that it really happens is on weekends when I nap during the day. Most of the time it occurs while in supine position; however, a couple of weeks ago it happened while I was sleeping upright (yes, sitting bolt UPRIGHT and sleeping). That was also the first time I experienced Exploding Head Syndrome. In that case, after the electrical noise stopped I had a hallucination of my husband and a hyena. My husband was more like a shadow and he was feeding dirty rags to it. He came into the house while I was still looking out of an upstairs window (I live in a one-story house) and the hyena was looking up at me with all of his teeth showing. Doesn’t sound like much, but the atmosphere of the “waking dream” (for lack of a better term) was terrifying. I knew my husband was coming to get me next to feed to the hyena. It’s so strange knowing that it isn’t real but at the same time feeling the terror. That starts the suffocating feeling again (the initial suffocating feeling is when the SP begins) and I try to scream for my husband to do something to wake me. It always comes out as a hoarse sound, never loud enough for him to hear which just makes it even scarier.

    Anyway, when I get a few minutes I’ll head over to your Exploding Head Syndrome article and tell about my experience with that also. Hopefully it helps someone else to know they haven’t cracked. :^)

    M.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi M

      Thanks once again for the detailed insight into your experiences of Sleep paralysis. It really does sound very intense, and I hope that some day you manage to find a way to manage the condition. Have you spoken to a medical professional about it yet? It might be a good idea if you have easy access to healthcare where you are – they might be able to suggest something that helps:-)

      Ethan

    • nianne says:

      Hello,
      It’s a very frightful feeling (Sleep Paralysis). I am too a sufferer ever since I was young. I was always so scared. In our country (Philippines), we would always assume meanings of it. Dreams of falling teeth would mean you grieving over someone soon, etc. As for the SP dreams, the scariest I ever dreamed was when I was laying down. I couldn’t move and I had dark faceless souls carry me all the way down an alley. I couldn’t talk, move, even as much as I did. I am a religious catholic. I was told if ever you have dreams like these, always say, “In the name of the LORD” or “In the name of Jesus Christ!”.

      I haven’t had a scary SP in a while, but just this morning. It was a short nap. I was about to sleep, then all of a sudden a woman’s voice was saying to me. “I need you, (my name)”. The voice was right next to me. It was a loud voice, take note I was home alone with 2 babies that can’t talk and they were sleeping. I tried to move and wake my self up when she said that. I just couldn’t. I could however talk in my dreams. Saw my sleeping body that couldn’t budge and I shouted as loud as I could, “In the name of the Lord”. It was so awkward, when I shouted that phrase…. I could wake myself up again. I do believe, there are souls that are trying to replace our body. Just like in the insidious movie (lol). I’m just saying, believe in faith and fight it. Everything will be fine.

      N.

      • Hi Nianne

        Thanks for your comment, and it’s very interesting to hear some different cultural thoughts about sleep paralysis and dreaming. I think that if you are a person of faith, then it’s great if you find that drawing on that faith helps in your moment of fear and need. It’s interesting that you make a comparison to the film Insidious – I hope you’re wrong though, as that is one very unpleasant film!

        Regards
        Ethan

      • 32yearoldmomma says:

        I have had numerous SP experiences where I was awake but couldn’t move and felt something dark and awful beside me. Each time I used the Lord’s name and commanded it to depart because that was what I was taught coming from a very religious background. Each time it worked. This last time was different. I felt it happening and didn’t panic because I told myself that spirits don’t have bodies and therefore don’t have control over you. When I started to say the Lord’s name my teeth clamped down. I didn’t do it and it scared me! I heard a loud flapping noise by my ears and the room started to shake. What was crazy was I was aware of everything, even hearing my 2 year old daughter sleeping next to me. Then I felt like something was trying to make my hand and leg move but I just laid still and didn’t worry because I knew that I was safe if I called on the Lord’s name. So I did. Right after the feeling left and I felt fine…safe??? I could move and it was over. Of all the SP experiences I have had this one was different in that my teeth clamping shut and the noise and shaking. Before it was just not being able to talk or move. Crazy stuff! It is really interesting to see some science behind it as well as read other people’s stories.

        • Hi there,

          Thanks for sharing your story, and another scary one it is at that! I can imagine that it was disturbing feeling that there were those additional physical things going on. The main thing is that you have a way to deal with it, and that you seem to be able to stay relatively calm during an episode. So well done to you for that, and I hope you don’t have any more!
          Regards
          Ethan

  3. This is a fascinating read! I have experienced sleep paralysis many, many times in my life, especially as a kid. It freaked me out big time, until I found out what it was. It’s still very unsettling, but at least I know why it happens, and that it will pass.
    Thank you for sharing this with us, and have a wonderful day.
    ~ Kathryn

    • Thanks for your comments Kathryn. It does seem to be quite common for people to experience sleep paralysis as children, but to keep it to themselves. I can only imagine the kind of sleep paralysis stories we would hear if kids started being more open about it! Knowledge does seem to be the best way of dealing with it; accepting it and trying not to panic even though it is unsettling. I hope one day it stops being disturbing altogether for you:-)

  4. A says:

    I believe it is not scientific. I could have believed otherwise but years ago this phenomenon happened to a group of us at one time. I also know others whom it happened to at the same time.

    • Thanks for the comment ‘A’. It’s good to have someone speak up for the other side. And you mention a concept I’ve never heard of before – a group sleep paralysis story. I will have to do some digging around and see if that is something anyone else has ever experienced.

      • Stef says:

        This happened to me a good while ago,
        Although I felt more like my thoughts and mind were what was actually with me. Anyways after it happened to me the second ( final time ) I figured out that if I focus really hard on trying to cough that the motion actually moves your upper body slightly which shot my muscles and body alive once more, it is a scary experience nonetheless although I did find this a solution as I used to panic and try to scream which never worked.

        I don’t really believe in the demon theory as I never felt anything strange in the room, unless the thing gets their laughs seeing you unable to move I couldn’t see how this could be interpreted as evil as I am yet to see a story where physical marks or pain have been reported.

        Stefan

        • Hi Stefan

          Thanks for your comment, and also for suggesting a practical way to deal with sleep paralysis. Ideas like that are Gold dust as I know other readers do look through these comments and will appreciate techniques to try that have worked for other people. And it does make sense trying to focus on one small action in the hope it can then trigger re-gaining control of your body.

          I do agree with you about the demon theory. But if they did exist, they would presumably be getting their kicks not just from seeing you unable to move, but also from knowing you were terrified in many people’s cases. But yes, the fact that nobody ever reports any physical effects is a fairly good indicator that other than being scared, no harm can come to you.

          Thanks again for the practical tip
          Ethan

        • Olivia says:

          I’ve had two main hallucinations, with one small variance, since I was at least 15. They used to come almost nightly, unless I was sleeping at a friend or family members house. I feel, beforehand, it is important to say I am not a religious person.

          The first one is the original one, I started having this episode when I was around 15-16 and it continued on alternating with the second afterwards. I would wake at the same time in the early morning every time. I would be held spread eagle (I slept nude, so this was even more so alarming) by a small, grey demon at each wrist and ankle. I would then feel something I couldn’t see start pressing down on my chest making my breathing shallow, but not cutting off all air. I would eventually feel my eyes roll back and everything would black out. I would wake up with my alarm normally not sure of what had happened. I knew it was real because there was nothing dream-like about it, but I knew it couldn’t be because of what happened. The paranormal didn’t exist. This continued happening…

          The second SP episode started occurring at around 17. I was still waking up at the same time every morning, but I was starting to wake up on my stomach, with both hands behind my back and my legs spread with the same little demons at my ankles. The same thing would happen with my breathing too, and my eyes would eventually roll back and everything would black out. This hallucination became the predominant one at this point, very occasionally alternating with first.

          The first variance of this second EP, I would see my bedroom door open, and though I couldn’t see anything come in. I could feel something come in, it brought a heaviness to the room, then my door would close. This is when I would start blacking out. The second started happening about a month after that, the thing would now get on my bed (without moving me or the mattress) and I would feel it penetrate, then I would black. These three variances would alternate regularly, and the first EP would still come occasionally. My thighs were almost constantly bruised, the doctors thought it was anemia, but blood tests ruled it out. He told my mom I was probably self-harming (I wasn’t) and referred me to a psychologist, who, after evaluating me, told my mom there was no problems.

          These, of course prevented me from getting good rest, so I would end up sleeping through many classes and my grades were falling. I find it hard to fully believe either the paranormal or the scientific side. I feel like it has to be real, but I want to rationalize it at the same time. I can’t prove anything regarding the bruises, but if you start looking at different blogging websites (ex: tumbler, xanga, livejournal) you will see more people talking about physical effects.

          Sorry it’s so long winded, lol.

          • Hi Olivia

            Thank you for sharing such personal and clearly quite disturbing experiences. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had to endure such unpleasant events, and at such a young age too.

            I know you suggest that stories of physical effects are common, and indeed they are. However, in my view they exist mainly on websites which attract true, and sometimes fanatical, believers in the paranormal. And these are not sites which I personally spend much time on.

            Did you ever get a sleep study done to rule out other sleep disorders? There are one or two, such as REM behavior disorder, where people are known to cause injury to themselves because they literally act out their dreams or nightmares because the brain fails to properly lock down the body. It’s not impossible for someone to have a nightmare about demons, thrash about in their bed and injure themselves, then wake up very confused about what actually happened.
            Whatever the case, your experiences sound very unpleasant, and I do hope for your sake that you can go on in life without having to endure any more.
            Best wishes
            Ethan

          • Hailey says:

            hello Oliva, I was looking through many stories and i would love to use your story in a project for my High school English class. Of course i would need your permission before i could post this in my paper. Do you mind if i site this and show your article.

  5. Raj says:

    I’ve had many episodes of SP as well though they have never been accompanied by any hallucinations. Its always an inability to move – as though you’ve lost your connection with your body and you feel compelled to try very hard to restore that connection by force of will. All this is very frightening when it happens and the terror doesn’t lessen even when you are somewhat aware (sort of in the periphery of consciousness) of what is happening. I’ve noticed that this occurs almost always only when I fall asleep in a state of deep sadness or depression. There appears to be some kind of inverse relationship between how upbeat you’re feeling at the time of falling asleep and the probability of an incidence of SP that night. Usually, I manage to slip out of the paralysis after a few moments of intense struggle. Another key characteristic appears to be this overwhelming seemingly unnatural sleepiness that appears to accompany SP along with a sense of foreboding that succumbing to the sleepiness will somehow be extremely detrimental.

    On the whole its a very unsettling experience and falling back asleep after you’ve had an episode is something you approach with dread.

    • Thanks for taking the time to share your sleep paralysis story Raj. That’s an interesting concept about SP being connected somehow to your mood. In general terms I could imagine that being in a low mood could somehow contribute to the negative manifestations that the mind comes up with. But I’ve yet to hear of any research connecting mood with likelihood of a sleep paralysis occurrence. However, if that’s what you’ve found happens in your circumstances then I hope you find a way to reduce how often you feel that level of sadness at night.

      You’re also right in it being very unsettling and difficult to sleep again afterwards. But it’s interesting that you feel you are able to shake it off, even if it does mean an intense struggle.

      Thanks again for adding this interesting insight into your personal sleep paralysis experiences.

    • Olivia says:

      @ Hailey Sorry for the late response, but if you still need it, you may use the story and article. :)

      • Hi Olivia
        I think you responded to the wrong person! You might have to search for them and write on their comment directly, if you want to of course. I am not able to move it internally for some annoying reason or other.
        Thanks
        Ethan

  6. Marshall says:

    I’m 19 and when I was 12 I would have these episodes happen randomly until I was 15. I haven’t had an episode of sleep paralysis since then until the other night. First off I will say there is no middle ground on this “argument” on what really is going on. From a scientific standpoint, for the most part religion and faith is kind of a silly thing. Not saying you can believe in the science view of it all and not be religious, just that the science world needs facts, it needs proof. Then the religious side is totally different. It all starts with the definition of faith, which is complete confidence and trust in something or someone. Meaning you don’t need proof to believe in what it is you believe in. In every sort of culture there are different religions and all the people in those religions have faith in their specific religion. That is where something like sleep paralysis gets very interesting because it is kinda hard to find a middle ground in this debate. I honestly don’t know which side I am on. Every episode I have had, has been a horrifying experience and I have found myself saying the Our Father, the Hail Mary and asking God for help and protection during each episode. I understand the scientific explanation of it all but for some odd reason I think it is more than that. Why? I honestly can’t give you an exact answer. Something about the experience just makes it feel as if it is more than just being awake consciously while your body is still in sleep mode. I have never seen any object or person during the episodes, I only hear voices in my head and some times even screaming. When I start to pray, usually these voices intensify more and more and then all of a sudden it stops. I actually did have one positive experience from this, which I don’t think is ever often. I was 14 and instead of hearing the usual scary voices and the feeling of an evil presence, I heard a woman. I couldn’t really understand what she was saying but her voice calmed me, her voice was beautiful and I didn’t want it to stop and I felt an overwhelming feeling of joy. I don’t tell anyone about that because I am sure they’d think I am nuts but I honestly thought it was the Blessed Mother. Do I know for fact it was? No. Would I like to think it was her, yes, but honestly I don’t know what that really was.

    • Hi Marshall

      Thank you for sharing your sleep paralysis stories. I think you raise 2 interesting points. Firstly of there being no middle ground, which I agree with. My personal view is that sleep paralysis can be ‘adequately’ explained by science. Though I can understand why some people will find that hard to accept considering how vivid and real the experiences can feel.

      Secondly that you had what you describe as a positive sleep paralysis experience. This to my knowledge is indeed quite rare, so I’m grateful that you shared it here. It did make me wonder how many people many have had positive experiences but don’t do the same kind of research into it because it doesn’t upset them. Who knows – maybe many more people have had positive sleep paralysis episodes and just don’t feel the need to look into it for a comforting explanation!

      As for not talking about your sleep paralysis stories for fear of being branded ‘nuts’. I think that would probably depend on whether you are hearing voices outside of sleep paralysis episodes. During the normal waking hours of the day for example. But if you discuss your sleep paralysis experience with friends or family, you might be surprised to discover many people will know what you are talking about. At least on a experiential level anyway.

      Once again, thanks for sharing your interesting and thought-provoking ideas.

  7. Violeta Vega says:

    Ethan,

    Thank you very much for posting about such an interesting topic about sleep paralysis. I have never experienced this, but I have heard many stories related to the “non scientific explanations” to this sleep disorder.

    Thank you again

    Violeta

  8. SP says:

    I knew it was of the demonic from the first time I had it. Also I had the same ‘symptoms’ when I was wide awake so I knew what I was dealing with. I have been helping people with SP for several years now. I never force my belief on people but I share my story and the majority of people I help no longer have SP. I just want to help people. Unfortunately there are people trying to make money for SP cures. All my advice and prayers are free and out of love. Christ was my cure. I’m SP free!

    • Thanks for your thoughts SP. It’s interesting that you appear to believe in the existence of sleep paralysis demons. I would be even more interested to know how you help people to the point that they no longer experience SP…

  9. SP says:

    Well most people that contact me recognise this as a spiritual demonic attack so this makes it easier to help people. We identify what demon is attacking the person then if the person chooses to stop whatever opened the door for this demon(s) we then can perform deliverance through prayer.
    Not always as simple as that but its always that process. But obviously most people reject the belief of demons and Christ etc. I have had people tell me to take my site down before!
    I dont push my belief on people. People contact me not me contact them. I always tell people to tell others the truth about SP after they have been delivered from it.

    • So you basically you perform some kind of religious ritual for people who believe that they are actually attacked by demons during episodes of sleep paralysis? That sounds straight out of a horror film to me!

  10. SP says:

    haha! No I wouldn’t say I perform any rituals! I just help them to pray. They pray for themselves for the deliverance.

    Sleep paralysis IS like something out of a horror movie!

    • I understand. It wouldn’t be my preferred way of dealing with sleep paralysis. But I can imagine it would provide comfort for some religiously minded people. Though I’m still not entirely convinced prayer can stop it altogether…

  11. Jodie says:

    Sleep paralysis has been a topic of intense interest for me since my first experience with it. I was 16 years old and visiting a friend in Canada after enduring a traumatic break-up of the dramatized teenage variety. My friend, who is a few years older than me, left her apartment to go to work. I fell asleep on her sofa to the sound of a strange French cartoon on TV, lying on my right side and facing the back of the couch. I am unsure whether I went into the SP state AS I was falling asleep or during REM sleep, but when I awoke the French cartoon was still playing. The characters’ voices took on a strange, dark quality and suddenly seemed menacing and malevolent. I realized that I couldn’t move and subsequently began to panic, violently trying to move my arms and legs. Had I not been paralyzed, I would have been madly flailing. My eyes were the only mobile part of my body. I tried to look behind me, towards the TV, by cutting my eyes to the left. I could see hints of shadowy figures moving about behind me, which instantly translated as the cartoon characters having broken free from the TV. I finally regained my body sometime later, after continuing to struggle, and basically threw myself off of the couch with a shriek. I immediately used her computer to search for my symptoms and became acquainted with the concept of SP for the first time.

    It’s happened several times since then, usually involving shadowy figures, strange voices and a sense of impending doom. Although I was sleeping on my side during my first experience, every event since then has occurred while sleeping on my back. I absolutely believe that there is a connection there. In fact, if I fall asleep on my back I am guaranteed to have sleep paralysis.

    I am not a religious person, although I do believe in a spiritual realm. As far as SP goes, the REM interruption theory makes perfect sense to me. I think the hallucinations and eerie atmosphere surrounding SP simply comes from having one foot in the waking world and one in reality. These two opposite states of consciousness, which are not meant to mesh, converge, creating an otherworldly feel.

    • Hi Jodie

      Thank you so much for so eloquently sharing your sleep paralysis stories. I have never heard of an experience quite like yours, so it makes an interesting addition to the on-going discussion.

      It makes sense that experiencing sleep paralysis in an unfamiliar setting could then ‘borrow’ from the surrounding, such as the cartoon characters coming to life. And it sounds like a Japanese horror film with characters emerging from the television! Except that in your case they were French…

      Your theory of it happening when on your back struck a chord with me. This is because I’ve personally noticed that when I sleep on my back I more often experience hypnic jerks. I’m not aware of any research into the connection between sleeping positions and experiences like yours, but will have to do some digging around.

      And your description of sleep paralysis coming from having one foot in each world is a great description – couldn’t have put it better myself:-)

      Thanks again.

  12. Vick says:

    I’m barely 18 and I’m already having this problem. I sleep in the supine position. I first experienced this attack several years ago. I felt like I was being suffocated. I couldn’t breath or move. I tried to scream but I couldn’t.

    I didn’t have any hallucinations. I was just really scared since one moment I had been sleeping then the next I felt that terrible great weight on me. I started praying and in moments I felt it lifted off me. I had forgotten about that till now. The attacks returned. I was alone in my house sitting up against my beds headboard I was sleeping but then something told me to wake up I felt that weight on and suddenly I began to pray and it was gone before I prayed.

    After the attacks became more frequent but when I was laying down. I tried sleeping on my side but I still felt the weight near my chest. It’s a truly horrible feeling. I haven’t had any hallucinations but still being awake and feeling totally paralyzed is horrible.

    I have this great insomnia now since every time I try to fall asleep I feel it. I’m tired of not sleeping and I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried praying and I prayed and I slept like a baby but now I’m just uneasy and can’t sleep at all.

    • Hi Vick

      It sounds like you are being hit quite hard by sleep paralysis, sorry to hear that. You kind of hint that you experience it every time you try to sleep. That’s quite unusual, so I’m not surprised it’s causing you insomnia now.

      It seems like you may have gotten yourself into a vicious cycle now as well. You started experiencing sleep paralysis more regularly, which then understandably led to you not sleeping well. But now the fear of experiencing sleep paralysis is in itself the reason you can’t sleep.

      I can only offer two suggestions really. One is to visit your doctor if you are able to. If you do have it every night and it’s causing you to lose a lot of sleep, they may offer a way to look into your sleep more closely. Maybe even offer to send you to a sleep clinic if they exist where you are.

      Otherwise I can only suggest finding some ways to relax before going to sleep. Doing relaxation exercises can help take your mind off the worry about it happening. If you’re lucky it may even help ease the frequency of sleep paralysis.

  13. Jodie says:

    Thanks for your reply. :) I forgot to mention that, in addition to sleep position, Sleep paralysis seems to happen to me exclusively during naps (never during regular sleeping times). It doesn’t matter if it is during the day or night, if I am only lying down to sleep for a few hours my nap will likely end in either SP or what I call “false awakenings”. For the last several years, in fact, I have only experienced the false awakenings. This actually happened to me just now, hence my return to your article. I still feel uneasy, unsure whether I am truly awake.

    The false awakenings seem to be related to sleep paralysis, sometimes even leading to it. It always begins with a dream that becomes very disturbing.

    (EDIT – sorry Jodie I had to cut out the dream example as it was a little too long to include in a comment)

    Now that I know what’s happening, I get a little frantic. I repeatedly push the covers off of me. For brief moments, they appear to have moved and I think I’ve broken free only to, seconds later, find the quilt untouched once more. I don’t really go back into a full dream state and don’t really go into sleep paralysis. It feels like being perpetually caught in the exact moment of waking. It’s not that I can’t move, it’s that I think I’m moving but am not. I don’t want to allow myself to fall back to sleep because I know I’ll end up having a continuation of the same creepy dream (and I’ll probably truly think I’ve woken up and am doing normal, everyday tasks for half of it).

    Eventually, by making sudden, exaggerated arm movements, I snap myself out of it and really wake up. In the past, I’ve had dreams that I have falsely awoken from several times before actually waking up. It can be pretty terrifying! It bears a lot of similarities to sleep paralysis. Has this ever happened to you?

    • Hello again Jodie

      First of all I apologize for editing out the dream example. It was very interesting, and definitely a creepy dream! But it made the comment a little too long. And now you’ve have single-handedly made me wonder if I should start a forum section of this website for sleep paralysis!

      Anyway the main point you are making is about the confusion between semi-awakenings and sleep paralysis. I have had that happen to me once or twice. Thinking I am awake when in fact I’m still within the dream. Sounds a little like the film ‘Inception’ doesn’t it?!

      But I have never had the experience of several false awakenings within the one dream. That sounds quite disturbing indeed. I don’t really have an answer for you on that one. Some people just have more vivid and non-linear dreams than others, and it may be something you just have to deal with as best you can.

      I’m sure people who are really into dreams would have some thoughts on the matter. You may even find it helpful to head over to a dream forum, of which there are many, and see what people think about your Groundhog day awakenings…

      Once again thanks for sharing your story, and sorry for the cruel edit;-)

    • David says:

      Your ‘false awakenings’ resonate SO strongly with me. During certain naps where I am repeatedly trying to nod back off to sleep and I keep having SP episodes, I am often anticipating another one and I want to wake myself up. Because I am thinking in this way, my mind creates ‘false awakenings’ where I think I am awake and it is only when I actually DO wake up that I realise that I was dreaming. Is this anticipation of an oncoming SP episode ever a trigger for your false awakenings?

  14. Jodie says:

    Haha, sorry, I have always had a habit of being a bit too descriptive. Thanks for letting me take part in this discussion. :)

  15. Vick says:

    Thank you for your advice. I’ve decided to accept the scientific explanation for this but I still can’t sleep. Every time I wake up or try to fall asleep I start experiencing this paralysis. Thanks for the advice I guess I’ll do some yoga or something.

  16. Nick says:

    I’m a sufferer of this since I was a kid and just had the latest episode yesterday. It has always almost been accompanied with terror, normally the presence of shadow somewhere in the room, sometime on top of me or behind my back. Sometime the terror was more intense than usual.

    For me, it so far happened when my body was too tired but I had a lot of stress / a lot of things in my mind. So my own theory is, that it happens when my body comes to the states when it shuts down, but my mind has not. And for me, the only way to get rid of the episodes is by forcing myself to wake up from the episode then changing my sleeping position. Simply breaking the episode and going back to sleep in the exact same position will almost always to make the SP reoccurs straight away.

    Hope this can add a good insight on your study on SP! :)

    • Hi Nick

      Thanks for sharing your sleep paralysis story, and you do raise a couple of interesting points. I agree that changing position might help to reduce the possibility of a back-to-back episode. I have that with hypnic jerks for example as well for some reason; if I change position, they tend to stop.

