Sleep Paralysis...jumped from Lucid Dreams thread

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    Jun 24, 2008 5:51 AM GMT
    I had an episode about 12 years ago that terrified me. I was aware of being in bed, looking around in the semi-darkness at my alarm clock, light, bathroom, window, feet. It occurred to me that I must be awake, as the clock was displaying the time correctly. It said 5-something AM, which was still an hour-and-a-half too early (usually I woke at 7:00 to prepare for work).

    I tried to roll out of bed, and realized I was paralyzed. In fact, it had just been my eyes looking about the room, but I couldn't turn my head.

    I felt a presence in the far right corner of the room, darkest and most difficult to see in because of the contrast with the window, which had some outside light weakly spilling in.

    I thought: is this how I'm going to be abducted? I've been selected by aliens to be probed!

    Suddenly I broke the spell, somehow managing to turn my head to the left, and leaped out of bed, searching the house with all the lights on until I was convinced I was alone. After my thumping heart quieted with the realization I'd hallucinated about the ominous presence in my bedroom, I went back to sleep and re-awakened when the alarm went off at 7:00.

    My mother, years later, told me about her "male visitor" who watched her lay in bed for several minutes while she lay paralyzed. And a buddy of mine, while camping with his boyfriend, lay paralyzed in his tent while a "UFO" buzzed overhead; he was unable to call out and watched in wonder and terror while shadows encircled the tent, all while his boyfriend slept blissfully beside him.

    So, after reading this:, relate your own "ghostly," "close encounter" with night terrors. And, any sexy ones?
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    Jun 24, 2008 8:58 AM GMT

    Reposted my post there since I'm lazy. icon_wink.gif

    Sleep paralysis... a very interesting phenomenon.

    In the Philippines, we have a term for it - Bangungot. Translated roughly and wrongly to english as 'nightmares'. Bangungot actually refers to sleep paralysis and is personified by a monster sitting on top of you making you unable to get up.

    My own interpretation of it is that your consciousness surfaces before the body is awake.

    I have had several really scary instance of this happening.

    It used to happen a lot to me, last time was like 2 years ago. There were two vivid instances of waking up and just knowing that something is on top of me or very near me. Some kind of black malevolent presence. Heh. Not getting supernatural here - I AM atheist after all. It wasn't a person exactly, more like a state of mind. It wanted me to let go and the scary part is I had to fight against that happening.

    The weird thing is, I can move my fingers and wiggle my toes, and even whisper. And my eyes were OPEN! Well... half-open, but yeah, It's pretty terrifying. I couldn't actually see them,they were more like an absence that made me conclude that they were dark. Kinda like a shadow that is not a shadow, or a cloud... or... hm.... sun dogs... yep.. like sun dogs - the afterimage you get after staring directly at the sun. And try as I might it was VERY hard to move anything. With ENORMOUS concentration I would manage to move an arm or a foot and wake up gasping.

    I found out that 70% of these 'attacks' began with warnings. In which, minutes after I close my eyes and relax there would be this kind of buzzing and I feel like I'm withdrawing somewhere. Not an out-of-body experience, but more like getting woozy. Vertigo and the feeling you get after twirling around is the closest approximation to the feeling - as if part of your mind is drawing away. And it's always a very intoxicating experience. Kinda lulls you somewhat. In a way it's like a demon tempting you. Heh

    The worst attack was when I woke up with sleep paralysis and I was lying nearly facedown on my pillow. Only one nostril was open for breathing. Since I am claustrophobic, I started hyperventilating, and I very nearly suffocated though I managed to break out of the sleep paralysis. I didn't go back to sleep that night. LOL

    It usually happened when I fell asleep very tired or with a full stomach. But as to why it happens, I still don't know really. It also only happened during my periods of intense depression or extreme stress.

    Now for nightmares. I have many, but the worst so far was ironically a nightmare about sleep paralysis. LOL. I dreamt that I woke up and couldn't move and just beside me, I could feel but could not see (since I couldn't turn my head) another body. One of the hands was covering mine actually, and our shoulders were touching. And I somehow knew that it was dead. I was screaming silently! ROFL! It wasn't a real sleep paralysis though, since a few seconds later I woke up and realized that the bed in my dream was entirely different and the room was lit with a reddish light while in real life it was turned off.

    THAT was really incredibly scary. LOL. I went back to sleep with the lights on.

