Sleep Paralysis Stories: Demons Or Hallucinations?

image of a classical painting representing sleep paralysis

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

If not, I’ll first share one of mine to give you an understanding of what it can be like.

Then we’ll take a closer look at whether sleep paralysis demons or ghosts really exist. Or if science can provide a logical and comforting explanation.

My sleep paralysis experience

Imagine the following scenario: it’s been a long day, you go to bed later than usual and fall asleep quickly through sheer exhaustion.

But instead of waking up peacefully in the morning, you half wake in the middle of the night. And in the darkness of your bedroom, it slowly dawns on you that you can’t move your body…and that someone, or something, is watching you.

A weight pushing on your chest

You feel a weight on your chest, pressing you down and preventing you from sitting up. And not only is your whole body paralyzed, but you can’t so much as move your lips to call out for help.

You’re not sure who or what is pushing on your chest. Even though you seem to be able to move your eyes just a little, it’s too dark to see anyway. Regardless, you just feel that there’s a presence there. Something strange. Something frightening.

This happened to me last year and was a very unsettling experience. Fortunately, there was no demon, ghost or burglar in my bedroom.

After a minute’s panic, the feeling passed. And I was then able to stumble to the bathroom to make sure my face wasn’t decorated with demonic symbols. It was a classic case of sleep paralysis.

What is sleep paralysis?

Recurrent isolated sleep paralysis is classified as a parasomnia, which is a group of sleep disorders involving unwanted behaviors that accompany sleep.

The main symptom is being awake and unable to move your body. It might also be accompanied by hallucinations or dreams/nightmares whilst still awake.

It typically lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes before movement is regained. And although it may feel like it at the time, it’s not believed by medical organizations to be harmful.

What causes it?

The exact reason for why it happens to some people and only on some nights isn’t known. However, scientists do have a theory about what goes on during sleep paralysis.

During the night, you cycle through different sleep stages. When you enter the REM stage of sleep, your brain stops your muscles from moving – known as REM atonia. One explanation for this atonia is that it prevents injury from acting out your dreams in bed.

During sleep paralysis, the atonia starts, or continues, while you’re awake. And during this time, you might also experience what’s known as sleep hallucinations, or dreams while you’re awake.

So your body and brain are temporarily out of sync while transitioning between sleep stages, potentially creating a frightening experience.

As Dr. Michael J. Breus neatly explains:

Sleep scientists believe that sleep paralysis may occur when the transitions in and out of REM sleep and other sleep stages don’t go smoothly.

How many people experience sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis stories like mine are surprisingly common. In 2011, researchers aggregated 35 sleep paralysis studies to find out how many people had experienced it at least once in the past year, finding:

  • 7.6% of the general population
  • 28.3% of students
  • 31.9% of psychiatric patients

And according to the handbook of sleep disorders, it will happen at least once in a lifetime of 40% to 50% of normal subjects, but is “far less common as a chronic complaint”.

Who is more at risk of having sleep paralysis?

Scientists might not know the precise reason only some people have sleep paralysis yet, but there are a growing number of risk factors becoming apparent.

For example, researchers who analyzed 42 studies found several risk factors and associated conditions:

  • Sleep problems, changing sleep patterns and shift work.
  • Sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia and nocturnal leg cramps.
  • Stress.
  • Some psychiatric groups, particularly those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and panic disorders.
  • Substance and medication use.
  • Physical illness.
  • Personality and anomalous beliefs.

Is there a genetic component to sleep paralysis?

In 2015, British researchers published a study of 862 twins and siblings aged between 22 and 32. They did find some evidence of a genetic role, but only a small one:

In this sample of young adults, sleep paralysis was moderately heritable

Interestingly, they also found other independent risk factors, including:

  • Disrupted sleep cycles
  • General sleep quality
  • Anxiety symptoms
  • Exposure to threatening events

Polls – readers’ experience of sleep paralysis

I polled readers of this article for a year to find out what kind of sleep paralysis episodes they had.

Note that it’s likely that many people who search online about it will have had the more frightening episodes, skewing the results.

But they still provide a fascinating insight into what people experience and how they cope.

Poll 1

In poll 1, the most common episode was thinking there was a demon or other being in the room.

chart showing the results of my poll about the type of sleep paralysis experiences people have

Poll 2

Poll 2 shows that many readers find sleep paralysis terrifying. Again, those who search online for it are likely to have found it particularly disturbing.

chart of poll results for how scared people are during sleep paralysis

Poll 3

Poll 3 shows that many readers first experienced sleep paralysis during adolescence.

chart with poll results about the age people first have sleep paralysis

Poll 4

Poll 4 shows that most readers don’t experience sleep paralysis on a regular basis. 

chart showing poll results about how often people have sleep paralysis

Poll 5

Poll 5 shows some of the ways readers deal with episodes. You’ll find more coping mechanisms below.

chart showing the results of the poll about techniques for stopping sleep paralysis

The not so scientific explanations for sleep paralysis

image of a woman floating above the bed

Since first writing this article several years ago, there has been an extraordinary number of comments. And the comments show that not everyone accepts the scientific explanation.

Interestingly, some people struggle to accept it even though they consider themselves to be scientifically minded generally. I think these cases highlight just how realistic the experience of sleep paralysis can be; how it can linger in your memory and makes you question what happened for a long time afterward.

The possibility of demons, ghosts, spiritual beings, and aliens all crop up from time to time in the comments too. And while many people accept their experiences as hallucinations or dreams, some people choose to believe another explanation – that those entities are real.

Despite these beliefs, there’s one clear theme: nothing bad ever actually happens, other than being frightened and perhaps losing some sleep after an episode.

Around the world

Cultural beliefs also appear to play a role in how sleep paralysis is perceived by some people.

In Fiji, for example, the demon is sometimes seen as a deceased relative coming back to discuss an important or unfinished matter.

In Chinese folklore, it’s also seen as a ghost rather than a demon or intruder.