      And yes, I think you’re right that if the body has shut down but the mind is still active, SP is more likely to happen, especially as you mention if you are feeling stressed at the time.

      It’s good that you have the ability to force yourself to break out of it, so to speak. Perhaps just knowing that changing position will help adds to your ability to fight it. You’re maybe not left as helpless and confused as some people are who have no idea what can help them!

      Thanks again for sharing:-)

  17. Jennie says:

    I have struggled with this since I can remember. It is nice to know I’m not alone or childish. My question is have you experienced any of these same feelings while not at all in a dream state. I sometimes find myself in this same predicament just being in the dark. I have also found that sleeping with a light on reduces, though not stops, the episodes (though sadly not conducive to good sleep.)

    • Hi Jennie

      You’re definitely neither alone nor childish. Sometimes knowing that others experience something similar is comforting, even if it doesn’t stop the problem.

      I can’t say I’ve experienced anything like SP whilst awake and in the dark. Do you mean whilst in bed awake, or just being in a dark place but not lying down?

      And your idea of the light is really interesting. I’ve never thought of that before, but it does make sense that it might help if you do experience an episode. It also reminds me of another article I wrote a while back based on some research that found a large number of adult insomniacs actually suffer from fear of the dark.

      It would be very interesting to know if there is any connection between that and sleep paralysis also. Maybe look into getting one of those dimly glowing kid’s nightlights if you like to have a light on but find it keeps you awake.

      Thanks for leaving your comment and suggesting an interesting way to deal with sleep paralysis. I hope someone else reads your suggestion and gives it a go to see if it helps.

  18. Jake2726 says:

    I have never had a lucid dream or sleep paralysis can you help tell me what it’s like?

    • Hi Jake

      If you read through all the other comments here, you should get a pretty good idea of what sleep paralysis is like! And lucid dreaming is not really something I can talk about with much authority. If you do a search online you can find lots of interesting websites which deal specifically with lucid dreaming.

  19. Jennie says:

    Ethan,
    Thank you for your reply. You are correct that just knowing there are others, many others, does help. I feel bad for those who suffer, but I no longer feel as if I’m abnormal.
    That article about fear of the dark phobia was interesting and true to life almost as if they had a camera in my house. I’ve found in my case that the worst and best times of phobia and the number of sleep paralysis episodes coincide.
    I’ve found the light helps in that being able to see clearly and no shadows prevents the fear from becoming intense and leaves a slightly panicky extreme alertness but no terror. Really intense times I turn on the main light, but other times a night light or fish tank light work great.
    Again, I thank you for posting this. I thank everyone who has replied. I sincerely hope that as time goes on we all will experience this less and less!!!!!

  20. Jennie says:

    Hi again,

    I just reread and realized I didn’t answer your question. In any dark place I feel slight paranoia. But, if I am confined in a dark place at night, whether in bed or not, it is like experiencing my own private horror movie. The phobia and sleep paralysis seem to feed each other. Being already panicky lends to more episodes. An episode increases the phobia.

    • Jennie
      Yes I can well imagine your phobia and sleep paralysis being interconnected. If the phobia is that strong, perhaps at some point you might find it helpful to talk to someone about it to see if anything can be done to reduce it:-)

  21. George says:

    Hi, I came here looking for an explanation about what happened to me last night, and it seems like it fits. Anyways, I couldn’t fall asleep cuz I was having this really weird anxiety, which I almost never have, the kind of anxiety where you actually feel some kind of pressure on your chest. After hours of rolling around on the bed, I ended up face up, and I closed my eyes. After a few seconds I had that feeling people sometimes get when you feel like you’re falling out of bed, but this felt stranger somehow, like I was being dragged out of bed by no one, so I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling for a moment. After a few seconds I started hearing some children laughing and at first I thought nothing of it, but then I realized the sound was coming from my headboard, and I turned to see what was making that sound and it was really dark so I couldn’t make out the figure very well but it looked like a gargoyle, and it was moving its mouth. I tried to scream but all I could manage was some sort of slurred speech and I couldn’t move my arms and legs, so I started struggling with the paralysis while turning my head to look from the thing to look at my arms to concentrate and try to move them. After a few seconds I managed to do this. And then I was just lying on my bed thinking about what happened, and I had read something about this experiences so I thought that that was what it was.

    • Hi George

      That sound like a very unpleasantly intense experience indeed! Whether it was sleep paralysis or not isn’t exactly clear, but it certainly has some of the key features. What is strange is that you were able to turn your head but not move your arms or legs.

      I can’t help but wonder whether there’s an element of anxiety, panic and general tiredness involved in your particular circumstances. Whatever the case I think you might benefit from finding a way to relax if it happens again instead of torturing yourself by lying in bed awake for hours!

      It’s always a good idea to get out of bed and do something relaxing and calming for a while if you can’t fall asleep after 20-30 minutes. If you find yourself in that situation of tossing and turning for hours, give that a go:-)

      Thanks taking the time to share your story and I hope it was a one off!

  22. George says:

    Thank you, yea I thought that was weird too (the being able to turn my head part) but I don’t know, perhaps it was part of the “dream” or whatever or maybe I wasn’t fully paralyzed since I remember struggling to move my arms and legs and kind of being able to shake em a little bit at first, but when I finally did it it didn’t seem like I was waking up, it all seemed so vivid somehow. Anyways, thank you for your time, and I will follow your advice about doing something relaxing next time I can’t sleep right away! Good thing this is the first time it happens to me and I hope it’s my last.

  23. porsha says:

    I have been experiencing this since I was 11. It gets worse every year and now I’m 23. when it first happened it was something slight like I just couldn’t move my body and then I start hearing noises like kids playing, loud buzzing noises,and also demonic noises. now I also feel pressure and also hear it walking around my room getting in my face laughing. It’s very scary to me. I want to believe the scientific way, but the things that are happening to me while I’m sleeping just can’t be fine to say it’s scientific. Something is trying to get me while I’m sleep. this morning around 4 AM I fell asleep on my stomach and I feel something open the door with fast force and pressure come to my face and make weird demon noise, and demonic laughing. then I felt the force leave. I started to pray and tried to move, eventually I woke up… Some tips that have helped eliminate this a little is to sleep with a blanket over your face and on sleep your stomach.

    • Hi Porsha

      Thanks for sharing your experience of sleep paralysis. The demonic aspect to your experiences sounds scary indeed, and I hope you manage to reduce it even further. I’m not sure about sleeping with a blanket on your face as being advice I would want to give everyone though!

      Ethan

  24. Linda says:

    I had SP three times around 2 years ago. I wanted to let you guys know what I did the last time I experienced SP. I woke up in bed with the bed covers moving as if someone was crawling up to me inside my bed, then I felt a presence next to me like someone was breathing on my face on the left side (all 3 times the presence was on the left side of me, don’t know if this happens to everyone) anyway I said in my head i’m in control and i’m not frightened of you so —- off, and it did, never had it again after that time. Everyone has their own opinions of what this is, I was going through a bad time with depression, and a lot of people who have this say the same, their also anxious and stressed. They say Meditation and diet, have also been very helpful. good luck

    • Hi Linda

      Thanks for adding your version of sleep paralysis. That sounds straight out of a horror film and very frightening. But it also sounds like you took it in your stride and had some impressive mental strength to deal with it that way. Good on you!

      Yes, the stress factor does crop up time and time again. That’s why something like meditation could be helpful, for some people, as you rightly point out.

      Ethan

  25. Gina says:

    EDITED VERSION OF THIS COMMENT:

    My sleep paralysis episodes just seem to grow increasingly worse the older I get. Here is my story:

    I am a life long suffer of SP but have never sought treatment for it because for one, I thought nobody would understand what was going on and I didn’t even know how to begin explaining what was happening. I found it difficult to describe and didn’t want it to be misinterpreted as being all “in my head”…

    …I know people wouldn’t share my same views and I don’t expect them to. But those of us who go to bed at night and experience this type of thing are desperate for help. Not something that might help, or could possibly help, but something that DOES help.

    I certainly appreciate you advice. I am hoping to find something a little more reliable or at least consistent. I have PTSD as a result of some of the more severe episodes and I am prescribed ativan for that, but it’s for my PTSD symptoms and has no affect on the the severity of my SP episodes or the number of occurrences.

    There are no triggers that I can pinpoint directly to when I have SP. I don’t drink alcohol or do any drugs, so that’s not a contributing factor. It just comes and goes. The only thing consistent about it, is that it seems to come in age cycles (17-20, mid-to-late 20′s, 31-35, late 30′s to early 40′s) there are huge gaps spanning between the age cycles where they are virtually absent. I feel that either my body/brain lacks this certain chemical or not. Why would it arbitrarily stop producing it at certain times, and then just arbitrarily start again? If I lack the chemical that “un-paralyzes” my body out of REM sleep, then shouldn’t I be lacking it all the time? If not, can’t doctors find out what is causing my body to stop producing it and pinpoint when this occurs, and then find something that can produce the same chemical or a substitute of some kind that I can take during the cycles that my body lacks it?

    I don’t even know how or where to start, but when have many scientists and doctors in this country to where I feel they should at least figure this out. It does merit at least some kind of solution.

    I hope you don’t think I am being unreasonable or harsh in any way. If I seem upset at all, it is not directed at you or anybody else, other than those who are qualified individuals in this area who possess the credentials to look into it further, but have not. I don’t even know how to go about contacting a place who could do clinical trials. I know a ton of sleep studies have been conducted, but that’s as far as it goes. What good is a study if they provide no solutions.

    I wish I would have started this crusade a long time ago!

    Any tips or suggestions you may have for me are greatly appreciate your time, I know it’s valuable, and I apologize

    • Hi Gina

      I’m very sorry but I had to do a massive edit on your comment. I feel terrible after you obviously spent a long, long time writing it. But that comment, along with your next comment comes to 6700 words in total (I was so amazed, I had to do a word count). This is nearly 3 times longer than the original article so there is just no way I can keep it in.

      I did, however, read both of your comments in full and they were very interesting. I deleted the story and kept 2 main points to reply to.

      Firstly I personally think you could probably try talking to a professional about it. If it has troubled you your whole life, then you could always talk to your doctor. You could maybe tell them you know it’s sleep paralysis, but just want some support from them. Hopefully they won’t judge you or make you feel silly for bringing it up.

      Secondly you are not the only one who wishes that someone, somewhere, would try to find a solution for it. So I wanted to let you know that there is nothing particularly wrong with wishing that researchers had put more time or energy into finding a solution for people. Whether they do or not one day obviously remains to be seen. But in the meantime, I think many people who experience this regularly would wish more was done to investigate it.

      I will now go and edit your next comment as well.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this story, and I’m sorry for the edit, and that I also don’t have any great answers for you…

      Ethan

  26. Gina says:

    EDITED VERSION OF THIS COMMENT:

    And last but not least, hypnic jerks (or however it’s spelled) have joined in which feel like epileptic seizures! And i don’t even have to be falling asleep, it seems that they appear at the slightest onset of mere resting with my eyes closed! It’s ridiculous!
    The jerking turns into violent shakes, it feels just like i’m having a seizure. I am not sure what all this stuff is but it is VERY disheartening and causes major panic and fear. It is SO disturbing, it ALL is. I don’t know what triggers it and the inconsistent sporadic cycle patterns are so arbitrary I can’t even prepare myself.

    Since nobody seems to have any answers or cures, I am looking into getting a trained service dog that is trained to sense when i’m having an episode and either alert me to one coming on or to gently nudge me to bring me out of one. I figure if they can train dogs to do this kind of thing for seizures, why not SP? Its the only thing i can think of that would be affective in nipping them in the bud. It may not be a cure or a preventative measure, but it’s better than the alternative, which is battling the thing several times a night to the point of exhaustion. At least i would feel safe knowing i have a “body guard” while i sleep and that is very reassuring to me. Now i just need to find out how to go about getting one. If you happen to know, please share that information with me, if you will. Thank you

    • Gina

      As I said before, I had to edit this second comment also. Sorry about that.

      I left this part in because it’s an interesting idea. I have not heard of a dog being trained for this particular purpose, so maybe someone else who reads these comments, if anyone does, might have an idea.

      But you would need to explain why you require such a dog as service dogs are not given to people lightly, and that would mean explaining your story in full. Which, to be honest, is something I think might be a good idea for you to do anyway. Hypnic jerks are not really violent seizures which happen when you just rest your eyes. So it might be a good idea to get yourself checked out by a medical professional.

      Thanks again for the time and effort you put into writing these comments. Despite editing them ruthlessly, I can assure you that they were read in full.

      One suggestions is that you are welcome to write another comment which is maybe two or three hundred words maximum summarizing everything you personally feel is important. I would then delete these two and put that one in instead. At least then you would have a permanent comment of what you thought was most important rather than me.

      Regards
      Ethan

  27. Lydia says:

    Hi, I’m a 15 year old girl, I’m not a Christian, and I don’t believe in ghosts or demons, ect. I first experienced sleep paralysis when I was 14 nearly 15, I had this sudden sensation all over my body when I was trying to go to sleep. The next thing that happened was that I felt that I couldn’t move and I also couldn’t speak, then the silhoutte of a man came into my room, and I had the sensation I was being dragged out of bed. When this experienced stopped I was still in bed, yet the whole thing seemed to real. That was the first episode I had. At this point I did not know what sleep paralysis was, and I presumed it was a bad dream. The same thing happened to me again every couple of months, however sometimes the episode would end before he started to drag me across my floor. Although every time there was an intruder. However at this point I still thought it was a reaccuring nightmare. Recently I have had these episodes every single night for 5 nights in a row. I can feel when they’re going to happen as I regonise the feeling before I am asleep, yet there is nothing I can do about it. It really terrifies me and makes me unable to sleep as I am so scared. Not only till today did I find out what sleep paralysis was, and all of my symptoms seem to match up. I was just wondering if anyone had any help or advice as it is making me really tired the next day due to lack of sleep.
    Thanks

    • Hi Lydia

      Wow, yet another very scary sounding sleep paralysis story. I’m sure they are sounding more and more frightening as people share their experiences in these comments!

      I’m not surprised you are feeling tired. Presumably you’re not sleeping much because of worrying that you’ll have another ‘episode’. There is no evidence for what I’m about to suggest helping, but you could always try it.

      If you’ve developed a worry that the same thing will happen, perhaps make some external changes to the environment. Make a few small changes to your sleeping environment and see if that helps break the cycle of everything being the same. You might also find it helpful to do some relaxation exercises just before you go to bed, or even once you are in bed.

      If they continue and you can’t stop it, perhaps talk to someone about it – even if it’s just friends or family, or your doctor. They may be able to give you some reassurance and help stop the feeling of dread that you might have before going to bed.

      Good luck with it and I hope it calms down for you soon.

  28. Emily says:

    I’m 19 and my first experience of SP occurred when I was 18. It was after a night out drinking and I thought that maybe my drink had been spiked. It was a terrifying ordeal. I went to bed after sobering up and I felt myself lose control of my body. It went all fuzzy and my chest got heavy. I saw a hooded figure in the corner of my room and this caused me to panic. I heard loud footsteps and then a car revving over and over. I then blinked but the figure seemed to get closer and closer. I’m unsure of how long it lasted because at the time it felt like a lifetime. I was so scared I made my sister sleep in my bed for a week.
    I researched and discovered its a common thing so this eased my worries a little. It happened again a few weeks later and this time it was when I was falling back asleep for a sleep in one morning. This time I saw a figure on my chest and could not breathe properly. I heard it breathing it then screamed and left. It’s happened a few times since then but not as severe. If I feel myself going into SP I sometimes can force myself to wake up properly.
    I am sceptical about paranormal stuff but it’s hard not to believe it when there’s something sitting on your chest.

    • Hi Emily

      Thanks for sharing your sleep paralysis stories, and like so many other people you’ve commented here, it sounds very frightening. It’s good that you can sometimes snap yourself out of it if you feel SP coming on, if only it was possible all the time!

      And I think you’re not alone in struggling with the conflict of not really believing in the supernatural, but then having what feels like solid evidence for something inexplicable existing. That’s where I think it comes down to personal choice in what to believe, and then the mental strength to keep remininding yourself that you don’t believe anything terrible is, or is going, to happen.

      Take care and I hope you manage to develop an ability to break out of any sleep paralysis every time:-)

  29. lucas burroughs says:

    Wow a guy at work mentioned SP to me the other day when I described my episodes from 2004 to 2006. I won’t get into it other than for about 2 or 3 years can describe an uncanny resemblance to what other people who left a comment on the site describe as a dark hooded figure and terrifying noises. It scared me so bad I did not like to sleep in the dark. Hell I even slept with my gun after the first couple episodes but soon realized it would do me no good. I lived in my condo and anywhere I fell asleep inside it could happen. When I met a girl I would fall asleep at her place and have no problems at all. I loved sleeping over there with my guard down. We both decided to move into my condo together. I actually was nervous as hell to go back. I would have nightmares (real ones not SP versions) at her place regarding the thing I thought resided in mine. I am not a religious person either. When we moved back in the condo nothing ever happened again and believe me I was nervous. I just kept waiting for stuff to hit the fan but it never did. I did feel more at ease when I moved back. Maybe one reason is we had gotten a Labrador pup and he was already big by the time we moved back. During the first week of moving back the dog alerted to something where the wall and ceiling meet. He barked and growled as he followed what seemed like an invisible insect down the wall. He followed something to a point as if he pushed it to the edge of the building and that was that.

    Well I do not live there anymore but when I sleep that dog is still close by. I obviously felt like a crackpot telling anyone about it. I was just glad it stopped. I wish I could tell your readers what to do to stop this but cannot. I was 28 to 30 years old at the time and not afraid of a whole lot. But the stories shared on this website are all too familiar to me. It makes me nervous thinking about it. I have a strong bond with my dog. I always kind of thought he took care of it. I would not discount prayer though but I never participated in it.

    • Hi Lucas

      Thanks for taking the time to share your sleep paralysis stories with us. It’s interesting that you mention your dog as a previous commentator was wondering if there were trained dogs to help with sleep paralysis. Even though I’m pretty sure there aren’t and that such a thing would not be possible, it’s funny that your story involves feeling like your dog was somehow helping.

      Perhaps it’s just the extra feeling of security and comfort that a loyal guardian like a dog can bring to people when they sleep. I know when I was a kid I always slept better when our family dog decided to sneak into my room.

      It would certainly work well with the common theory that being relaxed and less stressed can help with sleep paralysis.

      Anyway I’m pleased to hear that your sleep paralysis is in the past now, and I hope it stays that way for you:-)

      Ethan

  30. Nathan says:

    Where to start…

    I have had SP happen since a small child. i am now 32. i smoked pot since i was 14 regularly, and now that i have quit smoking, my Sp is back.

    additionally, it happened to me every night around age 8 when I was instructed by a doctor to take antibiotics 3 times a day, one of the times at night (due to returning strep throat)

    in these particular situations, i would have no body, only consciousness, and be in a void seeing flashing lasers, flaming skulls flying , spirits and such, accompanied by screaming and a slew of other freaky sounds. i told my mother about it and she told me to stop taking the antibiotics before sleeping. those particular experiences stopped after that, but I still had normal episodes of sleep SP as the years went on.

    at age 16, i had one terrible night where SP returned after a long break. this was the first time i had ever had the convulsing, electrical shakes that can come with SP. this occasion, it felt like an ice cold hand gripped around my heart. it shook me so badly that that night is forever burned into my mind. i kept shaking it away and having the exact same sensation return (the hand on my heart, squeezing). sometime later it stopped happening for a while (a few years).

    i used to write lyrics a lot and at age 21 i began incorporating many dark, macabre topics, some of which inspired by my SP as a child. soon after, i began having SP again and even out of body experiences (next level stuff). they tended to be dark experiences. the convulsing returned, the tingling electrical feelings and the hand as well (all at the same time of course). at times, these led to lucid dreams where i could ride out the SP for a while and then use it to walk around my room in an altered reality.

    once in that time period, i was snapped back from my lucidity to being trapped on the bed, floating in a void, with the sensation of a young child running circles around my bed repeating “don’t play with needles’. i had a 3 year old nephew at the time and interpreted it as a warning to relay to my sister and parents in regards to my nephew. thankfully, nothing even occurred with my nephew and needles. ( i can’t say or not if i feel it was really a warning or not, but i had to be sure)

    i began experimenting with SP in those days. I have had experiences that i will not delve too deep into, but i have even been spoken to by voices that seemed god-like, telling me that i was ‘chosen’. weird huh? (possibly I’m just seriously delusional). for instance, i have been bodiless in a void witnessing an immense shade in the form of a horned and tailed shadow with its arms shackled to a wheel looked to be made of yellow and red stained glass, with a non-malevolent, non-benevolent but intense voice tell me that i will be responsible for releasing the shade on existence, releasing it from its cage. (seriously, I’m not making this up)
    the experience occurred as a SP, led to a strange lucid dream, then the void with the shackled shadow, then back to SP in my bed with the voice still speaking to me. (well, i guess i DID delve deep into that one)

    i have had light from different windows in the room shape shift until they become bulbous bright eyes staring at me.

    at age 22 , while sleeping over at my girlfriend’s house (at the time a new relationship, now 10 years and counting) I had a very odd experience with SP. while she was cuddling next to me the SP triggered. while she was being sweet and kind in reality, on the ‘astral’ side of things i had a shadow in my face shaking me and cackling like a witch inside my head (very loud and maniacal). it was very scary as the witch’s projection of torment coincided with perfect polarity to how my girlfriend was cuddling with me (such opposite occurrences at the same time. odd stuff)

    i started taking massive amounts of sleeping pills in those days, and they triggered many lucid dreams, some that were more like music videos than SP experiences.

    (like seeing a film crew in the desert make a fake news cast of occurrences detailed in revelations in an attempt to fool mankind, while heavy metal music is playing all around me. like literally making stop go clay motion with red dragons and such. seriously? )

    i have seen demon fairy looking bugs float into my room during SP, go inside my ear and trigger the actual shaking convulsing sensations. one in particular felt like my head was an empty space with the bug bouncing around like a ping-pong ball, and my head shaking in reaction)

    I’ve seen shadows and vivid people stand over me, heard screaming and even babies crying (yikes!). the latest freaky sounds were a malicious swarm of chirping incests in my right ear.

    during one occasion (age 22), i was staying with my parents and sleeping in my old room that at the time was my my dad’s computer room. he was on the computer while i napped and went into SP, then an OBE. while in the SP, i heard about 5 different family members talking about their problems all at the same time. my mom was talking to my cousin’s wife about drama my cousin was presently facing, my sister was crying and so on. i was later (same episode) floating around my room in an OBE and looking at my dad at different angles from the corner of the room. my dad’s voice spoke in my head “have you found the lost fool?” or something close to that, and i woke up after hearing it. my dad of course, was just on the computer like normal and when i got up he just apologized for waking me, with no idea of course about what i just experienced.

    OK. i will stop here with the detailed experiences and just say that i was never raised religious, but developed a deep interest in religious matters in my youth due to these experiences (among other dreams, not SP related), though i never considered myself part of any religion.

    despite everything i just wrote, as an adult, i prefer to believe that all of this is just chemical and psychological. as stated , I am now 32 and would rather believe that I am just severely imbalanced than think that these experiences are the result of paranormal forces (though i have many equally strange experiences not related to SP, that i choose not to speak of here as i feel it is out of context)

    that said. i am still looking for answers, but don’t expect to find any.

    i just snapped out of a SP before finding this website. i literally thought i would die of a heart attack or brain hemorrhage due to the feelings in my heart and brain.

    i would not have even bothered posting this, but i noticed that the dates are recent and I could not resist.
    i could literally write a book on this stuff, as I barely skimmed the iceberg of my experiences, though i DID detail above some of those that stuck with me the hardest.

    in closing, i would just like to state that i take this all very serious and would never make any of this up. many people that i used to randomly talk to about these things either thought i was crazy or a liar, and since my mid-twenties, i only tell the people that know me well enough to not look at me in that fashion.

    I thank anyone for taking the time to read through this madness. and I’ll be checking back here , as this is one of the better webpages i have found with SP discussions.

    ty again.

