Evil spirits, nightmares and sleep paralysis

After this post I imagine varying responses. The Christians will say that I need to seek God, some will be worried, others might think I lied and those who have experienced this and whose minds are scientific will realize that might have simply been stressed out.
A couple of nights ago I had an extremely weird experience. I had a somewhat similar one a few years ago in college.  I’ll start with the college story:

(image source on Corbis)
It was possibly near finals and I  out because of deadlines, not eating right and was sleep deprived. I finally had the opportunity at that time to nap between classes so I went home and passed out on my futon. I had hardly rested for 5 minutes when a woman opened my bedroom door. My roommate wasn’t home so I wasn’t sure how she got in.

“How did you get in?”
No answer.

“Get out!”
She continued to walk towards me. I tried to get off the futon and my body remained immobile.

“Get the fuck out of my room!” I started panicking but I couldn’t move my arms to push myself off the futon. My legs wouldn’t move either.

Then I woke up. The woman was nowhere to be found.

Ok, that was weird.

Story number two:

I started sleeping upside down on my king-sized bed because there’s a draft near my
window where my head usually is (I’ve moved my bed after this occurrence). I was exhausted. I had run 11 miles over the
weekend and worked out like a madwoman at the gym. I had two boot camp sessions
where I was proactive and ran 2 miles to get to each morning. Not only that, I had
changed my diet and I’m still getting used to it. Needless to say, I was knocked out immediately after getting cozy within my blankets.


There was a presence in my room. For some reason, I interacted with it. I found it odd but I wasn’t afraid. I don’t remember what it did but I didn’t trust it after a few minutes so I tried to wake up. I did but I realized the presence was still there. I wasn’t awake yet. I tried waking up again.

I did.

“That was weird.”

I was exhausted so I tried falling back to sleep. I was knocked out again.

The presence was waiting for me. There was some interaction again that I couldn’t remember. I realize that it wasn’t going away.

“Ugh you’re not real!”

I woke up. It was still there. I tried waking again.

Ok something was extremely bizarre. Well, three times a charm. I tried snoozing one more time.

It got worse.

As soon as I got back into the deep sleep, I was whisked away in a complicated scene worse than the prior experiences. However, I was immobile. I noticed that I was still in
my bed. I heard footsteps in the darkness and a voice called out: “Is anyone in here?”

(source of image on Corbis)

Beams of light started the appear. Seemed like a fire it was really bright but not as bright as my bedroom light.

I tried to wake up. It didn’t work.

I tried again. Back in reality. I reached over, grabbed my phone and called Noel.

Next day, I retold the story to my friend Emily. She said she had experienced sleep paralysis before. I researched it. Seems like my crazy activities over the weekend including visiting the planetarium where I theorized that there might be another  earth somewhere in the galaxy might have triggered my nightmare. Mystery solved.

Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis?

What is sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis consists of a period of inability to perform voluntary movements either at sleep onset (called hypnogogic or predormital form) or upon awakening (called hypnopompic or postdormtal form).

Sleep paralysis may also be referred to as isolated sleep paralysis, familial sleep paralysis, hynogogic or hypnopompic paralysis, predormital or postdormital paralysis

What are the symptoms?

  • A complaint of inability to move the trunk or limbs at sleep onset or upon awakening
  • Presence of brief episodes of partial or complete skeletal muscle paralysis
  • Episodes can be associated with hypnagogic hallucinations or dream-like mentation (act or use of the brain)

In some cases, when hypnogogic hallucinations are present, people feel that someone is in the room with them, some experience the feeling that someone or something is sitting on their chest and they feel impending death and suffocation. That has been called the “Hag Phenomena” and has been happening to people over the centuries. These things cause people much anxiety and terror, but there is no physical harm.

You may be able to minimize the episodes by following good sleep hygiene:

  • getting enough sleep
  • reduce stress
  • exercise regularly (but not too close to bedtime)
  • keep a regular sleep schedule


This also seems to be hereditary… that explains the folklore I’ve heard while growing up.

9 Replies to “Evil spirits, nightmares and sleep paralysis”

  1. Thanks for the post–nicely timed with Halloween! Another way to avoid some of the feeling of suffocation is not to sleep on your back.