Some people in Iran and Pakistan interpret it as demons or spirits taking over your body. This could be due to black magic performed by an enemy.

The common theme is that the entity is usually something to be feared. I’m yet to find a culture which believes it’s a friendly creature!

Sleep paralysis treatment

When to see a doctor

Fortunately, most people don’t experience sleep paralysis very often, and no treatment is usually required.

However, if the following apply to you, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor:

  • It happens regularly.
  • You’re anxious about sleep paralysis and going to sleep.
  • You don’t get enough sleep.
  • You feel very sleepy during the day, sometimes fall asleep suddenly or lose control of your muscles.

What medical treatment is available?

If you see a doctor, they might take the following action:

  • Refer you to a sleep specialist to assess if you have another sleep disorder, like narcolepsy.
  • Treat any underlying psychiatric condition.
  • Discuss any medication or substance use that might be a factor.
  • Explain the biological processes involved in sleep paralysis to reassure you.
  • Talk to you about developing good sleep habits. This is thought to help reduce the frequency of sleep paralysis.

Readers’ techniques for coping with sleep paralysis

Over the years, many readers have described how they cope with sleep paralysis, and I’ve created a list of the most frequent ideas below.

The first seven in the list are also suggested by sleep experts. The rest are a mix of personal opinions. Please bear in mind that none are guaranteed to work:

  • Don’t let yourself become too sleep-deprived.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
  • Try to reduce stress and anxiety in your life.
  • Try to vigorously flutter your eyelids or move your eyes, as this tends to be an area of the body that’s less affected by the paralysis.
  • Focus on wiggling just one finger or a toe.
  • Don’t take recreational drugs or drink alcohol in the evening.
  • Don’t sleep on your back.
  • Stay calm.
  • Tell yourself that you’re in control. You can order the experience to stop.
  • If you feel a weight on your chest, imagine there’s something friendly causing it.
  • Film yourself sleeping so you can see there was nothing in the room.
  • Don’t think about what it could be. Your imagination will probably make up something scary in the darkness.
  • Organize your bedroom in a way that makes you feel safe and secure.
  • Don’t hang dressing gowns, coats, or hats in places that make them look like figures in the dark.
  • Sleep with a night light, music, or radio on.
  • Remind yourself that nothing bad will happen.
  • Imagine your body rolling from side to side in your mind and count each roll. Focus on this and try to grow the capacity for movement from there.
  • Count numbers to focus your mind on something else.
  • Don’t sleep with a high pillow.
  • Keep your eyes shut and try to clear your mind.
  • Squeeze your eyes tightly shut if you can control the muscles.
  • Keep well hydrated – drink water before going to bed.
  • Talk about it to family or friends – they may have experienced it too.
  • If you have it once, get out of bed for a while to reset the brain.
  • Many people say prayer helps. Some also say that calling on their religious beliefs and commanding what they see to leave helps them.
  • Check if any sleeping pills or herbal remedies you’re taking are causing it.
  • Use sleep paralysis to lucid dream by relaxing and going with the experience instead of fighting it.
  • Once the episode has passed, tell yourself that you overcame it, are not afraid and will always overcome it.

How I recently stopped an episode of sleep paralysis

I successfully used two of the above techniques to stop a recent episode of sleep paralysis.

I woke to find myself in a strange position with my arms crossed on top of my body. And I could literally feel strong hands pinning my wrists to my chest.

I have to admit I was immediately petrified. The whole event was blurry, and I think I was having some dream overlap, but can’t remember exactly what now.

Stay calm and wiggle a finger

Two things sprung to mind after a moment of panic: stay calm and try to wiggle a finger.

The calmness I only managed with moderate success. But I did manage to focus my efforts on moving a finger. It felt quite odd – like my fingers were wiggling in different directions!

Eventually, I felt my arms loosen as well, and soon afterward I was able to shake the whole sensation away as I regained full control.

I then spent a few minutes doing some breathing exercises to ground myself and calm down, and then fell asleep again.

I think just knowing about the finger wiggling technique was enough for me to remember it when the sleep paralysis occurred.

Share your story of sleep paralysis

Have you had sleep paralysis? What happened, and do you have any suggestions to help others deal with it?

Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below.

3,333 thoughts on “Sleep Paralysis Stories: Demons Or Hallucinations?”

  1. Carrie McDermott

    I’ve had 2 sleep paralysis incidents. The first one I was about 25 yrs old, living in a tiny Forest Service bunkhouse trailer in Colorado, out in the middle of nowhere. I woke suddenly from a sound sleep in the middle of the night and opened my eyes, looking at the ceiling. After a few seconds I became aware that it wasn’t just the ceiling I was looking at, but a man’s face. He was standing at the side of my bed, leaning over me and staring right into my face. I could make out that he was wearing a plaid flannel shirt, and even though it was dark and I couldn’t really see color, I knew the shirt was red. As soon as I realized what I was looking at, I was terrified. I remember thinking “No f-ing way is this really happening!” I hoped maybe he didn’t notice me open my eyes, and if I just pretend I’m still asleep, maybe he will leave. I closed my eyes and was so scared I felt tears coming out of the corners of my eyes and dripping down on my pillow. I hoped he wouldn’t notice. I stayed that way for a few minutes until I heard what sounded like the kitchen chair being bumped and making a scraping sound on the kitchen floor, like he bumped it on the way out of the trailer. I opened my eyes and he was gone. At the time I didn’t realize this was a sleep paralysis incident, because I never tried to move! I just stayed as still as I could. I had no desire to get out of bed and investigate, I just closed my eyes again and eventually fell back asleep until morning.
    The 2nd time I was about 35 years old and my 6 yr old son and I were visiting his dad, who also lived in a trailer, on a Forest Service compound, in California. Probably has nothing to do with my sleep paralysis, but just an interesting coincidence. Anyway, I woke up and it was morning, and I could hear the TV on, and my son and his dad talking quietly in the living room. I went to get out of bed and realized I couldn’t move. I thought I must have done something in my sleep to cause me to become paralyzed for real. (I actually broke 2 vertebrae in my neck in a car accident many years earlier, so this was not a totally unreasonable fear, and I still had no idea sleep paralysis was a thing). When I realized I couldn’t move, I tried to call out for my son and his dad to come to help me, but couldn’t make a sound. I remember the feeling of panic setting in. I wanted to bang on the headboard or wall or anything to make a noise but couldn’t move my arms. Finally, I just closed my eyes and breathed, and I could feel myself relax a bit, and then after a few minutes when I opened them again, I was totally fine, except for being a bit shaken and confused as to what the heck had just happened.