    • Hi Nathan

      Wow, what a story! Thank you for taking the time to share such personal events. You’re now the third person to leave such a huge comment, and I think I’ve just cracked in terms of feeling bad about editing down people’s comments. If it carries on like this I’m going to have to pay for extra server space just to accommodate the comments on this one article;-)

      Back to your story though, and I do believe that you have experienced what you say you have. As you can see from other people’s sleep paralysis stories, the variety and intensity of the experiences that different people have is amazing.

      What you describe does seem to touch on other things as well, and I’m not sure if all of it can be put down purely to sleep paralysis. But I think you recognize and point that out yourself also. To be honest though I think it’s sometimes really hard to tell the difference, even between something like SP or a plain bad dream for example. Your story is certainly complex – for example the one with your girlfriend at 22, and then the OBE with your 5 family members.

      On the other hand it’s not the first comment that describes a complex case of SP. The 7000 word one which I had to edit out was also very different and went beyond the usual demon on the chest or spirit in the room story.

      I like that you managed to tap into the possibility of using lucid dreaming as a tool to deal with things like sleep paralysis. That’s great, and really interesting.

      You’re also not the first person to say you’re still looking for answers. I hope you find them, or at least settle on an answer which you can accept the most.

      Thanks again for the comment, and the compliment about the webpage.

      Ethan

  31. Nathan says:

    sorry for all the spelling/grammar errors above.

  32. Nathan says:

    Yes, I agree that at times it is hard to tell the difference between SP and vivid nightmares, but I have found that if I don’t snap myself out of SP,(which I learned how to do at a young age by simply jerking a shoulder/head or even twitching my finger)that the SP can develop into other ‘states of mind’ such as OBE’s, lucid dreaming, or even just bizarre nightmares. It is when my curiosity tries to ‘ride out the wave’ when things go utterly insane.

    what I find odd about all the one’s I mentioned above is that they begin with SP, go in some other direction, and lead back to SP before waking. also, worth mentioning is that my intense experiences are hypnagogic more than hypnopompic, though I am very familiar with both.

    again, thanks for reading and double thanks for inciting such an interesting subject without all the ‘mumbo jumbo’ popular in other articles of the same topics. no one wants to be told that they are ‘possessed’ no matter their spiritual views.

    • Hello again Nathan:-)

      That’s really interesting that you essentially are in a position where you have a choice. You can either snap out of it or decide to go with it and see what happens. That’s a remarkable position to feel confident about being in, considering many people experience sleep paralysis and just want the terror they experience to end.

      It’s making me wonder how less frightening sleep paralysis would seem to me if I felt that I had a choice. But I think the feeling that you don’t have a choice is one of the key factors that makes it sleep paralysis.

      I’m glad you appreciated the article. I’m not a big fan of mumbo jumbo as you call it, though do like to cover all perspectives. And I enjoy reading stories comments like yours. I should really create a forum for this topic!

      Ethan

  33. Brittney says:

    I’m glad to have found this forum! I have been getting Sleep parlysis for a long time now (not 100% sure when they started exactly, I just know for a while). They happen every couple months or so. I always experience the same exact scenario. My husband and I’s bedroom is upstairs and he leaves at 4:30 in the morning, so I have another 2.5 hours before having to get up myself. Since we are upstairs, one of my biggest fears is a break in. So naturally, I experience the “intruder”. The dream is so vivid that I can hear the “intruder” pounding up the stairs, the squeaks of the steps, the footsteps across the other room (our upstairs is just a very large room divided into two, so there is a loft first, then bedroom), the squeak of the old doorknob into my room, and right before the “intruder” enters, I wake up. That was my last event. Other times are less intense and I can simply sense the “intruder” on the other side of the door. Some do not seem to be terrifying at all, and are just my two cats playing in my room, which always confuses me more then anything because kitties are not allowed in the bedroom, and then I wake up, alone of course.

    I’ve been suffering from anxiety and depression since I was a kid, but do not take any type of medication. I learned to self medicate with hobbies and exercise. I took meds while in middle school/highschool and made the decision I was not going to take meds anymore! I take 3mg of melatonin (Vitafusion sleep gummies actually) to sleep and have not experienced SPs since I’ve started taking these. Before, I was taking Midnight (meltaway sleep tabs), and not only did these eventually cause an onset of frequent migraines but more frequent SPs.

    I thought I was the only one for a long time, turns out everyone in my family experiences them occasionally. They are more common then I thought! Thanks for reading.

    • Hi Brittney

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your own stories of sleep paralysis. I think it’s a great example of the classic sleep paralysis intruder theme, though obviously not so great for you and sometimes quite frightening.

      It’s interesting that you’ve noticed how different medication can affect the occurrence of SP or not, if it was indeed that and not something else that you didn’t realise. It can be tricky to isolate things sometimes.

      And you’re definitely not alone, as you’ll also now know if you’ve seen other comments here as well as talking to your family.

      I hope you’ve seen the last of it now anyway, and can enjoy peaceful sleep.

      Thanks again
      Ethan

  34. Brittney says:

    I also wanted to point out that I am always laying on my back also.

  35. Angela says:

    My first sleep paralysis took place nearly 26 years ago and for nearly 20 years it remained just that, with no demons or Out of body experiences. Then a number of years ago while suffering SP I suddenly found myself hovering above my back garden and house on a freezing winter night. All I can say is that it was the most profound experience I have ever felt. I remember wondering how on this earth I was looking down at my house and garden when only a second ago I had been falling into SP in my bed. Although I wasn’t exactly aware of my body within the OBE I could actually feel the cold from the thick snow lying below me. I remember the whole event with great clarity and it has had a huge impact on me mentally to this day. From the day I had my first OBE I have been plagued by demonic voices, violent bed shaking, voices of laughing children and visits from a demon who regularly molests me. While falling into SP I can sometimes go straight into an OBE and avoid any visitors but at other times I have to endure being violated up to five time a night. I never really believed in near death experience until I had my first OBE, but now I’m a convert. I am terrified every single night that I go to bed and I have to sleep with the bedroom and landing lights on, as well as other lights in the house. I feel absolutely tormented at times. It’s very much a lottery when I go to bed, I really don’t know what I’m going to get from one night to the next.
    Finally, I’d just like to mention that at the point of the onset of the SP I get a sort of buzzing electrical sound in my ears along with vibrations throughout my body. For many years I have not been able to use a bedside fan even on the warmest of nights, due to the fact that it always sets off my SP and then inevitably results in a nasty visit. It seems to make it easier for these entities to manifest themselves.
    I am of the opinion that what I am experiencing is very real and not simply in my mind like I am continually being told. I believe science has a long way to go before it is ready to accept what is the true nature of our reality. People don’t like to think demons are real, it’s not really a nice thought. Most people would rather label them as complainant mad than face the the fact that over thousands of years people have forgotten what their true reality is along with the demons that come with it. Sadly nothing is what we have been told it really is, and to be honest I believe that is how the masses will always want it to be. They seem completely blissful in their ignorance.

    • Hi Angela

      Thank you for sharing this very personal, and I imagine painful, story of sleep paralysis. I can understand your description of it being a lottery at night-time, either going into a less disturbing OBE, or having to endure something quite horrible. I’m sorry to hear you have to face this every night, and I can only hope for your sake it calms down at some point.

      I’m glad you mention your strong belief that demons etc do exist. It’s good for the on-going debate to have one or two people argue the other side of the possible explanation. Even though I personally think the scientific explanation is enough, I don’t doubt that the experiences people like yourself go through make it very difficult to do the same.

      I’m also glad you mention sleeping with the lights on helps, as this is something I’ve suggested to people previously.

      Thanks again for sharing this, and I do hope you get some relief from sleep paralysis in the near future.

      Ethan

  36. Jason says:

    I just experienced this for the first time in my life (north side of 50) last night, and as a result went looking about for information. Happy to have discovered this site.

    Upon waking, I had the distinct impression of the presence of an entity prone atop my chest, pinning both arms to the bed. I would describe it as a coalescence of fluttering shadows without a distinct physical shape. I was unable to turn my head far enough to check the time. I was able to struggle/move my arms somewhat, but not nearly enough to free myself. It was speaking, after a fashion; more like unintelligible whispers. This went on for what seemed like 5-10 minutes, at which point I began directing it to leave. Not sure if I actually spoke aloud or merely focused mental energy; this is the last thing that I recall. By the time I had awoken again some hours later, everything seemed normal. I did not sense terror or even danger, but was somewhat alarmed at the occurrence.

    First thoughts ranged from crazy/bad dream, which is entirely possible and perhaps most likely, to something more sinister. I suppose it’s also possible that my partner merely flung some portion of her body across mine at some point during the night, or that the bedspread was the one doing the “pinning”. I normally sleep alone. I also normally wake several times during the night. I had been drinking, but not heavily. Lately, I have been aware of more dreams than is normal for me, but the impression I had upon waking fully was that something had indeed “happened”. Of course, there was no physical evidence present to support such a notion.

    Full disclosure; I do believe in paranormal occurrences and a spiritual realm, but have no personal experience with them. Not willing yet to classify this as such. Maybe if it happens again. Most of what is portrayed in various media seems highly dubious to me, however, and can be rather easily de-mystified. I’m willing to accept the rational, scientific explanation, but at the same time know that science does not fully comprehend every matter, and many times simply raises more questions. Then too is the lingering feeling that something weird may have just happened.

    Anyway, thanks for providing a forum.

    • Hi Jason

      Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience of sleep paralysis, if indeed it was since you question it yourself.

      As a side note, I really appreciate it when someone leaves a comment which is so nicely written; “coalescence of fluttering shadows” is possibly the best combination of 3 words on this website now!

      Anyway, back to the point. It does sound to me like quite a classic case of sleep paralysis, even though you rightly question other possibilities. But the fact that you were pinned to the bed and unable to move, and then somehow able to direct it to finish is something other people have also mentioned.

      I doubt anyone has read every single comment on this page now as it would take several hours I think, but I know a common theme is some people being able to end the episode through willpower. Others sadly don’t seem to be able to do that.

      To me this seems to be developing as a core part of sleep paralysis. Knowing something is happening, as you mention, and then either being able or not to stop it happening.

      I think you also very rationally point out that the scientific explanation seems reasonable, but the Universe is a mysterious place with so much still unexplained. I still stand by my original line that in this case it’s probably easier to believe there aren’t demons…

      Thanks again for your thoughts
      Ethan

  37. Stefania says:

    Hi!
    This is my third time in my whole life experiencing SP. My 1st time was when I was 17, the 2nd when I was 25 and my last one a few days ago, I’m 27 now. Well my last one was kind of different because involves my husband. Everything started in the middle of the night, when I was sleeping and out of nothing I woke up. I was awake, thinking and randomly out of nothing came this voice screaming in my ear, it sounded like a witch. I closed my eyes because I freaked out and when I closed them I saw a really old wooden box and inside was a paper with my name, my husband’s, my mother’s and my father’s name. While I was reading that paper I kept hearing the witch screaming things in my ear in a different language. I opened my eyes and I tried to wake my husband up but I couldn’t move or speak and felt like someone was holding me. I was so scared because the witch’s voice was still in my ear. Then since I couldn’t move I remember that my passed experiences of SP I used to pray to get out from that paralysis. So that’s what I did. I prayed and prayed until the witch’s voice went away and also the paralysis. So I sat up right away and I felt my ear like wet, like when someone talks to you on your ear for too long. After that I started to wake my husband up. He woke up and I told him about it, he said that maybe I was dreaming. So since he saw me freaking out he told me he will stay awake until I will fall asleep again. So that’s what we did. He stayed playing x-box until I fell asleep. And out of nothing I woke up again and I heard my husband mumbling. So I freaked out again and I started to scream “Baby, baby!!!” and he kept mumbling. He had his eyes open so that meant he was awake but he wouldn’t move. He would just mumble and stared at me without even opening his mouth. So I kept yelling until he finally came out of it. I asked him what happened and he told me that what happened to me a few hrs ago had just happened to him. He was mumbling because he couldn’t move anything. He felt like someone was holding him and not letting him move. So we were so scared that we went to my mom’s room and she made us pray. Because she says that since I played the Ouija board when I was little maybe that’s why they bothered me. And since she believes on spirits and stuff like that and me too so I decided to pray. Since then I haven’t been able to sleep because I don’t know what to believe. If I believe the scientific side of SP then I don’t understand why it happened to my husband the same thing on the same day as me. Because of that I’m leaning more towards the paranormal side because I don’t see other way.

  38. Amanda says:

    I have read countless books, articles, blogs etc… on the subject of Sleep Paralysis. The scientific explanation is the one I tend to lean most towards, however in experiencing SP myself numerous times…It’s hard not to dig deeper into the spiritual or paranormal reasoning. It first started when I was very young, 8 or 9 years old. I would always have the same dream… that I was riding my bike down a small hill in front of my house and when I reached the bottom I would feel this horrible presence. And I knew it wanted to hurt me. I would look to the right and there would be this dark, dense , shadowy mass moving towards me at a steady slow pace. That is when I would wake up and I would be screaming. My parents would come in and try to comfort me but their voices were slow and deep and I couldn’t understand what they were saying however their lips were moving incredibly fast. This would last for about 5 minutes and then I would snap out of it.

    As I got older it changed into your normal sleep paralysis. I would wake up and be instantly afraid. And not just sort of scared…it felt as though I was going to die in that moment. I couldn’t move and there would be a very tall (8 ft) male presence in the room. He would begin to walk towards me along the side of my bed until he was right next to me looking down directly at me. I would try to scream out or speak and it felt like a hand was shoving my jaw upward closing my mouth. This lasted about 3 minutes usually. The second I could move my fingers, the figure would disappear and I could speak and move. I was usually sweating horribly and cant really go back to sleep at that point.

    The last time I experienced SP it was a bit different. I fell asleep on my couch at mid day. I woke up and it was completely bright in the room as I have large windows. I felt the familiar inability to move but knew I was awake. I heard my bathroom door creak and looked over and It was opening. I couldn’t see a presence but I felt that fear. Then I heard laughing… It was mechanical cackling. And I didn’t realize until after I could move my fingers that I was the one laughing.

    I cant explain that last one….very strange indeed.

    • Hi Amanda

      Thank you for leaving this comment and sharing your story. Yes, that last incident does sound very odd. I can imagine it was very strange to realize it was you doing the laughing! Did the bathroom door actually open though, or did you imagine that part? You also mention that you looked over, so presumably your body was paralyzed, but your head still able to turn?

  39. Stefania says:

    Sorry but forgot to include that my 1st experience i was sleeping on my stomach and felt like an entity was trying to get into my body. My 2nd one I remember I woke up randomly on the middle of the night, I was laying on my right side and I saw an old lady floating on the room going back and forward staring at me like she was really upset. The 3rd one me and my husband were sleeping on our left sides when this happened.

  40. Stefania says:

    also my husband was able to come out from it through willpower because he doesn’t believe in prayers. He also told me he was able to heard me the whole time I was yelling out and that he was looking at me the whole time but not being able to move only make mumbling sound because he was trying to talk.

    • Hi Stefania

      First of all thank you for describing your sleep paralysis in such detail. I’ve read some pretty scary sounding stories in these comments over the months, but yours sounds particularly frightening.

      The wooden box with names in it? A wet ear when you woke up after feeling like a witch was talking to you? Your husband also experiencing it on the same night?

      That all sounds like something straight out of a horror film, and must have been very disturbing for you. I’m not surprised you’ve been a little worried about sleeping again.

      I do understand what you’re saying about how the fact that you both experienced it at the same time makes it hard to accept the scientific side. But what I’d also like to suggest is that it doesn’t absolutely negate it. Just that if you did indeed both experience SP at the same time, it’s a horrible coincidence. Whether you choose to believe that or not is up to you both of course. It’s also possible that one of you wasn’t experiencing SP, but a bad dream as a result of the other, or at the same time.

      Our brains are able to create what seems like a long dream in a split second, which can then be very confusing. For example have you ever had a long dream of a fire and fire engines, then woke up to hear an alarm somewhere and thought it was strange? Actually it is sometimes the alarm which then triggers you to have a dream just before the alarm wakes you up. So when you wake up you feel that you had a very long dream, then were amazed to wake and hear an alarm which sounded just like the one you were dreaming of.

      Just a suggestion for you to mull over, not that it’s a definite explanation, more just a thought that our strange night-time experiences are more complex and can have more possible explanations than you might think:-)

      I do hope that both of you find some peace and go back to sleeping properly again.

      Thanks again for sharing your story
      Ethan

  41. Lori says:

    I have had 3 SP experiences in the last 25 years. The most recent one being last night. Thus, the reason I found this page. My perspective on this is that they are spiritual attacks. I firmly believe that. I am a Christian and I do believe that spiritual battles between good and evil happen. My episodes are not as frightening as those I have read here though and they have been very few. I awake and cannot move anything at all, including my mouth. Each time I have tried to speak and nothing moves. The only difference in my episode last night was that there was noise that accompanied it and that is what woke me up. You know how when a clock radio goes off, but the radio station is not coming in clearly, and you hear music and static at the same time? That is what the noise was last night. I could also feel vibrations. I honestly thought my husband was messing with the radio or something. Of course, I was the only one that heard it. Each time I had an episode though, I would call out in my mind, “Jesus, help me!” That is just a natural thing for me though because I am a believer, and every single time, it immediately stops and I can move. Not a few minutes or even seconds later, but immediately. From the experiences I have read about here, it sounds an awful lot like torment and that is what demons do. In my opinion, my episodes never progress too far and have been so few because I know what is causing them and I know Who to call on before they escalate. Just felt like I needed to share my perspective on this topic. I pray you all find peace and some good sleep. :)

    • Hi Lori

      Thanks for sharing your perspective and personal understanding of sleep paralysis. I’m personally very grateful, and interested, that so many people have offered so many different opinions and thoughts on the topic. There haven’t been too many people who believe the spiritual explanation so strongly though, so for the sake of open discussion it’s helpful to hear different views.

      What is becoming apparent from the many people who’ve joined the discussion is that some people feel they have the ability to ‘snap out’ of SP through willpower.

      My opinion is that it doesn’t really matter what drives that will power. Whether it is religious strength helping or just strength of will, I think the outcome can be the same.

      Perhaps you see it differently and that calling on your religious belief is what helps? Would you think that calling for it to stop but without the religious aspect would be as effective?

      I’d be interested to know what you think.

      Thanks again for stopping by, and thanks also for inadvertently letting me know that at least someone reads through the other comments. I was wondering the other day how many people other than me take the time to read them, as it’s a lot to get through!

      Ethan

  42. strange says:

    I have been fascinated with the overlapping subjects of sleep paralysis, the pineal gland, closed-eye hallucinations, lucid dreaming and Old Hag syndrome for the last five years, and have been experimenting with it on and off since my first sleep paralysis experience at age 20.

    I encountered my first closed-eye hallucination around eight years ago, a vision of a sharp-boned, intensely green-eyed man residing in a backdrop that is best described as the same green/black colour of radar screens. I had absolutely no clue what it was, and subsequently ignored it.

    I didn’t pay much attention to any minor occurrences until one night I had a dream about being chased by the local heroin addicts, who then injected me with heroin. This was during a period of a lengthy abstinence from alcohol or drugs, and no depression, so none could be attributed to this experience. At that point, I woke up in a state I have come to recognise as sleep paralysis; my full body was obviously paralysed, I was riddled with fear, and I felt the ‘heroin’ coursing through my veins (I now attribute this feeling to it being a novel sensation, and the muscular resistance to the paralysis gave off a strange ‘pleasure’ sensation, one that I can now half-control and manipulate). I did not have the feeling someone was in the room, or have any hallucinations at all.

    Again, I had no idea what this was, and thought about it for a few days, then shrugged it off as a strange nightmare occurrence. I had no idea what sleep paralysis was at this time. Keep in mind I am a rational man who’s immensely interested in science, who holds an atheistic outlook and is undoubtedly more likely to deduce a vastly studied, scientific explanation for an occurrence than a religious or paranormal one.

    I then, around 18 months later, travelled to America, and lived with Native Americans in Tennessee. One night there, I had the most profound and bizarre experience I have ever encountered.

    I was sharing an attic space with my friend, in an ‘open-plan’ house where the attic overlooked the kitchen and the living room. We were both sleeping on separate air-beds several feet apart, and I feel asleep after talking to my friend for a short while.

    I woke up perhaps an hour later (I can’t be absolutely sure of the time) and heard something subtle moving in the kitchen, and with it, a rising feeling of dread that it was going to travel up the spiral staircase and come for me. It did not ‘feel’ like a human presence. I gauge this as when a human is travelling upstairs towards my room, I do not get an overwhelming feeling that they can sense, almost ‘hear’, my fear. It felt as if I could feel it just as much as it could feel me, as if I knew where its ultimate destination was: me.

    I could not see it. Only feel it. Yet it appeared as an invisible spherical mass of immense weight floating through the air towards me. I was absolutely awake at this time.(I’ve since had 100s of sleep paralysis experiences and have studied and experimented with lucid dreams to the point of being able to instantly induce them upon sleep – this was unequivocally different)

    It moved towards my feet and I watched this invisible sphere travel onto my sleeping bag, with its shape impress on the covers in between my legs. As the pressure was placed on my feet, the air bed rose so my head was elevated by about 20 degrees, and now looking downwards. I watched it travel up my legs and its absolutely immeasurable density was felt on my chest. The pressure – which I know is a common report of sleep paralysis – was unbelievable.

    This thing communicated telepathically with me that it was going to seize me throat, strangle me and enter my body. At that point, panic set in and I turned my head towards my friend (my head I could still move) and repeatedly screamed his name. No words could escape.

    I succumbed to this assault and stopped panicking, and just let it happen, and the ‘thing’ disappeared down my throat and I fell back to sleep after about an hour of lying in silence, questioning what had just happened.

    The next morning, I woke up and immediately told my friend about it, but framed it as a ‘dream’ that I had had, as I was embarrassed and confused about it and that he would think I had gone insane.

    Hours later, at around 8pm, he was washing the dishes with the woman who owned the house and casually dropped my dream into the conversation. She immediately summoned me to the kitchen, had me explain the experience, and screamed at me to immediately leave the house; to stand in the garden barefoot.

    After five minutes, she came out with one half of a sea shell with a ball of sage inside it, and lit it while speaking some incantation. She blew the smoke from the ball of sage down my throat three times, with no response, not even the faintest of coughs. Upon the fourth time, my stomach stabbed, my throat welled and thick black smoke poured out of my throat with the most awful bellowing, jarring groan. The colour was a deep black, quite unlike the wispy white colour that was blown in. And with that, she said one final incantation, and allowed me back in.

    Her explanation – that a demon had entered my body the previous night – was not taken seriously, as it did not (and still does not) fit in with my scientific grasp of physics and the universe.

    Over the next few years, I encountered a lot of strange, paranormal activity… Waking up with deep scratches despite biting my nails down to their absolute bluntness. Friends encountering sleep paralysis in the beds I slept in. Friends reciting Latin in their sleep (when they couldn’t speak it awake). Things clearly moving on their own. Light, ripped cloth-like black masses floating around the room. Psychics saying to me some creature lies on me at night (without me informing them of absolutely anything).

    You need to keep in mind that I am in no way religious.
    The idea that a deity has selected (or even communicates with) a single ‘special’ species is preposterous, especially one who resides on a minuscule dust speck in a vast solar system, that itself is located galaxy of immense proportions which is only a tiny organism in an almost immeasurable web of gigantic structures. So these occurrences have, if anything, directly conflicted with my beliefs and understanding, and I discredited much of them as me being hyper-sensitive or perhaps trying to sub-consciously find things that aren’t there (I’m aware an element of that does occur, but I’ve been able to separate the aforementioned things from the tenuous links with retrospection)

    I’ve also went through periods of both abstinence and drug experimentation, and have noticed the obvious spike in some of these occurrences after psilocybin, morphine-based drugs or LSD. That said, there have been lengthy periods where I have consumed drugs and nothing has happened, but there is unquestionably a correlation, of which up until recently a scientific explanation has been ‘satisfactory’ (for want of a better word)

    I began reading about lucid dreams and quickly realised – for whatever reason – that I could induce them rapidly. Inducing them happened through inadvertently self-taught meditative techniques that can only be described as the following; first, a clearing of the mind, then the relaxation of the two eyes and their muscles, then finally the activation of the ‘third eye’, so as to give it a name. This feels like placing a mirror across the bridge of your nose and staring into the reflection of the mind. This initially induces closed-eye hallucinations of a level 4 magnitude almost all of the time, and precedes a lucid dream, in a speed that defies my understanding of how REM sleep works.