    Haven't had full-blown nightmares for two years now, though. And I've never experienced lucid dreaming. My sister had a book about it, and I read it and tried to do it for myself. Doesn't work for me though, heh.
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    Jun 24, 2008 2:00 PM GMT
    It really is strange how similar our stories are...

    I'd really want to know the reason behind sleep paralysis. Why do we feel that 'presence'? Why do we feel that 'draining away/letting go' sensation and that sense of doom and fear? Why does it take enormous effort to move anything?

    Anyway... I'm curious as to what would happen if the next time I experience it, I just 'let go'?

    I have a horrible feeling that it would be really bad. It sure felt like if I gave in to that thing, it'd drag me down to somewhere horrible like eternal darkness or hell. (icon_rolleyes.gif I know, I'm atheist. Heh)

    But in reality would it be what they call astral projection? Parapsychology is still a new science after all (if it's a real 'science' that is).
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    Jun 24, 2008 2:19 PM GMT
    I get this on a moderate basis and it's terrifying!
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    Jun 24, 2008 3:17 PM GMT
    I get this occasionally. It is worrisome, especially when I am half in a dream and can't tell if I am awake or asleep. For some reason my dream state makes me aware of noises or things going on, but I am awake enough to want to get up and do something about them. Often it feel as if someone has broken into the house. I try to make efforts to stop them. Obviously I can't. Sometimes, I also feel like I can not breathe or scream. I try to moan or yell in order to wake myself up and get my brain to tell my body that I am in fact awake.

    A friend of mine had a roomate who would imagine someone touching her at night. She could not wake up to find out. Turns out he found some of her underwear and a rag with some chemical on the fire escape. Very freaky. Give me aliens any day. I am up for some probing.
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    Jun 24, 2008 3:46 PM GMT
    I've only had this happen once, i woke up in the middle of the night, past the foot of my bed was the bathroom door, which had a night light. In the doorway i saw someone standing there looking at me and i couldn't move. was like that for about 30 seconds, then all of a sudden, as i was staring at this person, it morphed into a shirt i had hanging by the door and i could move again. It looked really weird, kinda like when the guy Terminator 2 would change shape.
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    Jun 24, 2008 4:13 PM GMT
    As a child I used to have this. I attribute it to a lack of blood flow/oxygen now as I used to sleep on my stomach and pretty much face in the pillow.

    I would be awakened to a preseance of what I called "the witch" but was more like a floating monster that used to hover above me and hold me down with tenticles. It happened to me maybe 5 or so times but I could never scream, move or in any way cry for help. It felt as if my entire body was asleep (you know the feeling you get if your arm or leg "goes to sleep", have that going through your entire body)...when I would finally "break the spell" I would scream for help and the witch would disappear.

    I attribute this now to sleeping on my stomach and depriving my body oxygen then having a nightmare as my body is trying to get me to freak out and take in more oxygen. Once I started sleeping on my side, this issue stopped.
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    Jun 24, 2008 7:20 PM GMT
    Interesting, LaSalle, that you describe your experience as a "witch," much like the example listed in the Wikipedia entry.

    Sedative, I suspect that if you just "let go," you fall deeper into sleep. The paralysis itself, as I understand it, is an artifact of being still partially asleep. The mechanism is there to prevent us from making violent movements while we dream.

    I think the "presence" is part of the hallucination.

    Although these phenomena probably don't fall on the same spectrum, narcoleptics experience the paralysis during waking or emotional episodes, and sleepwalkers experience movement autonomy while still asleep. Sleep paralysis, I suspect, is somewhere near the narcoleptic end of the spectrum.

    These are fun stories. My mother still thinks her guy is a ghost. I can almost convince her otherwise.
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    Jun 24, 2008 8:12 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said
    These are fun stories. My mother still thinks her guy is a ghost. I can almost convince her otherwise.