    1. Hi I have been having the same dream for 6 months, sometimes 1-4 times in a month. It’s always the same dream. I’m asleep on my back, I feel my body leave my body and I’m watching my body floating up and down while I feel this person have its hand on me from behind, but I don’t see it I just feel it. I’m trying to grab my husband, every time I get close to my body I try to scream his name to wake me. I feel someone moving my body around the room and sometimes bring me to the living room. This time I could see his hand and his pointing chin and see the Devil’s face, looks like the Insidious red face, but the back and hand were long and pointy. When I come back to my body it’s because my husband wakes me and I feel a vibration when I return. When I wake up I can still feel the pressure on me, his pointy chin on my back.

  2. I had this happen to me two times in two weeks. The first time it felt like something was going in me. I haven’t felt like myself since this has happened. Like it took my joy away. The 2nd time it happened, I left like someone was sitting on me. The only thing that helps is, calling Jesus’s name and praying. How can I feel like myself again?

  3. I just turned 40. I’m dying because of a freak cardiovascular issue that was misdiagnosed for over 2 years. I’ve had sleep paralysis on a regular basis since I was in preschool. I suffered night terrors & was once found “rowing a boat” in our kitchen pantry fully asleep. The last two nights I’ve experienced something that people would call paranormal, but it’s not. Mushrooms spore on the dead so why can’t a swarm of dark molecules be coming for me in a black cloud of smoke? The collective entities swarm up the bed and once it’s about to come “face to face” I shut my eyes in terror. I’m very used to breathing through the sensation of not breathing. This is different. Before I even sleep I’m feeling a heavy drop sensation in my body, metallic, vibrational, sinking. A warm feeling begins at the top of my head and extremely slowly works its way down ending in my inner thighs. I telepathically ask it to let me go without pain. The first night it was almost euphoric and warm and loving. Last nights was brutal. I thought my skin was being ripped off. I felt actual pressure and actual movement of my duvet along with loud music. I think this is what hell is. When you’re waiting to die. I think sleep paralysis and being taken from this World are completely different sciences.

  4. I have been going through this since I was a kid. It stops for a while then they come back. Sometimes it’s sexual and sometimes they pull me somewhere. I can hear them coming, but by the time I do, it’s too late they are already there. I’m not religious at all, but when I call on Jesus/God that helps. I used to get them so often I would start cussing them out and yelling at them. I really wish I knew what it meant and why it happens. Especially why it happens a lot then stops then comes back.

  5. I just had paralysis last night. It was very different from the ones I’ve had in the past. Normally, I can move my body and I am usually trying to scream help through the paralysis and in most cases calling the name of Jesus! I average at least 2-3 a year. But this time, I remember falling asleep with the TV on, once I woke up and noticed the TV was still on, I turned it off. What seemed like moments later, I felt something hit me hard on the side of my body (I am a side sleeper). Whatever it was hit me so hard that this time I was murmuring expletives! I wanted to get up and fight whatever it was as I myself shook back and forth on my side but I couldn’t get up out of bed. I continue to forcefully murmur expletives saying “you blank blank “ over and over again. Then as I always end up. I finally murmured Jesus, Jesus and then I was calm. I was unable to fall asleep well. Out of all the paralysis episodes I’ve had this one was the scariest because I felt something hit me. Does anyone have a comforting explanation for my experience?

    1. Hi
      I had a similar experience. I had the iPad on and was facing towards it. Then suddenly I felt a light pull behind me. As I tried to turn I couldn’t. I felt angry to fight but couldn’t move so tried to scream out and couldn’t. Really weird. The next night I didn’t sleep all night.

  6. I have had sleep paralysis for years now. I use to think I was the only one. I remembered having it at school once, and I could hear the teacher but all I was thinking was, omg I hope I don’t get caught because I can not move.
    Having SP for over 5 years, I’m now 24. My most recent episode was the worst one yet. It happened so fast but somehow I knew it was an episode afterward. I was laying down and my boyfriend was sitting in front of me, all of sudden it’s like something from his direction got on me and bit me on my neck. I didn’t have time to even think of something like that, so it wasn’t my thoughts. But when I did get up my neck was hurting.

  7. 35 years ago I was just waking up laying on the couch and suddenly I couldn’t move there was actually no control of my body try moving my fingers. And I Heard a voice as clear as day I was definitely demonic. Saying I got you now… Within seconds of hearing this clear voice demonic sounding voice I was released from the grip from his hold.
    The whole thing couldn’t have lasted 10 seconds. And the voice I heard in my head happened immediately corresponding with the paralysis. Didn’t even have time to think about Satan being part of this issue.
    Now since then I became a truck driver and have not had a normal day of sleep for months at a time. And went home on weekends would sleep all weekend to make up for the loss of sleep during the week. Sometimes days up at a time driving. Most of the time driving 8 hours sleeping 2 hours. Driving six sleeping three. Up all hours of the night sleeping at weird times during the day and never experienced this since. I would be the perfect model of how not to get the right amount of sleep and not once has this ever happened to me since.
    And why is it if most people are saying something is holding me down and I’m seeing things and I hear things and it feels like somebody’s physically holding me down are the scientists ignoring that? It would be more logical to at least address that issue as a possibility and not a hallucination.