    It wasn’t until I had experienced a large batch of both strong, vivid lucid dreams (where I was not only conscious while dreaming but entirely manipulating my surroundings, as to control the dream, its narrative and its content) and sleep paralysis that I started to understand what happened to me on the air bed in Tennessee happened when I was UNQUESTIONABLY awake. I can acutely differentiate between that experience and the countless miscellany of other experiences, and this both worries and perplexes me.

    I began reading into Old Hag Syndrome, and found that lot of similar experiences as to mines on the air bed had been banded in with sleep paralysis with the Western way of thinking, but there is – in my mind – no doubt that they are in fact different.

    I’m not claiming to have an answer; I can only speculate as to what this experience actually is, and don’t think it can be a ‘demon’ of the religious kind, because of the reasons I previously mentioned. to suggest demons of a religious kind is to affirm that Mohammed, Jesus or whatever other human being is a direct link to the universe’s creator, something I find implausible given the size of our universe and the insignificance of us within it. 

    However, it is interesting to ponder dark energy, neutrinos, and multi-dimensional beings when approaching this. It seems more rational and plausible than a sentient, malevolent creature silently acting out the will of one of the fallen angels of the universe’s supreme creator anyway. 

    It does seem there’s a strong correlation between negativity and the intensity and regularity of such experiences, and perhaps negative or dark energy resides on vibrations that we are yet unable to fully detect, but ones that still overlap into our four-dimensional understanding of things.

    The only conclusion I could possibly deduce from my own personal experience is that what happened to me while I was on the air bed (and what has happened to many others) can not yet be explained scientifically, and is not the same as sleep paralysis.

    That ‘bad spirits’ don’t have to be in any way human form, or descend from our dead, or even from our dimension, but could be complex collections of energy that use negativity (fear, depression etc) as some sort of fuel. It’s as if you can deliberately attract this type of creature (I use the term creature loosely) with a specific outlook or perspective.

    Like I said, even with all my experiences, this hypothesis seems laughable in my own head because it goes against what I’d like to believe in, but there is definitely some form of energy out there that is more intelligent, more advanced and incomprehensibly more powerful than we are, and one I have no desire to ever encounter again.

    Thoughts?

    • Hi

      Thank you so much for this amazing story, and really interesting analysis of what you think happened. To be perfectly honest I don’t know where to begin in responding to your final questions of ‘thoughts?’ – A few lines wouldn’t really do it justice…

      Your struggle with accepting the simple scientific explanation when faced with such an intense and powerful experience is one of the themes which is developing in the comments people leave here. You very eloquently describe that difficulty and I’m grateful that you took the time to do so.

      But I do think you’re the first person here to talk about multi-dimensional beings and other possible explanations which go even beyond the non-scientific explanations I mentioned in the original article.

      Interestingly I was watching a documentary on the discovery channel recently about what aliens might be like once you look beyond carbon-based lifeforms. It reminded me of the possibility of one day discovering things that expand or shatter our current understanding of the Universe.

      I’m not saying I believe that everything we can imagine actually might exist, but your sleep paralysis story and analysis did make me think beyond the explanations I’d originally discussed. I’m a bit of a closet Sci-Fi fan, so I enjoy pondering over things like this from time to time.

      But at the end of the day it does still come down to personal belief for now. If you choose to believe in beings which feed of negative energy etc as you say, could you end up experiencing sleep paralysis, or other strange and unpleasant events which are not SP, every time you recognize that you’re not in the best frame of mind?

      I could write at length in response to the questions you raise, and would enjoy it, but I don’t want to flood the comments with my thoughts, as this is really a space for readers to share their views. Perhaps someone else will read your story and have something to say about it.

      Thanks once again for the time you must have taken to write this comment, and I hope that you manage to reconcile your scientific mind with the disconcerting experiences you’ve had.

      And please know that I’ll be mulling over your ideas for the rest of the day now, even if I don’t respond to them in detail!

      Ethan

  43. Nathan says:

    Sorry to come back just to chime in on someone else’s theory, but there is something that I feel compelled to mention.

    String-field theory suggests that there are multiple dimensions that are intertwined with our own 3rd dimension.

    the 4th dimension is the dimension of time, in which our individual lives can be described as elongated embryonic snake-type shapes/beings that encompass our entire existence, from birth to death.

    i believe that beings exist in this dimension (maybe us?) who cannot experience emotions as singular experiences, and i think our 3rd dimensional existences compels these beings to live vicariously through us, be them our 4th dimensional selves or something else.

    i think that many paranormal episodes can be attributed to these beings, as their interaction in our dimension is anomalous in nature, and when we are aware of them, we only interpret their presence through cross-section type wave-lengths.

    because SP is of a subconscious nature (being conscious while our subconscious is at the wheel) these beings have ‘portals’ into our own experiences though altered states of mind, such as dreams, sp, etc..

    they are most likely with us all the time, yet we only are aware of them through altered states of mind, be them natural states or those induced by chemicals.

    there was no room for that in my original comment, but strange’s comment made me decide to mention it. (I’ve been returning to read new comments as they come in. there has been some interesting reads to say the least. keep them coming! I’m fascinated by this stuff, to the point of obsession)

    • Hi Nathan

      No need to apologize. As I keep saying, it’s interesting to hear different perspectives on topics like this. And in the absence of a forum, I’m happy for people to bounce ideas off of one another in these comments.

      Personally though I’m not going to comment any further on the theories that yourself and ‘Strange’ have put forwards. You are both definitely pushing the boundaries of the theories that exist for sleep paralysis, which is interesting, but I’ll leave that to you to explore as it’s now pretty far from what I personally believe, or have any knowledge about. I never could finish those books on quantum physics.

      I think that within these comments just about every possible explanation has been covered now. I only hope anyone reading through doesn’t end up even more mystified about Sleep paralysis than they were before…

      You’re right that there have been some interesting reads. I’ve thought various times about creating a forum here as I don’t think I’ve ever seen such long comments on any article on the internet. People are clearly fascinated by the topic and feel compelled to share their sleep paralysis stories and theories. If I ever find the time to undertake such a task I’ll let you know:-)

      Ethan

  44. ROSEMARIE says:

    I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK OR WHAT TO BELIEVE BUT WHEN SP IS HAPPENING TO ME I FEEL LIKE I AM GOING TO DIE. I HAVE EXPERIENCED EVERY SINGLE THING YOU GUYS HAVE DESCRIBED. IT IS SCARY AS HELL, I REMEMBERED ONE NIGHT WHEN I WAS PREGNANT IT HAPPENED TO ME 5 TIMES IN ONE NIGHT. I WAS SCARED TO FALL ASLEEP SO I SAT UP ALL NIGHT AWAKE WITH THE LIGHTS ON. I DON’T THINK ANYBODY KNOWS WHAT IT IS. I CAN NEVER FORGET THIS DAY, I WAS 12 YR OLD AND IT WAS IN BROAD DAY I WAS LAYING ON MY BACK READY TO FALL ASLEEP AND I FELT SOMEONE STANDING OVER ME, I COULDN’T MOVE ANY PART OF MY BODY EXCEPT MY EYES. I HALF OPENED MY EYES AND SAW A TALL MAN STANDING OVER ME, HE LOOKS ABOUT 6FT 4 INCHES TALL. HE WAS WEARING A BLACK JACKET SUITE, WHITE SHIRT AND A BOW TIE. I COULDN’T DO ANYTHING I JUST LAY THERE LOOKING AT HIM UNTIL HE WASN’T THERE ANYMORE AND THEN I GOT AND RAN OUT OF THE HOUSE WITH GREAT FEAR.
    1 WEEK LATER I WAS BABY SITTING MY SISTER’S 18 MONTH OLD SON AND THE BABY KEPT CRYING AND CRYING AND WOULDN’T STOP. I TRIED EVERYTHING TO COMFORT HIM AND THE BABY JUST KEEPS CRYING SO I DECIDED TO TAKE THE BABY OUTSIDE TO GET SOME FRESH AIR. HE WAS STILL CRYING AND THEN AS I WAS STANDING ON THE STEP I SAW A MAN WALKED TOWARDS ME AND HE STOOD SO CLOSE I COULD EASILY TOUCH HIM. THE MAN WAS WEARING THE SAME CLOTHES, SAME HEIGHT AS THE MAN I SAW STANDING OVER ME. BUT HE APPEARED SO REAL I THOUGHT HE WAS A REAL PERSON SO I WAS EXPLAINING TO HIM THAT THE BABY HAS BEEN CRYING ALL MORNING AND ONLY STOP AS HE CAME. I THEN ASKED HIM TO TAKE THE BABY SO THAT I CAN GO AND GET MY SISTER. HE DIDN’T SPEAK TO ME, HE JUST STOOD STILL UNTIL AFTER ABOUT 5CMINS HE RAN SIDEWAYS RATHER THAN FORWARD AND THEN THERE WAS A PILLOW OF SMOKE. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT WAS SO WHEN MY MOM GOT IN I TOLD HER ABOUT IT AND SHE SAID THAT IT SOUNDS LIKE IT IS A SPIRIT. THE WORST THING IS 2 WEEKS AFTER THAT MY NEPHEW DIED IN HIS SLEEP AND THEY DID AN AUTOPSY AND THEY SAID HE DIED OF A HEART ATTACK.

    EVERY TIME I REFLECT ON THAT DAY, I CAN PICTURE THAT MAN. I THINK IT WAS THE WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE AND UP TO THIS DAY I AM LIVING WITH WHAT I SAW WHILE I WAS ALMOST SLEEPING AND WHAT I SAW WHILE I WAS AWAKE ON THAT STEP. I HAVEN’T FOUND ANYBODY THAT CAN EXPLAIN THAT TO ME.

    • Hi Rosemarie

      Thank you for sharing this personal story, and I’m sorry for the loss of your nephew as you mention. I also can’t explain what happened I’m afraid. I’m not surprised you describe it as the worst experience of your life. It’s the first time I’ve heard of someone experiencing something which sounds like it could have been sleep paralysis, and then coming face to face with what you saw during the experience. There could be various explanations, but it’s not really for me to speculate.

      I hope you don’t experience this again!

      Ethan

  45. ROSEMARIE says:

    IF SOMEONE TOLD ME THAT GHOST EXISTS I WOULDN’T BELIEVE IT BUT BECAUSE I SAW IT, SPOKE TO IT THEN I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO BELIEVE IT.

  46. Michael says:

    I am 33 and have dealt with sleep paralysis since I was a child. More often than not, my episodes eventually morph into an “out-of-body-like experience.”

    I’m not saying that it is without question an out of body experience. But … it sure feels like one.

    I am usually overcome by a feeling of weightless. Next, I almost always remember looking down and seeing my sleeping body in my bed as I float out of my bedroom, through the wall. Finally, as I accelerate through the air, I feel what is akin to wind blowing in my face.

    I operate under the assumption that this is some form of hallucination… however, the experiences are hard to ignore sometimes.

    • Hi Michael

      Thanks for adding your story to the growing collection here. What you describe definitely sounds like the classic description of an out-of-body experience. I know what you mean about thinking it’s a hallucination but feeling something a bit more than that. I think as many other people have said here, it can be hard to marry a scientific belief with the strange experiences that can happen during sleep paralysis.

      Thanks again for commenting
      Ethan

  47. TO says:

    Although I’m not actively dabbling at the moment, I have in the past tended to describe my SP experiences into a recording device as soon as I wake up, and then I’ve transcribed it into Word. I’ll post one of my most powerful experiences for now. There does seem to be a lot of misery associated with SP, but for me it has become a source of excitement and adventure, even though much of the time I have to deal with the usual obstructions from ‘beings’. Still, even the ‘negative’ experiences aren’t all that bad. Here goes. I have edited some of this but it is essentially an exact rendition of my recording. You can tell where I got excited (I hope I’m not breaking a word count limit): Sunday 14th March 2004
    “I read for about 2 hours (“The Elegant Universe” by Brian Greene). It was the case that towards the end of my reading time, I began to detect the very faint sign of the hissing sensation and once or maybe twice, the sudden dizziness which is often associated with sleep paralysis. I was reading about string theory and super symmetry. At the end of the two hours, although I wasn’t really tired (it was now 6am), I was squirming restlessly as my body did want to sleep. Perhaps I could have gone on reading because mentally I was up for it. I put the book down, and leaving the lamp on, I lay on my back and let the sleep process begin. I allowed the hissing sensations to take their course. I’d been playing or toying with this for the last 15 or 20 minutes. It was quite amazing. It was not what I was expecting, and didn’t lead to any of the usual out of body type experience phenomena. However, it was extremely persistent and wouldn’t let up. Of course, this suited me quite well this morning. I wanted to probe this state to the best of my ability. I could compare it to a swarm of midges in some damp country lane. No matter how much or determinedly you brush them aside, after a decent retreat, they return to swarm around your head, and this goes on and on. Succumbing to this sensation is like descending into a small, restrictive room of strange whirring and bleepy sounds, whose walls and furniture were made of these sounds. Restricting in the sense that I felt somewhat pressurised and there was a hint of pressure centred around my nose (as usual). This wasn’t painful, but slightly uncomfortable. At some stage I tried to move one of my phantom hands, but this only seemed to increase (slightly, but more completely) the overall pressure and restrictiveness of the sensation. This also confused me, and I wondered in fact whether this was the same state in which I am usually able to experiment with the phantom. Maybe this was some different, if related state. Maybe this hissing sensation is something different from what I used to term ‘electrical interference’. There was a point during the proceedings when I seemed to be almost dreaming and in which two girls who wanted B. or wanted us to remove the fence between 12 G. Close (my childhood home) and 10 G. Close, i.e. the house in which the E’s used to live. And I was saying something like, “Well, no, because the fence certainly up to the inner garden has always been there. The rest of the fence may have been built more recently and, yes, we will take that away.” [This is surely some form of symbolism pertinent to the experimentation].Yes, okay, but that is a very crude rendition of what was a pretty abstract dream scenario. And as I kept going into this funny hissing sensation or whatever it is, I get the impression that these two girls in some very, very abstract form insisting that I…I don’t know, I don’t know…I just feel that I…I also had this paranoid feeling that they were trying to get me into this state, but when I was in this state it was nothing but mechanical sounding noise. Nothing there! It was quite awful in fact, desolate. But you are dragged in there and it is quite forcing, it’s not paralysis, not in the usual sense that is, and there was the pressure (gentle) on my nose. Trying to do the phantom movement of my arm was hard and it seemed to ‘fix’ me in some way. The hissing was there, in the periphery, waiting to claim me as I closed my eyes. It was frustrating, because I was willing to really go with it and not run scared, but all I was being offered was this dead-end experience. Interestingly, some of the ‘mechanical noise’ seemed to be voices spoken at high speed, like a tape going fast. But this may have just been my mind or imagination reading something into one of the many whirring, oscillatory noises I seemed to be immersed in. Probably that in fact.
    LATER
    Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Now then, I tried again to get back into….well I succeeded this time to get back into that hissing sound, and … what did I do? I can’t remember the transition but…I found this girl called Melba. We were on this bed. The light, the light was not like this (i.e. the lamp is on as I tape this), the light was different, but I could see myself on the bed…It was strange, I was looking at this girl, I was talking to her. There were all these written details about her. I could read. I could read the writing and the writing didn’t change as I looked at it again. What was it, what was it now? I was looking below her or behind her and there was this screen, this computer-like screen and I thought to myself “Wow, this is odd. It’s amazing,” I thought to myself. The thing is, while I was in that state…Initially, it was uncomfortable…initially it was uncomfortable. But then…it was like going under water…you seemed to just adapt, it still remained uncomfortable, but it was fine. It was that feeling of swimming into the middle of the water, knowing that the floor is too far down to put your feet down onto, but it’s okay because you are a reasonable swimmer and because of that, you don’t need the floor for support. You nevertheless need to keep working to prevent yourself from sinking. And there was this girl! I left my body and…just on the bed though, and…this girl, she was only about three, she had long, straggly black hair, and I thought she was Nigerian, but…and her name was something like Melba or Elba or something and I looked down at this information about her and it had…and at some point she said something like, “If you look down below you will see something about my sympathetic nervous system (?) Right!? And it said something like 18.6 or something, which is a bit odd.. But there was a word, “lbe…” something something…which I saw written down twice and I looked away and I looked …I was talking to her about something…and I looked back again and there it was again, this word, nothing had changed, and the details were there, all this writing, I don’t know where it came from or where it was attached to her. And then…and I was there for a while, I mean, and I didn’t time myself, so I can’t say when this happened, but I would say a good five minutes I was there with her. And I was talking with her and I can’t remember what we were talking about now but…I mean, I was talking to her! I was sitting on the bed and I hadn’t looked at myself at this point, but…Melba was her name…and she said something about her father, but I can’t remember what she said. I don’t know …The thing is, I started…I tried to leave my body, didn’t I because the thing is I got into that state…previously it was hard, I don’t know what happened earlier in the night, I just couldn’t get into it. But now, in the morning, what time is it now? 7.51am…that’s quite late for a start and I just spoke to her about herself…and, she’s only a little girl, Melba, or Elba, or something like that. I thought she was Nigerian but she wasn’t…well, I don’t think she was, she had long, straggly hair, she was certainly dark, she was certainly from Africa or Asia, possibly even a Berber child, I don’t know, a Tuareg child possibly, who knows. She was female as far as I could see. I spoke to her a lot. And then I said to her, eventually, I said “I think I had better get back into my body now.” She seemed disappointed at first and then she said, “Okay.” I said “I’d better get back in because, you know…” Then I think that she tried to warn me about something but I don’t know what she tried to warn me about. But anyway, I thought, “Okay…” First of all, when she asked me to look for the detail about her sympathetic nervous system, I said “Can I look at my body before I do this?” I did so, and I looked pretty dead, actually, a little bit scary. I looked very handsome and serene, and completely still (thank God my eyes weren’t open because that would have given me a heart attack!). But I SAW MYSELF LAYING DOWN! For the first time ever. And then I continued speaking to her and then I decided that I had better go back to my body now and she looked disappointed. Melba? Are you still there?…I mean, I’m quite convinced this happened. And the, okay, I tried to, then I lay back on my body, I didn’t know how to do it. I lay on my face first, and it just seemed to not go in and I thought, “Chuff! What’s happened? Am I dead?” And I lay on my face and it felt like, just chuffing hell. Then I moved down a little bit, to the lower part of my body to between my legs, it was between my legs anyway and then pushed further in and that didn’t work either and then I just…I could feel this sort of squashy, melting sort of feeling as if I was trying to get into plastic or a plastic balloon or something, squashy, trying to get in, I couldn’t get in. And then I just sort of opened my eyes, pulled myself out of it, in the way that I pull myself out of paralysis, and there I am. Amazing! First time to have been astral, intelligently interactive, TO HAVE SEEN MYSELF IN BED, and to have had reasonable detail to have memory of – although see the Mark experience). Because yesterday, I did say quite explicitly that I didn’t want to do any fighting or wrestling or any of that nonsense, and that I wanted to have some form of intelligent discourse, to speak to whoever I was fighting with during these episodes. And there she was, this girl! Melba…Melba…wow!

    I feel, considering that I lay on my head for quite a while, banging my head into my face, I don’t feel any ill effects. The only ill effect, I mean, the only thing which doesn’t feel quite right is that my throat feels a bit tickly. But that is only very slight and most likely just incidental. I know that before the Melba episode, I had a dream because…I don’t know…I mean, did this start off from a dream…I don’t know…I remember laying down and having that hissing feeling and going into it and then I don’t know how it transferred itself into myself speaking to this Melba girl. I don’t know.

    Re. The interference/noise: the high-pitched speeded up voice effect is probably the same noise that I have often identified with lots of voices in the distance and there was that time where I heard what seemed to be Japanese/Chinese voices; there was that other time when I thought I heard the words “Somalia! Somalia!” – see appropriate dream notes. Whatever it is, it does seem to be a consistent element in the auditory effects. Sometimes the auditory effect is prominent and at other times it is far away in the background (see the OBE when everything was black and I was poised on the bed listening for the presence of ‘entities’).

    With the Melba situation I heard no background noise or interference. The initial hissing had either faded away, or it had just become like all-pervading bird-song.

    Melba or Elba or Elva. Long untidy hair, unkempt hair, thick hair. She seemed disappointed when I said I had to get back to my body, but I had to get back because when I looked at it, it actually looked dead. It’s funny, because the previous day I had idly wondered what I would look like if I had died at the age I am now, what I would look like in the coffin. Well, I answered that question! Quite attractive, actually, quite stern-faced, though. I thought that I had better make sure that that body was still alive. And when I eventually pulled myself out of that state…The lighting was sort of like twilight, it was dark, but I could still see my body…semi-daylight. On waking up, the lamp was on, and this contradicted strongly with the coolness, the shrouded light of the Melba scene. There was no sign that the lamp was on in the Melba scene. In fact waking up with the lamp on was almost shock (“Oh, I forgot that I had left that on!”). The twilight quality of light in these OBE/FA type scenes is quite common and I’ve seen it before – see appropriate accounts. It was perfectly quiet, apart from me and her. There was no radio on either, so it is no surprise.”

    • Hi TO

      What an interesting, and detailed, description of what you describe as an out of body experience. Thank you for sharing this, and it adds an interesting perspective of someone really trying to enjoy and use that aspect of sleep paralysis rather than purely being at the mercy of it.

      You definitely broke the word count by the way, but I’ve kind of given up editing comments due to length – I’ve been beaten into submission by the extraordinarily long sleep paralysis stories people feel compelled to share! And even when I’m not entirely convinced they are all really sleep paralysis, I’m happy to see people interacting and adding to the discussion.

      I can also track basic stats like how long on average people spend reading this page, and it’s increasing as the comments increase, so I take that to mean that enough people are also enjoying reading the long comments.

      You’re a true explorer of the unknown and of the subconscious mind it seems. I imagine you to have great reeems of notes and recordings of your experiences. And I think recording all of these kind of experiences is a good way to gain some control over them. It seems like a good example of what some describe as a way to use sleep paralysis positively – as a stepping stone to out of body experiences or lucid dreaming.

      Did you always manage to have this level of control or ability to influence what is happening? Or did you practice some technique or other to be able to have an OBE? I’d be interested to know some background. I’d also be interested to know if you ever saw the same girl in a later experience, or if it was just the once.

      Thanks again
      Ethan

  48. TO says:

    Hi Ethan,
    In the cold light of day I would say that I’m agnostic as to whether the experience I have described was an out of body experience. I try to be coolly objective, althoug when I make a recording I’m generally quite excited and taken in quite a bit by the experience. However, neither do I reject the experience and those like it as just delusion. It certainly felt real, as do many of the other experiences I’ve had. Visually, there are always discrepancies with the physically real environment, but I’m not sure that how things appear visually necessarily correlates with what is true, meaning because things appear visually at odds with physical reality doesn’t necessarily invalidate it as existing somehow in spacetime, somehow being the important word.

    As to background, like a lot of people attracted to this site, my acquaintance with sleep paralysis began in overwhelming terror, in childhood, in nightmares in which i found myself running in painfully slow motion away from one monster or another and then finding myself in bed unable to move while a black shadow stands over me beside the bed, or some other crazy scene takes place in the bedroom while i screamed silently and to no avail. Terrible experiences! However, while growing up I became fascinated by the hallucinatory elements associated with this state, still frightened by them, but intrigued too, like the proverbial moth to the flame. The experiences were rare, but frequent enough for me to remain interested. From youth into adulthood I was also interested in the idea of astral travel, the nature of dreaming, parapsychology and the like and at some point I made the connection between sleep paralysis and phenomena such as out of body experiences and lucid dreaming.

    My explorations began in earnest when I discovered that while the body was paralysed, it was nevertheless possible to move ‘phantom arms’ and ‘phantom legs’, to touch my ‘pillow’ with my ‘phantom hand’, to even ‘lick’ my ‘phantom fingers’ and taste them. Then I pushed it a bit further by just ‘rolling’ and ‘falling’ out of bed with my ‘phantom body’, and so on, often just ‘crawling’ around on the ‘floor’ before just learning to use suggestion to lift myself up and away.