    Mine was a 'demon'. Pretty funny interpretation from an atheist. hehe
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    Jun 24, 2008 10:01 PM GMT
    Any noises associated with this one?
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    Jun 25, 2008 12:18 AM GMT
    Sleep paralysis is a common condition characterized by transient partial or total paralysis of skeletal muscles and areflexia that occurs upon awakening from sleep or less often while falling asleep. Stimuli such as touch or sound may terminate the episode, which usually has a duration of seconds to minutes. This condition may occur in normal subjects or be associated with narcolepsy, cataplexy, and hypnagogic hallucinations. The pathophysiology of this condition is closely related to the normal hypotonia that occur during REM sleep[1]. Physiologically, it is closely related to the paralysis that occurs as a natural part of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is known as REM atonia. Sleep paralysis occurs when the brain awakes from a REM state, but the bodily paralysis persists. This leaves the person fully conscious, but unable to move. In addition, the state may be accompanied by terrifying hallucinations (hypnopompic or hypnagogic) and an acute sense of danger [3]. Sleep paralysis is particularly frightening to the individual due to the vividness of such hallucinations[4]. The hallucinatory element to sleep paralysis makes it even more likely that someone will interpret the experience as a dream, since completely fanciful, or dream-like, objects may appear in the room alongside one's normal vision. Some scientists have proposed this condition as a theory for alien abductions and ghostly encounters.[5]The paralysis can last from several seconds to several minutes "after which the individual may experience panic symptoms and the realization that the distorted perceptions were false" [6]. Very little is known about the physiology of sleep paralysis.[citation needed] However, some have suggested that it may be linked to post-synaptic inhibition of motor neurons in the pons region of the brain.[citation needed] In particular, low levels of melatonin may stop the depolarization current in the nerves, which prevents the stimulation of the muscles, to prevent the body from enacting the dream activity (e.g. preventing a sleeper from flailing his legs when dreaming about running).[citation needed]
    Several studies have concluded that many or most people will experience sleep paralysis at least once or twice in their lives.[citation needed] In African-Americans, panic disorder occurs with sleep paralysis more frequently than in Caucasians.[11] Some reports read that various factors increase the likelihood of both paralysis and hallucinations. These include:[12]
    Sleeping in a face upwards or supine position
    Irregular sleeping schedules; naps, sleeping in, sleep deprivation
    Increased stress
    Sudden environmental/lifestyle changes
    A lucid dream that immediately precedes the episode.
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    Jun 25, 2008 12:19 AM GMT
    thank you, wikipedia. icon_smile.gif
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    Jun 25, 2008 12:26 AM GMT
    now, the interesting stuff:

    in many cultures, it is considered an encounter with evil jinns and demons. It is also assumed that it is due to the black magic performed by enemies and jealous persons. Curses could also result in ghoul haunting a person. Some homes and loactions are also haunted by these satanic beings. In Srilankan Culture, this particular phenomenon is referred to as 'Amuku Be" or 'Amuku Pei' meaning the ghost that forces one down. In Mexico, it's believed that sleep paralysis is in fact the spirit of a dead person getting on the person and impeding movement, calling this "se me subió el muerto" (the dead person got on me). In Turkish culture, sleep paralysis is often referred to as "karabasan" ("The dark presser/assailer"). It is believed to be a creature which attacks people in their sleep, pressing on their chest and stealing their breath. In Chinese culture, sleep paralysis is known as "鬼壓身" (simplified: 鬼压身) (pinyin: guǐ yā shēn) or "鬼壓床" (simplified: 鬼压床) (pinyin: guǐ yā chuáng), which literally translate into "body pressured by a ghost" or "bed pressured by a ghost." In African American culture, isolated sleep paralysis is commonly referred to as "the devil riding your back" In the Cambodian, Laotian and Thai culture, sleep paralysis is referred to as "pee umm" and "khmout sukkhot". It describes an event where the person is sleeping and dreams that ghostly figure(s) are either holding him/her down or the ghosts can just be near. The person usually thinks that they are awake but is unable to move or make any noises. This is not to be confused with "pee khao" and "khmout jool" which refers to a ghost possession.

    the dictionary explains it as: a "morbid oppression during sleep, resembling the pressure of weight upon the breast."

