Hypnagogia: A Bridge to Other Realities

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Biology 202
2000 First Web Report
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Hypnagogia: A Bridge to Other Realities

Yun-Wen Shaw

" To dream and altogether not
to dream. This synthesis is the
operation of genius, by which both
activities are mutually reinforced."

Every night of every day, people everywhere retreat to their beds to sleep, and oftentimes to dream. Many of us are not aware however, that the many levels of consciousness we undergo during the stages of sleep offer a link between our conscious mind and its manifested dream world; perhaps even the possibility of another realm of cognition altogether. Hypnagogia, the deeply relaxed state of consciousness that occurs shortly prior to falling asleep, has been recognized for hundreds of years as a source of creative thought and intuition by a long list of distinguished philosophers, artists, and scientists, names of which include Aristotle and Albert Einstein (1). Research into hypnagogia is now shedding light on long-sought-for explanations of psychic abilities and creative intuition obtained outside direct sensory processes by revealing the possibility that our brain may have the ability to tap into other states of consciousness (6). The phenomenon of the hypnagogic hallucinations which occur in this period are characterized by a slideshow of highly condensed, discontinuous, and bizarre imagery of faces, figures, animals, print and writing. Also accompanying this is often hearing one’s name being whispered, hearing music, and undergoing temporary physical paralysis (4, 7). These visual, auditory, and physical stimuli, have been known to cultivate intuition, bring flashes of inspiration, and offer creative insight to those who experience them (1). During this fleeting psycho-physical state, people report randomly occurring visual and auditory experiences which are relatively more disconnected and short-lived when compared to dreams characteristic of REM sleep. Hypnagogia is in fact very common, occurring in 72 to 77 percent of the population, many are unaware of the phenomena (1).

A possible physical explanation for Hypnagogia is rooted in the discovery of magnetite crystals in cells of the brain and meninges. It has been found that there are five million magnetite crystals per gram in the human brain, and twenty times that number in the meninges (2). These ‘biomagnetite crystals’ are oriented in the brain in a manner that maximizes their magnetic moment, thus allowing the crystals to act as a system, and marking the ability of the brain to sense energy fields (4). These crystals could very possibly be the cause and explanation behind psychic abilities, as well as the feelings of intuition during states of hypnagogia.

Let us further explore how this phenomenon may be possible. Studies that show the proximity of the crystal-containing brain cells to the pituitary and pineal glands, have led researchers to propose that these glands may use information from the earth’s magnetic field to regulate the release of hormones in the brain, thus directly controlling conscious awareness levels (2).

However, there is still no way to ’read’ the signals that might be carried by the brains magnetic emissions. Despite this being so, the evidence indicating the existence of these signals and their possible constitution of a means of communication between various parts of the brain, is very compelling. This is the system that many speculate to be that which selects the neural areas to be recruited, so that the appropriate state of consciousness can elicit the suitable phenomenological, behavioral, and affective responses (4).

Studies have been done to show that various low intensity magnetic signals delivered to the temporal lobes indeed have a positive effect of producing various hallucinatory effects in the subject . Such effects include vestibular feelings in which one’s normal sense of balance is replaced by illusions of levitation and vertigo. Also experienced are transient ‘visions,’ whose context include motifs that appear in near-death experiences and alien abduction scenarios. Another neuromagentically elicited experience is bursts of emotion, most commonly fear and joy. Interestingly, all of these experiences very closely approximate those in the hypnagogic state.

Further experimentation performed on monkeys has determined the temporal lobes to be the part of the brain which mediates various states of consciousness. EEG readouts from the temporal lobes are markedly different when a person is asleep and undergoing a hallucinogenic seizure, or on LSD. In this case, seizural disorders confined to the temporal lobes (complex partial seizures) were characterized as impairments of consciousness. In the study, monkeys were given LSD after having various parts of their brains removed. The monkeys continued to ‘trip’ no matter what parts of the brains were missing. Only in the case where both temporal lobes were removed did the substance seem to have no affect the monkeys at all. The conclusion inarguably shows that the temporal lobes, in addition to all their other functions (in aspects of memory, language, music, etc.), also function to mediate states of consciousness (4).

The interpretation of hypnagogic images in some studies have seemed to provide striking examples not only of the existence of various states of consciousness, but also of clairvoyance and telepathy (7). In his book Hypnagogia, Andreas Mavromatis declares that "…hypnagogia gives rise to the insight that there are many realities and that what we call wakefulness merely constitutes one of them…hypnagogia suggests the evolutional possibility of a further expansion of consciousness, and poses a serious question concerning the nature of reality" (7). People have applied many different strategies to channel into the "powers of the hypnogic’ by means of meditation, hypnosis, spiritualism, hallucinogenic drug use, and others. Many hypnogists report states of instantaneous intuition, exhilaration with an inspired poem, mystical insights, and exquisite peaceful joy. Occultists believe they can tap into clairvoyant experiences in the hypnagogic. Others feel that they can engage in self-hypnosis so that they can achieve things they thought impossible or too difficult, by hypnagogic visualization (5).

Hypnagogic stages of sleep, with all its hallucinatory imagery, tends to act as compelling explanations for many claims of alien or supernatural encounters. It is easy to imagine how an individual who has had a hypnagogic experience with sleep paralysis, who is not familiar with the neurological explanation, to likely interpret their strange experience in terms of their cultural beliefs or in other bizarre supernatural terms (2). Hypnagogia presets new dimensions of a true New Age exploration, waiting for us all to travel together into this New World. And if any are skeptical, we can gain confidence in our hypnagogic pursuits from the realization that we are following in the footsteps of some of the most creative, intuitive and influential human minds in history. After all, Aristotle and Einstein can’t be wrong.


WWW Sources

1) Altered States

2) Mind Whispers - Psychics and Scientists ; Patrick Marsolek

3) Hypnagogia ; Robert Novella

4) The Production of Consciousness out of States of Consciousness

5) Psychic Syzygy: Hypnagogic Antilogic

6) Paradigms of Consciousness During Sleep; Donald J. DeGracia, Ph.D.

7) Hypnagogia: Bridge to Other Realities



Comments made prior to 2007
i noticed your link to my article "Mind whispers..." on your page on Hypnagogia:


needs to be updated.