    I am perhaps lucky in that sleep paralysis doesn’t generally happen spontaneously for me, although of course it did in the beginning. I generally have to want it to happen and over time I have learnt the various conditions that allow me to experience it. I actually have to work quite hard to render myself susceptible. Stress doesn’t help. A lot going on at work or at home doesn’t help. Talking about having out of body experiences does help. Reading about other peoples experiences does help as does reading about advanced ideas in physics, for example, and I know some of the readership will appreciate that last trigger. Each night that I attempt to enter what I euphemistically call the ‘state’ presents a small window of opportunity (usually between 3 and 6 in the morning); it’s really like stalking some rare exotic predator; I often just fall asleep waiting for it to make an appearance, and at other times, when it does emerge, I succumb to the easy panic that is so difficult to avoid. And even when I have successfully engaged sleep paralysis (and when I’m on a roll, it does just keep coming), many of the experiences are marred by blocking ‘entities’. However, I have had enough fascinating explorations in which my critical faculties are engaged and in which my consciousness is free to play and investigate, to make every attempt worthwhile.

    I do find that suggestion (whether in the previous day or during the experience itself) does have a lot to do with what happens during the experience. In waking life, I am not a great hypnotic subject. However, during sleep paralysis I become as suggestible as the best of them and often give myself playful suggestions – go up, go to a specific person, go to some time in my past, grow large, get out of the building, fly…and observe my consciousness respond accordingly and take me to unexpected lucid dream situations. However, suggestion on its own rarely works on what I call the ‘blockers’ and this is something which does really interest me.

    Anyway, I’ll wind up at this point. I never did see the Melba character again, certainly not in a form that I recognised. I read through my description again before I posted it and noticed that one of the names I associated with the character was Elva. Elva is actually quite pertinent in an eery sort of way. In Norse/Old Germanic, it means ‘elf’.In German, the word for nightmare, “Albtraum” still translates to “elf dream” (I googled that) while “an alp (elf) attack is called an Alpdruck, or often Alpdrücke, which means “elf pressure” “(and I googled that). It’s just interesting that one of the names I spontaneously ascribed to the girl in the experience, completely unconsciously, was Elva. The mind is a wonderful thing!

    • Thanks very much for coming back with answers to my questions TO. What’s even more interesting now is the understanding that you actively try to enter states of sleep paralysis sometimes.

      Where most other people are terrified of sleep paralysis and hope they never have it again, you’ve turned it on its head, so to speak, and try to encourage it so you can have these other experiences.

      What an interesting perspective. Thank you for sharing that, and good luck with your future explorations:-)

  49. Dupree says:

    I have had SP a few times, out of body, a terrifying one and most recently the most lovely although sad one. The day after my dog of 16 years died he arrived over my shoulder and I was paralysed and just cried and cried and he panted above my head, telling me he was ok I think. It was pretty cathartic to see him again and tell him I loved him. God I miss him even now and it was 2 months ago. Point being, all my episodes have been in relation to serious stress in waking life, I lucid dreamed a lot as a child and even sleep walked so I was told, I am generally strong but susceptible to anxiety. I find the best “exit” to any SP is to ackowledge that what it is during it. To try to remember your brain is awake but body asleep and reassure yourself so not to be frightened, just wait for it to “pass” Since I did that after my last scary one it ended quite quickly, just wanted my dog one to last longer so I could be near him. I had tears running down my face even when i did wake from it. Very odd. Defo think it happens when your so exhausted as the body sleeps and the mind worries and stays alert. Its really nothing to fear if you can remind yourself of that during an episode. I am sorry to hear some of the stories on here. I wish you all some positive , releasing thoughts in your next episode and see if it helps.

    • Hi Dupree

      Thank you for your comment, and the positive wishes for other readers. There have been some very distressing stories of sleep paralysis and probably many other things along with it, so it’s kind of you to think of the people who experienced them.

      Sorry about your dog – I can well believe you still miss him. And I think you are probably right about some sleep paralysis being related to everyday stress and anxiety. Your idea of dealing with sleep paralysis by both reassuring yourself that it will be ok, and that it will pass, is very sensible.

      Thanks again for taking the time to share your experience and bringing some positivity:-)

      Ethan

  50. Summer says:

    Hi there, I am relieved that I am not the only person experiencing Sleep Paralysis but I am also frightened by it as well. It started when I was 19 years old the morning that my best friend died, I woke up at 4am and I couldn’t move or speak all I could do was move my eyes and I felt someone there. 10 min later I got a call that my friend had passed. Ever since that morning I have experienced it about 6 to 8 times. I am 26 years old now. My husband is aware of it because there has been times im yelling for him and hes right next to me but nothing comes out until I come to and cry out. every time it happens to me I am on my back EVERY SINGLE TIME and I ALWAYS hear foot steps coming down my hallway. It usually lasts about a min then its like I re-awake and that is why ive never thought to look it up or ask people or doctors about it, I thought I was just dreaming it…. Today is Thursday nov. 14 and it happened to me 3 times this morning after my husband left for work, I was fighting the urge to pass out but at the same time I wanted to wake out of it, only this time besides the foot steps I felt like something was pulling on my leg. I decided to google “falling asleep and cant move” and I am intrigued by all the information. I had no idea it is something quite a few people experience. My husband and a few other family memebers know about it but now I have proof that I am not crazy!!!!

    • Hi Summer

      Thanks so much for sharing your story – it’s great when people take the time to describe their own experience of sleep paralysis, and I appreciate it:-)

      I think you can probably rest assured that you’re not crazy – at least not in terms of what you’ve described, and my definition of crazy!

      I’m sorry to hear you had such a distressing introduction to sleep paralysis though. That must have been very difficult for you, having that on top of your friend passing on.

      The one you described with feeling like someone was pulling your leg sounds quite frightening. It’s bad enough dealing with the paralysis, and perhaps sensing something else in the room or walking as you describe. But having a sensation of your leg being pulled really doesn’t sound pleasant.

      You’re also not the first person to say it always happens when sleeping on your back. Maybe try your side and see if that helps if it carries on, which I hope for your sake it doesn’t.

      Thanks again for your comment.
      Ethan

  51. NaTodd Lee says:

    I’ve been having SP since I was about 8 years old. When I was younger I used to have hallucinations of Grim Reaper like figures (5) 2 on each side of the bed and 1 at the foot. They never hurt me in any way, but the fear that came from their presence was INTENSE!! One time, one of the “reapers” leaned over and put his face right in my face and my heart beat SO FAST! That was the most fear I have ever felt in my entire life. After about 16, the figures went away, although SP is almost daily with me. The thing is… I have full control over my SP. I can wake up paralyzed and in second break out of it like it second nature. I posted here because i wanted to know.. have you ever known anyone else with the power to control SP?

    • Hi NaTodd Lee

      Thanks for coming along and adding to the discussion. That does sound pretty intense, and I’m not surprised it’s remained number 1 in your life’s scary events.

      A couple of other readers have also said they can snap out of sleep paralysis at will I believe. And I think one or two more try to control it in a way that they can then use it as a kind of springboard to try to have lucid dreams or out-of-body experiences. So it would appear that you’re not alone in being able, or trying, to control SP.

      If only everyone else was able to – some people really seem to suffer badly because of the trauma they experience with sleep paralysis. So even though you have to deal with it almost daily as you mention, at the very least you’re not totally powerless. And a good thing too if you experience it so often!

      Thanks again
      Ethan

  52. vanesa says:

    I have to admit that at first I was afraid I was being possessed or “something” like that when my episodes would happen ….I’m glad that I’m not alone and there is “somewhat” an explanation. Sometimes it happens over and over again in one night if i dont keep myself awake. The scariest part is feeling like I cant breathe. Next of course is being completely paralyzed and can’t talk, “scream” or move at all. I’ve even gone to the hospital explaining I thought I was having seizures of some sort and they told me I was fine and they had no answers for me :( …. it is particularly scary because EVERY time it happens I know its coming on. I start to feel like I’m sinking fast and deep and the heaviness sets in ALL OVER ME. I’m 23 and have been experiencing this for about 2 years now. I have to say it is terrifying and I wish this upon nobody. Thank you for this forum – truly it has helped me feel “not so alone”.

    • Hi Vanesa

      Thanks so much for sharing your story of sleep paralysis. I’m glad this article, and all the other people presumably, have helped you not feel alone. If only not feeling alone worked as a complete cure!

      You’re not the only one who has multiple episodes in one night, and I think that must be particularly difficult to cope with and be able to trust yourself to go to sleep and have a peaceful night. And knowing it’s going to happen is something other people have described too, and is understandably quite scary.

      I don’t know if you read through everyone’s stories, but there are I think some useful bits of advice scattered throughout which you could pick up and see if they help. Depending on whether you’re the type to learn to control it and ‘snap out of it’, or to just try to stay calm and wait for it to pass, or even to try and control it as a way of having a lucid dream. There are all kinds of ideas to explore.

      Regards
      Ethan

  53. Richard says:

    The first time I ever had sleep paralysis was when I was in college (probably around 7 years ago) and it completely freaked me out. I didn’t know what to think and I was afraid I needed to go to the doctor to get a brain scan. However, when I started getting them on a ‘regular’ basis (once or twice every couple of months or so), I started to research this on the internet.

    The episodes were frightening and the way i would describe it is that I couldn’t move my head, fingers or arms. I was completely paralyzed – and breathing was difficult. Also, the feeling on your chest/abdomen is so weird! I would describe it as someone tightening a belt (really hard) just below my chest cavity.

    I’ve never hallucinated until a recent episode a few weeks ago. It was bizarre because it was visual and auditory. I woke up in the middle of the night and could feel the sleep paralysis onset. However, I could “see” my comforter over my face (which wasn’t the case) and all of a sudden, my comforter was lifted off me. However, right when this happened, I heard a loud sound that is comparable to a symphony – except that it was the music you hear in scary movies during a suspenseful scene. I had this feeling of fear – and once I was able to move, I just noticed a small light that was the smoke detector in my room. The light seemed brighter during the sleep paralysis episode. Very strange – I’d rather never experience this and like I said, they started when I was 21 years old. Thankfully, they aren’t that frequent, but it is a frightening experience. When I feel them coming on, I usually try to mentally relax and I tell myself that this will pass…and obviously it always does. Cheers.

    • Hi Richard

      Thank you for taking the time to describe your episodes of sleep paralysis. Interestingly the last person to comment also talked about it being so scary she went to hospital to get checked out. I imagine there are many more who have thought about doing the same.

      Hearing scary movie style music must have been truly bizarre for you! It’s a good literal example of just how intense sleep paralysis can be.

      It’s great that you’ve managed to develop a coping mechanism in trying to relax and allow it to pass. A few people have described the same, and it is growing to be a trend in people’s explanations of how they deal with sleep paralysis. And I dare say probably one of the best ways of coping with it, given that you don’t have a lot of choice when in that situation.

      Thanks again for your comment and I hope they grow less frequent over time for you.

      Ethan

      • Richard says:

        Thank you for your feedback. I forgot to mention one thing. In most of my sleep paralysis episodes that I have experienced, I feel my eyes moving very quickly. They always seem to be moving up and down (as opposed to a side-to-side movement) and this happens very quickly. It feels weird, but almost relaxing in a sense. Since sleep paralysis occurs during a conscious awareness during the REM cycle, I guess this makes sense. Cheers.

        • No problem at all Richard. I enjoy discussing this topic with people, so it’s always a pleasure.

          I think you’re the first to mention the eye-moving phenomenon during sleep paralysis in these comments, if my memory serves me correctly. But yes, it does make sense what you’re saying if you experience it while waking up from REM sleep rather than while falling asleep. Very interesting!

          Thanks
          Ethan

  54. Hannah says:

    I’ve had sleep paralysis a few times in the last 6 years, the first time really scared me, I was 15 and I woke up my whole body felt fuzzy like pins and needles without pain and I couldn’t move; then I heard car horns outside my window which moved inside on top of me along with the car, I felt like I was under a car with it’s fog lights shining in my face. I tried to shout my dad but I couldn’t talk. I always get the weird fuzzy feeling, especially if I try to move my head I can hear it too like my brain is vibrating. I’ve had bright lights come through my window, I’ve heard chanting and recently I had a sleep paralysis episode and felt someone come into my room and drop a puppy on my bed.I felt the puppy walk up towards my face, I couldn’t move but I wanted to pet it so I opened my eyes but nothing was there I just felt the puppy move to the bottom of my bed, a few moments later I snapped out of it….no puppies :(

    Hannah

    • Hi Hannah

      Thanks for sharing your sleep paralysis stories. Just when I thought they were all about demons, monsters, witches and other dark forces, you come along with a story about puppies! It makes an interesting change from the horror-film style stories many people have had. Though I’m not belittling your experiences – I’m sure they still seemed very bizarre and probably a little unsettling at the time.

      Thanks again
      Ethan

  55. monica H says:

    I was asleep with my newborn right next to me, when out of no where around 2:00am i woke up unable to move. I was able to talk like a whisper but not scream for help I tried to grab my daughter but something was holding me down. I soon felt like i was being drained trying to fight my way up. my fingers started to move but… I wasn’t controlling them. I wanted to cry for help, but no single noise came out. As soon as my body returned to me I saw a dark not so human figure leave my room. Now I feel like I’m not alone and I fear for my daughter.

    • Hi Monica

      Thank you for sharing your story of sleep paralysis, and I’m sorry to hear that it has frightened you so much. I can understand why you would be worried. Anyone who experiences something like that finds it unsettling. And of course then you have a mother’s natural instinct to not put your child in harm’s way. Hopefully this will be a one-off, assuming it is the first time, and you’ll be able to put it behind you soon enough. Many people do only experience it once or twice in their lives; let’s hope that is the case for you. You might find it helpful to sleep with a kid’s night light on for a few days just for some reassurance.

      All the best
      Ethan

  56. Anonymous says:

    I have had a few experiences with sleep paralysis. They were, luckily, minor yet still quite scary. The first one was in my first apartment when I was 18. I was sleeping when all of a sudden I felt like someone was near me so I quickly opened my eyes and right there in front of my face was an old ugly woman’s face. I stared at her for a moment and shut my eyes again as soon as I felt I could.
    The next was back in early October of this year. I was staying in a friend’s house on post of Fort Carson. It all happened the same only this time it was a fat creepy man, but just the top half of him. The next time was just last night in my barracks room. This time it was a full bodied male soldier. This one lasted the longest but still quite short. Each time, I abruptly open my eyes from sleeping and have enough breath to gasp at what I am seeing. I am frozen in place and cannot move until the being completely disappears. The last two experiences, the beings floated above me and once I saw them they slowly floated up in to the ceiling and then they were gone. I also heard someone singing a strange song right before seeing the soldier. I dislike these experiences very much. They seem to disturb me a little more each time. My mom suffers from the same thing but hers are much worse. Hers are violent. I hope I can prevent them from happening now that I have more knowledge on them.

    • Hiyah

      Thanks for taking the time to share your sleep paralysis stories. And they do sound quite disturbing, as so many people’s do in these comments. I also hope for your sake that a little extra knowledge will go a long way to dealing with them. There are many great suggestions from people in these comments, so hopefully you’ll have some new ideas on ways to handle it.

      Regards
      Ethan

  57. Jacqueline says:

    Hi my name is jacqueline and I feel like I am possesed .

    • Jacqueline, I’m sorry to hear you’re going through whatever it is that’s making you feel that way. I do hope that you manage to find some comfort from the other explanations in this article.
      On a lighter note I can’t help but say that if there was a prize for expressing the torment of sleep paralysis in the shortest way possible, you would definitely win with your comment.
      Feel free to come back and talk a bit more about what’s making you feel that way.
      Best wishes
      Ethan

  58. Nik says:

    Hi Ethan,
    I have literally in the last hour had a very intense case of sleep paralysis. Hence, here I am investigating my ‘situation’ on the internet and then I came across your blog.
    I am no longer afraid of when the paralysis kicks in (normally once a month approx) however I am becoming more interested in what I think, I feel, hear and see.
    I consider myself a relatively logical person and wouldn’t necessarily assume that I am having a spiritual experience and at the same time I understand some of the biological reasons for the SP happening.
    However, I can’t help but be surprised from today’s occurrence. Earlier on today my sister told me that she went to see a psychic at the weekend, she discussed with me a few points which I found interesting – One of which was knowing that my Dad who passed away from bowel cancer 3 years ago was at my wedding last year looking over me. Even if it’s not true… It’s nice to hear!
    Anyway, for the first time I mentioned to my sister about these strange and almost embarrassing dreamy experiences that I have encountered over the years. I hear voices, whispers, I’ve held someone’s hand, and I’ve seen things – however I’ve always had a very good imagination! My sister said to me that I have a gift and things like portals / 4th dimensions!!! Which I laughed and replied – it’s more like a curse than a gift! She said to me next time it happens, why not try exploring it and push what you can see and then write it down.
    After a long day at work I got home and had tea, followed by a snooze on the couch… the next thing I know I have SP. But this time, rather than wriggling to get out of SP, I embraced it for longer – it might have been a few minutes. I could hear lots of voices all talking at once, it sounded like a playground from when I was at school, it was also incredibly windy. I also had an overwhelming feeling that my dad was stood behind me in the hallway. I tried to get up to turn around but couldn’t. Only when I finally became fully conscious to sit up and turn around to find the hallway empty.

    I’m still no more spiritual than I was yesterday (I don’t think so anyway) however, the coincidence of what happened to me today following the discussion with my sister was quite interesting and I thought I would share it with you.

    Like I said earlier… Even if it’s not true, it’s nice to think my Dad was there.

    Nik

    • Hi Nik

      Thank you so much for sharing your fascinating story. There have been a few other readers going through a similar experience of trying to balance their natural scientific belief system with what they’re met with during sleep paralysis. I always find these stories interesting to read because I think it’s one of the most logical reactions to sleep paralysis: knowing that what you saw probably didn’t really happen, but being challenged by quite how real it seemed at the time.

      It’s also a nice explanation of what happens when you don’t fight sleep paralysis but try to just ‘go with the flow’ and come out the other end, hopefully not so terrified in the process. Perhaps not everyone has the ability to let go, and lose control essentially, but those who do might just find a constructive way of dealing with SP.

      How much further you try to explore it will be up to you of course. I tend to duck out when people talk about other dimensions, even though I find the topic interesting. But I do know one or two previous readers are very much interested in that side of things. Perhaps any who are still following these comments will pop back to give you some ideas on that.

      I agree that sometimes something can feel nice even if we know it’s not true, as long as it’s kept in perspective. So I can imagine how it would have felt good to sense that your dad was somewhere nearby.

      Most importantly for anyone else reading this is the fact that you say you are no longer afraid of sleep paralysis. This will hopefully be a heartening thing to hear for anyone who is still struggling with it. So thank you for providing some hope that the fear can be overcome.

      All the best
      Ethan

  59. David says:

    I am 23 and have had sleep paralysis for about 2 years now. It mainly started quite mildly with no hallucinations when I had a disrupted sleeping pattern during shift work in early 2012. Then in the summer of this year when I went to a festival and had a pretty wild 4 days of virtually no sleep and some recreational ecstasy use, I had the worst SP imaginable. Full on hallucinations with demonic entities and bizarre semi realistic dreams in which my mind created an almost perfect replica of my bedroom in which I tried to walk around and get to my phone to ring my parents; only to awake in an SP state moments later with the knowledge that I was dreaming all along. It took me a week of persevering and numerous SP episodes to get over that bout and I would say to people from my experience ecstasy use DEFINITELY exacerbates SP when you are prone to it. Despite how unsettling it can make you feel, sleep paralysis certainly makes you realise the power of the subconscious/dream state mindset. I would say to anyone who is going through a period of really bad SP that it is a sleep disorder and not a mental disorder and for most people who aren’t narcoleptic trying to get a stable 8 hour sleep over a period of a week usually stops the episodes. Also I would say those prone to SP please note that many drugs (even, I believe, alcohol) will make the episodes worse and last longer! Great to see a strong thread of comments and make for an interesting read – cheers Ethan

    • David says:

      I’ve actually just realised that my comment didn’t really address what the main topic is about. I personally believe wholeheartedly in the scientific explanation BUT I can completely understand how a person would be tricked into believing that there were supernatural elements at work. I am an atheist and quite a cynic at heart but during the episodes even I questioned if there was not something other worldly at play during these SP episodes. I am sure there are those who will believe that the hallucinations are related to some fourth dimensional or astral projected world, however I would argue that what we are in fact witnessing are the awesome power of our minds during R.E.M sleep coupled with the other biological ‘fight or flight’ response which causes our minds to create these strange visions, worlds and OBE experiences. The sheer intensity of SP and other parasomnias could lead even the most cynical (me!) into questioning the religious/other worldly aspects of SP, but I would urge anyone who is uncertain about what they’re seeing that the episodes are a biological quirk with dramatic and at times mind bending results. I would just like to supplement that with the knowledge that this is my opinion and there are those who will call me a classic cynical narrow minded atheist but I believe that the scientific explanation of SP and the accompanying hallucinations is far more rational than the supernatural explanations. That said though, I wonder how many ‘ghost visitations’ could be attributed to sleep paralysis?! I know if I had been born in a pre internet era I probably would have been too scared to go to the doctors for fear of being called mad and would have probably thought a demon was in my room!!

      • Hi David

        Thank you for adding your very eloquent comments and analysis of sleep paralysis. And I’m glad you appreciate the comment thread – I’m still in awe at how much people have gotten involved with this discussion, and I hope it continues!

        Anyway, back to your comments, and I think you make a couple of very interesting points.

        Firstly about drug-taking. This isn’t something I explored in the original article, and not something that many other people have mentioned either. But it wouldn’t surprise me if many people have experienced parasomnia ‘moments’ when taking recreational drugs; And I can imagine that some drugs could have an impact on experiences like sleep paralysis – either making them more vivid, worse, or increasing their likelihood in the susceptible – as you suggest. I think it would be very hard for anyone to predict what effect they would have though, with so many factors involved, so it’s interesting to hear your views on it.

        Secondly, like so many people, you explain really well the issue of being a skeptic but also having some very strong experiences to deal with. I like the concept of the internet changing how people are able to find answers to things like this, and how that may have influenced the way we do find explanations. I think you may well be right about not wanting to go to a doctor about this kind of thing. And looking back, how easy would it have been to find information on sleep paralysis in a library before the internet?

        Interestingly I can see the phrases that people put into Google which brings them to this article. Although many people do enter ‘sleep paralysis’ there are also many more who enter phrases like ‘can’t move in the night demon on chest’ or ‘frozen in bed with ghost in room’ etc. It’s the fact that you can enter a search like that and arrive at an explanation like this that makes it easier for people. I have no idea how easy it would have been to find a library book when all you have in your head to start with it ‘demon on chest in the night’! Maybe I’ll have a go one day and see how easy it is to find an answer in my local library.

        Thanks again for raising some interesting points
        Ethan

  60. Jeff says:

    I have had 2 very distinct and disturbing experiences of sleep paralysis in which my mind has become completely detached from my body and time and space both dissolved around me. In both cases it occurred in the middle of the night (middle of my sleep) and my mind “awakens” to the realization of detachment from my body. I am aware my body is paralysed yet I am above my body. I no longer have the sense of sight, sound or touch and my mind seems to exist in a separate plane of existence – a non physical one. I am acutely aware of everything around me without physical confirmation. I am also extremely frightened that my body is in danger and I am in desperate search for help. I can’t move, speak, hear or see yet I am “floating” outside my body. The first time I “screamed” out for God as I felt my body was being scanned by some foreign entity that was inside of me. This entity scanned by body from toe to head going through all my organs before exiting through my left eye. Once the entity left my body my paralysis was over and my mind and body instantly reconnected, I gasped for breath and regained all my physical abilities. The second time this happened I perceived my body as being restrained by forces trying to hold me down and I tried to call for help or run for my bedroom door even though my body and mind were detached. Finally at the last second I re-entered my body and found myself calling for help in a weak, frightened voice. The most terrifying part of these experiences is that I remember them in absolute clarity and detail and can describe them definitively years later. Out of body experiences, alien abductions, sleep paralysis or near death experiences are all possibilities to me as these experiences are terrifying but not physically harmful.
    Jeff L

    • Hi Jeff

      Thanks so much for sharing your sleep paralysis stories. Not many people have described the out-of-body experience ‘type’ of sleep paralysis, so it’s great that you can remember them in such detail. They do sound very frightening though!

