Fear-Induced Hallucination: How Sleep Paralysis Triggers Hallucination

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Biology 202
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Fear-Induced Hallucination: How Sleep Paralysis Triggers Hallucination

Hiro Takahashi

I researched the web to find out how hallucination starts during an episode of Sleep Paralysis. As I have written in my previous paper, a Sleep Paralysis, although often believed as an evil's work, results from some errors of the neural transmission in the brain during REM sleep (1). During a frightening state of Sleep Paralysis, one experiences total body immobility and cannot speak or move besides little eye movements and respiration (2, 3). Often, the paralysis is accompanied with visual and/or auditory hallucination (2, 3). How does Sleep Paralysis trigger hallucination? In order to answer this question, I have referred to my personal experience of seeing stars after doing handstand. According to Dr. Grobstein, as I stand on my hands, the blood rushes into my brain and causes the membrane potential of the neurons to change (4). The change triggers firing of the neurons in the brain, most likely in the visual cortex in this case, without any external stimuli, and I see the stars that do not really exist as a result (4). From this observation, I have predicted that hallucination during Sleep Paralysis also occurs due to the sudden high blood pressure in the brain and the change in the membrane potential of the neurons in the visual and/or auditory cortex. For one feels mortal fear under the state of paralysis, I also expect that the terror or panic somehow increase the blood pressure in the brain. I have built an explanation for the phenomenon based on an assumption that the extreme fright causes the change in membrane potential.

The emotion of fear is perceived in a structure called amygdala in the brain (5, 6, 7). It is a small, almond looking structure deep inside the brain and has several distinct nuclei, including, medial, lateral, basal, and central (5, 6). The lateral nucleus seems to receive input from thalamus and cortical sensory and association areas (5). Then the basolateral nucleus integrate the input as fear and send the information to the central nucleus, from which a major output transmits through projections to the hypothalamus and brainstem autonomic areas (5).

The study of brain in schizophrenia patients suggests that hallucination and amygdala have some connections. Schizophrenia is a neurobiological disorder diagnosed by a patient's inability to interpret a stimuli and select an appropriate response (i.e.: saying "good bye" instead of "thank you" when receiving a gift) (8). Other characteristics of this disorder include alterations of the senses, changes in emotions, movements and behavior, and most importantly, delusions and hallucinations (8). In one study, researchers have tested six hallucinating schizophrenics and have discovered the parts of brain activated when hallucination occurs (9). The active parts include bilateral thalamus, left hippocampus/parahippocampal gyrus, right anterior cingulate, and left orbitofrontal cortex, and they are responsible for generating mental activity and for integrating current and past cognitive/emotional experiences (9). The location of all these structures, deep inside the brain and very close to amygdala and hypothalamus (6), suggests that the active parts may have some interactions with amygdala during a hallucination state. Also, for amygdala plays important roles in emotions, especially fear, hallucination seems closely related to amygdala and terror.

The perception of fear integrated by amygdala activates "fight-or-flight" response, in which an animal respond quickly to a danger due to the function of hormone epinephrine and neurotransmitter norepinephrine (6, 10, 11, 12). Epinephrine, also called adrenaline, is primarily produced in the adrenal glands while norepinephrine, also called noradrenaline, is made in the brain and limbic system (10, 11). When the amygdala interprets fear, it stimulates the release of both epinephrine and norepinephrine into the body's system (7). The high concentration of epinephrine in the blood stream increases the heart and respiratory rates for more oxygen intake and constricts peripheral blood vessels for more blood flow into the large muscles, thereby preparing the body for fight or flight (7, 10, 11, 12). Norepinephrine, when released, mainly tenses the smooth muscles around the blood vessels, increasing the blood pressure (10, 11). The blood pressure in the brain probably increases tremendously in response to fear, too. The sudden increase in the blood pressure, then, may cause the membrane potential to change in the visual and/or auditory cortex, triggering hallucination to happen. Moreover, in the fear reaction, the pupils dilate to let more light and increase peripheral vision to observe threat (10, 12). This response may increase the chance of hallucination to happen, for a large amount of light enters the eye at one time.

In addition to epinephrine and norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter serotonin seems to play an important role in inducing the fight-or-flight response and hallucination. Like norepinephrine, serotonin affects broad range of conditions, such as depression, aggression, sleep regulation, anxiety, appetite control, temperature regulation, pituitary hormone secretion, pain reception, and blood vessel tone (13). It exists throughout the brain, but its most concentrated region lies in hypothalamus and the pineal gland (11). Hence, when the active potential carrying the information of fear reaches hypothalamus from amygdala, hypothalamus releases serotonin into the system, providing assists to epinephrine and norepinephrine to prepare the body for fight or flight. As a part of the process, serotonin causes the smooth muscles of the blood vessels to constrict. Consequently, the blood pressure rises in the brain, and the membrane potential in the optic/auditory cortex change, triggering hallucination.

The additional evidence for the "fight-or-flight" reaction's responsibility on hallucination comes from the hallucinogenic drugs. Hallucinogens, so called for their ability to induce visual/auditory hallucination, affect the hypothalamus and its regulation of hormones (14). Just like epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, they cause pupils to dilate, heart rate and breathing rate to increase, the body temperature to change, and/or the blood pressure to rise (14). Moreover, some common hallucinogens have similar structures to norepinephrine or serotonin and bind to the same receptors (14). For example, LSD looks very much like serotonin, and mescaline looks similar to norepinephrine (14). Thus, if the drugs that have very similar properties as epinephrine, norepinephrine, or serotonin can induce hallucination, the hormone or the neurotransmitters should be able to have the same effects. For the hallucinogens also stimulate the conditions produced by fight-or-flight response, the natural reaction to the fear enhanced by epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin seems possible to cause hallucination under favorable conditions.

For a summary, a victim of a Sleep Paralysis feels extreme fear for he discovers he cannot move his body although he has consciousness. Integrating the fright, amygdala triggers the fight-or-flight response by stimulating the release of epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These substances constrict the smooth muscles around the blood vessels, causing the blood pressure to rise in the brain. Consequently, the membrane potential in the visual/auditory cortex changes, triggering the firing of the neurons and hallucination to occur. The explanation above is only a hypothesis. There are more possibilities, too.

For another hypothesis, corollary discharge may trigger hallucination during sleep paralysis, as in the situation of phantom pain. In a phenomenon called phantom limb, a person who has lost an arm or leg perceives the position of the missing limb, often with a report of pain in specific parts of the limb (15). This abnormal observation can be explained in the terms of corollary discharge, or reafference. In order for a healthy person or an amputee to move a limb intentionally, a self-conscious part of brain, called I-function, sends a signal to another part of the brain that controls the movement of the limb (4). Then, the region that has just received a signal from I-function triggers the firing of neurons for the action potential to reach particular motor neurons, which then generate a movement (4). Simultaneously, the same region of the brain also sends corollary discharge signal; it transmits the information received from the I-function to many different brain parts (4, 15). As a result, the brain, or "neuromatrix" (15), knows what the limb has been ordered to do (4, 15). (The perception of the phantom limb may emerge due to the corollary discharge signals, spreading the information on the movement that limb is expected to produce (4).) In a healthy person, the neuromatrix receives a sensory input from the limb, which reports the limb's position and the muscle activity (4, 15). When I-function issues a signal to move a limb, the reafference allows the neuromatrix to expect what kind of sensory inputs it will receive even before the limb makes the required motion (4, 15). In an amputee with a phantom limb, the brain receives sensory message reporting that the limb is NOT moving at all (4, 15). In response, the neuromatrix, expecting a sensory input as the limb's motion, may send more frequent and stronger signals to urge the limb to move, and these output signals may cause the perception of cramping or phantom pain (15).

