This past week I have been having frequent cases of sleep paralysis.
For those who do not know, sleep paralysis is when the brain awakens from REM sleep but the body remains “asleep” (in paralysis). Sort of the reverse of sleep walking, which is when the body is ‘awake’ but the brain is asleep.
In short, you are fully conscious but unable to move. This can last a few seconds or a few minutes. However, eye movements are still possible. Individuals experiencing this often feel extreme panic as they try to reestablish the connection between mind and body.
This is something that I have experienced in the past and is common in my family but it has been happening more frequently lately. Sleep paralysis is also known to be accompanied by “terrifying hallucinations”. The individual may see vivid objects or entitys within his or her field of vision. This is where we get the term nightmare. The first time it happened this week I saw a black cat scratching at my face. The second time I saw a black faceless figure covering my mouth.
The exact cause of this seems to be difficult for science to explain. Some possible causes are irregular sleep patterns, stress or sudden environment changes.
Religious persons tend to believe this is caused by evil spirits. This is how the legends of Incubi and Succubi started. They are demons that visit their victims during the night, rendering them helpless, usually for sexual purposes. Unfortunately that did not happen to me. They are usually depicted as sitting on the chests of their victims, most likely because individuals experiencing sleep paralysis often report a weight on top of their body. This is not something I have been aware of yet.
Studies suggest that people experience sleep paralysis at least once or twice in their lives. Has this ever happened to you? What is your stance, scientific phenomena or evil spirit? I’m sure you know my opinion but tell me yours in the comments below.