    1. I experienced it for the second time in my life last night, I was wide awake in my brain and I had hands grabbing all over me, dragging me, holding me down. It felt sexual in nature and I’m not really religious but I recited as much of the lord’s prayer I could remember. I have felt sexual activity in my dreams but not being fully conscious. It felt so malevolent and as if something found a way through to get to me. It lasted approximately 4/5 minutes for real. I hope I never experience anything like that ever again.

      1. I’ve had hands grabbing me and when I grab the hands more hands appear. I don’t see them. I just feel them. I can actually feel the pain vividly from their long hard nails. Just tonight I had an experience. My dog even jumped on the bed and I could feel her(my dog never actually jumped in the bed it was in a kennel at the time). I actually felt an energy that was inside my whole body but I was flexing all my muscles to keep the energy out but it would not leave my body. I could hear a cat purring. In all my experiences I can’t really see I just feel. I got up several times to get my bible from another room but just as I opened the door I was back in the bed again. This went on several times. I was shooing them out or it or whatever it was in the name of Jesus. Finally a hand grabbed my crotch and I grabbed away and held it away, it was soft hand like a woman’s hand. I would not let up and go with it. The last time I went with it a being raped me in a whole it tore on my thigh. I refused to let it flow. I honestly believe these are demonic beings in another realm. It’s all too real.

      2. I have that happen to me before. It used to happen a lot. Then it left now it’s back again. No way is it this they are trying to say it is. This is something else

  8. As Germany’s well-known psychologist William Wundt’s view of “ the most common causes of the dream are indigestion, heart pulsation(palpitations or flustered), difficulty in breathing, as well as such symptoms.” For instance, students dreaming the examination before the pre-examination, is caused by the things about examination. The sense of urgent urination would give rise to the dream of looking for the toilet. On a cold night, a thin quilt would cause one to dream the clothes are soaked by water and thus make him/her feel cold. When palpitations occurs, people will have two most common feelings: one is tachycardia cause a feeling of seeming to be chasing; the other is bradycardia or premature beat cause the feeling of heart suspension or heart sinking. Therefore, people in sleep accordingly will have the two most common nightmares: one is the dream of being chased (occasionally hunting other people) ; the other is the dream of flying in the air or dream of falling down. Persons who palpitation is easy to occur are easy to have nightmares, drugs can cause nightmares because drugs can cause palpitation. Females are easier to have nightmares than males because palpitation is easier to occur to females than to males. Women have a huge amount of nightmares during pregnancy because women experience more palpitations in pregnancy. Physical factors that contribute to bad dreams include fever as also sleep because fever causes an increase in the heart rate. If transient cerebral ischemia or fainting occurring during the day may result in some very terrible dizziness, palpitations, feelings of chest pressure, dim vision, tinnitus and a variety of neurological symptoms. As a result, all the people who are prone to cerebral ischemia or fainting frail corporeity, excessive fear, taking the quinidine which may lead to low blood pressure, as well as a excessive high pillow or, error in sleeping style which may lead to the aggrieved neck, pressed bloodstream. when they sleep in the deep night, they will have extraordinary corresponding horrible dreams, in the dreams, they do some kind of terrible Belial pressuring them or being hunted down, but they can not cry out or escape, which is known as sleep paralysis. .For a long time, due to the ignorance of physiological knowledge of syncope, ischemia cerebral, slow beat, fast beat and so on, psychological illusion in people’s sleep generated by such physical symptoms i.e. the nightmare really has puzzled the psychologists, therefore they put forward a wide range of wrong even absurd views onthe nightmares, which both have no scientific basis, and could not be confirmed, even more were not self-consistent. For example, a medical expert Debacke drew the correct conclusion that the anxiety-dream(sleep paralysis) resulted from ischemie cerebral according to the physiological symptoms of the anxiety-dream(sleep paralysis) of a boy of thirteen. Freud called such view was a ” medical mythology” in the book of The Interpretation of Dreams. Most important,the experiment confirmed the idea. For example, a place in country, there is a “haunted” bed which makes people have sleep paralysis or syncope every night, and it is this fact that the pillow in the bed is too high that will reduce cerebral blood flow. Another example, sleeping pills are the treatment of nightmare of being chased of neurasthenia, due to the nightmare of being chased of such patients is caused by tachycardia, and sleeping pills can lead to slower heartbeat, moreover slower heartbeat sometimes leads to sleep paralysis or fainting for people of low blood pressure. Therefore, treating a nightmare with sleeping pills at times is not only invalid, but also it will instead increase the patient’s state of the disease.

  9. My philosophy about lucid dreams and projection (sleep paralysis) is different than most people in these comments so I thought I would share. Though I have had many lucid dreams and out of body, which I think are more shifts than ‘out’, the most profound are distinctly different. First, my belief about other beings I see is I have to be frequently specific to them for them to appear, thus I have absolute power to tell them to leave. This is one unique experience I call them super-lucid: Usually, my experiences are not scary because of this. About two years ago I was napping and became paralyzed but lucid. A figure appeared at the end of my bed in all white, hair and all. The facial parts were blurry. I remember thinking it was odd, then I was turning over in my other body and was thrust suddenly into successive realities just as real as this one. None of it made sense as to why at the time. First I was on a beach with white sand and I picked up sand in my hand and watched it fall thru fingers…I was thrilled and amazed! Next I was zooming without an apparent form over water with buildings suspended on piers. When I looked for answers to why all this super lucid experience happened still haven’t had clarity. I have had hundreds of similar experiences, but none quite so super real and I wonder about the entity as a trigger or helper.