Like in phantom pain, the mismatch between the internal expectation and the sensory input may trigger hallucination in Sleep Paralysis. Unlike an amputee, a victim of Sleep Paralysis still has his limbs, but he cannot move them because of some errors in neurotransmission (1). When one wakes up and discovers himself under total body paralysis, he struggles to escape from the frightening immobile state. His I-function issues some messages urging the whole body to move, and the neuromatrix expects a certain sensory input, the action of skeletal muscle. However, with the body under the powerful control of inhibitors released during REM sleep, the neuromatrix receives a sensory input that the body is not moving, completely opposite from what it expects. As the I-function continues to send more and more signals trying to receive the expected input, somehow the frequent firing of the neurons may stimulate the release of particular substances, which eventually cause the change in membrane potential of optic and/or auditory nerves. Besides, the discrepancy caused by corollary discharge may strongly involve the stimulation of fear. As the neuromatrix keeps receiving a contradictory sensory input, it may perceive that something has gone wrong in the system. This realization may link to the arousal of fear, which then induce the pathway described earlier.

Also, as I have predicted in my previous paper, hallucinations during Sleep Paralysis may result from another error in neurotransmission, in which the brain continues to release the activators that trigger dreaming (1). During an episode of Sleep Paralysis, the nervous and endocrine systems keep releasing the inhibitors and "paralyzing" one's body even after some parts of his brain wakes up. As a result, his body continues to "sleep" even though his conscious part of brain is awake. Similarly, it may be possible for another part of the brain, which is responsible for dreaming, to stay in the state of REM sleep. Then, a person may continue to "see" the images and "hear" the noises produced in the dream that he has just had before conscious arousal.

The origin of hallucinations during Sleep Paralysis is still not clear, but many neuroscientists supports that it has some connection to anxiety (16). So far, many studies on Sleep Paralysis and hallucinations have been done on neurobiological level, but there are many aspects and questions yet to be discovered, explained, or answered. Why do some people experience hallucination and others do not? Which factors determine the hallucinatory images that each victim sees or hears? Are they really hallucination or evil spirits? The hallucination during Sleep Paralysis remains mysterious.

.

WWW Sources

1)Sleep Paralysis: Awake But Still Asleep, my previous paper on Sleep Paralysis

2)The Evil's of Sleep Paralysis

3)The Body During Sleep

4)Dr. Paul Grobstein, Eleanor A. Bliss Professor of Biology, Bryn Mawr College, on-line profile of Dr. Grobstein

5)Introduction to the Amygdala, a literary research

6)The Emotional Brain, by Mary Lynn Hendrix, National Institute of Mental Health

7)LeDoux Outlines His Theory of Emotions and Memory, by Beth Azar, American Psychological Association

8)Schizophrenia Facts, by Treatment Advocacy Center

9)Study Links Hallucinations to Specific Brain Abnormalities, by Tori DeAngelis, American Psychological Association

10)Adrenalin and Amphetamine

11)The Neurologic System, by J. F. Ripka and F. T. Ripka, BioSyn site

12)The Anxiety Panic Internet Resource, by tAPir

13)Unlocking the Secrets of Serotonin, by Thrive On Line

14)Background Information about Psychedelic Drugs, a literary research

15)Phantom Limbs, by Ronald Melzack, Scientific American

16)Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis, by Jean-Christophe Terrillon and Sirley Marques-Bonham

 

 

Continuing conversation
(to contribute your own observations/thoughts, post a comment below)

10/05/2005, from a Reader on the Web

My sleep paralysis experiece leads me to think: 1) i am in deep REM sleep with a "nightmare" occuring, 2) the nightmare has auditory and/or visual content, 3) the amigdala is reponding to this experience, 4) a "resonance" occurs wherein the REM contents trigger the amydala which in turn increases the nightmare contents by mapping fear content/affect onto the nightmare structures. 5) when the amplitutde of passing information increases beyond some level the whole phenomenon without collapsing awakens the consciousness to take neccesary action; the rest of the brain is REM paralized, 6) since the collaspe has not occured, the consciousness is aware of the nightmare contents and thus the sensation of hallucination. (W/o ordinary consciousness such "hallucinations" woule be called "dream stuff" in sleep); my dextromethorphan experience is in keeping with this. 7) At this stage the consciousness can (through will power) awaken the entire nervous system to retore near normality. 8) Here I find that trying to go back to sleep causes the cataplectic like structure to be paroxysmally restored/manifest. I need to awaken sufficiently(wash my face etc.,) to really destroy this structure enough to continue with normal sleep. Regards, nk

Additional comments made prior to 2007
I was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 1996 and had surgery to correct it, i would suffer cases of sleep paralysis generally once a week at least usually correlating with a prolonged episode of apnea, where my breathing would stop for one minute or longer. In the dream i was doing whatever i was in the dream and then something would happen such as walls becoming liquid or myslef floating or moving extremely fast, then the paralysis would set in, i knew i was asleep and dreaming but had full conscious during the dream in an extreme state of fear. I would close my eyes and concentrate hard to make my mind calm my body while attempting to steady my breathing, i would then focus my "thoughts" in an attempt to jerk my head or arm in order to wake from my dream. Since the surgery to correct the apnea i have rarely experienced the dreams maybe a number close to 15 in the last 10 years, but the reason i write this is i have a few family memebers with apnea and watched a special about it where all patients experienced a similar event be it paralysis or death ... Bill Richards, 25 June 2006

 

I read that paper on sleep paralysis you wrote while researching for myself. It sounds exactly like me, it was almost as if i was reading a journal i had writtin myself. I have experianced this multiple times before, at first i thought it was because i was sleeping on a water bed but it happened again even on a normal bed.

Well here is the start of it, the most recent attack i had:

I went to bed around 10:00PM and for some reason i was awakened at about 2:00AM. There were no sounds, no music, it was perfectly calm. So i was surprised i was even awake. Never the less it felt like i was totally refreshed so i stayed up watching show tunes for 2 additional hours then i decided i was able to sleep again. This is where everything heads south, I'm laying in bed and just as my eyes are about to close all a sudden i get this weird feeling and my eyes refuse to shut. Then as i was about to adjust myself to a different position i found i could not. My arms felt like they weighed a ton, i could lift them but only half an inch i think it was. It felt like they just moved but i couldn't even move my head to look down at myself, or let alone move my eye balls. I was stuck looking strait ahead. So at this point im totally paralyzed in bed. I feel my heart start to race because i swear to all hells this was real. I felt something under my legs inside my bed pushing the foot side of my bed up. I couldn't see it, i was still stuck looking in one direction but i swear that something was pushing through my bed. I was struck with fear so bad. Then moments later after counting to 10 in my head over and over again i was finally able to move. I rushed and turned the lamp on and jumped out of my bed as if it were possessed. i do not know what happened to me, only it wasn't the first time. It ALWAYS happens the exact same way at the exact same time's, just before i fall asleep all the way. Each time after it happens, I'm unable to return to sleep at all. I was up for the remainder of the morning sitting at my desk with my head on my desk just watching TV that way. if you have ANY suggestions on how i can help myself i would be most greatful. Thank you again for that research paper though, it sure gave me a lot of insight on whats going on with me ... Joshua Valenzuela, 12 September 2006