The correct link is now:


Warm regards ... Patrick Marsolek, 13 June 2006



I was reading ur article on Hypnagogia. I've have had serious Sleep paralysis before falling asleep for the last 10 years. I am 27. I just wanted to share that it's incredably terifiying. When this started I guess I had hypnagogic hallucinations for the first 3. And it's not fun. I think that people who don't have think of it as romantic. (p.s. I'm not insulting you guys) But sometime it feels like i'm going to die. Maybee because i was always scared I did not understad it. I have done 3 sleep tests. And nothing wrong was found. I went to see a neurologist at mount sinai hospital in toronto. They did a cat scan and my brain was 100%. But that i might have a cross between epilepsy and narcolepsy and that they could do nothing to help me. I told the doctor to go f-himself, and left. Who can I talk to about this? I would love to share my experiences and maybee understand them beter? Any help would be greatly appreciated ... Anthony Lorusso, 30 December 2007


Wendy's picture

Hallucinations while awake

Thanks for the interesting blog post and comments. Just two weeks ago I had my first daytime experience of what I now understand to be hypnagogia. I was in Kauai on vacation and had hiked into the waterfall on the Napali Coast with a casual friend. While we were sitting by the falls having lunch, I started having hallucinations. It was like dozens of flashes of scenes that went by so quickly I couldn't really grasp what they were. At first I thought I was just remembering my dreams from the night before. But they just kept happening and in fact kept happening for about two hours. I was still awake, not sleepy and was able to function more or less. During this time my companion and I hiked back to our car. The hallucinations came and went but they were still happening. Although the hallucinations themselves were not scary, I was very scared. I didn't know what was happening to me. I thought I was having a stroke or somethng. After they finally faded away, I felt a bit drained and almost hungover. I was also extra emotionally sensitive. Only several days later did I realize that the hallucinations were exactly the same as the little flashes of dreams that I have as I am falling asleep and in that state between consciousness and sleep. Then I was able to do some research and discover the phenomenon called hypnagogia. I'm very glad to have a description for what I experienced, although I still don't have an explanation for what brought it on at that time, other than that I was very relaxed and in a beautiful place that also was very spiritual.

William Alexander's picture

response to WENDY


I am a retired anthropology professor, who studied under Michael Harner, a leading expert on shamanism. What I am about to say may not "cure " you but should be of interest.

It might be worth your while to read an article from the American Anthropologist back in , I believe, the 50's, by Anthony F.C. Wallace, about what are called revitalization movements, in which the case is made that in societies in crisis, waking dreams on the part of an individual lead to personality transformation for the individual and a reduction of stress in the rest of society. Also, there is a related article by Julian Silverman, also in the American Anthropologist about Shamanism and Schizophrenia.

The point is that such experiences tend to receive negative reactions in our society, but in "primitive" societies are respected and lead to good things.

Wendy Francis's picture


Dear William,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post. I am not looking for a "cure" for what I experienced; I only want to understand and learn from it. I had a look at Wallace's paper on revitalization movements. Thanks very much for the reference.

I continue to be puzzled by the fact that the images or hallucinations themselves were not meaningful because I don't remember any of them. It is simply the fact that I had waking hallucinations that is of interest to me. Someone told me that it was a sort of initiation into that world that exists between the conscious and the unconscious. What I'm mostly curious about is whether or not I can tap into that world again in a way that increases my understanding of myself and the human condition.


Serendip Visitor's picture

Relieved I'm not alone and have a name to this horror.

I am so relieved to see that I'm not alone, I heard the word Hypnagogia from a doctor today and went to look it up. Although a sleep doc said I might have narcolepsy I don't have the episodes of sudden sleep or muscle weakness. Sleep paralysis and terrifying experiences however. All my life. I will tell you about some of the most terrifying ones I had:

I wake up in my bathroom thinking "what am I doing here?" so I move to my living room, I noticed that I was floating and not walking it terrified me. Then in my living room something started to spin me in the air and threw me into a wall ( I remember thinking "ouch it's going to hurt") but it didn't...I am not a religious person but I was so terrified that I started praying real hard, I saw a yellow beam of light and was back on my bed, unable to move and hearing an eerie whisper in my ear, couldn't understand what it said.

the second one was when I heard someone unlock my door and get into the apartment, I asked "who is it?" He said ( the name of my ex) except my ex didn't have a key...terrified I closed my eyes and heard it come near me and lay down in my bed, beside me. I was so scared that I just kept my eyes closed untill I guess I fell back to deeper sleep.

I sometimes sleep in weird positions, I woke up to see a hand above my head- then i realized that one of my hands was beside me the other under the pillow. It wasn't My hand above my head.

I could keep going telling all the horrific things I've experienced. Sometimes I feel like I'm zapped my electricity when I wake up and unable to move and hear a buzzing sound. Once I heard a woman say "You know I love you"- with a playful tone etc;

The most important part of all this though..I often dream that I'm in alternate realities, worlds just like ours but I know they're not ours. I also know some people there that I don't know here on Earth. I also have had some premonition dreams, some silly some more serious. Examples: The night before going to my driving school the first time I had a dream that I came there and was told " Sorry we forgot to put you on the schedule for the computer, you will have to wait about half an hour" - The next day the very thing happens. Or most recent I dreamed that my sister got beat up my her b/f. they never had physical fights. I called my mom and told her about my dream and she said, "that's exactly what happened"... I had some more dreams like that but they don't happen often.

I am grateful that I at least have a name for all those scary experiences.

macewan's picture

Astral Projection

You are having OOBE - astral projecting.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Ordinary Dreams

These come to me as just normal dream experiences. This stuff happens to me every night but the difference is I'm not scared by it. I relish in being able to float/fly, for instance. remind yourself that you can't be harmed. Prayer is excellent. being religious isn't important -it's what it means to your subconscious.
people spend years training to achieve what you naturally have. but I suppose, they don't have the fear towards it, and that really is the only problem. the problem isn't your brain: your brain is doing what it should do. The problem is how you relate to the experience: the problem is the fear.
Encourage in ordinary waking life: instances of Trust, Letting-go and standing up for yourself. these will filter through to your subconscious, and (hopefully) ease the panic in the hypnagogic experiences.
rather than say "God, take it away from me" say "God, give me the strength to endure"
that, afterall, is courage, and courage the antidote to fear.