      I think it’s experiences like these which can very easily lead to questioning whether some alien or other entity was involved; it sounds very intense, and the fact that you can recall it so well only adds to the difficulty in explaining them in a scientific way, I imagine.

      I hope for your sake that it stays at just the two occurrences, and you don’t have to deal with this kind of experience again.

      Best wishes
      Ethan

  61. f says:

    I do not believe the science behind this as if hallucinations will occur people will experience differences from their own mind not the same things. The first time I experienced sleep paralysis I was not able to move anything apart from my eyes and I could feel a presence over me and could only see a shadowy figure in the corner of my eye I tried to fight out of it but I couldn’t and ended up falling back asleep and waking up remembering what happened but feeling perfectly fine …last night it happened again and I was able to force out of it but I could see a shadowy figure to the left of me getting closer, I fought till I could move again. the thing is I was not deeply sleeping or tired I had just laid down and closed my eyes for a while. I HATE THIS STUFF. crazy

    I beleive I’ve experienced more but I cant remember them specifically.

    • Hi F

      Thanks for sharing your story with us, and sorry to hear that it has been a struggle for you to deal with – as it has for so many others. Perhaps reading this article and the other comments will give you some ideas of things you can do to cope with it.

      What you say about people experiencing different hallucinations might appear to make sense, considering the fact that we are all different. The thing is though, our brains are filled with a lifetime of the same kinds of ideas. For example, as children we tell scary stories, we see and read things about witches, monsters, vampires, demons or whatever it might be. As adults we hear stories of people being burgled, grow to learn that strange men in the shadows in the dark might be something to be scared of, watch and hear about even scarier entities in films or television. Many people also have religious influences on their idea of good and evil.

      My point being that even though we are individuals, we share the same stories, images and ideas about what is bad, scary or dangerous in the dark. So I think it makes sense that if you have many different people lying in their beds frozen, and their brains need to decide what it is happening to them with a minimal amount of information, it is unlikely to be a completely alien monster that nobody has ever thought of before. It is likely to be something we fear, and have possibly seen in a film, read in a book or the news, or heard someone tell us about etc.

      This is my personal view on that topic, though it’s certainly not my own theory as it does have a basis in Psychology. I hope the idea makes sense to you as I described it.

      All the best and I hope you get some peace soon
      Ethan

  62. Different says:

    I would like to start this post by saying I read every comment above and feel grateful I’m not alone and for Mr Green your desire to share your information. I believe my SP started in my teens but I always thought it was a recurring bad dream. The dream started about when I was 15 or 16 it was always the same dream this force or dark entity is the best way I can describe it. It only happened at night when I went to bed, the force that I felt was of an evil nature. This force (shadowy black figure) would always approach me and without touching me forcefully shove me to the other side of the room or down a stairway then I woke up but was still in my bed I was in a paralyzed state while it was happening. Same dream for the next 3-4 years off and on. I finally after many dreams decided to tell my parents the dream. I came from a very loving and stable family life, my mother told me to confront this entity/being the next time it happened and let it know I believed in the good in the world and would go towards the good light not the dark and in my state of feeling I couldn’t move or talk i muttered the words I want the light. That was the last time that entity visited me. Now fast forward 25 years I have my own family I often have very lucid dreams that I often feel as if I travel to distant places while I sleep. On August 18 2010 I had my worst nightmare come true I received a call that my youngest son had been in a horrible car accident he was hit head on by a drunk driver and was being transported to the Trauma center for his injuries. The 2 weeks we spent in ICU and the year long recovery was nothing short of a miracle that he survived and I thank God everyday for that! But that is when my SP started again and this time one of my episodes was of the most peaceful nature I have ever experienced. I was asleep and started to go into that state of waking up so I thought! I was met by this man with long blonde hair and a blue & white robe, this did not seem odd to me in my mind it was his eyes they were as blue as the bluest blue you could ever imagine and that’s how he spoke to me through his eyes I could read his thoughts through his eyes. It will be the episode that will be permanently engraved in my mind it was nothing but pure peace that I came away with. I guess that was my miracle that saved my son that night according to the state police the crash should not have been survivable. Still to this day I have on and off sleep paralysis episodes and yes the shadowy figures still visit and are still scarey but I also feel that people who have these have a gift in a way, there is a common connection between all these post they are real to us and if we can find a way to understand why this is happening to all of us. I still think we are in the minority of the population as far as having these episodes but as more and more people have them and discuss them others can come away from this feeling you’re not crazy or losing your mind and you’re not alone. I did purchase the book SP a guide to Hypnagogic visions and visitors of the night – as I was told it was a great book. I believe everyone has their own religion & beliefs and so does science but there are some things you just can’t explain. I wish those of you that have scary SP episodes peace and those of you in the scientific belief keep searching for your proof. I’m truly grateful to have read and shared my story with you all!

    • Hi Different

      Thank you so much for sharing your fascinating story. I’m so glad your son survived that crash – it must have been a unimaginably terrifying time for your whole family.

      As you’ll know from reading the other comments (how long did that take you?!), other people have also felt that their SP is tied with family members and events in their lives. It makes perfect sense to me that in the strange world of sleep paralysis, dreams and other nightly occurrences, that not everyone experiences it in isolation from the rest of their life.

      It’s great that in the past you were able to confront whatever was happening and deal with it with positive thinking. It’s a shame that so many years later though the scarier elements seem to have reappeared. But once again it does show that it is possible to tackle the frightening ‘entities’ in sleep paralysis with your own positive mind. I’m especially grateful when people share these kind of experiences because it will give hope to those who are still trying to deal with the terror of SP. I hope you manage to once again get rid of the scarier experiences.

      Thanks for the feedback on the book by the way. I’d be interested to hear if you found it just a good read, or of practical use as well?
      And thanks on behalf of everyone else for your positive wishes – I’m sure anyone else who reads this will also wish you peace:-)
      Regards
      Ethan

  63. Paul notley says:

    Ok just wanted to share my recent experience, i’ve had many but this one was the worst. Its making my eyes water and giving me shivers just thinking about it. So i was in bed asleep next to my wife, and i slipped into sleep paralysis, i later found it was about 3.45am. There was the most evil looking figure stood beside my bed, glaring at me, i am convinced this figure wasn’t just a demon, it was the devil. Straight away i panic and try with every ounce of energy i had to get out of it and move or open my eyes, but i was frozen. The devil moved towards me, crouched down next to me and put his face an inch away from mine, and was slowy but heavily breathing in my face, so much so i could feel my hair and eyelashes moving, never has anything in my life terrified me so much. I was convinced if i didnt snap out of it, i was going to die. After another failed attempt to move i paused to save energy for one final push and managed to wake, sitting bolt upright in my bed, covered in sweat and shaking, i had to turn my bedroom light on and tv and sit up in bed for half an hour to make sure i didnt fall back asleep and slip back into the paralysis (which has happened many times before). I didnt sleep again that night. I know sp is fairly common, but why the demons? Surely every person who gets it would see different scary things like snakes or aliens for example? I had never heard of sp or seeing the demons until it happened to me so it wasnt stored in my brain already. It creeps me out!

    • Hi Paul

      Thanks for taking the time to share your sleep paralysis story…and a scary one it is at that!

      You raise an interesting question about people seeing the same thing, i.e demons. However, my view is that people often describe quite different kinds of demon or dark entity. If you look back through these comments you’ll see all sorts of descriptions of dark forces.

      I think if the whole planet described exactly the same looking demonic entity, then we could perhaps start wondering what is going on. But even though you say you hadn’t heard of demons before, you will still have been exposed to images and ideas of demons/ghosts/monsters etc through media like television. Even if you never watch horror films, it’s hard these days to never catch glimpses of scary images.

      So assuming the scientific explanation is correct, it makes sense that your mind conjures up some kind if demon with inspiration from a film or picture you’ve seen…even if it was a long time ago. So naturally, people see scary figures which might share some similarity, but are not all the same.

      That’s what I choose to believe personally. It’s up to you though to decide where the line is between coincidence and something else.

      I hope you don’t have such a scary experience again, and thanks again for your thoughts.
      Ethan

  64. Lacos says:

    Thank you for starting this forum I feel a lot better knowing that I’m not the only person going through this. I’ve been having SP for about 6 months now, but as a child I had dreams of someone chasing me but never knowing who or what was chasing me. I also frequently had dreams that I was a very small and inferior being lying in bed while the presence of a dominant, powerful being was above me. I hate having SP, and before writing this I just had one where my arms and legs are stiff and I can only move my eyes, I usually feel the pressure of someone sitting/pushing down on my chest. During my SP I also feel a strong desire to give in, to close my eyes. I try and fight this feeling then I try and scream out for help but nothing comes out. I then begin to pray and say ‘return to sender’ and I then come out of the SP. On this night when I had the SP I seem to come out of myself and it was as though the being that was in the room with me held a mirror up to the right side of my face and I could see my reflection in a warm dream like slightly romantically dead red, yellow and orange colours. I have also noticed that when I wake from SP I’m lying on my back. In the past I’ve heard and seen women chanting like witches with a picture of myself tied around her neck. I hope SP is scientific but my experiences have told me/ lead me to believe that there is more to it than what science can call normal. I hope this STOPS for good!!

    • Hi Lacos

      Thank you for sharing your sleep paralysis stories. It sounds like you’ve had quite a range of unpleasant experiences, so I’m not surprised you’re hoping it stops for good. But I’m glad you feel a little better knowing that you’re not alone.

      It’s great when people find a way to snap out of the sleep paralysis, not matter what technique they use or what they say. And saying “return to sender” is certainly a new one, and made me smile when I read it. Does it still work, or was that a one off moment?

      You’re also not alone in being torn between the scientific explanation and thinking there is more to it. But whatever you choose to believe, I hope you find peace with it and manage to deal with SP swiftly if it happens again.

      Regards
      Ethan

  65. amanda says:

    some people seem to be having out of body experiences, painful experiences, even just not being able to move. when ever i have sleep paralysis i am always tormented by either a small or large black misted creature. when i first had this experience, i recognized the sensation, so i must’ve had the problem as a younger child. sometimes i cant remember the dreams, and sometimes they’re clearer than daylight. it always starts out when i get these bright colors flashing behind my eyeballs. and then i realize that i cant move or speak. the whole time i’m laying there in this condition i’m screaming in my head. and then something grabs me. my worst experience yet was when i was dreaming that my legs were dangling off of the side of my bed. in one foul swoop my feet and body were seized and something large and menacing and it moved me across the bed. i’ve never felt a more powerful night terror. this one had me by my neck, choking me as i called out for jesus, to no avail could i speak. in all of my SP experiences the being is close to my face, speaking in a low demonic tone, too quiet for me to understand, but loud enough to hear the mumbling. in this one it was translucent, but i could see the air shaping around the curviature of the being. in other SP accounts they are always humanoid, and almost all are misty black colored. some jump up and down on me, taunting me while i can’t move, some just whisper in my ear. as im just about to give up the fight, i wake up coated in a blistering sweat, breathing hard and exhausted. sometimes i get one dream, sometimes it feels like i had SP all night long. for me, i think it’s because of my stress. but i have to say, i fully hate the experiences i’ve had. its been a while since i’ve had one, but it seems that it always comes back.

    • Hi Amanda

      Thank you for sharing your stories of sleep paralysis, and like so many other readers they seem truly terrifying! It seems from reading, though I may just be misinterpreting what you’re saying, that you have a combination of sleep paralysis and nightmares/night terrors? But whatever the case, I can fully understand why you hate the experience so much.
      Hopefully you’ll find something in the article or other readers’ comments which helps you to deal with it. There have been lots of good suggestions from people which could help you.
      Regards
      Ethan

  66. steppingonurtoes says:

    I’ve had a couple of sp experiences very similar to everyone else’s. I started sleeping in a different room 4 years ago bc of the “sp” and it all went away. I never really spoke about it to a lot of ppl. 3 years ago there was some guy renting my old room and after a year of getting to know him, we’re drinking having a few beers. He starts telling me about what had happened to him a couple of times at night in the same room I use to sleep in. I looked at with wide opened eyes and I didn’t want to tell him I had the same thing happened to me. I didn’t want to scare him, so I told him it happened to me 10 years ago in a different house. I don’t know what it is. I’ve read both sides and all I can say is that, it’s a wierd creepy experience like no other.

    • Hi ‘steppingonurtoes’

      Thanks for your interesting comment. I’m assuming from your choice of name, and the content of your story, that you’re hinting that our recent discussion about people not experiencing the same thing isn’t 100% accurate? :-)

      I’m always happy to hear different perspectives on this site, so your story is very welcome even if it contradicts what I and a previous reader were talking about. I’d be interested to know exactly what the experience was? Did you both describe exactly the same SP experience, or was it just the fact that you both had SP in that room? Hopefully you’re following this thread and can tell us a little more.

      Best wishes
      Ethan

  67. Shane Turner says:

    I believe I have sleep paralysis but it is not real common or to the extent of what others with SP might have. I have dreams of seeing a small demon running at me and I yell out in my dream I rebuke you in the name of Jesus. It was something was told to do if I ever had an experience with a demon. After I wake I feel stiff as a board, can’t move for a couple minutes, and feel like something is in the room with me. I was brought up in Fundamentalist Christianity but I would consider myself to be agnostic more than anything else. It is hard to say whether it is psychological or supernatural. I don’t know if it is anything because I am uncertain anything supernatural exists or doesn’t exist for that matter.

    • Hi Shane

      Thanks for your comment, and I think you hit on something that I suspect many people have – a bad dream which then changes and lingers on into sleep paralysis. Though I think it’s possible to get confused sometimes with whether or not it’s still a bad dream or sleep paralysis. People seem to have such varied experiences.
      I’m glad to hear that you don’t get it very often though.
      Regards
      Ethan

  68. Luneice says:

    ok so i just found out about sleep paralysis and it’s only cause it happened to me about a couple times now but i remember a dream i had when i was a kid and well now i know what that was ,anyway describing it in one word terrifying ,you lose movement/control including your voice and you can’t do anything at all ,it’s like you’re being haunted and you’re left un armed and motionless with no power at all it’s worse than torture i couldn’t see who was in the room but the closest thing i could relate to was a ghost/spirit a vengeful one ,that can harm you unlike normal ghosts that aren’t suppose to be able to. but i could feel there was a presence there an evil malevolent one ,i felt like all the evil in the world was gathered there and i could’nt do a thing except stay still and watch in horror waiting for my doom,i tried forcing myself into moving so i could run away ,shouting but i lost control over my entire body and voice it’s like at one point i didn’t even have a body then the spirit or ghost starts pulling me off the bed onto the floor from my legs or blankets and i wake up terrified turning the lights on but last night’s episode was worse cause i started slowly tilting my head in extreme horror to see what was in the room i did it more than once but i saw nothing the presence was still strong and as real as can be just invisible i think this thing is somewhere in between science and the paranormal i mean nobody knows there’s no proof that the paranormal doesn’t exist and there’s also no proof that it’s solely based on scientific facts another thing that happened to me in the dream/sleep paralysis episode is that my grandfather had just finished taking a shower when i was dreaming i was aware of it in fact i even tried calling out to him but to no avail and it was real cause when i woke up he was still in the corridor i also heard that astral projection/soul travelling just like insidious is connected to this and that makes it even worse i mean what if people with this condition or disorder or whatever it is really do leave their physical bodies and by doing so doors to the astral world open up and spirits or demons try to steal your body while you’re outside of it cause they crave life or something.

    • Hi Luneice

      Thanks for sharing your sleep paralysis experience, and like so many others it sounds like you’ve had to cope with some very unsettling events.
      It’s interesting that you mention people being open to having their body taken over by evil forces. This is something which throughout history (not to mention horror films) has been a human fear I think. For example, one explanation for the origin of saying ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes is that people used to fear the soul was shot out with the sneeze, leaving the body vulnerable.
      Hopefully we can assume that people are not taken over by demons during sleep paralysis. It is such a common occurrence, there would be an awful lot of possessed people wondering around if this was the case!
      But still, I know you’re not alone in thinking that the explanation for the horribly scary things that happens lies somewhere between the scientific and paranormal explanations. And of course there is always room to question either explanation.
      Once again it comes to personal choice what to believe, and how much comfort that belief will give you.
      Regards
      Ethan

  69. C says:

    I had extremely vivid, frightening dreams when I was 3. Sometimes I would experience lucidity during these nightmares, which eventually progressed to lucid dreaming all the time. This is when I started experiencing SP.

    I still remember the first time clearly. I woke up unable to move anything but my eyes. There was something big, heavy, and ice cold sitting on my chest. The creature was a strange amalgamation of insect and mammal parts. I could feel its enormous beetle legs digging into my flesh as it sat on me, but the worst part was the smell. It was a mixture of rat urine and cockroach odor so strong I could taste it in my mouth. In the periphery of my vision I could see a shadowy black figure standing in the corner of my room. The words, “This isn’t real”, flashed through my mind. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

    I kept having the same hallucinations of the shadow man and the malodorous bug, sometimes together, sometimes separately for many years. I thought they were just extra vivid nightmares, that frequently preceded some really insane lucid dreams. Then I read about SP and realized that’s what I was experiencing.

    I haven’t seen the shadow man in about a decade now, and the malodorous bug hasn’t returned in the last 8 years. My usual SP hallucination these days is someone I know in real life. When I “wake up” he’s sitting on my chest reading. He’ll tell me that I should go back to sleep. Sometimes I die in my dreams and “wake up” in SP. Then my hallucination laughs and says, “F*****d that up, didn’t you?”

    It was interesting reading others’ experiences. I’m glad that I’ve never felt so afraid in SP that it started affecting my waking life. For me, SP is bizarre and not the most pleasant experience, but it’s not deeply terrifying. I always know the hallucinations aren’t real.

    • Hi C

      Thank you for your very eloquently described story of SP. You’re a good story teller I think! And I don’t mean that as in making it up, but as in the way you wrote it:-)

      Your description is also interesting as it connects with a previous couple of comments about the significance of people seeing roughly the same dark shadow figure. Even though you also do, there is the rather unique ‘malodorous bug’!

      And yes, you’re probably one of the ‘lucky’ ones then who experiences SP but doesn’t find it truly terrifying. I hope it stays that way!

      Regards
      Ethan

  70. Edrick says:

    Hi Ethan, i had the very same experience you had. But my experience is much clearer than yours. . . I always sleep with a zero watt bulb in my bedroom. So my room is always dimly lit and that makes everything in the room very visible. It was around 12:30 in the night when i opened my eyes. And i saw what looked like a black wisp of air a little behind my head,it resembled BLACK SMOKE. And i could see it easily, as clearly as i see my computer screen right now. Before i stretched my neck to see what it was, it quickly moved around my bed and sat upon my chest, and after that i could do nothing, i felt like it was rolling my tongue and i couldnt scream….I am a Christian. So i had the faith that if i said the name ‘Jesus’ it would leave me(childish faith, i know). I tried to say the name, but obviously could not. But after many vain full attempts, with the balck spirit still hovering over me, i said ‘Jesus’, and it left me that very instant. . . I have never had that experience again. I have strong faith in God, and hence i believe that the ”DARK SMOKE” was an evil spirit . . . . i thought i was the only person in the world with this terrifying experience, but im glad i bumped into your site.

    • Hi Edrick

      Thanks for the comment, and you’re definitely not the only person to experience this, as you now know from the sheer quantity of readers who have shared their sleep paralysis story.

      As time goes by, there’s a clear pattern developing of the kinds of things which help. And for those who have firm religious beliefs, focusing on calling on a religious power definitely seems to one of those things.

      It’s great when people find something which helps stop the SP, so I appreciate you sharing this. It will no doubt be very helpful for other readers who also share the same belief.

      Regards
      Ethan

  71. Vanessa M says:

    Hi,

    I just wanted to comment on what my experience was. I just woke up to not knowing if I was sleeping, awake, hearing things, or just going crazy. I have two dogs and a cat who usually go nuts if they hear things themselves so this is why it’s even more freaky. I sleep with my husband and rotate from front, to side, to back. Last night I kept hearing things which sounded like they were coming from the other room, almost like an empty water cooler jug being pushed around ( we have several empty ones in basement as we have a cooler). I though maybe it was the cat as none if the dogs seemed fine. I then woke up at 3am and couldn’t fall back asleep which is weird but whatever. I then went on my phone for an hour looking at Facebook till i felt tired and fell asleep again, I then dreamt ( or though I was dreaming) of hearing noises again like things in the kitchen, they kept getting louder and louder, I felt like I was awake and was trying to move but couldn’t. I then heard what sounded to be like our swifter vacuum go off and get louder and almost like someone was coming in our room with it. I couldn’t even grab my husbands hand even though his hand was touching mine. I opened my eyes so confused he didn’t hear it, but never woke him as I realized the dogs were still fast asleep and so was my 6 month old. I also forgot to mention while experiencing all this while I was hearing noises I felt like my bed was bubbling up someone was pushing up on the bed. So scary. Still trying to figure why no one else heard anything. :{

    • Hi Vanessa

      It sounds like you had an awful lot going on that night, so I’m not surprised you’ve been left feeling a little confused!

      From reading all the comments on this article and various others, a feeling I often get is that people sometimes have experiences which cover various different areas and end up in a big confusing mess. For example you can have some complex and bizarre nightmares which then turn into sleep paralysis. And perhaps float between the two several times over the night.

      Because of this I think it’s probably impossible sometimes to say definitely that an experience was one thing or the other. Perhaps you may need to just put it down to a very bad night’s sleep, which involved possible nightmares, sleep paralysis and who knows what other unexplained sleep parasomnia.

      I don’t know if that is helpful in any way, but my overall sense is that sometimes it’s too hard to unpick something completely, so maybe try to file it away in the brain in the ‘uncategorized’ section if at all possible!

      Hopefully this was a one-off experience and you won’t have to go through it again.

      Thanks for sharing your story
      Ethan

  72. Linda says:

    I am so interested in this subject. I have had several episodes of SP. It started when I was in college. My roommate and I had twin beds with a dresser inbetween. I can remember falling asleep on my stomach, then being awake, I could see my roommate sleeping on the other side of the room, I could see a black cloaked figure at the foot of my bed pulling me by my left ankle. I would try to scream to my roommate, but nothing would come out, I would feel myself being pulled from the bed scared to death. When I would wake up, I would be in the same position, but would not have moved. I always attributed this to nightmares, this happened several times when I was in college. Years later, during my first marriage, my husband, who was an emt would work 24 hour shifts. On the nights he was gone, I would experience these episodes. Different from the ones in college. Many times I would fall asleep while reading with the bedside lamp on. I would wake up to all kinds of noise and people in the living room, as if there was a party. I wouldn’t be able to move or speak. When I would finally wake up, of course I was alone. I would be afraid to fall back to sleep because these “dreams” would happen more than once in a night. It’s been several years since I have had an episode, but they do pop up occasionally. It’s very unnerving and maybe the reason that I don’t always like to sleep in bed and always have the tv on.

    • Hi Linda

      Thank you for taking the time to share your story. The ankle being pulled nightmare really doesn’t sound nice at all! And what you describe as possibly sleep paralysis whereby you hear people in the living room is quite an unusual one. I wonder if it is sleep paralysis, or you are dreaming of being paralyzed and hearing the party? As I was saying to a previous reader, I think it can be very hard to tell the difference sometimes.
      At least you’re not having them so often now, whatever the episodes may be. If you’ve found keeping a TV on reduces it, then it’s good you’ve found something which helps.
      Regards
      Ethan

  73. Meg says:

    I’m 20. I’ve had more than a few experiences of SP before, all during the past year… my very first one however was when I took a nap on my mother’s bed downstairs and started dreaming. The dream wasn’t bad at first, but near the end I was sitting high up near a ceiling alone where a lot of fake clouds were or were floating or something very light hearted and calming… and I start seeing small half a foot tall at most, imp-like black things with sharp teeth … I wake up and realize I’m on my mother’s bed but I can’t move at all except for my eyes. I look to my left and one of the imp things is near me and it’s growling or something. With great effort I manage to free one of my hands and I grab the thing (the one near me, there were two others) and squish it in my fist. I manage to fully wake up my limbs and start moving freely and snap out of it.