 

 

i just wanted to say that i read the majority of your paper about sleep paralysis and it has helped me alot in understanding what has been happening to me lately. im currently 21 yrs old and it has been going on every probably the last 6 months. i'd say it has happened during this period maybe 5-6 times or so. what i wanted to throw in there is during the paralysis state, it is quite frightening and i do beleive that there is a release of some of the hormones you mentioned. my experiences include simply waking up unable to move, with barely controllable rolling of my eyes due to tiredness, and a desire to snap out. i usually am hallucinating while im trying to snap out of it and sometimes i hear voices. i beleive my mind is just imaging these though as if i were still in a dream, cause most of the stuff i see or hear is stuff that i've experieneced, seen, or known. Im quite aware of whats happening though cause occassionally i want to not try and snap out of it and see what happens. When i do this, i get a very strong rushing sensation as if im getting lifted up in the air or my body going completely numb. It feels great though but its scary so i always eventually break out and fight back. This portion of feeling numb or being lifted i feel is related to the increased release of feel good hormones like dopamine or epinephrine.. those you stated in your paper. So i do feel like your right on what may be happening. do you think if i don't fight back and it releases too much i could be physically hurt from this? is it dangerous to not fight back and should i experiment on what happens? it is in my own curiousity to know but i don't want to damage myself trying. well, those were questions i couldn't seem to find answers for. so if you wouldn't mind responding back to me, i'd like to have a answer from a specialist ... Ravi, 13 November 2007

 

 

I have suffered from sleep paralysis since I was five years old. I deeply disagree with a few of the theories I have. For years I had the sleep paralysis accompanied by terrifying visions; like someone was in the room with me and beating me severely. I have found that it only happens when I'm overtired. I have to get up and turn on the light when it's over, or it will happen again. I have (details too long for email) ways to cope with this. I still have them but they are no longer accompanied by someone harming me. The reason for my recent research is that my 20 year old daugther is suffering from them, with the vilans present. I would love to find a way to help her so that she does not have to go through what I've been through. FYI For over 30 years I thought this didn't happen to anyone but me ... Maureen Mullins, 19 November 2007

Comments

Serendip Visitor's picture

The first hypothesis

If your blood vessels are constricting and expanding and your heart rate is increasing wouldn't all of that stuff wake your body up? I've read that simply changing your breathing rate and consistently twitching your fingers and toes alerts the body that the brain is awake. The first hypothesis seems to make it sound like someone having a horrible hallucination would be freed from paralysis.

ISP Fellow's picture

Negative Thoughts

I believe the more we think about evil, ghosts, demons, etc., we are more likely to hallucinate these things when we experience SP. It just happened to me last night; I was thinking about ghosts and demons after watching horror movies.

It sounds like the best thing we can do is avoid negative, fearful thoughts, control our levels of stress ( as best we can ), and maintain a healthy sleep cycle.

When we do wake up and realize we are experiencing SP, we should try not to panic! Remind yourself of the science behind your situation. Your brain is going to perceive all incoming senses with bias that there is something threatening your life -- there IS NOT a threat.
Natural human fear leads us to believe we are vulnerable in our sleep ( especially in a paralyzed state ) and, therefore, we assume there is a threat and our hallucinations make it appear.

If we remind ourselves that our hallucinations are derived of our own fear, then we may be able dispel those hallucinations.
If our mind is powerful enough to produce these effects, then through our awareness we should be able to prevent them.

Alex's picture

Quercetin

Have you ever tried Quercetin? It's a mao inhibitor (meaning neurotransmitters in general increase in the brain) but at the same time its an alpha(2) receptor antagonist, which means that with time it lowers ephinephrine and norephinephrine in the brain. Less (nor)ephineprine means less stress from a stressful event (within reason), and with less stress maybe the chance to trigger a hallucination becomes less. While mao would increase the feel good neurotransmitters.

Just wild speculation though.

Serendip Visitor's picture

sleep paralysis haullcinations

Been dealing with this for years....sleep paralysis hallucination happens when I first lie down to sleep or when I am first slipping into sleep. I have learned the signs and if I get up when the first signs appear I can usually shake it off. But for those nights I can't really suck. I will think I am actually getting up but am not. Very confusing, very scary. Tonight is one of those nights and at this point I am not wanting to go back to bed. The thing is I know that this is just a sleep disorder, but remming and being awake and paralyzed at the same time.....never good...always terror. I have great empathy for everyone who deals with this type of sleep disorder!

Vixyto's picture

SP and Hallucinations

I've been researching SP and halluncinations today as I had a strange experience last night, left me restless and jumpy today. I went to bed early last night (following a day of hangover lol) and I stayed up reading til approx. 21.30. I then lay watching a film in bed and tried to get to sleep. A couple of minutes maybe passed, and I heard footsteps running down the hall and into my bedroom- not a problem, I thought it was my daughter waking and coming to my room, as she does often. I opened my eyes to see just the lower body and legs of what I believed to be a young girl, so close to my face, standing at the edge of my bed. I still thought it was my daughter and wandered why she was just standing there looking at me so I tried to talk to her but no words would come out. This is my first indication that something was wrong and I say this simply because it can't have been my fear that made me hallucinate this figure, i saw it before I knew anything was wrong. So now I'm trying to look up at this girl and I can't control my eyes, they won't look up, I really need to fight to keep them open but they keep shutting anyway. In between my eyes shutting and openeing the figure is changing position. She's up against the bed, then she's up against the telly and she's facing away from me and even when she IS facing me, I can't see her face. Its like I know I shouldn't, more than I couldn't. I can feel my heart going super slow now and I fear its going to stop, I cannot move one single muscle, it's like I've turned to led, so I have to shut my eyes and really fight with myself, mustering the strength to move or shout or fight this thing standing in my room, so I do, it takes all my energy and manage to groan, a roar, like I'm fighting for my life, then I can sit up. My room's empty. I look at the clock, its before 22.00 so I can't have been asleep or asleep for very long. It wasn't triggered by fear. I didn't sleep well all night, felt restless and uneasy and today I just don't feel right. Is it lack of sleep? Did it drain my energy? Is this normal?! To those who DO believe this is super-natural, I won't disagree- I've seen some strange things before but never did it radiate evil like this thing, and to those who believe in the scientific aspect, it DID seem like I was continuing a nightmare, but I was definetley awake, and I don't think I ever was asleep, and I don't recall dreaming this properly before, thus how can I continue this dream? Odd. The figure was wearing a white nighty, had long dark hair. This appears to be a regular hallucination. Any tips on how to combat this? I'm scared to sleep tonight lol. Thanks, Vicky x

charlene's picture

i find it hard to put an

i find it hard to put an answer to because all of the explanations are believeable :o/
another dimention, dreaming, something evil, spirits... i dont know but i had this for so long every single night, what made it go away was me standing up to it and telling it, shouting at it to leave me alone and i prayed and called on anything good to save me from the torment it just had to stop.