Pomodoro's picture

Sleep paralysis is the 'holy

Sleep paralysis is the 'holy grail' of astral projectors. It is a special condition which allows one to experience astral projection (out of body experience, oobe). So, believe it or not, many try to achieve it deliberately. They do this by lying very still on their backs and not moving at all and waiting. The paralysis takes 15 or so minutes to achieve on average and takes over swiftly when it occurs. It is best achieved after having slept first. Because you know not to panic, you can try to move the astral body and explore. They say the 'evil' presence is often felt at first, but eventually dissapears as your fear of it diminishes.

The way to get out of sleep paralysis is to change your breathing, it is apparently the only thing you can still control. By doing this the paralysis soon goes away.

Why do people see or sense demons instead of angels? The reason is stated as being because the closest astral plane to us in occupied by lower spirits and the angelic beings are in higher astral planes which this technique of projection does not enter.

Know that by lowering your fear during a paralysis, the incubus loses power. Know that you will soon move again and that the thing can't hurt you. Dont talk to it but command it to go. Make yourself feel powerful during the paralysis.

Try not to sleep on you back and don't concentrate on breathing etc as you drift asleep, just daydream about fancyful things.

If you hear voices during the day when fully awake, well then it is not hypnogogia, it could be schizophrenia or if you dabbled in some esoteric stuff like Ouija board contact ,and soon after you hear voices - possibly a spirit, which you invited to bother you. I'm not religious but am not arrogant enough to think that something else could not possibly exist.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Yes, that's exactly what I do

Yes, that's exactly what I do , insitictively, I command it to go away. The problem is..some of them force so much fear and terror into me that I wake up gasping and terrified and afraid to close my eyes again. I did have the positive ones however, very few but when I had one of them I've experienced emotions I didn't know existed, hard to describe. I also woke up happy and rejuvenated after those.

Dave from Wheeling's picture

Great Site

7 years ago I was having lunch alone at my favorite Chinese Buffet, and I overheard a conversation at the table next to me. Two guys in business suits, one was explaining to the other how he woke up last night to find Tolstoy sitting at the foot of his bed, and how proceeded to have a conversation with him. He described a few more scenarios and went on about how this kind of experience was common for him. Under normal circumstances I would never interject myself into a conversation between two strangers at a restaurant, but this guy seemed to be describing my "freak-outs", as I have called them most of my life, and he seemed to have some insight about the nature of this phenomenon. So I did walk over to the table and talk to the gentleman, and that was the first time I had ever heard the word Hypnagogia. I finally had a proper name for my freak-outs. As soon as I got back to my desk, I Googled the word, and found that there was not much out there in the way of definitions, examples, or blogs like this one.
Every once in a while, I do another search to see if anything new has popped up. Tonight, I found this blog, and I just wanted to say, great blog, and thanks to all who have shared their stories. Reading through a bunch of them tonight, I'm struck by a few things, especially that others use the same exact phrase as me, calling these episodes, "Freak-Outs". Anyway, I've written too much already, I won't launch into examples of my own, maybe some other time. I basically just wanted to say thanks to all of you and to the blogger, and to reiterate what so many of you have already said... you're sure as hell not alone.

Mo's picture

Not sure what is

I'm 16 right now and for past few months (maybe more than a year, don't remember) I have been having strange dreams, that I am able to control to some extent and remember what I think is the whole dream. Over the course of my childhood, I would always see imagery when I wake up from sleep. Sometimes very unclear ghosts dancing or a single person with greater detail. The one I remember the best was an army man coming to my bed and sitting on it and then I tried calling out to my dad (like he was my father), but I couldn't.
Now in the past few days I have been waking up to weird imagery in front of me, usually like a transparent threaded cloth, waving in front of me. I also think I see a face for a short moment, but I might be denying that, because it would creep me the heck out. As I wake up, it's caused by a sound. Now I keep trying to sleep, but I get this feeling of decreasing or increasing in size (don't remember and I think this relates to something else, it isn't like somebody laying down on my chest, which happens to me maybe one every 2 weeks), sometimes followed with a sound. In addition, when I close my eyes I see loads of imagery, zooming in and then leaving. The last one I remember were stone faces and I tried focusing on them and then these darker faces mixed with black, white and red popped out. Now I am extremely paranoid, I check my closet every night, I am not sure if it is caused by my dreaming, but it doesn't help when I see this stuff at night. Right now I am writing this after waking up several times in 1 hour 30 minute timespan.

Disturbing's picture

Sleep disorder or...

It's not exactly comforting to know others feel what I do because I would rather a solution lol

When I was younger I had an imaginary friend, I'd sleep walk, my parents would catch me standing infront of things talking and they actually changed the lock on the front door so I wouldn't walk out(they kept the key in their room). As an adult the sleep walking, the imaginary friend is just a funny story. The thing is As I grew older it all went away but it was replaced with something that's worse. See as kids nothing really creeps us out because we are innocent but as adults it's scary stuff. So, it began...sometimes I feel my chest warm and tingling, my heart racing, im fully aware im not asleep but im not awake either. feeling the presence of someone behind me. Waking up to shadow in front of me, sometimes I get pissed and tell it to just go away. Last night I caught myself saying "really? This s#it again? Go away!" sometimes I know I'll slap at the figures. I don't know if I actually do it or dream I do but it sure feels real. The reason I linked in my childhood experiences is because what if this is something other than dreams or sleep disorders. For a long time about 2 years while I was in a relationship all activity seemed to calm down as my partner slept next to me. A few times I awoke to a dark figure in front of me but I didn't freak out (maybe cause I felt safe my partner was laying next to me?) but now I sleep alone and the fear is back. Is it fear of the dark? Is it something more? I think not having an answer makes it worse.

Mo's picture

I am too scared to touch the

I am too scared to touch the image in front of me. I usually move to see if the image follows with me, to make sure I am imagining it.

Brooke's picture

To: Sleep disorder or...