  10. So, I’m glad I found out what happened to me. After the event it terrified me and had seven playing on my mind. I woke up one night to see a group of people standing over my bed watching me. I remember that they were all in dark Victorian working clothing. There were a few men, a woman, a boy of about 12 and some type of Pitbull or similar-looking dog. The dog was on a metal chain lead and he kept snarling at me and looked like he was trying to attack me. I couldn’t move and was so scared. I couldn’t call out or anything. After what seemed like ages I then managed to jump out of bed with my eyes closed and turn on the light. It’s like all of a sudden I could
    move again. I’ve not had it since but I do get startled from my dreams by my doorbell going off in the middle of the night. It really makes me jump but it’s all in my head…..

  11. I, too, have had 2 of these experiences in the last 5 months. I am 60 years old. I sleep with a fan on every night and in these particular nights, the fan sounds much louder than usual (like an airplane starting up) and I feel like the wind is swirling around in my room, moving my covers and me. I close my eyes tight because I don’t want to see anything. Very dark and ominous feeling. I can hardly speak but I am calling out to Jesus to take this evilness away from me. It all dies down in a few seconds (the fan goes back to normal). I lay in the dark, scared to death and then turn on my lights. Nothing! I finally go back to sleep but am very uneasy. I am such a believer that I thought the devil was after me especially since these episodes happen right after I pray. Glad to know that other people are experiencing the same thing.

  12. My sleep paralysis happens a few times a year and right before I went to sleep I seen a movie called scary stories to tell in the dark. This movie wasn’t even scary there was a ghost in the movie names Sarah bellows, I got in bed I was still awake but I couldn’t move my eyes were still open I couldn’t even speak. She was in the corner of the room standing there I was so scared then she started moving really fast towards me her head was moving from side to side very fast I tried to move my toes as much as I could to get out of it but I couldn’t fully move until it was over.

  13. This happens to me often very often it happened when I was a young child and now I am 35. One last week was like I felt something move up the blankets and when I was struggling to try and wake up it whispered someone is here with you. Them tonight I just woke for a scary one again. I was wearing a sleep mask. My man sleeping next to me and my daughter on the floor at the foot of my bed. I had a weird seem and then I felt footsteps go up my back small cat like footsteps. my face was in my pillow and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Like it was holding me down. I was trying to screw and kick my man’s legs. When I stoped for a second I heard a hissing in my ear then freaked out again kicking and screaming. I felt my daughter was at my feet on the bed that was the same as last week. My man said ow and moved I woke him up and shortly after I was able to move. He said I kicked him 3 times in a row but during this I did that 3 times stopping In between each and hearing a hissing of what felt like a cat on my back. I don’t believe this should be happening this often and it’s always around 3am. I believe there is a bad demon in my home. I smudged my house last week then we had dropped off his 2 boys at their house earlier tonight and bang it happens again. They recently moved into a very old home. I think I am sensitive to these things and they follow me home and this is how they are trying to get my attention. Help me cause I am scared to death now again I won’t sleep all night. This is happening like once a week or more. When I was a kid it was a lot to. Like being pulled from bed or figures in my room. Think it’s time to see a doctor or something.

    1. It happens to me a lot, it used to all the time when I was younger now I’m 40 and it’s starting to come back often. I don’t know what to do.

  14. Same things, can’t move but the people are different and don’t always attack. I’ve had a wretched lady that attempts to drag me out of bed by my feet. There is the terrible man who hits me and I can feel my face hurt when I fully awaken. And some just come to wrap me in their warmth to tell me everything is okay. The worst was one in particular who followed me from house to house and hated light, every time he appeared light bulbs would literally explode and flatmates reported hearing doors open and shut right before I wake up screaming. My partner had seen it in his dream when he rolled over he saw a demon. We slept with the lights on for a while and then he paid for healing and I literally felt like something was detaching from my brain and I got exhausted and dehydrated, but that one never came back. I’m a skeptical and logical person but I really do believe these things aren’t made up in my head and have personalities or agendas. There is so much we don’t know? Different planes of existence? And a weak mind can open doorways perhaps. I was told by a psychic that I had abilities but have no idea how to use them but depression and anxiety can attract them. Any thoughts? I’m open to any criticism.

  15. I’ve suffered from sleep paralysis since I was 14/15 I’m now 23. It never gets any less scarier. I’ve seen and felt a lot of terrifying things. From, black tall shadows, feeling like I’m being dragged, feeling like I’m floating, heavy pressure, experienced exhaustion, whispering, all kinds of crazy things. And it always feels like I have to take all my might and strength to pull myself out of it. I often keep falling back into them all night. What helps me, is squinting my eyes, saying “go away”, “leave me alone”, wiggling fingers and toes, praying has helped me a lot, I feel very safe and believe as soon as i say my prayer it brings me so much strength to wake up. I’ve been told by health professionals that it’s only hallucinations from being in between the falling into sleep the REM period. Makes sense, lol.. not. It’s very frustrating and draining.

    1. I have had this 3-4times. I saw a black shadow like a person with no clear shape sitting next to my bed near my legs on the desk beside my bed. I can’t talk or move. Then I focus and try to pull myself out to say prayers. I once saw it vanishing by going out of the window by smudging in the air like black air.

      1. My son said he had a dream last night he was walking and talking. Then out of nowhere somthing started chocking him. He said while he was waking up it got tighter. When he opened his eyes a shadow disappear in the ceiling.

  16. I just woke up from one of the worst dreams which I believe to be a sleep paralysis demon or evil eye. I went to bed at 7am and slept on my back so maybe that also played a part. Since it was already day time I put my sleeping mask on so it would be dark and I could fall asleep faster. I false awakened in my bed with my sleeping mask on and tried taking it off. Every time I took it off another mask would be underneath and so I couldn’t see. I felt an evil presence in the room so I tried to stay calm and think of ways to get out without being able to see. I live alone but in the dream my parents were in the next room sleeping so I would rip at least a peep hole and run to them for help but I couldn’t speak. Also realized the evil presence was coming from a plush doll right beside my bed that I don’t even have. (It was a baby? No face and just wearing blue very basic cheap doll) After running to my parents for help the dream would repeat 3 times until the last time I realized I was actually awake and ripped the mask off my face and I was okay…..