' Its like I know I shouldn't, more than I couldn't ' this comment i agree with. its a black fuzz. i knew what she was n what she looked just it was kinda like i'd forgotten details.

im thinking fear doesnt start this, maybe worn out drained mentally maybe physically.. but i wondered if fear continues the whole ordeal more.. you did say you was scared to sleep tonight... maybe its a vicious circle.. or maybe it was for me anyways.
hope you have a peaceful nights sleep :o) x

Jackson's picture

Omg, im so glad im not the

Omg, im so glad im not the only one with this problem. Im perfectly fine when im awke but when im sleeping its like im still awake. I imagine things that arent really happening but it feels so real. My body shakes terribly and my vision gets blury like im on drugs or something. Ive always had trouble sleeping but I think the hallucinations during sleep was triggered by a bad experience I had with fake cannibus. Its been about three weeks so I learned to deal with it. The only scary part is that when im dreaming I dont realize im dreaming because I dont remember falling asleep. Just say your prayers each morning and night. God will heal us. And keep in mind that although this is very disturbing, others out there have deadly diseases and health risks tht are deadly also. Keep praying( :

Serendip Visitor's picture

I agree with all of you i've

I agree with all of you i've had my fair shares of sleep paralysis hallucinations with many of the effects such as unable to move, hard to breathe, pressure on my chest, and visual hallucinations such as a grudge like figure touching me, however i agree with the fear part shaping what appears because during that night i was thinking negative thoughts in my head about spirits

Sharon Lawson's picture

I get walked on!

First of all, I'm pleased to have found this helpful site! My experience is somewhat different. I turn off my lamp, lie on my side and enjoy my relaxing music at nights. But then I was very aware of something brush my ear. I frowned and THEN felt something 'land' on me (chicken-like weight) and move up towards my shoulder! I turned the lamp back on and said 'Go away!'. Why? I've had it before where it landed on my lower back. Moved upwards and onto my pillow! I heard and felt the pillow depress. I waited in fascination and fear and to my shock, 'it' licked my face. Cat-like tongue. I sprung up to see what it was but could see nothing. I've had this occur several times now. So has my dad. And BOTH my parents were lay reading and felt it on the bed. They just kicked it off, though it was unseen. How on earth is this explained? A multi-experience by 3 people and I'm now having it in my home as well. It's not accompanied by sleep paralysis that I notice. Afterwards, I have sick nightmares, even sexual with a demon. Please help/advise!

pochp's picture

rem sleep

I don't wake up paralyzed anymore. I always just wake up from REM sleep shivering with cold. Why is that?

Serendip Visitor's picture

Hallucinations Theory

I am 24,and I experience pretty much what everyone else is experiencing.But my question is,why I'm I seeing demonic apiritions,or feeling extreme fear.Why cant I see an angel or something divine,heavenly or anything of that nature.I need answers.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Call on the name of Jesus

Call on the name of Jesus when these situations occur! you will find that these demonic figures are un-imaginably scared of His name! Trust me i know from my own experiences with sleep paralysis. Even the mention of Jesus name will send them away, since they know and understand who has authority!

Serendip Visitor's picture

reply

You're looking for heavenly figures as opposed to "demonic" ones when this has nothing to do with religion. If you didn't skim-read the article, you'd notice that it clearly states that the fear is induced by your paralysis. It is one of mankind's most natural fears, along with the fear of darkness (or unknown). This is why you see shadowy figures instead of holy ones (it is also usually dark during hallucinations, which is another reason why you see "shadowy" figures). Just keep in mind that it is all in your head, and based off of your natural fears, and has nothing to do with demons or spirits.

Joy's picture

Hallucinations after coming out of sp

Hi all. So shocked to see how many people this condition affects. I've suffered since I was a little girl, my teen years were especially tortured. My mother was a strong believer in the occult so no scientific explaination was considered, so I beleived for many years that I was battling against some evil being. I remember being so terrified once, that I had an asthma attack, I thought I was going to die in my 'sleep' (I wonder if that has actually happened to anyone?). Like many of you, I learned to manage the episodes and have found that they occur more often when sleep deprived or stressed, but for the last 4 years or so a new symptom has emerged (excuse spelling sleep deprived ha ha). I am starting to hallucinate directly after waking from a sleep paralysis episode. Usually I jump out of sp, out of breath, eyes wide open and then I will see spiders scuttering along my wall. I know theyre not real by the way they walk, but I will say that my brain is getting better at copying the real thing, theyre improving over time. Some of you will see this and think I'm still in sp but sometimes I experience sp, think I'm out but it is still continuing, it fools me for a while but when i awake there is difference, I hope this makes sense. Anyway, going back to the spider hallucinations, I have also seen a person standing over me when I awoke, I called out (that's how I know I was awake, my husband heard me) the figure shrank back away from the bed and disapeared. I'm worried about how this is progressing but I don't know whether a doctor can help, has anyone tried any treatments for this. It's great to read and share experiences but how about a cure? What research is being done into this disorder?

Serendip Visitor's picture

The resolution to your experience!

Hey Joy!

Call on the name of Jesus and see what happens! I promise and guarantee this will all end!

Serendip Visitor's picture

Tigers for me

I never saw spiders, but I saw tentacles and tigers and weird spinning lotus like out of a buddhist scroll. Clearly, in the darkness. I appreciate the attempts to understand this scientifically but I think anyone who has experienced this will tell you that science has not found the answer yet because it's looking at the wrong question.

Why do 90% of sleep paralysis sufferers claim to see a person constricting them? This isn't something we're told about. It's something we all experience individually. The phantom being is not an amorphous shadow, it's usually seen in detail. An old lady. A man with a beard. Why? I have not done in depth research into this, and it may stretch back to long abandoned genetic programming, but let's answer this question.

Ebz's picture

SP

First please mind any spelling errors it is like 4 in the morning lol. GUYS i have had SP since i was about 13 and i am 18 now. At first i just got the usual SP which would be just being unable to move or talk but just shift your eyes in certain directions. This was terrifying at first but got more pleasent as i learn how to get out of it. I had my first hallucination at age around 16. This was the most terrifying ordeal for me i nearly had a heart attack and woke up to find my heart beating so fast and shivers running down my spine. Also it didnt help that as the hallucinations were taking place i couldnt move or speak, After a while they became more bearable. It was only recently that i started levitating loooooool sorry but i never take myself seriously when i say that. First i levitated towards my mirror only, this was about 5 months ago. I literally woke up thinking wtf how can i levitate and not move at the same time. This happened a couple of times then about a week ago i had a SP that involved everthing, hallucination, levitation and not being able to move or speak. I tried everything from wiggling my toe to trying to bite my lip to get out of it but nothing worked and it was pretty scary. It kept on happening for the next 3 days and for some reason i started taking deep breaths as i woke up. TIME for the good part, i learned that in order to overcome it just go along with it the last 3 SP i have had i actually enjoyed i remember while i levitaded i actually said wwhoooo looooooooooool when i saw the hallucination i started laughing and when i cant move i just lay still and relax it is actually quite peacful. I HOPE THIS HELPS, JUST LEARN TO GO ALONG WITH IT

Charlene 's picture

i agree with you 100% i

i agree with you 100%
i learnt how to lucid dream with all of these things that happen :o) i have nice dreams full of anythin i choose.

femalemc's picture

my sleep paralysis-- and what I believe!

