Science

People Reveal Their Frightening Experiences With Sleep Paralysis

5. Let’s play scary sounds in the background to set the tone. “This happened to me rather frequently when I was very young (under six years… Trista - October 31, 2021
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5. Let’s play scary sounds in the background to set the tone.

“This happened to me rather frequently when I was very young (under six years old). I apparently have grown out of it; I can’t recall it happening after I was perhaps nine or ten. I’m 26 now. When it happened to me, I could clearly see an outline of a body from the waist up – almost like a police chalk line around a dead body... but just a black background and a “thick” white/hollow outline of a body. And from the bottom of the torso up, the outline was “filling” with red on both sides, evenly. It was happening very slowly. I seem to remember haunting/scary sounds echoing in the background, but nothing specific.”

“I got the distinct impression that when the red filled up all the way to the top of the body/head, I would die. So I remember being absolutely terrified. If I tried really hard, I could “choose” to make it stop, and then I would become semi-aware of lying in bed with my eyes closed, usually in the morning with the sunlight coming in – but I couldn’t move at all. I couldn’t open my eyes, and I couldn’t make a sound. If I relaxed and stopped trying to wake up, I would go back to seeing the body outline again.” gameforge has the ability to control the lucid dream at least, while others just simply can’t. 

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4. Sleep paralysis started at an early age.

“The first time this happened to me was absolutely the scariest thing that ever happened to me or my family. I was around 6 or 7 and had fallen asleep on the couch (on my back). I remember having that feeling you get when something bad is about to happen and suddenly realizing I couldn’t move. Then there was a sensation of something moving up my legs toward my chest. Suddenly there was this heavy weight on my chest, and my eyes opened to see this thing I can only describe as a demon sitting on me grinning like a madman. The thing wrapped its claws around my neck and started strangling me. “Tat2ts is younger than most of our stories here; imagine being a child experiencing these terrifying situations.

“I finally woke up to my mother shaking me violently, screaming for me to wake up. I had stopped breathing and was starting to turn blue. Needless to say, it scared the crap out of both of us. The one thing that really sticks out was how tired I was like I had really been struggling to move with every ounce of my strength. That was the only time that was that intense. I have sleep paralysis fairly regularly (2-3 times a month) but thankfully no hallucinations. My wife has figured out when this is happening. My breathing becomes very erratic, and I can usually shake free of the paralysis enough to move my hand. She will wake me up and make me turn on my side. I usually wake in the morning feeling like I’ve had no sleep at all.”

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3. It’s only mildly disturbing.

“This happens to me a few times a year, most recently last month. It used to really freak me out until I read about it – now it’s just mildly disturbing. As far as I understand (and from the experiences I’ve had), the brain is basically still asleep (with motor functions disabled). However, somehow fully conscious and processing the dream state overlayed on top of reality. It’s sort of a reality feedback loop. It mostly happens when I’m napping outside of my regular sleep schedule. I have to be lying in bed, but it happens when I’m on my back and side.”

Chroko has even more observations during sleep paralysis: “Usually I’m aware of somebody in the room (but they aren’t there when I wake up). I’ve only ever seen something once – I saw a Giger Alien (from the movie Aliens) on the ceiling directly above my bed, hissing at me. Once I could hear someone reading (pages turning), and their presence was strangely comforting – but I couldn’t see them. The worst part, though, is that when it happens, I always have to fight through and wake up – because I become conscious of my heartbeat and am terrified I’m going to die if I just go back to sleep.”

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2. The more you know, the more you can grow.

“I’ve not experienced it, but I’ve heard a number of people bring it up to me. I once saw it happening in 2006 when one of my roommates just wouldn’t wake up for class. He was lying on his back, eyes pretty much open, non-responsive. Later that day, he told us what had happened. I had a friend who converted to Christianity partly on the basis that he believed in spirits and demons (from sleep paralysis + native American beliefs). He’d had a number of traumatic sleeping incidents where he saw vivid hallucinations of girls in dresses, shadowy figures, the usual list of things you hear in sleep paralysis cases.”

“I revealed that to him and, among a few other things, it eventually convinced him to reconsider the validity of a lot of his superstitious beliefs. For many people, they just lack an obvious explanation for many phenomena that occur and seek out a higher power. Seriously though, just linking him to the Wikipedia article on sleep paralysis was eventually enough to break him of his spell before he got too into it. His personality has really returned since he got off the Jesus train.” huxtiblejones could more be supportive of his friend if he did have certain beliefs, but it is also good to have all the information needed. It was good of them to show him the information on sleep paralysis too.

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1. Controlling lucid dreams.

“Yes, four times that I can recall. The first two were immediately after the death of a relative and were accompanied by strong feelings of a presence in the room. If I were religious, I might have taken this as proof of an afterlife. Lucid dreams accompanied the third and fourth. The third time, I had the distinct feeling of floating out of my bed. As I regained from the paralysis and began to move, I believed I felt static discharge through my limbs and heard a buzzing, crackling sound. Hallucinations, of course. The lucid dream itself ended with a “game over” screen, which I thought particularly interesting.”

[deleted] continues: “The fourth time was intentional. I was able to remain conscious during the initial stages of sleep and enter REM into a lucid dream. There were no crazy hallucinations, just a feeling that I “sank” into my bed. The lucid dream itself wasn’t terribly exciting. However, I did note that it was in full color and seemed to start as a small rectangle in my field of vision. It was progressively expanding to become all I could “see.” I haven’t been able to control my lucid dreams much, although in one case, I made an evil robot disappear so that it wouldn’t kill me.”

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