    Such nightmares were widely considered to be the work of demons and more specifically incubi, which were thought to sit on the chests of sleepers. In Old English the name for these beings was mare or mære (from a proto-Germanic *marōn, related to Old High German and Old Norse mara), hence comes the mare part in nightmare.
    Folk belief in Newfoundland, South Carolina and Georgia describe the negative figure of the Hag who leaves her physical body at night, and sits on the chest of her victim. The victim usually wakes with a feeling of terror, has difficulty breathing because of a perceived heavy invisible weight on his or her chest, and is unable to move i.e., experiences sleep paralysis. This nightmare experience is described as being "hag-ridden" in the Gullah lore. The "Old Hag" was a nightmare spirit in British and also Anglophone North American folklore.
    Various forms of magic and spiritual possession were also advanced as causes.
  • Timbales

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    Jun 25, 2008 12:27 AM GMT

    sounds fun
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    Jun 25, 2008 9:09 AM GMT
    Ooh the possibilities. Maybe this was what started religions in the first place! LOL Visions of the Devil. icon_razz.gif

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    Jun 27, 2008 6:59 AM GMT
    muchmorethanmuscle saidI don't think I was hallucinating.
    That's the beauty of an don't have to be aware of it.

    My mother won't believe it was an hallucination either. In her sleep-deprived state (which she admitted to, eventually) I don't think she would be the best judge of her medical state.

    I think it's possible your meditative state made you more suggestible to an hallucination, as opposed to more aware of "energies." I could be wrong, however.

    Without anything to prove, I guess, I'd have to ask: which is more likely, a dream-state induced hallucination, or a portal to another dimension? Are practitioners of meditation more prone to hallucinations or more prone to portal opening? Are purveyors of portals to other dimensions "scanning" the brains of sleeping people to determine who is best to open a portal to?
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    Jul 04, 2008 6:24 AM GMT
    ive experienced this way too many times...a few times ive been able to open my eyes and i always see something crazy like a ghost or something...but when i cant open my eyes i always feel an evil presence...and i truly beieve it is a demon. When i realize i am paralyzed i immediatly pray for jesus to help me and to rebuke this demon and after i pray this outloud or in my always stops....
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    Jul 04, 2008 6:38 AM GMT
    Sleep paralysis serves a purpose, believe it or not. I don't know if anyone else has touched on it because I only skimmed the thread, but if it weren't for sleep paralysis, you'd be waking up every time you dream. When there's any movement whatsoever in your dream, your body will want to mimic that. If you're running, your legs will want to move; if you're flying, your arms will want to move; if you're screwing the hell outta someone, your entire body will want to move. As you could imagine, it would be kinda hard to sleep if you're moving every time you have a damn dream. Alas, sleep paralysis.

    Genius, eh?

    But aliens...? That's a bit of a stretch.
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    Jul 04, 2008 5:49 PM GMT
    This post is really interesting. Sleep paralysis sounds similar to "waking dreams" that I think I suffer from. In the past I have been trying to fall asleep listening to music, but my partner will say "you were snoring". And I will respond "that is impossible I was still awake!" It is almost like my brain and body are on separate levels of consciousness if that makes any sense.

    I have also had intense nightmares of my birth in which I am basically paralyzed with fear of moving (I was a breach). Sort of like being buried alive.
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    Aug 01, 2008 1:14 PM GMT
    I had a boyfriend who had this, i told him i would take advantage of him when it happened because it happened quite often. He got mad that I was joking about it, I just figured hey, one man's misfortune, can be another man's fortune, lol.
    okay on a serious note as much as I wasnt kidding, it did seem to get to him, I felt bad because he was really scared and he did say he felt someone in the room such as a dark shadow. I told him it was okay and not to pay attention, just keep his cool and try not to think of the dude, that he would go away and meant no harm. I guess I just tried to comfort him as much as I could because he really was terrified of this shadow figure.
  • berimbolo

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    Aug 01, 2008 1:26 PM GMT
    If you get aware sleep paralysis regularly, you should probably see a neurologist at some point to rule out narcolepsy.
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    Aug 01, 2008 2:18 PM GMT
    Way to go Ikaros... reading this thread right before going to bed was a STUPID IDEA
    Now I'm severely creeped out and wide awake icon_sad.gif
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    Aug 01, 2008 2:45 PM GMT
    muchmorethanmuscle saidI don't think I was hallucinating. I think there are realms we don't fully understand. Like in my experience with my teacher in the past. We were both aware of what was going on. She was 'pulling' on me so to speak and fucking around.

    I liked your posts! Very interesting to read. And I don't think you were hallucinating. I think the word hallucinating is used to describe experiences almost as much as God is used to explain things we don't know.

    I've had pretty basic sleep paralysis. In high school, I'd have to wake up really early in order to get ready for school in time for the bus. So about 5am. Alarm clocks don't do it alone so I developed this way of going to sleep at night while at the same time trying to wake up.( Hey, made sense to me:rollicon_smile.gif And it worked. I'd go to bed and the next thing I know my alarm is ringing.