This has happened to me since I was 16 , I believe that its aliens/demons and they are the same . I say this because I've seen demons I've heard demons, I've been floating and all of that before too, but I've noticed when I see demons I was NOT SLEEPING you can't tell me I was sleeping because I know I was awake, almosst as if I was awakened in my room.. But in a whole different realm... I say jesus!! I rebuke you demon in jesus name! And I'm let go instantly! GOD IS REAL we ARE living in a world controlled by spirits. Now like I said, I remember being awake when I saw the demons, they awoke me, but other times I had weird dreams it feels like I'm levitating and sumthings taking me sumwhere, then I open my eyes n see all black and stars, I'm in space. I am horrified because the adrenaline is intense as if ur on a roller coaster then ur back in your bed. People abducted would tell you that aliens wipe/supress your memory... So in the end it won't leave unless you pray to Jesus! He is LORD trust Him, and me and try it. I'm 23 today, I'm a female I actually just had a dream n heard buzzing.. Never heard that 1 before! I've seen my granny I've seen reptilian demons I've seen it all! Another thing is FEAR it is a door for the demons. Its all in your head also but being fearful gives the enemy full control. When I'm scared n say Jesus it takes a while to go but when I do it with faith and authority it flees!! I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. SP my ass! Don't believe that bullshit , are you human or not? Be real! This is life. I believe we are gifted which is why we sense spirits and God only allows it to show you He is real and in control then again we can use the gift for our/ And others own good but we don't realise it because we are so fearful after the devil scares you using YOUR gift because y wouldn't he? Look at you right now... Your chosen. I hope this helped someone today.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I have serious sleeping

I have serious sleeping issues too, related to sleep paralysis. I see demons and aliens to while sleeping but differently to you i don't think they are real. Before when these troubles started i did believed it was truth but now i don't think that anymore, since sleep paralysis have become a common thing for me so most of the times i automatically detected as sleep paralysis transforming this in a lucid dream --> i take control over my hallucinations and they may become possitive for me. Aliens and demons are just the result of an effort of the brain to personify fears, making this picture "a nightmare". Freud described nightmares as desires that are not tolerated by the brain. People as me and you having sleep paralysis take nightmares to the next level, it doesn't mean it is something more than that, just a nightmare.

Chili Flip's picture

I've had sleep paralysis most

I've had sleep paralysis most of my life. When I was younger and would wake up scared and struggle they were more unpleasant and had accompanying hallucinations. The more I've come to expect them, the more relaxed I can be. If I can wake up in sleep paralysis completely relaxed, it will be far less unpleasant and dreamlike (sometimes I will feel as if I'm fully conscious and cognitive if I'm very relaxed) sometimes being even a little pleasant with the exception of the inability to feel some parts of my body which is always a little uncomfortable. I can usually start with a toe wiggle and work up my leg until I can wake myself up. A small hit of marijuana before bed will keep me from having any symptoms most of the time. It is a great treatment for the symptoms for me (thank you California). It happens more when I'm overtired, more when I have sleep apnea (which is not always), more if I drink alcohol, and more if I'm hot or overfull. I've had what people are describing as astral projection experiences as well. They feel very different to me. I do not claim, though, that they are real or imagined. I don't know really. They feel similar in some ways... but honestly different than sleep paralysis. To me sleep paralysis is more like the edge of sleep feeling...almost like a deep meditative trance. I could do without either one, honestly, as all they do is interfere with my sleep. I do not find them interesting, exciting, nor do I care about the hippie new age blah blah. I just want a good nights rest.

emma's picture

hey everyone, i too have had

hey everyone, i too have had these experience's and could never explaine why they were happing to me. My first experience was when i was 13, i remember just, wakeing up and feeling paralized and i felt as though something evil was in the room... It was terrifying. I'm now 26 and over the years i have had so much more of the same experiences. i'v talked to doctor's and they have all put it down to stress as i have lost a mother, nan and grandfather in a matter of two years. As i do have alot of stress in my life im still not sure if that would cause whats been happening... i'll explain what happens when i have these things happen to me... Firstly i can allways feel myself go into these sleeps, it happens so much now that my partner wakes me while im in it. (i will over breath or make a weired noise in my throut to alert him) i had one this morning and he wasnt there to help, i usually hear loud noises or sometimes such loud music it feels like a set of speekers turned up full blast next to my ears or a really loud buzzing noise! And usually i feel like someone is pushing me into the bed. Today i felt like i was being draged of the bed. I'v seen a dark figure with no face wearing a dark cloak leaning over me. everytime i feel myself go into it, it's so scary i instantly try to move a fingure or a part of my body but can't, and usually when i fully awaken i will go straight back into it and fight the feeling so much i wake up sore and very weak. there's been times when i'm in this state and i'm fully aware what's going on around me and i'm also aware of my surroundings, because most times i have my eyes open...and also there has been times that no=one is in the house to help and that's when it's most scary. At least now i know i'm not the only one who has encounted such weired, scary and unexplaind encounters while sleeping.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Not trying to be funny

Hey you all, I too have experienced pretty much all of the things everyone has posted here. I am glad I stumbled upon this site. Maybe we should get straight with our makers. Meaning, for me I believe in God and I am not trying to offend anyone here, believe in whoever you want to, but if that thing is trying to smother or choke us in our sleep, then I would want to be right with my maker as much as i possibly am able to. I know to live a life without doing any sin was only possible for Jesus, but I really don't like being tormented in my dreams from someone or something that is trying to take me out. Reading all of your comments was reassuring for me that I am not alone with my SP epsisodes. I hope somebody can tell us some definate facts about what this is and the article i'm was good too scientifically. To me, God is science. It's just for man to figure it all out. And once we figure it all out, there maybe more reasons behind it. That's science right? Hope everyone get a good nights' rest tonight.

dot humps's picture

Having experienced sleep

Having experienced sleep paralysis many times over my 35 years I can say without a doubt that sleep paralysis and dreaming have NO correlation whatsoever. The author of this article has clearly never experienced SP and saying that it is a continuation of a dream is ridiculous. This is beyond the reach of our current scientific paradigm. I don't have an answer for what it is, I guess that's why I'm here on this site, I'm looking for answers. Science has given me none. In fact, reading scientific studies on this subject makes me laugh as they have no idea what they're talking about! Sorry for the rant, it's good to explore all angles and I don't mean to hate on science, but there are other ways of looking at the world that are not reductionist and/or secular materialist.

Serendip Visitor's picture

TBH

its just we have a messed up sleep - though i had scary epi last night this been happening to me for years kinda getting used to it now

Serendip Visitor's picture

is it true of it being sleep paralysis or just astral projection

sleep paralysis symptons include vibrations,buzing and roaring sounds, being able to not move, and you can't breath. it just may be a sleep paralysis but its also something else. its astral projection. i use to have this same feeling but i also knew i was alive and there but i couldnt move. then i got another feeling, the feeling of floating. but i was floating ontop of my body, and those hallucinations reallly arnt hallucinations but in fact the 4th dimension and more. astral projection is wonderful something thats not describable. you can fly, create, and travel.i am just a begineer but im hoping to learn more, there is stuff out there, stuff that is unbelievable and true,but all you have to do is believe......

s.utley's picture

sleep paralysis?