I hear ya. I had similar experiences as a child. I didn't have an imaginary friend, but I would just see people that would smile and/or wave at me. I would wave/ smile back and when I asked my parents about it- they saw no one. I slept walk as well but only on rare occasions to my knowledge. It's strange you talk about it leaving you alone when someone is in bed with you because that happened to me as well when I was with my ex boyfriend. I slept fairly well, in fact. The problem I have is that Im not sure I accurately remember all instances in vivid detail. The ones I've mentioned on here are ones I have written down immediately after... I feel our memories (at least mine) seems to alter things a bit as time passes and it's quite frustrating. The roommate that I mentioned in one of my earlier posts actually went as far as to be hypnotized- she believed that if she were in an "unconscious" state, she could more accurately remember what happened. She truly believed that there was some kind of entity in our apartment...she believes that it was some sort of ghost/demon and according to what she told me her therapist said- her mind remembered a dark, shadowy figure that seemed to be looking directly at her but she couldn't see it directly.

In recent experiences, I can't remember seeing a figure- I just hear and feel it.

It's entirely frustrating. I would like an explanation as well. I'm also shootng for a scientific- logical one.

Serendip Visitor's picture

hypnogogia, meniere's

Your explanation of magnetite crystals in the brain is fascinating to me. I have experienced hypnogogia all of my life. Most of the time it is extraordinarily terrifying...the images I see. Occasionally I will see the most intricate and beautiful patterns. I have taken to drawing some of these images. When I wake up, it is hard for me to distinguish a dream from reality for a period of time. This can happen whether I force myself to wake up immediately, or sleep through the night.

I have also experienced sleep paralysis. When I was a little girl, I thought I was haunted. (silly, I know) It can, however, be easily interpreted that way. Especially if you see a "shadow figure" or see a presence that takes on the feel, look and sound of a human person.

I have experienced vertigo when falling asleep at times as well.

I have noticed a correlation between intensity of dreams, intensity of vertigo, and intensity of awareness when there is a thunderstorm on its way. I am wondering if the change in pressure triggers something in the mind. Perhaps I am extremely sensitive to changes in weather and it causes a physiological response?

Just some thoughts

gagan's picture


i thought i was alone into this so never really expressed it to anyone around me...been having this experience for a long time...once i heard someone calling my name(like my grandmas voice whos been dead for the past 6 years)..back in 2006 a zombie like hand(completely white)slapped me on my face...scared me to death...then once while sleeping i felt as if someone whispered into my ears..although its scary i have started enjoying it in a weird sense(i know its not a pleasent experience)but all of u will agree to this it does make us a stronger person...all the trivial issues of everyday life seem to be nothing..i mean how many people experience this?but then again for some its otherworldy and some wanna get rid of it...anyways god bless all of us and let love prevail..

gennifer's picture

sleep paralysis

I have sleep paralysis every so often, it scares the hell out of me, I say in my head Lord Jesus help me and He comes to release me everytime. Weird how my mind can be completely awake and I cannot open my eyes move any part of my body. If my God is with me who can be against me, it feels like Im at a war with myself...and I am so its the mind that is awake and the body will not comply therefore the soul screams for God and does anyone else know what the heck this is all about?

Serendip Visitor's picture

It's not jesus coming and

It's not jesus coming and helping you. I't s just your braing waking up and taking back his conscius control of all your body functions. For every stupid thing that happens, people like you alway calling jesus here and here. Grow a brain.

Jonathan Lane's picture


You sir. Are a god.

Serendip Visitor's picture

People like me?

Um, there is absolutely no reason for you to be ugly and rude. This is a forum for discussion. Please be respectful of my thoughts and feelings towards these matters.

Secondly, I have a brain- a very functional brain that is cognizant that there are other realities other than the one we experience during consciousness. And I'm pretty sure you don't know me personally. So please don't make the assumption "people like you" because you have no clue as to who I am and what I've been through in my life. Unless of course, you are omniscient- in that case, a thousand apologies.

I'm not sure what you mean by "I't s just your braing waking up...people like you alway calling jesus here and here. Grow a brain." I don't understand what you mean by "here and here" and surely you know that part of a functioning adult brain is knowing when to turn on spell-check?

I understand everyone has a different opinion on these matters, and I would have completely accepted yours if you had the common decency to address it with intelligence and respect.

Serendip Visitor's picture


Good to see you stood up to this person who said such rude things to you simply for stating what you believe and feel.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Sleep paralysis

Hi there I read what you said and I can totally relate to your story, like you every now and then I get these sleep paralysis episodes, and I also call out for Jesus in my head, when it happens to me I feel very frighten. I feel like I'm ganna die, it feels like my soul is leaving my body. I get numb I feel like im floating or falling and I see images and hear loud noises or I hear my name being called. But for the most part I hear myself saying "in the name of Jesus" over and over then I get released and wake up. I honestly don't know what this is and it is scary. Like u I'm searching for answers

Brooke's picture

Sleep Paralysis/Paranormal Connection

I too have had several of these experiences. I think the first time was when I was in my mid-teens-14 or 15. My dream would often start off normal, then suddenly with a flicker of light or a strange sound I would be in my bed, seemingly awake and paralyzed. Of course, I wasn't "awake" as we understand it...I was conscious of my surroundings but I could not move to my understanding. Often I felt a sort of evil presence trying to attack me in some way. I would wake up at some point- always after calling for the Lord to help me. I have had these dreams on and off now for about 9-10 years. (I'm now 24)

I've always tried to find the logical in anything- and I have at times struggled with my faith in God. But there was one horrifying episode that changed my mind...One night a few years ago, Instead of the usual "set up" of flickering lights and strange sounds- I had thought I had awoken and was lying awake in my bed. I tried to move to my side- (as I heard sleep paralysis was worse when you lye on your back) but I couldn't move. I then realized I was in a lucid dream/sleep paralysis. At that point, SP or lucid dreams no longer scared me...I guess I was able to realize while I was having them that they were just dreams. I had seemed to master a trick that if I concentrated hard enough, I could wake myself TRULY up. But this time it didn't seem to be working. I began to feel an evil presence again. It was making noises on my pillowcase- it sounded like someone was scratching it with their fingernails. Then in that SP state, I was sat up by the presence in my bed. It propelled me foward and dragged me off the bed. On the floor, it continued to drag me...it seemed to be taking me to the door. I felt an intense pain in my arms as they were being pulled across the carpet. Still, I was convinced this was a dream. I commanded for whatever the spirit was to leave me alone. I declared that I was a child of God and that it could not hurt me. But somehow the spirit, and myself sensed my weakness- my lack of conviction in my demands. I remember then realizing that if the spirit existed, then God had to exist. I told the spirit one more time, this time with absolute faith that God was my protector. Immediately I woke up in my bed with a start. Still, this could be counted off as an episode of SP, but this time was so vivid that it made me a little afraid- Like I used to be when I was younger.

