and things that go bump in the night.
I spent some time this weekend watching episodes of Paranormal State. Having lived in a house that was haunted probably with residual energy of a male who did NOT like women, I’m interested in ghost stories and hauntings and things.
That being said, I kept hearing something this weekend that really bugged me. In multiple episodes, the victims being interviewed referred to waking up and being unable to move, feeling great evil forces, and feeling hands around his/her neck or face, etc. Not once did the investigators refer to sleep paralysis which, oddly enough, involves waking up and being unable to move, feeling great evil forces, and feeling a pressure around one’s neck or face.
The only reason I know about sleep paralysis is because I suffer from it. My understanding is that you wake up before a REM cycle is completed. It takes anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes before you’re able to speak or move. It’s accompanied by extremely vivid hallucinations (the remanants of dreams, perhaps). When I have had episodes of sleep paralysis, I always felt like I was being tortured by some evil spirit, a demon from hell or Satan himself, and if I could just move my finger or call for help, it would go away. I felt panicky while I tried, unsuccessfully, to move a finger or even whisper. Eventually I would be able to feebly call for help, and then the paralysis broke and I could move. It also seemed that if I went back to sleep too quickly after an episode of sleep paralysis, I would have another episode the same night. So I’ve learned whenever that happens that I need to get up and go to the restroom, get a drink of water, walk down the hall and check on things, and then go back to bed. Usually that little bit of movement will get me away from whatever I was dreaming, interrupts the cycle, and lets me go back to bed and get a peaceful night’s sleep.
Don’t get me wrong. Sleep paralysis is terrifying. If you’ve never had it, count yourself lucky. But seasoned paranormal investigators should know about sleep paralysis, and take that into consideration when they’re investigating an alleged haunting or demonic presence. It may not be demons at all. It may just be someone’s — unquestionably terrifying — interrupted REM cycle.
I’m just sayin’.