  17. Johna Marie Howard

    Before I was even asleep I would feel the sensation of someone sitting in the bed with me, my body weight would even shift as if the dog had jumped on the bed or I would expect to see my husband sitting on the bed but no one was ever there and I could always smell smoke, however I ha e to come to find that sensation comforting as if it’s a protector of some sort. Until I found a hag stone I would sit up in the bed after feeling a gush of wind and like something had come into the room I would say out loud” it’s here” my husband would get so angry with me because I would scare him. But then I started feeling like something was holding me down and I couldn’t breathe or talk and I was awake I would think if I could just get one yell out my husband would come into the room and make it stop I finally put a baby monitor next to the bed so then I would think if I could get any noise out he would come in the room and save me. I would even see him come into the room after finally getting a cry out and I would even think ” oh my god thank you thank you, please make it stop” I would even watch him run over to me and shake me while saying breathe baby just breathe and wake up, while I’m thinking I am awake just get it off of me please make it stop and leave me alone. I would even look him In His eyes. It was the most terrifying experience, repeated for years experiences I ever felt. I believe something dark was after me. I have always had very lucid dreams and can even pick up where I left off after waking up, I fly quite often. But this was so different and I was awake for all of it. I could see everything. I even saw it one time, the first time it ever came into. My life. It was a tall shadow figure with very very long arms. I woke up and sat up in bed getting ready to go to the restroom and there it stood at the end of the hallway and when I noticed it started running towards me and then it jumped I came to again and I was flat on my back and out of breath. I also have had terrible dreams of 2 little girls one blonde-haired one brown-haired, and they are pure evil and the noises they make and the way their eyes and faces change is terrifying.

  18. It is 2 am and I cannot go back to bed. I struggled to get to sleep tonight, and as I turned over for the 20th time I felt the weight of something on the bed behind me & I was pinned to the bed & I heard something drop at the side of my bed. I couldn’t move & when I tried to shout/ speak I could just hear rasping from my mouth. It seemed a long time before I could move & I fixated on moving my foot. Which I eventually did.
    I have never had this happen before. However, I have in the past had many nights when I wake scared to open my eyes as at the time I feel something or someone in my room.

  19. I used to always feel like something was watching me as an adolescent. But this all started last year, more and more frequently. I sleep with a fan on every night. When it starts to happen, the fan noise changes, that’s how I know it’s coming. First time, I felt my blanket start to levitate, then my legs, then my pillow and whole body. I squeezed my pillow and keep saying no. The second time I just felt someone sitting on the edge of my bed. Third time, it got in bed with me, pulling me close to it. I tried yelling get out, but my voice wouldn’t work. I’ve been thinking I’m nuts and fricken scared to go to sleep. I’ve bought protection crystal, saged my room every day, all kinds of things. But last night, it happened again. I had my crystals in bed with me and I thought I grabbed them to protect me and kept trying to scream get out. But when I woke up this morning the crystals were neatly where I put them… So, I knew it wasn’t real and started to do research on it and found this article. God, I’m so relieved it’s not real. It really felt so real and so scary. I’m looking forward to the first good night’s sleep in a long while.

  20. I woke up to what sounded like a retarded man saying I didn’t deserve it, I’ve never hurt anyone. I was paralysed mostly but I could look around my room. I saw 3 people sitting on my bed and 2 standing at the end of my bed. I was absolutely terrified even though nothing really that scary was happening. The girl standing at the end of my bed was laughing at how scared I was. The woman standing next to her said stop don’t you want her to help us. She went on to say that they want their families to know that they are ok and they are not suffering.
    My mum came into the room and she opened her mouth and I saw flies crawling out of her mouth. I screamed and she turned the light on. Then I fully woke up and the flies and the strangers were gone.
    It turns out that these strangers in my room had been murdered.
    Sleep paralysis is not just dreaming I know this now for a fact with this experience.
    5 strangers that I’ve never met come to my dream to get a message to their loved ones that they were killed for no reason by the same person.

  21. Himanshi Dhanak

    I just had that kind of dream where I was inside my Dream’s dream. Someone was just not letting me get away from the dream. There’s were so many random scenes playing around me. About me sleeping and waking up.. and just me trying to get as normal as possible. It happens to me a lot ..that I’m scared so much to sleep.
    But I m used to this situation now… When I’m stuck. I start Praying and fighting back. That helps.

  22. I fell asleep at 4am (I was doing some oil paintings till late). I dreamed I was in an old factory that had many rooms with people in it. There were some weird ghostish looking people that had command of the place. I was cooking for them with some other people when I noticed some sort of fuel inside the food boiling with it, it looked like a car device with fuel, maybe even not fuel but some sort of big battery, basically something dangerous to human health that shouldn’t be boiling inside my food WTF was that and who put it there? I thought. When I noticed how dangerous it was I alerted people around and ran for my life(in the dream it seemed like it was going to explode). After running a lot, I got to the end of the factory, in a room that had photos of a very abusive person I know when this person was a baby(these photos actually exist in real life), I was looking at her photos before going to sleep(going to sleep inside that dream), as I laid down and looked around the dark room I saw this human shaped water like creature(like a human kinda invisible, maybe water shaped like a human being) and I was like “huh??? WTF is this” and this thing/invisible person/water shaped like human attacked me and pinned me down and I couldn’t move, scream or anything. I just knew that shit wasn’t good and I started groaning like crazy in hopes of someone in the room wake me up(like it all happened inside a dream) and as I was making more and more noise, a human hand grabbed me and yelled my name and I woke up from the actual dream(I was hoping waking up from that attack inside the dream still because the dream seemed like reality) and then my husband told me “you were making awful noises, really loud, like someone was torturing you I had to wake you up… Now I am here researching about what in the heck was all that about. I never really had this shit before and I am terrified. I do have C-PTSD though but I am completely functional despite the “normal” nightmares, nothing like this ever happened before. This is so messed up. I’m looking for scientific articles about it, but your post helped too.