The eeriest part was that my arms were burning- very warm. I turned on the light in my room and I noticed that they were bright red. Not a minute later I heard the door to my roommates room open. I could hear her going out into the kitchen.

I decided to join her. She asked if I was alright- turns out we both had similar SP dreams concurrently. She also had a dream that some sort of spirit was trying to attack her- I think in her case it was trying to choke her...I knew she had these dreams as well, it was just so strange that we both experienced them simultaneously.

I don't know whether these dreams have a completely scientific explanation or not. Personally, I felt that there was too much going on especially that time that can be explained by science. It's true, I'm not an expert. I don't know what the causes are- for me, it strengthened my faith in God. I feel that my roommate having a dream at the same time was just too much for it to be discounted as a coincidence.

I think there's a connection between spiritual/scientific- I believe they are both aspects of the world. Whenever these "ghost hunters" go on a case- they use all kinds of equipment to measure energies. Could it be possible that this evil spirit is more of an energy? Could it have been transferred to my roommate to me...or from me to my roommate? I think there's room for both Faith and Science. I think they're intertwined. There are so many things we don't understand. I mean, perhaps the spirits understand that people are most vulnerable in this altered state- that it's the opportune time to haunt or attack.????

Honestly, this is all speculation- I don't have concrete evidence either way. But I am a believer in the spiritual and the supernatural.(As I think they are interwoven- sometimes the same thing) I'd love to share stories and get everyone's thoughts.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Hypnagogia or Just Evil?

Why is it that almost each expreience I read on about this "Hypnagogia", it all pretains to the same dreams I have had since I was 16 (im 22 now). I can not move, so I try to scream to wake myself upp but it only works sometimes. I dont know that I scream out loud unless someone yells for me or wakes me up to tell me what I am doing. In this state of terror, I feel myself trying to kick my feet or move to wake myself u but it wont work. It is the same person in these nightmares. It is a shadow that is a lady with long hair and she is evil. They scare me so bad and i dont get why thi is happening over and over again. She always enters the room I am in the same way and then I feel pressure on top of me while this shadow covers my body. I feel it is real and not a dream because It is in the same room i fall asleep in and Its almost like an out of body feeling. It happens more then 3 times ion a row and once I wake myself, I can not keep myself up, therefore it leads back to the same dream. It has been so bad that I cry because I am afrais of this THING that I am seeing. If anyone has delt with this same issue, or could give me anything on advice or something, please do!

Serendip Visitor's picture

similar experience

Years ago I experienced something very similar to what you've described... I'd often felt that sensation of someone scratching beneath my pillow even as I lay on it. One night I was lying in bed, heard a very loud noise outside my window as if a train were going by, I was paralyzed and felt the presence of some kind of evil spirit. I was very religious and spiritual at the time so I too called for god's help or something of that nature and it all stopped. Then I was no longer afraid since I knew It was all over. I believed to have been awake for this whole experience though. I just wanted to share after I saw you felt the experience of the scratching pillow too... that is such a unique detail to have in common!

Serendip Visitor's picture

similar experience

You're right, that is amazing. Wow, that is so incredibly similar, it's uncanny. I think the pillow scratching was the creepiest part of it~

Irra's picture

My experiences

I remember having "weird" dreams and perhaps hypnapompic hallucinations (did not know about them back then) ever since I was like 10 years old (I'm 22 now). The first sleep paralysis I remember having was in 2009, and that was followed by series of very scary nights. Steps in my room, heavy breathing, entities pulling my legs, etc etc. Perhaps the most frightening experience was when I woke up to paralysis, freaked out a bit as usual, and then I heard it... little babies screaming and crying, I swear they could have been lying there next to me on the bed. They sounded like someone was eating them alive. Oh boy was I scared then, I was sure I was going to die right there.

Lately I have been having fever sleep paralyses, but almost every night, every single time I wake up I see weird things (no paralysis involved) that I have identified as hypnopompic hallucinations. Some of the more notable experiences :
I have an armchair rather near my bed, I woke up and saw an older woman sitting there, her back towards me. She was talking with words I did not understand (this was also the first time I heard words in hypnagogia). She talked for a while, I tried to listen carefully to understand what she was saying but then she disappeared. All in all it was very creepy.

Once I saw a big black bird (raven perhaps?) on my bedroom floor. I had one closet door open and the bird hopped inside. For some reason I got terrified, had this feeling "oh no, the bird can NOT go in there" and jumped out of my bed. When I realized what I was doing (going through the closet in panic to find the bird, in the middle of the night) it shocked me that seeing things actually got me out of the bed and halfway across the room...

Also last night I woke up and for some reason the jigsaw puzzle I have hanging on the wall looked weird. The picture on it was not what it's supposed to be (photo of old Paris) but instead it had some kind of flowerpot or whatever, nothing special though. But I freaked out, sat up on my bed and felt this horrible tension, like the picture being wrong would be the worst thing that could happen. My heart was racing and I was all sweaty when I stared at the jigsaw as it slowly transitioned to it's original state.

It has been really fascinating to read experiences posted by other people. I have read something about the subject from the internet. Therefore I know I'm not crazy because I see things like people next to my bed or spiders on the ceiling. Still, every single time I'm stunned and shocked when I see them. A few seconds later and I'm like "meh, that stuff again" and get back to sleep. But yeah, thank to you all. It's nice to know others who share the same nightly "fun" as I do ;)

mark's picture

Lucid dreaming for serious lucid dreamers

It was this page that lead me to understanding what my halucinations were in the line up towards REM sleep.
That was 5 years ago, and now I have a great little community of 50+ people on facebook that discusses these topics IN-DEPTH.