I suffered from sleep paralysis during a short period of my life as a young lady. Over the years and through reading about others experiences i have found that those who have the paralysis and have hallucination, the hallucinations are the same. I would like to know if the so called dreams are in fact hallucinations, tell why the hallucination are so universal in their descriptions. everyone tells of a demon type short spirit that either sits on their back or smothers them. also i found in my suffering sleeping with the lights on keeps the whole experience from happening. I studied the light theory myself and found it to be quite accurate. If you sleep with the light on, the sleep paralysis and hallucinations will not happen.

Serendip Visitor's picture

reply to your comment

OMG! I have just finally to comment once I read yours. In my sleep paralysis I have experienced just about everything that everyone has written about... the paralysis, the paralysis while i'm dreaming, astral projecting with of course not control of the way i am moving or going but always in my bedroom, a force constantly throwing me out of the bed, the sleep but fully awake and sensing someone walking through my home and into my room. It used to stand behind me (I could sense its presence) or sit on the bed, but then it started getting the the bed with me. I could feel the seemingly coolness of the covers being lifted off of my legs. And all of this seems so REAL! And very SCARY!! Maybe twice some years ago I experienced the short person on my back trying to choke me with what seemed to be a old telephone cord (the one that stretches out). This is very frustrating, and I too have been looking for answers to explain what is going on. I know I am not crazy and I see I am not the onlly one that has had these kind of dreams. I don't like them, especially the ones when it seems like someone or something is trying to come up on me while I am laying there paralyzed. There's even a comment on here where the guy said he felt like one side of his bed was coming up. Well my latest episode was that I felt a force press me down into my bed, I could feel the covers being pressed softly around my legs as if the covers were imprinting my legs. And just like others on here, it seems to always happen a the same time when it occurs. And when it starts to happen, I am sleep, but I am fully aware of what is going on... I just cannot move. I usually start praying and calling on God and Jesus, then I've got to trust in God and just let go and relax. Then I wake right up. Thanks everyone for your posts. This really helps me to realize I'm not the only one on earth experiencing this.

Science isn't all there is's picture

Than explain to me why whilst

Than explain to me why whilst I was experiencing one of my "sleep paralyses" episodes, a juice bottle I had placed next to my bed on the floor went flying across the room as if someone came along and kicked it? Meanwhile I was the only one in the room?? Science thinks it has an answer to everything. I do not believe for a second that there is a scientific explanation for the things that happen here. There is good and evil in this world as well as there is good spirits and evil spirits. I only experienced these things when I took a turn down the wrong path in my life and now I'm back on the straight and narrow they havn't happened since and that was four years ago.

Serendip Visitor's picture

nope

Sleep Paralysis definately has a scientific explanation! I knew this and remembered it when I had my hallucination. Your body does need to stop and repair itself every night.
I have woken up in sleep paralysis a few times. Last night I had my first hallucination, that I can remember, but it was also related to a fear that I had before falling asleep. I had heard some unexplained bell ringing in my apartment, which stopped once we put my boyfriend's computer on mute. I still don't know what happened. I know God exists. I believe that. But there is no evidence for it other than that which we can know in our hearts. The hallucination that I had definately looked real and did not seem like your usual dream as everything that was in the hallucination was accurate to life outside of the three monster lookin things that were standing together looking at me. There are no matching mythological stories that match my hallucination, which is why I think I made it up in my head via dream mixed with consciousness. Anyway, I was a little bit afraid, since I couldn't move. I tried to wave but my arm wouldn't go more than a tinny bit off the bed. The reddish one walked closer to me. But it was like the way a father would come to say goon night, slowly approaching leaned a bit, not like an attack. I could move my head so I shook my head like a wave which looked like no. He/it stepped back with the others. Then I shook my head like a yes, hello nod to the middle shorter one and tried to mouth hi to the tallest one on the right, as I found I could move my mouth, it felt like I was moving my mouth with a gasp of "hi". I fell back asleep and when I woke up moments later they were gone and I studied the room. Everything was accurate minus the beings or whatever they were. It could have seemed real because I was looking at my room while dreaming, so the stimuli could have gotten crossed. I don't believe in ghosts and I am a firm believer in "the only thing to fear is fear itself." In this case that becomes even more true because, as the article explained, it could have been the axiety from earlier that I had when trying to fall asleep could have caused the hallucination. I think I saw three people because I had thought that a loved one was trying to reach me, and I have only three grandparents that have died, so only three people could have been trying to reach me. It is strange. I am still considering moving out, but I would say you should take some comfort from the science of sleep. They know what they are doing.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Phony.....

I'm sorry, but I'm only 13, and I agree that this sounds reasonable, but if we truly had hallucinations wouldn't the results vary? Why aren't some of the hallucinations good? How come they all consist of a "evil" presence and pressure on the chest? Isn't this suposed to be a mental thing where they only physical part is that your paralyzed? I overheard my mother telling our family about her only experience like this and that's how I knew to call on Jesus when this happened. Here's my story:

I had some things going on in my life and the pastor was praying over me one day and he told me that the spirit of depression was trying to attach itself to me. Now keep in mind that I never told my parents what he said, but I got in trouble and my parents also "knew" it was a spirit and my father was also battling this spirit (I believe you mentioned genetics in the article). This happened recently and we were suposed to go to my grandparents house with the rest of the family for thanksgiving. The day before we left I woke up and couldnt move.This was the first time something like that had happened to me and I was scared. Also, like many others, I somehow knew I wasn't alone. I felt vunerable in an indecent way (I've had unpleasant sexual acts preformed on me before by a man). Over the weekend while staying at my grandparents house, This happened over and over, each time though I called on the name Jesus and it immediatly went away.

These things made me research it and this is what I found. As I stated earlier, these things sound reasonable at first (they really do. I wasnt to be a neuroscientist and I know this stuff,) but as you look closely at the details it makes less sense because it doesn't add up with common sense (reffer to questions above.) I'm sorry, but I think that some things can't be explained by science.

charlene's picture

sleep paralysis

i find it very interesting reading all these reply's.
i too have questioned is this the dark side trying to get me an only the other day i said to a friend how can 2 people on opposite sides of the world, not knowing anythin about sleep paralysis an the hallucinations or any of the things that happen in general, but we all dream of the same things the presence of some evil thing lurking towards us. getting on top of you. an you actually feel it!
i suffer from narcolepsy as well as this the doctor said it related to that but i know you can have the sleep paralysis/hallucinations without it.
im thinkin the minds a weird an wonderful place with lots of tiny parts we dont know about, recording sounds an copying images constantly.
i did find my dreams are worse when im anxious. ive had so many hallucinations while trying to sleep some good, some strange, some bad an some that bad i wouldnt go to bed an would sit eyes peeled till i nodded off. but then the visious circle of seeing or hearing somethin bad, then being scared of bed time or of sleep makes it all a whole lot worse.
on bad dreams when i get that feeling its not somethin nice i dont even look anymore an try my hardest to wake myself up while shouting for it to go away an leave me alone... the whirring noise when i do this to the 'baddy' ones is immence, when its good i continue the dream till i must go asleep properly then i wake as normal.
i could sit here talking all day about it sometimes i dont know where to start so sorry if its a bit jumbled.