  23. I’ve had these for years it doesn’t matter if I sleep on my back or side or beginning or end of sleep I can physically feel something putting arms under the neck or shaking me I’ve felt hair on my face, I’ve heard growling, it’s always different and absolutely terrifying. I scream in my sleep for my wife or children to wake me I know something or someone is in room with me and I fight to wake myself up! It’s becoming more regular last night blackness was crawling up walls and across ceiling, toward my sleeping body the bedside table was shaking I could feel somebody pushing and pulling my arms, I’m scared to sleep and I don’t believe this is sleep paralysis as I know what’s happening I can scream I am asleep but conscious. I’m considering visiting a psychic to see if something or someone is trying to hurt or maybe just contact me .. whatever it is it’s scaring me to death.

    1. Something grabbed my arm tried to pull me out the bed from my wife side so I grabbed her couldn’t speak, just a dark figure.

  24. It happened to me last night. It ALWAYS happens when I sleep on my back. The episode last night, it grabbed my stomach and breasts. I could literally feel it. That was the first time I physically could. Normally I can see ghosts/demons. Whatever they are. But hands came out of the floor. Thank God my mom was in the room. I couldn’t talk or move but could make a noise In the back of the throat. She knew what was happening and woke me out of it. Scared me to death though.

  25. About 3 or 4 months ago for the very first I experienced what is called sleep paralysis, but you won’t convince me that it was a hallucination. I saw what looked like 3 gargoyle-type creatures sitting or pushing down on my chest and they were growling or making demonic laughing sounds. I couldn’t move or talk. I kept trying to call out for Jesus. It took me a while, but I was finally able to demand they leave in the name of Jesus! I’ve never been so scared!

    1. This happened to me 3 nights ago. I was awake haven’t went to sleep yet I felt the shaking of an earthquake then next I couldn’t move pinned down on my back. I felt like I was being strangled couldn’t speak and could barely breathe. I saw a video in my mind playing a few things in my life then I was finally able to yell a prayer out to get out in the name of Jesus twice and everything stopped. It is so freaky that I try and talk myself into thinking maybe I fell asleep but I know I was awake.

  26. This same weird thing has also happened to me as well I could clearly feel a hand pressing into my back when I woke up I could still feel the hand imprint until it faded away.

  27. I have been plagued with sleep paralysis for a while now. I vaguely remember my first time, I was possibly 18. I am now 22 and have been having it much more frequently. I have it at least once a month, but last night was the worst I’ve ever had. I feel like there is a negative entity attached to me. On Friday I became light-headed and passed out, then put myself into a panic attack which scared me beyond belief. The worst one I have ever had and I surely thought I was dying. I left work and went home but was so scared to fall asleep, thinking if I did I would never wake up again. I finally fell asleep at 4 pm and woke up at 11 pm when my boyfriend got home from work. I then fell asleep much easier, but I had 5 episodes of sleep paralysis that night. It was the most terrifying, vivid nightmares of my life. Terrifying enough to the point that I’m scared of going to sleep tonight because of it. One episode there was a man standing at my doorway just staring at me. My eyes were open but I couldn’t speak or wake up my boyfriend. It felt like forever I was staring at this dark entity in my doorway. I woke up, just to fall back asleep, and fall back into sleep paralysis and the man was there again at the door but this time with a knife. I couldn’t move and took every single ounce of energy I could possibly muster to try and wake my boyfriend up but nothing worked. I cried and then finally snapped out of it. I then fell back asleep only to be woken up by being attacked by some sort of entity. I was asleep yet had the pain of someone biting my wrist and not stopping. I cried in pain but couldn’t speak. It wouldn’t stop biting me and the pain got so bad that it is what snapped me out of that terror. I fell asleep again and then had just a regular nightmare I can’t remember the specifics of. I have these episodes often and I’m always scared, but something was different about last nights. Something attacked me and it was relentless. I had to fight so hard to stop it. I took everything out of me and I’ve been exhausted all day. I’ve had my episodes where I feel suffocated, watched, scared… But never physically attacked, especially bitten… I pray I don’t have any tonight… I’m exhausted and I’m scared.

      1. I can’T pray. Every time i try to say something religious, my throat cuts out and i get stared at. I can bearly pronounce the first j letter in Jesus name like something grabs my throat. In this case it’s always a demonic spirit or someone being possessed where i try to engage and i don’t get anywhere. I dont get hurt, but ill go up to them and try and fail to say something religious and then they stare at me. Last night my little sister was possessed. Idk if there’s some kind of explanation as to why i have these random religious/demonic dreams. I’ve had them before but not frequent. I slept happily the previous night. Those thoughts don’t even come to my head before sleep. I just randomly dream about them.

  28. Hola yo soy de Tijuana México y he estado interesados en este tipo de temas desde hace tiempo, mis experiencias personales con la parálisis han sido también aterradoras, lo que encuentro que es muy común e interesante es que así como yo mucha gente identifica seres obscuros y como un duende o demonio pequeño que se sienta en el pecho, esa es una duda que hasta hoy no comprendo porque está asociado ese sentido e imagen, así como también sucesos terroríficos, porque nunca son agradables? La forma en que yo he podido evitarlo es pensando que va a pasar pero el ocasiones me da miedo porque he sentido que me puedo quedar en el sueño como ahogarme en el, probablemente solo sea mi imaginación, tengo otra teoría que es más relacionada a lo paranormal, por momentos he pensado que hay entes transitando nuestro mundo o dimensión y esos son entes negativos, y que mientras van transitando interrumpen el sueño de los vivos entonces es por eso que a muchísima gente le ha sucedido y es algo que puede ocurrir de vez en cuando, de cualquier forma no hay algo concreto que lo pueda evitar y por mientras no queda más que tratar de descansar sin saber hasta cuando nos puede tocar.