You are NOT alone with these experiences.

Come join us in the 'Lucid dreaming - for serious lucid dreamers' group on facebook.
The more the merrier!

Serendip Visitor's picture

can't find the group

I can't find your facebook group. what's it's exact name, or link to it?

Katie's picture

Lucid Dreams-OBE-Sleep Paralysis- Hypnagogia

It's really comforting to scroll through all of these stories and see that other people have the same experiences as I do. They started when I was young, but were very are occurrences. Oddly, as a child I was more prone to sleep walking than to sleep paralysis, interesting to see how that has made a complete 180. Anyway, as a child I used to run screaming to my mother after having night terrors, or what I thought were hauntings. Dead relatives and friends would show up in my room, and I would just look at them until they left, and I was able to move once more. Frequently I would dream that a mask that my mother kept in her room would come looking for me, and bite my throat open- killing me. It always felt incredibly real, very lucid. I would think "this again?" and run, but I knew I wasnt in any real danger, aside from the crippling fear.

Now I get them much more intensely. Demons sitting on my chest, dark figures entering my room, old friends appearing next to me, shadow figures in my bed, and more. I'm very interested in talking to others that experience these type of things, so my email is below-

Serendip Visitor's picture

How encouraging it is to have so many respond to my post

I used to think I was all alone in this and it's blowing my mind how many people this has affected....now it's not just happening when I'm asleep as I've posted in former posts or when I'm about to go to sleep....it's now happening when I'm awake or kind of I guess.....I was praying (in deep prayer) and all of a sudden an image of a friend of mine popped up in my head...it was just the upper torso ...up to his face...and I remember wondering what in the world....I thought it was because I have a crush on that person and they just randomly popped up in my head because of my thinking of that person occasionally....I did say a prayer for him just in case it was more than just a random thought of him popping up during prayer....two weeks passed by and someone tells me that he got into a car accident....I said when and they told me two weeks ago...the same night and around the same time that I had the image of him!....I remember when it happened saying while I prayed ...is he trying to tell me something or does he need me or something ....I still quite don't understand why he appeared to me.

Jennie's picture

hey guys.

I appreciate many of the comments, I have been studying narcolepsy lately once I found out it was often accompanied with hypnagogia, I do not have narcolepsy, but I have had sleep paralysis/hypnagogia etc for most my life. Last night when I awoke (or 'felt' entirely conscious) it felt like someone turned the static on a radio up, there was a pause and a breath, and a voice said "...don't fuck with me" the voice was very clear and intense. I have no idea what it related too.
I try to take histamines to sleep since I've heard they delay the REM onset (from occurring too quickly), I also heard this results in overall poorer sleep, but it is worth it if I can wake up without voices talking to me.
This is very difficult for me to deal with. I really wish I could talk to someone about it, but every time I try to bring it up to people close to me, I know they don't understand the depth of the pain it can cause. It is very hard to be optimistic when I hear voices angry and screaming at me every so often, and God knows what the hell it is.
I know many of you see this as positive but this is horrific to me. I have heard hundreds of voices and all of them felt bad intentioned, terrifying, and evil. I don't know what to do anymore. I just feel really alone.

Sueeus's picture

Hypnogogia & psychic attacks

In reply to Jennie - If you went to a Spiritualist Church and told them that you've heard hundreds of voice, they would probably tell you that you are psychic and recommend a house clearing. If you told them that you could also see people that aren't there, they would say you are a "seeing psychic" and they would advise you that you are too open to spirit, like a beacon of light to them and that you need to take steps to protect yourself from psychic attacks (e.g. before bedtime imagine your entire body clothed in a black cloak) or similar. If you told a medical doctor what you've said here, they would no doubt refer you to a psychiatrist and you would be labellled as having schizophrenia or other and perhaps have you sectioned to a mental health ward with you protesting your sanity all the way. So, best not to tell your doctor either as they are unable to discern between what is a medical problem and what may be a spiritual problem. Best not to go to a Spiritualist Church as it makes hypnogogia worse as well as night terrors etc and it can increase your spiritual awareness, but not in a pleasant way. If you approach the Church for help, they are very likely to think you are either taking a medication that is too high a dose, or you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. However, the Christian Church is also aware that sometimes there is a need to have a person's house exorcised as well as prayers being said for that person with the annointing of holy oil. You may have a darkness beside you that you inadvertently opened the door to, i.e. innocently playing with a ouji board as a child, or having readings done by a medium etc. Some Churches have ministers evangelists etc. or someone who has the gift of prophecy that can determine if there is a darkness there and whether its going to go or not. Prayer and faith can be a great comfort and by putting on the "full armour of God" (Ephesians), can help you to greatly reduce your fear. With God on your side, you are never alone.

Just Listening's picture

Simply reaching out to say

Simply reaching out to say I've read your comment and hope you discover serenity. There is a part of the brain which controls stimuli processing and body movement, sometimes whatever we are as human beings is ALERT, even while our brain/mind is in downtime mode.

I think our consciousness is greater than we realize.

Joe's picture

spirit walk?

I had the feeling of entities around, sometimes many, sometimes only one and all felt bad. I have had this happening for over 14 years. I'm 29 now. The way it's starts is I go to sleep, I feel a rush like a mental pulling outward and I'm in a completely dark (even if I left the light on in my room) area with wind blowing all around me. The wind is a feeling, but neither cold nor hot. The presence can be felt and it's bad. There is one instance where once presence was a calm, protective one. It spoke in a male, soft spoken voice and asked to follow it.

When the "dream" is over I feel like I'm being pushed back into my mind and I wake up shaking and disoriented. At times, praying would help and others times I tried the "journey" and explore this "dream." I don't know what it is, but some people say it might be a spirit walk or astral projection. I am still unsure of it all myself.

You are not alone.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Any Christian Resources on Hypnagogia?

Wow! I've experienced hypnagogia since I was a teen and at the age of 42 am just realizing it for the first time ever after reading these posts. I was never really able to figure out what was going on with me and just came to term it as some kind of "pre-cognitive ability".

When it first happened, I found myself in the middle of the night digging thru newspapers my dad had saved about an Apollo rocket that'd blown up. Challenger exploded the next day. I never even knew he had the clippings stuffed away in a filing cabinet. It was like I was just drawn to them.