    The other times SP has happened to me I haven’t seen any creatures I’ve just been unable to move and one time I saw spidery black shapes on the ceiling of my room. The most recent experience I’ve had involved me waking up in my own bed and I hadn’t opened my eyes yet, but I felt like something or someone was stroking my hair and at first I didn’t mind it because it felt nice. Soon I got a bit creeped out by it after a few seconds and I opened my eyes. The stroking stopped just before I opened my eyes. Nothing was there and I don’t remember not being able to move but the stroking felt so real and I was calm almost the whole time.

    I haven’t had any more for a half a year now and I don’t necessarily fear my experiences all that much because I haven’t seen a demon like entity or experienced any pressure on my chest or anything like that. But I am very interested in the topics of SP and lucid dreams and supernatural entities. I have read almost all the comments and just now noticed that it is almost 6 am hahah.

    I am a Christian and I do believe that a spiritual realm exists and so do demons and spirits (I don’t call them ghosts because I feel like that’s the term people use when they say they don’t believe in them). But I haven’t had any supernatural experiences or seen any truly terrifying demon before. I believe the scientific explanations for SP but reading some of the other comments on here one in particular where an entity entered a man’s body and was forced back out in billowing black smoke, I believe that some of them could be truly supernatural in nature.

    By the way most of my experiences I was laying on my back. Seems to be a recurring thing with people.

    • Hi Meg

      Thank you for sharing your sleep paralysis experiences, and also your interesting comments on the previous readers’ stories. I’d love to know what time you started reading the comments if you finished at 6am! I can only imagine it took a very long time. I also imagine that your mind would have been so full of the countless horror-like stories, you could easily have had bad dreams! Some of the stories send a shiver down my spine when they arrive in my inbox to publish…

      I really likes the way you describe being able to ‘squish’ the imp in that one experience. I think it’s very rare to actually get your hands on something because whatever you are seeing tends to disappear shortly before or as you regain movement. So you’re very unique there!

      And it’s interesting again to hear from someone who experiences SP but doesn’t always find it scary. It’s curious how there is such a wide range of reactions to similar experiences.

      And if you do believe in supernatural things, then I imagine it’s helpful to not be so scared by what happens to you. To believe and be scared must be a difficult combination for some people to cope with.

      Thanks again for the comment
      Regards
      Ethan

  74. Random Cool Name says:

    Hey
    After reading all about SP on the internet i just wanted to share my experience with all of you to feel a little more comfortable sleeping tonight. I know this sounds like a big lie but both of my two SP experiences kind of merged with a lucid dreaming state and were quite a scary adventure. On my first experience i was tired. I mean really tired i have been attending a math course for the big university exam.(not the finals a different one to enter a university). On that night i woke up and saw a kind of muscular black figure in the room standing far away. It moved like a human and looked like he would be in his thirties if it had a face or other organs or skin or i dont know. Just as it started to walk towards me i noticed i had a set of syringes tied to my belt and started to inject the figure with them. With each injection the figure got smaller and shortly there was nothing but a little black puddle on the ground. I knew if i did one more injection it would be gone but there wasn’t any syringes left.Then the puddle started to reform and grow in to a more muscular frightening figure… Then I woke up. I know this doesn’t fit the sleep paralysis but the whole time my body was on my bed and i felt the whole can’t move, what the *&%*? sensation as i battled that guy.

    The other one was much more interesting but damn, its hard to recollect the memories to write it down as a storyish thingie. Sorry mainly i fought against a book character named Abdi ağa ( From İnce Memed) with a rifle then an mp40. Again i cant move, OMG, why is my body over there, have i done this before?, and other thoughts came to my mind.

    And there was another i forgot to mention at the beginning. The most pleasant one (actually the only nice one of them). When i woke up i saw my girlfriend sitting on my chest and dangling her feet from the bed, but not in a scary way. She had a warm smile on her face. If I could move I would just think it was a nice dream.
    So … Yeah

    • Hi acceptably cool name:-)

      Thanks first of all for taking the time to describe your experience. I think, as you point out yourself, that it’s hard to tell whether what you experienced was really sleep paralysis or not. I think when people describe waking up but being frozen, it’s easier to attribute it to SP. But when people start doing things, as in your syringes ‘attack’ it’s harder to work out whether you’re just dreaming, or lucid dreaming, or a combination of different sleep states where a dream merges with a lucid dream as you suggest. And you may never really know!
      Nonetheless, they are interesting experiences there, especially the variety between the 3.
      Thanks again for sharing
      Ethan

  75. Kay says:

    I have experienced these scary sleep experiences, throughout my adult life. I actually had one last night, and for the first time ever, do not feel scared today, as I usually become petrified for days later! It was the usual experience, I am waking up, or just falling asleep, I am aware I am lying in bed, and can hear noises like cutlery drawers opening and shutting in my kitchen, people knocking on my door, I am filled with sense of terror before I realise I am paralysed, I try to move and shout, bit I can’t, I manage to open my eyes, but it feels like I m drugged and am falling back into a sleep of horrors, I fight so hard to wake, I feel a tingling sensation starting at my feet, the pressure is intense, and I feel if it reaches any higher it’s the end! I also feel like I m being thrown up walls and being pulled under the bed, but very fast! Last night, although still scary, I managed to laugh in my head, and say, do whatever, I will not give my energy in fighting u, I still went under the bed, but I wasn’t afraid anymore, I tht, when else would I ever get to experience this feeling, I I removed the fear, and it somehow evolved into another dream! I for years thought I was being possessed by demons, I visited a doctor, petrified, he could see how terrified I was and sent me for therapy, they didn’t address the dreams, and just asked me questions about my life, I felt so utterly drained and terrified! I would talk to people about them, as I was desperate for help, and I would clear the room, lol, even my own family just tht I was nuts and didn’t take me seriously. As a child I was always terrified at night, I would sleep with the covers over my head, and wearing shoes, and putting lines of socks at the bottom of by bed as a barrier!! At times I have tht I m crazy too! I am now in my 40′s and have reached a new level of awareness, and I agree with your theory, I’d much rather turn my experiences into a positive experience, as I have no control over these episodes, than be consumed with fear of being possessed by demons every night! I have wasted so, so, so much energy and fear and made my self ill with worry, that if have made the decision to not be any more, and I was as easy as that! I look forward to my next one, and am curious to see how I can handle and control it again! Common sense is kinda shouting at me, telling me if it can happen to me so many times, nothing bad ever happens,it always ends, and it is what it is, I will never find out what is really happening, so ride the roller coaster of sleep terrors, and turn it into your own crazy ass theme park of rides, that no-one else but u will get to experience!

    • Hi Kay

      Thank you so much for this comment, it’s a really interesting and positive story of how it is possible to change your mindset towards sleep paralysis, and therefore hope to deal with it better. I’m really impressed by how you managed to take the decision to change your perspective, especially considering the fact that you were so traumatized by it for so many years.

      It’s a shame that you had to experience people, yourself included, thinking you were going crazy. I often wonder how many people out there have had the same problem, or not spoken or it because of the fear of being branded crazy.

      Good for you for dealing with it in the way you have, and I hope it only continues to grow easier to deal with as time goes by.

      Thanks again for sharing this as I’m sure it will help one or two others who read it.
      Ethan

  76. Maggie says:

    I have seen myself fighting back I even woke up with red scratches on my left arm

    • Hi Maggie

      That doesn’t sound nice at all. Do you think it’s possible the scratches were an unfortunate result of you moving around during a bad dream?
      Regards
      Ethan

  77. Andromeda says:

    I’ve had an experience, but I’m not entirely sure if I was really awake or whether I had a false awakening. It was all exactly the same as when I definitely woke up, except I couldn’t move, speak or breathe properly.
    I didn’t have any demons or anything, but my housemate came into my room and walked up to my bed and tried to shove a drink of something at me. Since my housemate never actually did that, I’m pretty sure mine, at least, was a hallucination.
    The strange thing is that my housemate is actually the nicest guy ever, but I continually dream he’s like, messing with my head in my dreams. >.<

    The thing that makes me convinced some of these experiences are more than just dreams/hallucinations is the content of what some of the creatures say, if it is they say anything. From experiences I've read online, the creatures sometimes say stuff like 'We're finally in her head', 'You're not ready, I'll come back when you are' and 'She's waking up, we have to leave'. I mean, that stuff is truly concerning.

    Also I read several people experiencing sleep paralysis, and maybe seeing a creature, and their partner's who are asleep beside them wake up saying they felt something sitting on their chest, crushing their breathing. I mean, that's pretty spinny.

    Also, I've read that this phenomenon tends to happen to people when they sleep on their backs. For some reason, my whole life, I've never been able to sleep on my back because it makes me feel really, really vulnerable. Perhaps there is some subconscious reasoning behind my irrational fear?

    I also understand that many of these experiences come after somebody, willingly or unwillingly, had been lucid dreaming. I always felt that lucid dreaming/astral travelling was quite literally when somebody's soul leaves his/her body, but I'm pretty spiritual like that.

    Anyway, assuming that theory is correct, isn't it then possible that:

    a) people experience sleep paralysis because their soul is not entirely one with their body yet? And for some reason, part of their consciousness IS in the body, but not enough that they have full control of their body?

    and

    b) That during these periods where our soul is outside our body, that we might encounter creatures usually outside of the 3rd dimension, outside of most people's usual field of vision? Certainly some of these creatures will be of ill-intent.

    And that really scares me. If the soul is outside our body, thus rendering us vulnerable and semi-conscious, and we're interacting with this dark creatures whilst so vulnerable… well, the possibilities terrify me.

    I wouldn't want them 'inside my head' or 'coming back when I'm ready'. What purpose would they have? What would they be coming back for?

    Scary, scary stuff.

    Hopefully, I'm not correct and the scientific explanation is truly what's going on, 'cause otherwise, there's some terrifying stuff that science and thus, most of us, will never, ever understand.

    • Hi andromeda,

      Thank you for your comment, and adding your thoughts and theories to the on-going discussion. I won’t go on too much in response to you, but it does seem that you’re worrying a lot about things you’ve read online, rather than your own experiences. For example what you’ve read that ‘creatures’ sometimes say. I think it’s good to take what you read online with a pinch of salt, and not think too much about what other people say. If you worry about everything everyone ever reports about what they see in their dreams, nightmares, hallucinations or sleep paralysis, then there will be awful lot to worry about! If you do believe in astral travelling, lucid dreaming etc, as many people do, then maybe you could try to think about the good things you’ll potentially see. Just a thought for you.
      Thanks again for taking the time to comment, and you may find one or two other readers respond at some point to your thoughts.
      Regards
      Ethan

  78. Trenton says:

    Hi. I used to be a strongly religious Christian. This was before i realized that religion and faith are 2 different things. I know not every one will believe the same as me. But i will say that i believe What my Bible says is true. I DO. NOT however agree with all the religious things that society has put upon my faith. NOW THAT BEING SAID….HERE’S MY STORY. Before i tell of my experience i will say that i agree that there is something biological taking place. But it doesn’t answer enough. 2 years ago i had a failed suicide attempt. As a sophomore in high school i went through a lot of mental grief and problems. I had abandoned what i thought was my faith. Until one night i was asleep. I suddenly became aware. Not in my physical earthly body but i was in a dark nexus. The best i can describe it is the loading screen on assassins creed video games. But i was accompanied by a tall dark figure. He was pointing at me. He said “Trenton. You are mine. If you cant escape this dream you will die and i will own your soul.” It was more real to me than any lucid dream i have ever had. I was aware that what he said was true. I tried crawling away into this black and empty infinity to no avail. He laughed as i sat crying. I felt the devil himself in my presence. He said “now you’re mine” and without thinking i turned and said “no. I belong to God” he didn’t like that. Then i saw a figure appear that i can only describe as light. He looked even angrier than the dark figure. The Man clothed in light took the dark figure away to where i couldn’t hear what was being said. He pointed and scolded at the dark one and the dark one looked like the kid in class who doesn’t care what the teacher says but follows orders always (you know that guy) He pointed back at me. Then the dark one smiled in my direction and nodded his head at the light One and the light one opened the light where i crawled from the nexus back to my bed. It was more than lucid. I know no amount of explaining could be convincing but it was real enough that i am still convinced. Since then i became TRULY saved. But that hasn’t rid me of my worn in anxiety and depression.DON’T GIVE UP HERE COMES THE MORE RELATIVE STORY. Last fall i was lying in my bed.(asleep) this time it was just a dream.almost all of my dreams have about a1.5 second continuity span.not this one. It was all one solid flowing dream I saw a girl. Half of her face was the most beautiful thing i have ever laid eyes on. She needed no make up. But the other half was decayed. There was bone showing. It was the most frightening sight i could imagine. She kept sort of singing “im the angel ghost” over and over. I have a weak spot for beautiful girls. I went to ask her if there was something wrong.she looked at me and said “now YOU are the angel witch IMMEDIATELY i was attacked. I woke up as if i were having a night terror ONLY TO REALIZE THAT I COULDN’T move. Something was on my chest.it was patting me. At first it felt like a huge mouse had gotten on top of me and started jumping on me.i was screaming internally when all of a sudden my body came back to my mind and i had yelped and screamed like never before while throwing my blankets across the room. I had realized that my arms were tingly and asleep and nearly numb and still paralyzed. But i wasn’t sleeping on top of my arms. I was on my back with my arms to the side-ish. SOMETHING was holding my arms down while i was lying there. THE NEXT TIME was a week ago today. It was just a simple experience.(compared to the others) i was lying on my stomach this time and knew what was happening(afterwards). I was having SP. I panicked. I felt a dark presence but couldn’t see it. THE MOST recent episode was about 5 hours ago. It lasted for 1-2 hours. I felt like this presence was constantly waking me up.but i couldn’t move. It put me back to sleep. I ended up becoming aware within my sleep. Then i woke up. Still paralysed.this cycle continued for about an hour and a half. I told myself “its just sleep paralysis. The demon will go away if i ignore it” well apparently it heard me. It had found. a way to press down on my chest as if it was giving some violent form of cpr. My heart was more than racing and pounding at this point. It was fluttering as i panicked.then. i was relieved. Now here i am on the internet looking for answers. Not the wisest decision but also not a dumb one.thanks for reading. Again this is all my true account as truthful as i can tell and to the best of my memory. I am still interested in seeing what happens down the road. I am only 18 but i am always seeking to know more. GOD BLESS you all.

  79. Trenton says:

    I apologize if my last post was lengthy but i guess i had a lot of points to be made. I didnt realize how long it was.

    • Hi Trenton,

      Thank you for your interesting and very descriptive comment. And don’t worry about the length – I gave up a long time ago trying to encourage people to leave shorter comments. It seems to be a topic people feel compelled to write at length about, so until my server crashes, it can carry on:-)

      I am going to start reducing my responses to long comments though due to the sheer amount of time it takes, much as I wish I could always spend time on each one individually.

      Hopefully your quite frightening experiences will not continue with such intensity. Assuming you’ve read all the comments here, maybe you’ll find something which will help you to deal with it when it happens.

      Thanks again for taking the time to describe your sleep paralysis experience.
      Regards
      Ethan

  80. Jim says:

    I’ve experienced sleep paralysis since I was younger, and only recently overcame my fear. Over the years I’ve seen shadow figures, the Old Hag, lights that become figures, felt a presence in my room, and I’ve heard music and metallic screeching or buzzing. I’ve also experienced bodily vibrations and other weird sensations (like I’m spinning).

    I sometimes wake into these vibrations, as well (I’m unsure if this is sleep paralysis). They come in waves, stopping if I struggle against them, then restarting a second later. I usually eventually fall asleep after the third or fourth wave, but last month, after reading about lucid dreaming, I decided to “fall into” them. I experienced a falling sensation before images began appearing. One of them was the Old Hag, who was shouting at me throughout. She even followed me into the dream, though for some reason ignored me and attacked a group of guys. I lost lucidity a few seconds later.

    • Hi Jim

      Thanks for sharing your interesting sleep paralysis story. It’s often difficult to tell the difference between sleep paralysis, dreaming and other phenomenon as you rightly point out. But the main thing is that you managed to overcome your fear…well done!
      And if you do decide to ‘go with it’ and see what happens, then you may end up having some very interesting experiences!
      Regards
      Ethan

  81. Alex says:

    Hi, I thought I’d add my list of varying SP episodes. I think I suffered this as a child,around 5-6 years, and now for about the last 5 years, I’m 29 now.

    I say I think I suffered this as a child as I’m pretty sure now that monsters don’t exist.

    I remember vividly as a child sitting up-right in bed and going into a state where I couldn’t move/talk and a demon opening the door coming through and talking to me, not kindly! When he left I simply snap’d out of it, got out of bed and saw my parents. I was told I must be dreaming, explained I hadn’t woke up from a dream and for a long time was convinced of demons….

    Later in life when it started happening again I found out it was SP, or different dream states.

    I get it a few times a week, and the experiences can be different. But I can guarantee 100% it will happen if I sleep on my back. Although it can happen if I lie on my front, something about lying on my back induces it. I always know I am asleep really while it is happening, and still panic anyway!

    Notable experiences, Standard experience, lying there can’t move and shadowy person opens the door and stands there talking while not moving/being able to talk. For some reason, probably the fear and anxiety, I will desperately try and block out/not listen to what they have to say.

    out of body experience, floating around my bedroom, I will lie in bed thinking I am awake, then suddenly float to the ceiling and push my self around.

    One time I got into bed, rolled over, and not a few seconds later the covers fly of my bed. Black figure walks in talks then leaves.

    Sometimes I’ll have a weight on my back, often its a dog….

    This often happens, I’ll find I can’t move/talk and try and fight it. i’ll struggle and shake and eventually snap and think I’m awake . I then close my eyes and it immediately happens again. Had this happen 6 times in a row before.

    My girlfriend is a very light sleeper and can often tell when I’m having an episode. It does not take her long to wake me up, but i can see her leaning over me and hear her words, but for a while I will not be able to move of talk back.

    I will note it never happens if I leave the TV on all night. Also herbal sleeping remedies seem to induce it.

    Sorry to ramble but this seemed a good place to document.

    • Hi Alex

      Thank you for sharing your sleep paralysis experiences, and it sounds like you’ve had quite a range of them! It’s interesting that the TV helps – something that I wrote about in an article about people who can’t sleep due to a fear of the dark, and just don’t know that’s what they have. And it’s good that you have someone who can wake you up out of it. Maybe try sleeping with a soft night-light and see if that helps?
      Regards
      Ethan

  82. Christopher says:

    I have had sleep paralysis episodes for about 4-5 years now. These episodes tend to occur after I stay up all night writing papers or studying for exams. I am not a religious person but it is hard for me to find comfort in the scientific understanding of these events.

    I’ll just jump into my very last experience which was actually one day ago. I went to bed at 4:30 a.m. (yes, another long night) while listening to a silly podcast called the “Ten Minute Podcast”, which I leave playing all night because I have so many downloaded. I woke up at about 5:50 a.m. and I was laying on my right side and I opened my left eyes and saw my computer in front of me. I then started listening to the podcast I mentioned earlier thinking I should get up. At this point I could not move because I was paralyzed. I experience these SP episodes relatively often so I usually wait them out, but this time I felt something step into my bed and sit behind me. I felt the pressure of whatever it was press into my back. At this time I tried to move my left arm which was free with all of my might. I moved it just slightly and then my left arm extended further from my body and started spinning in a circular motion which I was not in control of. I then felt an even greater pressure come over my whole body, as if a very heavy blanket was thrown over me. My whole body then slid towards the head of my bed by about 3 inches. Mind you, this whole time I had one eye open and I was also listening to a podcast, so with that being said I could gauge how long the experience lasted, which was about five minutes. When I experience these hallucinations I find it extremely hard to stay calm by explaining to myself that there are biological explanations for what is happening.

    Again, I am not religious, these experiences are just super creepy. I realize the mind is a very complicated thing that isn’t completely understood.

    • Hi Christopher,

      Thanks for sharing your experience of sleep paralysis, and the one your describe does sound very creepy, as you put it. As with so many other readers, you rightly mention how difficult it can find comfort in the rational explanation when what you experience seems so real and not at all rational.
      But I think it’s important to hang on to that belief, no matter how difficult it can get. It sounds like you’re doing a good job under the circumstances, so just remember that trying to keep calm is probably the best thing you can do.
      All the best
      Ethan

  83. Leo Vieira says:

    Hi everyone :)
    well I am not alone in this thing, I suffered for a long time through my teenage phase of my life of horrifying nightmares where I couldn’t move any part of my body, I saw shadows, a old man dressed in a white suit and also a creature that had a human body but also had a type of pig face mixed with goat, I really mean it, I did sleep for a long time with my mother , I was 17 when I left home and I only had this episodes in my life while I was living in my mum’s house , funny or not I am 32 today and I live in New Zealand and the last time I had this type visions or “sleep Paralysis “was when I went to visit my mum in Brazil. And believe me I spent 8 months there and @ 30 years of age I asked to have my mum on my bed because I saw a lot of shadow people, hands ,arms and body moving in my bedroom, I was wake.. haven’t had it since I come back to New Zealand, it has been almost 4 years with out problems.the things I saw on my sleep paralysis I had no idea that actually was pictures or images online related to it, why our brain would show so many people the same thing? the same creatures? millions of coincidence or people or things from other dimensions? what is your opinion?

    • Hi Leo

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your sleep paralysis moments with us. I wrote a comment some time ago in response to someone else, explaining why so many people have similar images appear to them. Without going into at length again, the summary was that I think we are all heavily influenced by the images we do see. Even if you don’t watch horror films for example, you will still sometimes see images as a results of advertising etc.
      Personally I don’t believe in creatures from other dimensions, though I’m sure you will find one or two other readers who do.
      And as for only experiencing SP in Brazil, it doesn’t completely surprise me that it only happens in one place. Other people have mentioned a similar thing. I don’t think it is evidence though that a place itself is somehow ‘bad’. More that possibly your mind makes an association based on previous experience. Or that you just sleep differently when you are there.
      Anyway, all the best and hopefully you can continue sleeping without those unpleasant experiences.
      Regards
      Ethan

  84. Chrisy says:

    I’ve been having sleep paralysis for about 15 years. The first ones were mostly sound hallucinations where I would wake up to extremely loud banging noises, as if someone were standing over my bed banging a pot with a large metal spoon. I actually felt as if my eardrums were going to explode because it was so loud. I also used to have these episodes where I would become paralyzed and have intense electricity running through my body. It was so bad that i felt as if i were in an electric chair and I was seriously worried that I would damage my brain because when I was finally able to snap out of it and move again, my whole body would feel like jello and I would only be able to crawl, not walk for a few minutes after. I’ve also seen the typical black shadow people and I even was one once. It happened while I was trying to fight off paralysis and i looked down to see small child like black legs thrashing around instead of my own legs.
    I don’t SP as often as I used to but its still very weird! I have had several interesting hallucinations and odd OBE moments but I don’t have enough space to write them all down.

    • Hi Chrisy

      Thanks for sharing your experiences here. It sounds like you’ve definitely had a few unpleasant moments, and I’m glad for you that it happens less frequently. Did you ever get yourself checked by a doctor over the electricity feelings and feeling like jello when you wake up? It would be interesting to know what they said, and if it still happens to this day.
      Regards
      Ethan

  85. Justin Salvaleon says:

    I’ve struggled with sleep paralysis for as long as I can remember. I’m 24 now and can remember having episodes of it when I was only a kid. I get it often and have become used to it. But there are some times where I know I’m in sleep paralysis and can’t help but become afraid. Most of the time I shake it off and just fall asleep. But when I have hallucinations I can’t tell if it’s real or not. Most of the time it feels extremely real. I even feel touching or voices. Mostly whispers but sometimes a low female voice calling my name in an eerie way. I even see shadows or even people with no faces and as of recently what seemed to be aliens to me. I have a lot more frightening stories too where I feel helpless. I love hearing and sharing these experiences. I’d also love to see a movie on this topic. Feel free to contact me about it.