    (author of “Sleep Paralysis: Night-mares, Noebos, and the Mind-Body Connection”)

  2. WOW, that’s crazy! Never knew something like that existed, at least now if I ever experience it, I’ll have some idea of what the hell is going on. Thanks for sharing, hopefully this’ll be the last time.

  3. I’ve shared a similar episode to your college experience. I must admit, it scared the living day light out of me, finally getting up and realizing what had just happened. Unlike you being able to at least interact with this “entity” or woman, i found myself unable to speak nor move. Just laying face down, eyes wide open and not knowing what exactly was going on behind me. However, I definitely felt a strange dark presence in the room holding me down. I’m a Christian, so i know not to shrug it off as just a hallucination or sleep paralysis…

  4. I had a very weird experience last night.
    I have had this so called Sleep Paralysis quite a few times and have gotten use to it, I usually just make myself go back to sleep because I know what is happening.

    I woke up to someone opening my bedroom door last night I then heard footsteps walking right up to my bed and I could feel someone standing over me and breathing. I was trying to move but all i could get was my arms to wiggle. I just waited it out for a few minutes and then I heard my door close. I just went back to sleep.

    The weird thing is I was reading about what happens when you die because I have been thinking about my best mate that passed away a few months ago. I started reading about evil spirits and finding more info about ghosts.

    I am a big skeptic about ghosts and spirits but this one has got me thinking. I know I wasn’t dreaming because I know the feeling of sleep paralysis.

  5. i have sleep paralysis can’t move feel a presence with you. but upon waking up i go through mass episodes like panic attack.. makes no sense doctors are stumbled but after i wake up back in bed trying to think did it really happen it felt so real. it really did happen my dad calmed me down helping me breath and stay steady and not shake like a leaf in a bad storm.

  6. two nights ago my son had a friend over, in the middle of the night he started screaming so i went to check on him and I told him I was there he was still asleep but it seemed like he was fighting something, as soon as I spoke he stopped struggling. So I went back to bed and started to fall asleep when i felt something at the end of my bed, I brushed it off thinking it was my cat. I know i was in between awake and asleep and started drifting off when I heard a roar and felt something on my chest, I was trying to call to my husband but could barely get any sound out, and i couldn’t move. Finally I gurbled enough sound to wake up my husband and he shook me and it stopped. It was terrifying. the next day I asked the boys mother if he had night terrors and she said he did – this was the first time something like this had ever happened to me which made me relate it to the child, she told me that she was going to take him to a doctor and I told her I didn’t think it would help. I saged my house the next day and offered to do the same for her. I am convinced “night terrors” are something our medical doctors are ill prepared to deal with- and no medication will cure this problem.

  7. Spirits are real and are made of electromagnetic energy and light. Some are currently at war with humans over something that happened 20,000 years ago. These unfriendly spirits sometimes follow us and try to make us think we are going crazy. One of their technique is called “Hounds of illusion” in english. It energy they put into you to make you have nightmares. In Sleep Paralysis the symbol for this looks like art of a wolf howling with a green aura around it.

    When in Sleep Paralysis look for patterns in your vision when your eyes a closed.

  8. Thank you so much! I’ve been experiencing this since we stayed at this hotel. It kinda creeped me out at first. Thought evil spirits really do exist. It was just a phenomena, that’s all. 🙂

  9. The first time this happened to me I was taking a nap in the daytime, I feAlt disorientated at first and realized I could not move then I saw a dark shadow coming up from the end of my bed I could feel it hovering above me but I refused to look at it, this went on for quite some time I had no voice to yell out for help. Struggling and feeling like my arms were being held down I was finally able to lean to my side and reach for a knife that had been on the window ledge I WAS VERY MUCH AWAKE I was so scared to open my eyes I layed there for hours and must have dozed back off and when my mom came home and tried to wake me up I almost stabbed her because the knife was still in my hand, this was not a dream. I put saint Michael candles in my room and it was never as intense again, I became pregnant and it completely stopped now my child is 18 months he is having night terrors and when he finally opens his eyes is in shock for a while I am also experiencing them again and at a complete loss on what to do

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