I have awakened in the middle of the night at the exact same time (or right before) people have been in harm's way or died. I'll have very specific dreams about friends (and more recently people I barely know) in distress (people I haven't talked to in months or years or never spoken with). I will contact them them by phone or in person and blow them away because they've told no one about what I just dreamed about (things like them being pregnant, medical diagnosis, having marital or financial problems, etc.)

I have always strongly shied away from considering it as a psychic ability, preferring to privately think of it as more a "gifting" in the prophetic realm - so I can pray with them and guide them along biblical perspectives. Just wondering if anyone is aware of any resources about this from a Christian perspective?

mark's picture

Christian perspective

There is no Christian perspective other than those that have the arrogant, ignorant audacity to claim that this is demon activity.
There are a lot of verses in the Bible talking about dreams, but it is a major error to think that we can simply compare anything we experience that is related to dreams to scripture.

Be very careful when thinking about prophetical ability!
Here is a book that discusses that topic in DEPTH!

Things that Differ.
Probably one of the best books ever written about scriptures.

Sueeus's picture

Hypnogogia: narrow thinking

Mark! You should read the book Hypnogogia: Unique State of Consciousness between Wakefulness and Sleep by Andre Mavromatis. It discusses the topic of hypnogogia in DEPTH!! It may broaden your thinking!! When the dinner plates start flying and you know that's not your hypnogogia, or your dead relatives who've popped in for a visit, believe me, the Christian faith, God's potection, and the gift of prophecy is a lot more comforting and true to my reality, than that book you read. You need to be very careful what you say, lest people, including Christians, label you with those very same words, arrogant and ignorant.

Serendip Visitor's picture


Thank God I'm not crazy xD

Serendip Visitor's picture


This is all very fascinating but using primates to investigate this thing is absolutely repellent. The pursuit of knowledge at any cost makes the human race poorer not richer.

naruto uzumaki's picture

voices/see people/head vibrates/body stuck..

voices/see people/head vibrates/body stuck....I'm a security guard over night sometimes Ill take a power nap and wake up to seing someone and hearing them trieng to wake me..I panic but can't move my body and my head starts rateling and vibrating loud and I feel scared but unable to move....it's crazy...but I'm glad I found this site...I'm not ahllone....

Shane's picture

I've had this same

I've had this same experience, you're not alone. I've recently had dreams where a person/voice suddenly appears out of nowhere and starts talking to me. I'll wake up and see the same person in my room. Sometimes I'll be unable to speak after I wake up. The other night I felt like someone woke me up and I began to hear a voice in my head. I was really scared and then I heard a really loud clanging sound in my head--like if you were to hit a gong or something--my ears were also ringing and popping. I've talked to a physician friend of mine who is also a neuroscience researcher, and she seems to think I've been experiencing hypnopompic hallucinations. These hallucinations are nothing to be concerned about and are not "supernatural" experiences. They can result from sleep deprivation /disorders (i.e. narcolepsy, insomnia), stress, anxiety, depression, or SSRI (antidepressant) withdrawals, among other things. They're actually pretty common as well.

Vinayak's picture

Exactly sir.. even i feel the

Exactly sir.. even i feel the same thing and have been feeling it since about 10 years.. Now am 24 and in recent years the voices are getting more clearer.. the paralysis is getting more scarry with horrible halucianations like someone is sleeping beside me or he is going to kill me now.. I always feel the touch of that imaginary person sleeping beside me..

Ultimately i somehow fight the paralysis,which is definetely not easy, and come to the complete wakeful state..

DG's picture

You have no idea how happy I

You have no idea how happy I am to hear that I'm not crazy! I mean I feel for all of you because I know how scary it is. But now after researching this I look at it as more of a gift. I knew it had something to do with my psychic abilities but I have no control over it. Just like I have no control over the nights when hypnagogia happens. But maybe now I can learn it and be able to harness it. I don't know..use it better. I'm gonna pay attention to the days my psychic abilities are really dead on to the nights I have the episodes. I willing to bet that my days are of more of a heighten awareness.
Peace to you

Serendip Visitor's picture

Spiders and more

I see spiders coming down toward me too, and I hop out of bed, and look around, only to find there's nothing there. This has been happening since about age 16 for me (I'm 30 now), and it has evolved to a wide variety of other things "coming down toward me" or hovering over me. Sometimes they hover near the ceiling in other parts of the room. But despite the darkness and despite my lack of contacts or glasses (I shouldn't be able to see), I can see these things and the rest of the room fairly clearly. Luckily I haven't seen many beings, except for once when I saw several small brown beings motioning for me to come with them through a rectangle cut out of the wall near the ceiling. Last night it was a "happier" thing - I saw a bunch of cherries above me. This was after thinking to myself, "it would be nice to at least see something pleasant instead of this weird stuff." Because the night before that I saw a big six-foot tall black bear with a feline face. It was very "cute" looking, but I was wondering what the heck it was doing there, so I freaked-out (for about five seconds). I've also seen a black skeleton twirling in the corner, purple silvery butterflies swooshing, and an awning full of water about to splash on me. One more interesting thing to note is that once I decided in "the waking world" that I was no longer "afraid" of bugs and would capture and release them outside instead of killing them, I pretty much stopped seeing the spiders. The weird part is that I feel awake when it happens and my eyes are open and I'm looking at whatever strange thing it is, wondering what is going on. Sometimes I'm freaked-out and other times I'm just confused. Glad it's not just me! The first time it happened to me, I was about five years old and saw a short clown that looked like Beaker the Muppet at the foot of my bed and he tickled my feet and I was pretty upset about it, and of course no one believed me. 25 years later, I will still barely allow my feet to be exposed in bed in the dark! No noises or paralysis here, just "hallucinations" (or are they)? Usually the only reason I'm "scared" when it happens is because I'm wondering, "why is there a giant skeleton in my bedroom?" - I wish I could remember to not react so quickly with fear and instead be more like "oh okay, here we go again haha."

paul f's picture

spiders and more

Im 40, and have been seeing the spiders since a young boy.Over the years they have at times scared me, usually now they do make me jump.The last occasions, twice in the last week.The spider is usually hanging by me when i wake in the night.They used to swing down towards my face, crawl towards me or walk up the bedcover to me.Last night i woke to see hundreds of baby spiders swarming out of the wall.I have seen small spiders, and extremely large spiders.