C. Rossi's picture

Previously suffered from sleep paralysis

Hi. Interesting article. I have suffered from sleep paralysis in previous years. When I was sick and bed-ridden or experiencing unusual levels of stress in my life was when I had hallucinogenic sleep paralysis most.

When I first started having the paralysis, it was horrific. Most of my visual/audible hallucinations were of demons, ghosts, violence, etc. I would feel the aura of hate, evil, whatever you might call it. Needless to say I was very frightened. However as I began to understand that it was simply my body awakening in a dream state, and that logically I was seeing frightening hallucinations given that I was experiencing a heightened sense of fear, I eventually learned to awaken myself form the paralysis.

Now, I rarely ever get hallucinogenic sleep paralysis, and when I do, it is short lived and not particularly frightening.

The simplest way to avoid HSP? Sleep on your side! It works 9/10 times. When I do get HSP despite this counter-measure, I am now always aware of it. It is easy to recognize considering the paralysis and unusual sounds/sights associated with it. I just remember that I'm having it and I tell myself over and over again that it's all just me still dreaming. I close my eyes and repeat those words in my head as loud as I can think them, I only focus on those words, this helps to distract my mind from the otherwise horrific sights/sounds that are also being generated by my overactive imagination. By closing my eyes and repeating these words I either force my mind back into sleep or I am able to awaken, usually within less than a minute (a far cry from the sometimes 10-20 minutes of frightening hallucinations).

I hope this helps anyone suffering from HSP.

Serendip Visitor's picture

It isn't true that fear

It isn't true that fear causes the hallucinations. Rather, it merely prompts them to be unpleasant. When the person lets go of the fear, the hallucinations are still there, but they are wonderful ones. Rather than fighting the immobility and trying to move the body or awaken fully, if you go with the experience and let the vibrations and sounds increase, you will have what feels like an out of body experience or lucid dream. I don't think that science or medicine knows enough about this state of mind, but I wouldn't doubt if the dreamer who takes the experience all the way is using parts of the brain that do not typically become active. I have been having 'sleep paralysis,' or these interesting episodes on and off for 16 years, and would never dream of telling a doctor about them because they wouldn't understand. The vibrations, by the way, get faster if you let them happen, and they make you feel lighter and freer, more separate from your body. Sleep paralysis can be self-induced and controlled, but not everyone seems capable of doing that.

Sarah's picture

Intense hallucination

I get sleep paralysis quite a bit, on several occasions, & i'm starting to wonder if it's stress related since I do have a lot going on in my life. This morning I 'woke up' & couldn't move. I'm used to it, typically I just wait until I can move again & my body wakes up, but then I started seeing things. I saw a man in robe waving his hands over me, standing at the end of the bed. He kept appearing & disappearing. The room started turning red, & tilting, spinning on occasion as well. Then a red headed girl with an evil smirk appeared on the side of the bed, leaning over & touching me, & I could feel it! Like some one was actually touching me, but my boyfriend was off at school. There were weird noises & voices speaking about things I couldn't make out, it was the scariest experience ever. I don't understand how it got so intense, because it was all so real, like it felt like a haunting, or some kind of entity messing with me.

charlene's picture

sleep nightmares

ive had lots of dreams that repeat themselves the main one that use to freak me out was of the girl from the exorcist. she use to start off by the door an get closer an closer really trying hard to wake before she touched me. before these dreams the film never bothered me in the slightest i watched it maybe too many times an mostly on my own. i dont think now i could see that face as in my dreams i dont see her face now an i dont want to remind myself incase the bad dreams start to happen again. while i see her with no face i can keep telling myself to make her go away. a few dreams i had involved cutting my feet open (bit strange) but i felt that pain as i would imagine it to be. an funny while i lie there still telling myself its not real... it continues. when i was about 20 i was ready to put myself in a local nut house but after me telling the doctor this things seemed to calm down. i really thought somethink was trying to get at me through my sleep. maybe i have watched too many movies i dont know but im glad im not alone on this one... that helps.
im happy ive made these hallucinations good an ive learnt to control what im dreaming. sometimes bad things pop in but i have to be strong an tell them to leave.
anyone else reading this would think what a looney but i know everyone on this page understands :o)

Christiana's picture

Help?

I have all the symptoms. This happened to me one other time and yet again last night. I need to make a drs appointment I think, I'm scared though. Is there anything they can do?

cool stuff's picture

The thing with all the lucid

The thing with all the lucid dream controling everyhing in your dream theory is that sometimes you just can't differentiate between dream world and reality.

I mean, even if you know you are half awake, and realize your still half way in a dream world, your real body is paralyzed, and you can control whatever happens in the dream world, your just scared of doing it, what if it's real ?! that's the question you have to ask yourself every time before you decide to fly, jump off a skyscraper or dodge a bullet etc.

In dream world, people are suppose to be fooled by their brain to think it's absolutely real, since you lose consciousness, sleep paralysis really is the devil that just opens the pandora's box, let half of your brain wake up,and the other half in absolute dream world.

It's annoying, because most people can't control how to snap out of it, most people have to wait until their brain snaps itself out of it. In my case, the only efficent way is to hold my breathe (amazingly, I am able to control my breath during sleep paralysis), until this life threatening event becomes so overwelmning that the brain can't simply just ignore it anymore.

Tar's picture

Last night I went to bed

Last night I went to bed around 10pm, a little later on I felt like I was wide awake, I could see a shadow infront of me with eyes coming at me, at that moment I could hear the tv in my mums room and then all of a sudden I heard a very loud high pitched screech. The shadow was getting closer but I couldnt move, I couldnt even lift my head or fingers, I was terrified. The shadow was closing in and laughting at me, the noise was getting louder and hurt my ears, I felt a tingling and fuzzy feeling in the right side of my head. I swear I was calling out, screaming for my fiance and dad, it felt like I had lifted my arm and threw a toy at the shadow and all of a sudden I was able to move and could focus my eyes. I got up and had a huge headache and was still feeling fuzzy in one side of my body, even went to the bathroom as I though I may have had a stroke cos my face felt drooped. This was truely terrifying and I cant stop thinking about it. I didnt go back to sleep as was to scared. Is this sleep Paralysis?

Thanks Tar.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Same dream

I have had a couple of instances of sleep paralysis. Starting when i started researching into the occult and some strange hypnotic youtube videos. On the onset of the first sleep paralysis before i was asleep i heard a strong gust of wind in my left ears didn't feel the air or hear it in my other ear. After hearing this i immediately jumped out of bed because i was not yet asleep i got on the computer for 30 minutes. After calming down i went back to bed and laid on my stomach facing left at my wall. After falling asleep i woke up at early in the morning. I felt a very evil presence in my room. After starting to get scared i felt a burning sensation on the back of my neck and head where i tried to scream but couldn't, as this was happening i heard a very very loud Screech of an owl i never saw the owl but only heard it. During this episode i couldn't move speak at all. I prayed to Jesus Christ in my head for it to go away and i immediately got up with no transition or eye blinking.
The second time i had sleep paralysis I just felt an evil presence and laughed in my head in spite. As I laughed the burning sensation in the back of my neck continued to get hotter and hotter until it stopped and i could move.