    On one occasion that I went to sleep on my stomach, I dream that me and a group of people were in some underwater room. It had furniture, lights, and a television in the wall but you couldn't watch t.v. with the t.v., you can only watch other people watching t.v. The other guys were having fun partially passing through the t.v. to freak out the people on the other side when I start thinking,

    "What's going on here...?"

    A few moments later I realize it. I say to our group,

    "How are we supposed to breath under water?"icon_confused.gif

    Some random guy says " Damnit" and everyone makes a mad rush for the surface of the ocean. Once we make it up, I realize we're on a dock in the middle of nowhere. The sky was dark and cloudy, the sun wasn't shining. At the same time, two girls in our group started fighting (cat fight) and then one starts running away down the dock, back towards the ocean. The other girls cartwheels after her and I followed them too (why not?) icon_razz.gif

    The first girl sprouts webbed appendages and jumps into the water and the girl chasing her cartwheels into the water right after her.icon_eek.gif I dive into the water right after them. When I opened my eyes, I found myself about 20 feet below the surface and everything was pitch black beneath me, like an abyss. I couldn't see the girls any where but I saw this dead guy floating nearby wearing a suit with his boxers hanging around his ankles. Needless to say, I was effing freaked out. So I start swimming for the surface. And swimming. And swimming. But no matter how hard I swam I couldn't make it back to the surface. Instead I was getting dragged down into abyss. (Reminds me of Sedatives post)

    About this time I suddenly realize that I CAN'T BREATHE! icon_mad.gif And I also realize that my real body isn't breathing as well! Even though I was still dreaming ( well, lucid dreaming at this point) I could feel what position my body was in, and it turns out I was face down in my pillow. No oxygen whatsover. I'm dieing both in my dream AND in real life.icon_cry.gif

    I started stuggling to wake my real body from within the dream to no avail. I was sinking more and more into the dark depths of the ocean.

    As the darkness gradually clouded my vision, I mustered all of my energy into one last attempt and finally managed to turn my head to the side.( Not even enough to wake up) The dream faded to black and I lost conscieness for a while longer, danger averted.

    I realize now that that abyss was the world of the dead for me and that if i'd just 'gone with it' I would be dead right now. Smothered to death.icon_neutral.gif How's that for sleep paralysis keeping you from injuring yourself in your sleep!icon_biggrin.gif

    Why I was chasing girls I will never know...icon_confused.gif

  • GQjock

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    Aug 09, 2008 11:29 AM GMT
    Sleep paralysis is really a protective mechanism
    where the brain shuts down your body control
    to prevent you from injuring yourself by acting out what is going on in your dreams while you sleep

    this shut off is delayed or is shut off before you wake up
    this sounds like what you were describing
    now the dark figure or aliens that people describe
    where does that come from?
    Your mind... needs to point to something that is responsible for this seemingly Inexplainable inability to move
    so it makes up something
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    Aug 09, 2008 4:42 PM GMT
    I remember once I was sleeping on my stomach and I felt something heavy lying on top of me my door was locked but the window was open. There is an indian saying of a churail,english version of succubus, but I don't think a female would be able to suck me if I ain't hard! There is a male called inccubus, but he usually fucks women. I think it was a fag-ulus.

    I had tried to astral project once icon_eek.gif because a friend told me about it. I was trying and felt something rising out of my chest, but never 'came out' of my body because I was afraid to stop breathing. (Now I think it is bull icon_redface.gif ).

    There are episodes in my dreams where I was killed (but I brought myself back to life icon_lol.gif ) or being chased or attacked or smothered by certain people, or ghosts in my house. Usually in between waking up and sleep, I am trying to wake up and 'escape' but obviously its sleep paralysis,(but I don't remember i am in sleep paralysis) and I am breathing really heavy trying to wake. I thought it was the spiciness of the food I ate but, it is random events and random occurances.
    It scares the crap out of me tho..

    Has anyone after boxing or intense training have your arm or leg move 'sub' or 'un' consciouly? Like if I was intensely punching consciously before sleeping then gone to bed. While sleeping, my arm would punch even though I didn't consciously punch. I also kicked and kneed making that breathing sound through my teeth like it was autonymous. Must be bad for anyone sleeping in the same bed.icon_cool.gif