Jonathan Lane's picture


Yeah I see spiders too. Scorpions. And just creepy crawlers in general.

Serendip Visitor-hannah's picture

Hypnagogia Maybe this is what is happening to me.

So over the last few months I have been going through this pattern when falling asleep. Somtimes when I am exhausted somtimes not. I will lay down and slowly fall asleep but I don't feel asleep per say. My mind is alert, and I think I am still awake. I can see my intire room exactly as it is. However I then start to panic as I try to move I realise I'm being held down, when i look at my arms there are 'shadow' streaks across my arms (as i sleep on my stomach)I can't move, then I figure I'm asleep but can't force myself to wake up it goes on for what feels like hours. Its very terrifying.

SereJerry's picture


I know exactly what you are talking about. I realize now that this has been happening since I was about 4 years old and now that i started paying attention to this, I'm figuring out how to control it.(and this was before i started doing research which was 1 hour ago) Just this morning I went into work but it was raining so i decided to sleep while it cleared up.(I work in construction) As i was dozing off, I felt myself going into the hypnagogia state. To anyone who saw me i appeared completely asleep but i was fully aware of what was going on around me. I could hear everything and think freely about whatever i wanted while in that state. I felt as if I was paralyzed and couldnt move. I used to panic when this would happen but i figured out a way to wake your self up from this so you dont suffer that panic feelings. When you start feeling paralyzed, try wiggling you fingers and if you can do that then you should stop, try to relax as much as possible and then wiggle your fingers again but at the same time try pushing yourself from the laying position as hard as possible and while doing that wiggle try wiggling you body and opening your eyes all at the same time. If it doesnt work the first time, then just relax and try it again. if you wake up try moving around for at least five minutes.( if you wake up from hypnagogia state then just try to sleep it off, you will fall right back in to the same situation) The shadows you see are just part of the halucinations that come with hypnagogia, its nothing too worry about. My strategy has been working for me for the past year and its great. once you start getting used to this you should try playing around with it. its kind of like a natural trippy high and its fun to mess with. Please reply to me if anyone gets a chance to read and attempt my strategy.

bamboo_A's picture

Resolving an accidental mess

I'm female and my hypnagogic experience started at age 34 lasting to present (age 51).

I got a book one day on how to become psychic - it said to 'open to it'. I didn't know what that meant so I made a goal to 'put my focus inward 24/7'. My thinking was, "When a person gets messages, they appear in the thought stream, so if I'm focusing inward all the time I can't miss them should they occur".

Unfortunately within a few months I got 'messages'. I say "unfortunately' because after I got really good at keeping my focus inward all day long, I got what looked like psychosis. I had this continually for nearly 2 years and then incorrectly concluded I had 'sleep deprivation symptoms'. What I didn't realize was that to get psychosis from sleep deprivation it doesn't take 9 whole years to build up a sleep debt!

To make a long story short, I finally realized my goal to 'focus inward' made me accidentally start seeing my what I imagined show up in my hypnagogia. In other words, I became an 'accidental hypnagogist'. For anyone whose never heard of this, 'hypnagogist' or 'someone who induces hypnagogic content', here's a link out of many out there which explains what it is and how to do it :

There are other pages that talk about how to induce this on the internet besides the one I just gave.

Unfortunately I became very very good at getting self-induced hypnagogic content. Imagine what that did to someone who didn't mean to do it, didn't know that's what it was, especially when the content became spooky and violent in topic. DON'T ASK. Seriously. I was in and out of E.R.'s trying to find out what went wrong with me.

Years later, in late 2009 (it started in 1990, btw), I finally figured out what it was and now I'm stuck having to undo and very nasty habit I accidentally started in 1990, which is hypnagogia I don't even want nor am interested in. This is why I first came to this site - to try to figure out the best way to rid this awful thing I gave myself.

That's my experience.

Gen's picture

Why I'm not scared

I've had hypnagogic experiences since I was about 12-13 years old. I don't get scared because I know what is happening to my body. I accept the theory that what sets off hypnagogia is that when we go into REM sleep, our brain restricts our body from moving by blocking the signals to the body that tell us to move. This is so when you are running in your dream, you are not running in bed. The theory is that hypnogogia sufferers’ brains simply do not open up that block quickly enough after waking. This is why we experience temporary paralysis.

I think that knowing this calms me down. I do usually want the feeling to stop though because I get auditory hallucination when I have these experiences. My head starts to pound, the room vibrates violently up and down so I can't focus, I feel dizzy and very weak. Then I hear voices. They're always familiar voices, usally family members but I can't tell what they're saying, they're not talking to me. I'm always home alone when that happens so I know I'm imagining them. Sometimes I hear their footsteps around the house or I hear them rummaging through drawers and cupboards. I can see clearly the room I'm in (my memory fills in that blank I think, because I know my eyes are closed and therefore, I couldn't possibly be seeing where I am). The people are never in the same room as me. I just hear them in the room next door or downstairs but I never see them.

The feeling is not so much painful as it is uncomfortable. I feel so weak when it happens. I don't even try to open my eyes anymore. I just know that I don't have the strenght to do it. For me, it usually goes away on its own after what feels like a few minutes. Or maybe a sound in the house wakes me up and I just don't realize what it is that woke me up. Either way, I'm not too sure how to stop it but it eventually does stop.

It's not a scary experience for me. But I think if I were seeing what some of you see, I'd be scared too. I would suggest to those of you that have frightening experiences to try to tell yourselves that what you're seeing and/or hearing is not real. This is what I always do. Remember that you are safe, nothing can hurt you. You probaly have a great imagination and not understanding what is happening to you is very scary. So your brain comes up with a "reason" you're seeing or hearing these things. It fills in the blanks. Your brain's explanation manifests as threatning beings in the room because you don't believe that what is happening to you is normal, therefore, something must be making all of this happen. Try to have positive thoughts, there are no malevolent beings around you. I know it's easier said than done! I just couldn't imagine being that scared everytime it happened to me. I'm really sorry that you go through this when it happens to you.

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