SaraG's picture

My recurring dream and the feeling of sleep paralysis

I fall into sleep paralysis all the time and just last night I had several. These dreams of mine happen all the time where I cannot move and feel like there is a weight on my body. In my dream I'm screaming and trying to wake myself up, but I can't. It's like my mind is awake, but my body isn't. Sometimes my eyes are wide open, but my body and brain is asleep. During these episodes I hear a loud alarm sound and voices whispering. When I fully awake, my heart is beating a thousand miles an hour and I sometimes fall right back into the same dream or sleep paralysis. I'm really scared and don't know what this all means. I do recall hearing someone whispering the number 44 or just 44444. I do remember during my dream/sleep paralysis sqeezing my eyes and I could feel them twitch. It's like my entire body is numb. I keep telling myself that it's just because I'm really tired, but I would like to know the true meaning? Does anyone have any suggestions?

JessD's picture

Hey there, I get sleep

Hey there, I get sleep paralysis all the time and I don't know what it means either. But I asked my mum and she said when she was my age, she got them all the time too. So I guess it's just a normal part of aging. My first one was horrifying. I heard the whispering of children's voices which eventually cresendoed into screaming, and then I saw this massive figure at the foot of my bed and it opened its mouth as it swooped toward me, like it was going to eat me. My eyes were open, I saw my bedroom, and I saw this creature that wasn't supposed to be there: a hallucination, but man it was life-like! I cried after this first one. But ever since I knew what it was, no matter how much I dislike them, I'm not terrified anymore. Just a little nervous. Just last night I had another one. Two to three in a row, the same over and over. At first there was a ringing in my ears, and I could actually consciously think to myself, "Oh no, here we go again. Might as well see how it ends without waking up." And then I felt my body go numb and the ringing intensified. At this point I thought, screw this, I want to wake up, MOVE dammit! Of course I knew that I couldn't... it's strange, how you know what's going on yet you can't control your body. I heard more weird sounds, neither animal nor human. I tried to move my hands but couldn't, so I tried to kick my legs and that worked.. for a second or two. Before I could even hoist myself out of bed, back into the paralysis I went again. Just couldn't get out you know? I noticed how I felt so cold every time I woke up, so I thought, "Let's test this out to see if it's actually my body and not only my mind." During the third round, I made a mental note to try feel my skin right after I woke up. While I was in it again, I thought, "Just hold on! Remember to feel your skin!" I woke up again, and there really WERE goosebumps on my skin. All this time I was under my doona too. I don't know why they happen. I know our bodies become paralysed naturally so that we don't act out our dreams. I guess our minds still stay awake because we're thinking too much, or we're worried, or stressed, and we don't realise it. Mum says they'll go away with age, so I put up with them while they happen. But perhaps you could try talking yourself through it, and tell yourself it's not real, that it's a normal part of life, and that it'll go away. And just see what experiments you can perform with yourself, like I tried.

charlene's picture

hallucinations into lucid dreams

hi there, sympathy to all. i have this too along with my narcolepsy and other things. you can all try this as it helped me..... when somethin bad is comin an you know it is cuz you can feel it before you know its ther. tell it to go away (sounds silly) i use to hear a huge whiring noise as if it was angry. while your doing so tell yourself that it will go or its not ther an i found by reasuring myself helped it stop. each time it happened it got less scary and further away from my face. i tought myself how to lucid dream from this experience (controling your dream) i dunno a scenario any one ya like good of course it will happen an the more you do it the more control you have an more of the picture you see. i started running an i had to do 10+ steps before i flew . the more i did this same run it got less and less. now i can just fly with no running involved :o) learn to turn a bad dream/hallucination good.
while your halfy half concious but sleeping :o) you control it.
just an idea as it helped me get past the bad times in this sleep problem. look up lucid dreams they say you can teach yourself this skill without this but i dont think i could of without these hallucinations.
good luck

Anonymous's picture

This article was really

This article was really interesting but from what i've read about sleep paralysis you wake up feeling paralyzed and its happened to me twice one when I was awake just laying on the couch and the 2nd time was yesterday morning around 5 or 6am I woke up to my bed shaking and once I realized my bed was shaking I got so scared I then felt paralyzed. So from what I read here you start hallucinating after you wake up feeling paralyzed because of the fear you feel from being paralyzed, you freak out that you're paralyzed then hallucinate. So I don't know what to believe anymore. I know I woke up like I usually do when I hear a noise or feel a movement I have very light sleep so anything wakes me up. The shaking of my bed woke me up this time and I freaked out because I knew that wasn't normal then thats when I felt the extreme then felt paralyzed.

Anonymous's picture

I've been having Sleep

I've been having Sleep Paralysis for a while now. It seems i get them at least 5 times every6 months. Everytime it happens it's from a lucid dream. I don't have visual hallucinations so much but i do have audiotory ones and they're very loud. It sounds as if a very strong wind is coming right at me, or it sounds and feels as if i'm laying under a waterfall.

Benjamin's picture

Whew

I also have had experiences with this. And also thought it only happened to me. But when it happens i see no figure im just in a paralyzed state and very frightened. In an attempt I try to move my arm but it would only move in centemeters, eventually I would jerk and snap out of it. I'm just glad it has nothing to do with a demonic presence. While it may not be that it's still one of the scariest experiences on earth.

Anonymous's picture

Sleep Paralysis Hallucinations

Nice try in attempting to explain the phenomena. Unfortunately, there are no scientific studies that prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, your conjectures. I too have researched this phenomena in depth, and have come up empty handed - and that is over 30 years of research. As scientists, it is up to us to come up with hard evidence to prove our conjectures and support our theories. I wish that you had been able to come up with some hard data to support your claims. However, I do appreciate your efforts.

admin's picture

more on sleep paralysis

You may be interested in another web paper on sleep paralysis with over 300 comments describing first-hand experiences; you can find it here.
Anonymous's picture

This is something

This is something experienced commonly through all cultures all throughout history. Look up the sleep paralysis entry on Wikipedia, and you'll find that nearly every culture around the world has a myth associated with this phenomena.

It is definitely NOT uncommon. Several of my friends have shared their experiences of these night terrors with me, and they all sound eerily similar (being choked, visited by demonic presence). My own experiences led me to do some research.

Your thesis does a good job giving a physiological explaination for symptoms of sleep paralysis, but it does not address the issue that all of the experiences described here and elsewhere involve a starkly real demonic presence.

Other commonalities I've heard are that these demonic hallucinations only happen when one is sleeping in the supine position (on your back, belly-up) and usually when one is sleep deprived.

Perhaps we need to consider the possibility that the explaination for these events is not wholly physiological, but maybe spiritual. They are, for certain, inexorably real.

Eric's picture

my own hell

I agree with what you've said. I'm 30 yr old Male and have suffered hypnagogic hallucinations with sleep paralysis for as long as I can remember. The physiological evidence supporting the research and theories is interesting but I can not get past the terrifying truth of what I share with all victims I know. There is a demonic presence. We all see the same one. If he's not choking me whomever is in the house with me begins to... I'm often stabbed, beaten and mutilated. This dark presence, a cloaked spirit, has the aura of hysterical defining silence.
i would give anything to get rid of these.

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