  29. I think for some sleep paralysis is much more than a sleep disorder. From the age of around sixteen until thirty-six, I experienced terrifying sleep paralysis on a fairly regular basis. I didn’t have any health issues or any psychological issues. Every since my thirties, every few years I will have a sleep paralysis experience.

    I believe evil entities for whatever reason were very interested in me. The paralysis began after my friends and I began using a ouija board. Several of the board’s predictions came true.

    In my early twenties, my boyfriend actually saw the evil entity. In this particular event, I was being terrorized by a man with a bull head. My boyfriend shook me awake and said he there was a horned bull where my head was.

    These events stopped when I stood up to these beings and screamed “in the name of Jesus get out” several times. I could feel them leaving my body. I know I sound completely insane. If I heard someone telling this story, I would think they were crazy. And, maybe I am. But, I believe for many people these demons are real. They are scary as ****. You can beat them though. Yes, I do have faith and used my faith banishing these entities from my life.

    1. I wanted to add, that since the banishment experience, I have had a few sleep paralysis events. However, they weren’t nearly as frightening and they have been extremely rare. I’m now in my late fifties and have had about four or five events since I was thirty-seven.

      1. I have had sleep paralysis for years. It went away a few years ago after I had physically fought off whatever was on me and hadn’t had another occurrence until the other night. The latest occurrence reminded me of a time when a girlfriend was staying over at my previous house. She and a few other girlfriends I had dated insisted the house was haunted. I actually think it was too. In any case, one night when she was sleeping over and I heard her having a nightmare. I rolled over to face her I saw a blue translucent face quickly emerge from her and dissipate as it flew away. She was awake immediately after that. Ever since then, I am convinced that night terrors are demons or malevolent spirits trying to torment us when we are in some kind of comprising state of being.

  30. This happened to me a few times so far. I saw a demon moving in the dark and he climbed on my chest. I was trying to move and I was gasping for air to breathe. It was the most terrifying experience ever. I said Jesus please help me and the demon went away. Then another night I felt a bunch of hockey sticks hitting me hard in my ribs. I got the wind blown out of me. Then another night my grandfather just died it’ll be a year ago. And he came to me in my dream I was awake. He came by my parents house and we heard him mumble something to me and then he went away he had a glow to him too.

  31. I’ve never had this kind of thing happen before. In the middle of the night, while my boyfriend was snoring beside me, I heard a voice (that sounded like my boyfriend) say “You are going to die tonight”. I could see my dark room, but I couldn’t turn around to see who was speaking. I started breathing really heavily and woke up. This kind of thing has never happened to me before. I have no idea what triggered it.

  32. My husband had recurring episodes when he was 10 or 11 years old. A demon would grab his ankles and flip him in the bed, so his head would end up at the foot of the bed. He would wake up in that weird position. He also had a sense that the episodes were coming on the nights it happened.

  33. It’s not the first time I’ve had this but not for a while. I was asleep but could feel something from the back of me clinging to my back and wrapping its legs around my waist with its arms around my neck. I could feel rather than see it was scaly but also had sparse hairs too. I was trying to make a noise from my throat to wake myself up. I couldn’t move and it was shuffling more into me to get a firm hold. I couldn’t guess how long it was going on for but then I seemed to get some movement back and woke myself up making a guttural noise in the throat. While it’s happening I feel that I am aware of what it is and no harm will come to me if I can just wake up. I did have one similar some time ago while I was in hospital, the lady in the next bed was woken up by my grunts. I have had some in my life, some are different in that they come to me from the front which I find more disturbing, I can see more of them. None are human though.

    1. I experienced the exact creature you explained and I couldn’t tell how long it went on for but I had to finally swear out for it to get off of me as I swatted at it this happened before 4 am as that’s when I asked my wife if she heard me and she checked the time. A few years ago I had an episode where something was pinning me down and a heavy feeling on my chest and also wouldn’t leave until I was finally able to call out and tell it to leave. My current experience was also March 22 2021.

  34. I have had this for years, and I have been physically held down whilst it put its hand around my throat, I have also had it punch me in the ribs, more than once with the bruises to prove it, I’ve had it come in my room and stand and stare or walk around the bed, so it’s not harmless, it’s the same as it holds me down, paralysing me, unable to talk, move etc, it’s terrifying

  35. itsnerfornothing

    I’ve never had sleep paralysis, but, to answer other people’s questions, if the demon isn’t there and is a hallucination, why do people feel the hand/body on their body??

  36. I was sleeping, yet I could feel a “presence “ appear in my room. Literally, I could feel the “Demons “ hand on my stomach, it was pushing down on me very hard. I remember that in my mind I needed to push him away, but my arms wouldn’t move. I prayed “Dear God please help me “ and suddenly the demon was gone!! I felt afraid, and immediately believed that there were evil spirits in my room. I grabbed my phone and ran to a different bedroom and prayed myself back to sleep.
    Your article states that we are imagining these demons, but how did I actually feel his hand and his presence?

    1. That what I wanted to know. It happens to me so many times that sometimes l would stay up all night not wanting to go to bed.

    2. Ditto. This is all too real. I actually feel a strong energy and my ears get plugged like when just before they pop at higher altitudes. I can actually feel the touch. The hands. The scratches. More real than any normal dream or nightmare.

  37. I have currently been feeling anxiety and just been feeling a bit off. Nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night but I was still half asleep and I’m not sure if it was a dream or just intrusive anxiety thoughts but I remember that a bad spirit or demon was trying to talk to me. He was trying to communicate with me and told me things like “my dad is a bad person” and telling me to do bad things to them back. Since I was half asleep, I was eventually agreeing with him/it. I then realized it was something bad and evil and I asked God to get that thing away from me. At the time though, I wasn’t scared. Days passed and I didn’t even remember that happened until days after I was in the shower. I eventually remembered that happened and got freaked out.

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