    • Hi Justin

      Thanks for sharing your story in the comments thread. Like so many others, it is surprising how real it can feel, and continue to scare you even when you become more used to it.
      Funnily enough I saw an advert for a film on sleep paralysis on a crowd funding website not long ago. I hope they don’t make their budget request though because the trailer looked terrible. All the film makers seemed interested in was using it as a basis for a demonic horror story, and it looked pretty gruesome. Not something which would help all the many people who struggle to accept the scientific explanation!
      Regards
      Ethan

  86. Danielle says:

    I have experienced these episodes on and off since my early teens. Recently they”ve become increasingly stranger and on 2 occasions after i applied the Blood of Jesus i heard a harsh, raspy voice respond angrily in a language that was like nothing i’d heard before and I sensed something move or leave. It seemed like that awful voice came from my mouth while I was talking in my mind, and immediately the ‘presence’ left I was able to take control of my body again. What’s worst, this last time, after i got up i seemed to see through a cloudy glass two figures. One I sensed was me but dressed differently, and seemed to be injured or really exhausted and weary. She was pale, thin and her right eye was turned up and greyish white like she had been hit or stabbed in it. She was standing in what looked like a charred landscape looking grey and exhausted. I felt I was looking at myself in some other place and I got the impression we had been fighting a long, hard battle. The other figure looked like some type of animal, it was big, a kind of pinkish blue grey color and seemed gelations. Something about it reminded me of a pig. The entire scene, but especially the animal, made me think of something dark, unnatural, and dangerous. I could not sense if the animal was a friend or foe but it seemed somewhat repulsive.

    I’m not sure what to make of this but it’s darned scary

    • Hi Danielle

      Thank your for the comment, and sorry to hear you’ve been having some scary experiences. It does sound unpleasant indeed. As with a few other people there seems to be some blurring between dreaming and sleep paralysis, but it’s so hard to work out when one stops and the other starts.
      Hopefully you will have found some helpful advice in this article and the other comments people have left.
      All the best
      Ethan

  87. Jess says:

    I have recently been suffering with SP due to being stressed out and anxious. I suffer with anxiety as it is but I have never experienced episodes of SP like this before. It started a couple of weeks ago, I had the usual symptoms of waking up and not being able to move, the urge to scream but no sound coming out and great effort to get my breath. I’ve had previously had this before but what was different this time was a dark figure at the end of my bed. It was pulling me towards it, as if it was taking me somewhere but then a white shadow and formed and I was suddenly realised and my SP ended. I woke up with sweat rolling down me and my breathing had gone through the roof; I was having a full blown panic attack. Anyway I was wary of going to sleep after that incident for a bit, until the other night. The same scenario happened with the SP and dark figure, only this time it felt as if the white shadow was in me and I was able to fight it off. Either way it’s scared the s*** of me and I’m really struggling to sleep atm. I’ve been Googling up on it all and all that comes up is ‘demons’ and tbh, that isn’t helping. I believe in such things, but I don’t want to believe that there is one causing all of this. I just want a honest, plausible answer. I’m only 16.

    • Hi Jess

      Thank you for sharing your sleep paralysis story, and sorry to hear it’s upset you so much. Yes, you will find lots of theories of demons and other nasty things if you search online. But you will also find the same scientific explanation on the most respected websites. If you look through all the comments here, you’ll find some useful bits of advice from other readers. But for now, perhaps try sleeping with a nightlight on, or even the radio or television if you are able to. It might help provide some comfort if you do wake up and go through all that again.
      All the best
      Ethan

  88. Garth says:

    I’ve been getting SP for about 18 years. I found it frightening at first, but I soon figured out how to force myself awake. I would get mild auditory hallucinations, though eventually these became less prominent, to the point I didn’t take much notice of them.

    That was until about August last year, when I started getting intruder hallucinations. I recognised the familiar sensation of entering SP just before it hit, and then I would hear and feel a rat crawling around on my bed. Sometimes it would sniff around near my ear, and a few times it nestled into my armpit for warmth. Once it crawled on the side of my head. Naturally, I was freaked out, convinced it was real. I had some trouble fighting out of SP, and would make some loud noise in the direction of the rat as I woke up, but nothing was there. There was no sound of something skittering away, which is nigh impossible as my room is a mess.

    The rat didn’t show up for a while after I kept one of my cats in my room overnight for a week (normally they disturb my sleep too much). Then a few days after finishing the game Dishonored, which features swarms of plague rats, it started turning up again. Eventually I tried recording episodes with my smartphone, and the two times I got recordings during episodes, there was nothing recorded but my own breathing and movements.

    Following this, I’ve had limited success in controlling the hallucinations. Once I managed to “summon” other animals just by thinking about them, which I found quite amusing, as the rat then had less power. As of the last several episodes, the rat doesn’t show up until I will it to do so.

    The last few times I’ve been trying to replace the rat with a cat, as that would be much more pleasant. One of my cats had to be put to sleep last week, so I’d like something friendly to be there for a while, even if the episode is short lived.

    • Hi Garth
      Thanks for sharing your story, and and interesting one it is at that! And I’m sorry to hear about your cat – the loss of a pet is always a difficult thing to deal with.
      I really like your constructive attitude in trying to change the things you see. It’s an inspiration for the other readers who struggle to cope with sleep paralysis. And it’s great that you’ve had some success. There is actually a form of therapy for dealing with nightmares which involves trying to visualize better endings for your dreams while you are awake and thinking about it regularly to try to change your dreams. Perhaps what you are doing is similar, so I wish you the best of luck with it.
      Regards
      Ethan

  89. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I’ve decided to do some research about sleep paralysis and found this page. I read the comments so glad that I am not the only one experiening it. It happens randomly and the first episode I had when I was 17 (now I’m 29) it was so vivid. I heard eerie laughters. I was sort of half awake, tried to calm down

  90. Anonymous says:

    The first SP episode when was 17 (now I’m 29) I am not a religious nutcase or a superstitious. I believe in God respect all religions. And I chose to be muslim because Islam accepts all religions. But alas, I neither do 5 times praying nor follow other Islamic attributes.
    I experienced SP and it happens randomly. Each episode is different and so vivid. And every time my body is immovable and I am suffocated. In the first episode I heard errie laughters. And I started to pray and wanted to awake myself though I was conscious but I couldn’t understand what was going on. I just kept praying. ( I am muslim so I repeated the verse from Koranover and over)All of a sudden something tall in white appeared in front of me and then vaniashed. In second one I saw a lady with

    • Hi

      I think your comment got cut off…if you want to come back and finish it, I can piece it together. Prayer is something which several readers have said they found helps them. I think just the focus that it gives you can be helpful in itself.
      Regards
      Ethan

  91. Irish john says:

    I felt after reading down thru all the peoples stories here to add my own and after growing up in rural Ireland in a land of fairies and leprechauns and the Bean shia or banshee i guess my mind was set for the events which took place in 1994 ..id been asleep with my girlfriend at the time and was lying face to the wall.. when i felt a presence move into the room from left hand side and move towards our bed in the corner and somehow i was awake i saw the wall pattern as it was evening time but i literally felt the black cloaked monk like shape reach for me and press me down with great force into the bed… now having been a rascal in my younger days my friends and i used to enter supposed haunted houses and graveyards searching for ghosts and anything else .even in one for sure old house that dates back to famine times we didn’t pick up any feelings..
    To return to my story all i can say is and anyone who’s had what i call SP if you could bottle and sell the fear the pure heart stopping hair raising fear of that demon monk on my chest that late evening well its what movie makers and game creators strive to give their audiences… pure unadulterated spine-chilling crying out but cant move a muscle fear…
    By tiny amounts i by willing it to release me felt its pressure lessen and i felt it move back across the room.. the strangest thing was as i felt it pass over my girlfriend she woke up screaming and that set me off also but i felt the presence slip into the other room and away from us…she after felt as though hands were pulling her out of bed …
    So 2 adults no drink or drugs scared by a combination of each others fears who knows..
    I thank you for reading my little tale and it might help others because for years it was my ghost story and i would tell it to people and some would look with that knowing cringing hair raised on back of neck feeling that only someone who had experienced fear like that knew..
    All i know is i’ve had once and that was enough hihi…
    Sleep well and safe folks.
    John

    • Hi John

      Thanks for bringing a taste of good Irish story telling to the comments thread, and as much as I know your story has a serious and frightening side, it was well told:-)
      You are definitely right about the level of fear that sleep paralysis can induce in people. You only need to take a look through the other comments to see just how many people have been through horribly frightening experiences.
      I can’t remember how many exactly have spoken about having a shared experience. Not many, but definitely one or two I think. But again, I think there is probably something to be said for one person being able to sense the others fear. And of course, the fact that the mind can supposedly create a dream in a flash, which can make unusual coincidences occur.
      Thanks again for sharing your story in such a descriptive way.
      Ethan

  92. Fabian Martinez says:

    I am only 16 years old & I had a very unusual experience. At first I thought I was just having a nightmare, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a nightmare where I was laying in my bed and a demon/creature visited me and I couldn’t move. So I did some research and I found out I experienced sleep paralysis. I just want to know if it’s unusual because of my age. Everyone’s feedback would be extremely helpful.

    • Hi Fabian

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’ve been snowed under recently.
      I don’t think it’s that unusual, no. There have been other young people saying they have experienced it, and older people saying they remember having it when they were very young. If you’re concerned, then I recommend talking to your family, a close friend, or a doctor about it. You may well find they have also experienced the same. If they call you crazy, you can always show them this website and this comment:-)
      Regards
      Ethan

  93. brittany says:

    So just now its Friday may 30th. I’m pretty sure I experienced sleep paralysis. I share a room with my little brother he fell asleep way before me. I started to fall asleep at about 220 and all of a sudden I heard the door open and from my bedroom door its right in front of it. I feel the need to get up and look but I couldn’t. My heart started beating really fast and it felt heavy like I couldn’t breath and I felt like I was yelling for my brother and mom but none of them could hear me or answer me. And then I felt like my mom was coming to help me then all of a sudden I was able to move again and she was gone and the door is shut. I do believe in ghosts and I always say my house is haunted I was wondering if this cud have anything to do with it.. Now it’s 319 am and I’m still scared and my heart still feels a bit fast. ? Details if this really was sleep paralysis or not..

    • Hi Brittany,

      Thanks for sharing your sleep paralysis story, and it does sound like a familiar one which is very similar to many other readers’ descriptions. Personally, I don’t think you need to worry about ghosts, though what you choose to believe is of course up to you. But as I said in the article, if you experience things like this, it’s probably going to be easier to deal with if you accept the scientific explanation and don’t start worrying about ghosts!
      Hopefully it won’t happen again and if it does, try to stay calm if possible.
      Regards
      Ethan

  94. S.H. says:

    It’s sad to see how much people are struggling with sleep paralysis. I’ve had a couple experiences myself, and although they’re terrifying in the moment, I also find them so fascinating I wouldn’t want to be without. I’ve even been wondering if there is a way to induce them, but then I’ve always had an interest in both dreams, the occult and “supernatural” experiences. All the while being a non-believer in the two latter, despite my very vivid experiences. I think if you are a strict non-believer, it’s probably more in the front of your mind that what is happening isn’t real, and therefore it’s not as traumatizing. Also, my “episodes” don’t last more than a couple minutes, I imagine the ones that drag on for longer must be pretty awful.

    My experiences have been “by the book” so to speak, except they always start with a nightmare, and when I wake up from it I see her. A demon/witch standing by my door, unable to move as she glides towards me and suddenly jumps up on my chest. I can feel her sucking the soul out of my body while she’s strangling me and holding me down, I can’t move or speak, and eventually I pass out (feels more like I’m dying than falling asleep). She looks into my eyes, and makes a loud, strange sound that sounds like a cross between a high pitched scream, static noise and nails on a chalkboard (so pretty much the worst sound you can imagine). Her skin is wrinkly and dried up, she has long black hair, and looking into her eyes is straining and painful, like sitting right in front of the tv and staring at the static.

    • Hi S.H.

      Thank you for your comment and for sending a shiver down my spine!! I’m one of those people that can’t handle chalk board noises, so your description put my hairs on end…

      It’s nice of you to acknowledge that suffering that many people experience. And you’re not alone in finding the experiences interesting. I think I should come up with a name like ‘sleep paralysis explorers’ for the readers who actually enjoy the experience. If only there was a way to transfer that attitude to all the people who can’t bear it.

      But importantly every time someone like you does explain that it’s possible to experience something horrible and take it on, it’s hopefully another little positive that anyone reading this comment chain can find solace in.

      All the best and thanks again
      Ethan

  95. Anonymous says:

    I am plagued by nightmares on a daily basis. Most of the time I come to accept them for what they are, dreams. However there are certain times where something more is at hand; recently, I had a nightmare of being on an operating table and having my body from a previous life across from me on another operating table with my second personality inside it. I was tortured and tested on so much that my old body had been destroyed in turn returning my other personality which made me stronger since losing my other personality made me weaker. The whole dream went on for five years till I was able to break out and attempt an escape ultimately failing and dying. I can specifically remember this encounter from a previous life for unknown reasons. The next day I had sleep paralysis. However, this wasn’t like the sleep paralysis that you described. I was unable to open my eyes, heard a maniacal laugh, felt pressure on my crotch and a blade slowly trying to pierce my chest while I was cut in an x formation up and down my arms entirely. I woke up to such cuts after I made every attempt to open my eyes and move (I managed to open them and break free of the paralysis by moving my toes. Im unsure as to why since twitching my fingers and other parts of my body wouldnt work.) This isnt the first time this has happened. This has happened over a thousand times. Call it what you will, however, in my experiences and prior knowledge science is unable to explain certain things for we dont have the brain capacity to understand such things on the level and degree of intensity they are brought unto us.

    • Hi there

      Thanks for sharing your story, and it sound really horrible to have experienced! I don’t think I’ve ever had a dream which I woke from with the feeling that it had lasted for years. That must have been strange in itself.
      You are right in that science doesn’t satisfactorily explain everything, and of course we know that scientists are constantly finding out new information and information which replaces what we previously thought all the time.
      However, in the case of sleep paralysis, to me the explanation seems reasonable. But accepting it in the face of the intensity that you and many others experience is of course quite difficult at times.
      Hopefully you will find a way to deal with this as some others have and be able to sleep peacefully.
      Regards
      Ethan

  96. Tanya says:

    I had my very first sleep paralysis at about 16yrs old. I think this is a common age when this begins to occur as I have spoke to others. Im wondering if there is a reason why this seem to start around puberty. I also want to share my experience in which I was able to reduce the occurrences. Its been about 3 years since I had one and before that it was 2 years but before that it occurred anywhere from once a week to about to once every month. I have gotten so used to it that I learned to instantly wake myself out of it when I needed to with effort. I went from being scared to being frustrated, angry and scared. So I began to fight back, even though I didnt have control over my body movement. I believe I fought with my mind therefore it felt as if I was moving my body. I would fight back while calling the demon every name in the book..cursing and screaming in my mind but I knew it was registering. The very last experience, he was on my chest and I scratched his face repeatedly for a few seconds, even though it felt like I was scratching air I knew he felt it, and when I stopped and to my surprise he started scratching me back in my face repeatedly just as I did to him. My face started burning pretty bad and he stopped within a few seconds. Then I yelled at him again and woke myself up. I havent had an episode since then (about 3 years ago) I like to believe it got tired of me cursing it out, fighting back and then waking myself up having the last word and sometimes telling him “I control this” or “I can end this” or “your history”. I wanted it to stop and it did, or at least it doesnt occur nearly as often. Im not sure if this would mostly likely suggest that I fought away a demonic spirit or if I just simply cured or controlled a psychological hallucination. I would believe that it more likely suggest fighting away a demonic demon because thats basically all I did and it stopped. For I am still fearful of this and dread it happening again.

    • Hi Tanya,

      Thanks for sharing your sleep paralysis story, and sorry to hear you’ve had some unpleasant experiences, and still living with the worry that they will occur again. It’s great that you managed to use your strength of mind and will to confront and deal with the sleep paralysis. As for your question about what you actually managed to do, well my personally take would be that it doesn’t really matter if it’s been 3 years since you last experienced it. If you can, I would try to put it out of your mind and try to start believing that you will continue to sleep peacefully without a re-occurrence. I’m sure if it does happen again in the future, you’ll find the same strength to manage the situation.

      All the best
      Ethan

  97. ralph t suarez says:

    hey guys i’m always wondering why is always happen to me
    during the sunlight i’m always fall asleep paralyze and i know some kind or something wants to my body i feel something hugging me hard and i cant breathe and all of my body is paralyzed and imagine terror i cant explain it how, i’m always praying and please i’m asking this question sorry for my grammar or anything please help me. How i can fight this?

    • Hi Ralph,

      Sorry to hear you are experiencing what sounds like sleep paralysis. There is lots of advice here, both in the article and in the many comments other readers have left. If you read through, hopefully you will find something which helps depending on your particular belief.
      My personal advice is to try to stay calm, and to remember the scientific explanation. Though I know not everyone agrees with that! But I think it is one of the best ways to deal with the fear – by remembering to tell yourself that nothing bad will actually happen.
      Regards,
      Ethan

  98. DH says:

    Hi! Iv experienced SP many times, the first time I honestly thought I seen either a ghost/spirit/demon, I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t talk or roar, I couldn’t move or open my eyes. Eventually I was able to open my eyes and when I did it was like a hand was in front of my face, I was then able to jump up and I seen a kind of black floaty figure at the end of my bed, I opened my blind and it vanished as soon as the light brightened up my room. I stayed in my bed for an hour as I was too afraid to do anything! Noting happened 2 me again for about a year or so, until one night I taught I could hear people running up my stairs, they barged into my room and I felt my blanket being ripped of me then it felt like they grabbed me by my legs and it felt like I was being ripped out of bed! I was able to roar this time and by god did I roar, I woke the whole house! The same thing happened over and over until I realised it always happened when I tried to go to sleep on my left side, I now always sleep on my right side and it never happens me (fingers crossed it doesn’t) hope people can relate to my story, and find that sleeping on their right hand side stops SP to a certain extent!

    • Hi DH

      Thanks for sharing your experience of sleep paralysis with us, and it does sound frightening! I think it’s interesting that you found a position which stops them from happening. I’m not sure everyone will have the same from sleeping on the right, but I do think there is a common theme with many people saying it happens on their back for example.
      So I do think it’s a good idea for people to experiment with sleeping in different positions.
      Regards
      Ethan

  99. Adam says:

    just had my first sp attack last night it didn’t last long. to be honest i feel excited that it happened to me even though i felt as though i was having an anxiety attack at first i feel happy to have had the experience. i woke up and next to me is my large bull-mastiff dog as she always sleeps with me (lol) and i remember thinking poltergeist straight away for some reason i couldn’t move my body what so ever i tried shouting out in fear but was unable to do so, first i tried moving my arms and nothing happened that’s when i panicked then i tried moving my legs nothing happened then i tried dramatically kicking out my legs and still nothing i also remember looking into the corner of my room and seeing a black cloud. i fell asleep straight after i regained control of my body. it must have all happened in about 5 minutes. i fell straight back to sleep afterwards and woke up forgetting what had happened. something clicked in my head a few hours after i woke and i instantly recalled the experience. my mother also has had this experience on 2 occasions on one occasion lasted for roughly just over 1 hour.
    i have actually been going through depression for some time now and haven’t had the balls to seek help. maybe this has something to do with it. there is too many explanations as to why it happened i am just grateful i had the experience and cant wait for the next time so i can $%&# those demons up! A MEN

    adam 21 liverpool

    • Hi Adam,

      Thanks for your comment, and it’s always good to hear from people who have managed to find a way to enjoy the experience of sleep paralysis, even if the content sounds quite scary still. I think some readers will find it helpful to know that it is possible to take control of the situation and not feel so helpless.
      I would strongly recommend seeking some help if you have been feeling depressed. Even if it’s just to reach out to a close family or friend. Social support is one of the best ways to tackle those kind of issues.
      Regards
      Ethan

  100. medico says:

    It’s most probably a sleeping position (often on your back) which puts extra pressure on the heart to pump oxygenated blood, especially importantly, to the brain. Sleeping flat on your back also puts extra load on you lungs to breathe. If you drink or smoke these factors will only increase the problem.
    Suggestions.
    1.Sleep on your side.

    2.Use only one pillow.

    3.Use a large book under a single pillow.

    4,Leave a small light on in the room.

    5.Leave the radio or TV on quietly in the background.

    6.Do not read in bed before you sleep, as this encourages sleeping on your back.

    7.if you find yourself in a S.P. start a rocking motion in your mind, from left to right, and count each one. Attempt to wake yourself up by increasing the roll of each rocking motion. Count to 20 and then reset back to 1 and continue until you wake.

    8. As you rock, you may become away of a leg, arm or eyes having more motion. Concentrate your efforts on moving this area more to bring you to full wakefulness more quickly. As you come back from unconciousness to wakefullness (the semi-conscious stage) you may experience a ‘sea swell’ sensation, at this point you need to focus all your efforts in increasing this unpleasant sensation until you wake.

    • Hi Medico,

      Thank you very much for your comment and the range of practical suggestions. I think they are all very good suggestions, though I’m a bit confused another the large book under a single pillow idea, especially if you first recommend only using one pillow. But all the rest seem very useful tips. I especially like the idea of focusing on a rocking motion and seeing if it then triggers movement in the body.
      I am planning on building either a new practical tips section to this article, or a separate one altogether at some point. And I will definitely include that one to see what people think.
      Many thanks
      Ethan

  101. Rebecca says:

    I am 48 and have suffered SP since I was a kid. Didn’t know the name for it until a few years ago when I heard my sons discussing it. My now 21 year old has had episodes since about the age of 14, usually seeing a figure coming toward him. My now 20 year old had one episode I know of. I usually have one when I am exhausted and fall asleep on my back. I try to avoid sleeping on my back but sometimes end up rolling from my side in the middle of the night. I do know how to wake myself but it is still an experience I would prefer not to have. As a Christian, my mother always insisted it was demonic, I never agreed.

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for the comment, and it’s interesting that all three of you experience it. At least you can discuss it, share you experiences and find ways to deal with it together if it is particularly upsetting for any of you. Out of interest, how do you go about waking yourself up?
      Regards
      Ethan

  102. Harmony says:

    I have just recently started experiencing Sleep Paralysis, and I am beyond freaked out from my last experience.

    I was laying down at night, when I awoke, I found myself completely immobilized. Not only that, but I could feel two hands pinning me down, touching my colllar bone/inner shoulders.
    It didn’t talk, but it snarled, and breathed heavily ontop of me. I could feel its breath on my face, and the snarling was first in my right ear, then it moved around and started growling in my left ear. I got the impression it was inspecting me.

    I was able to start moving my arms, and I lifted them infront of me to try and stop this beast from breathing in my face. Once my arms were in front of me, the beast vanished. I then woke up, and heard my front door slam.

    I peered out my window and found my mom and stepdad getting into their car. I looked down at my phone and noticed it was a little passed 3:00AM, and it was very unusual for my parents to be up– let alone leaving the house at that hour.
    I called my mom’s cell, and she picked up. I asked where she was going, and she said that our family friend, Smitty, had just died of a heart attack.

    I always had bad vibes from Smitty, so I always felt that this occurance somehow related to his death.
    Whether it was him, or demons that were inside of him, or demons rejoicing his death and seeking to mess with people he knew.

    Who knows…?

    • Hi Harmony,

      Thank you for sharing you story with us, and I can see why it freaked you out. My own take, as always, would be that it is just an unfortunate coincidence. But I can definitely understand why you would question that simple explanation considering the timing. Hopefully you’ll be able to relax about it and that it won’t happen again.
      Regards
      Ethan

  103. Will S says:

    I actually had my first encounter the other night. I found myself in the back of my car at night. I was like what is going on and then all at once I was struck with the paralysis part as this loud thundery demonic voice started yelling at me that I didn’t know anything about love or something. Which was weird.
    But This morning it happened to me. And I got the feeling that someone was here but I learned that instead of straining, trying to break through the paralysis you can just calm yourself down and it seemed to work. After it happened I would try going back to sleep and almost immediately when I put my head back down( 3 or 4 times in a row) I would get hit with paralysis and couldn’t move. But calming myself seemed to work to wake myself up

    • Hi Will

      Thank you for sharing your story. Can I ask how you found yourself in the back of your car?! Had you been sleeping walking?
      I think you are absolutely right about trying to keep calm being a good technique to deal with sleep paralysis, and many other readers have said the same thing.
      Hopefully this will just be a passing phase for you.
      Regards,
      Ethan

Leave a comment