Why do millions of sane and rational people believe in ghosts? Because they actually see them, hovering over the bed and holding them down.
Over the centuries, spooky stories have warned us of the creatures of the night. But these tales don’t just come from dusty fairytales: they are panicked stories of real experience transmitted down through family lines and melded into myth.
The ghosts, goblins, and werewolves we celebrate during Halloween are still with us today, thanks to the ever-present condition known as sleep paralysis.
Ever felt held down when are waking up? Like someone is sitting on your chest? Or felt a cloud of evil lurking in the room while you hear the sound of footsteps shuffling towards you?
These are all symptoms of sleep paralysis, which is the harmless sensing of bodily paralysis that comes with REM sleep.
But it gets weirder when you start projecting your dream imagery into the bedroom, literally calling to order your worst nightmare.
To honor the spooks of sleep paralysis, I teamed up with Zeo to illustrate the history and complexity of these lucid nightmares throughout the centuries.
Click the image below to see the full sized infographic, and please share it and pass it along!
I’m wondering if you had an instance where a nightmare and sleep paralysis happened at the same time for you? I don’t see that the two necessarily connect, but may coincide.
I have experienced sleep paralysis a couple of times but they had nothing to do with ghosts and goblins. One experience had me pressed against the inside of a spinning amusement park ride-like contraption. The pressure held me there. I don’t know if it was you or someone else’s advice I read to remember to take a breath, getting me out of the paralysis.
From what I’ve learned researching how the mind and our thoughts work, it seems we can’t project into our so-called realities without the brain having been familiar with an image or concept first. Taking that into consideration, in combination with our fears, we could be misplacing our fears into some sort of apparition which we are taught to be frightened of (just my opinion).
Also, there are many of us who believe that there are other dimensions besides the one we are familiar with right now that have spiritual entities that try to communicate with us. Perhaps not all entities are with good intention?
I’m sorry that I can’t quote any reference here but I’ve also read somewhere that these entities view our sleeping state as an advantage to manipulate. I had an interesting experience happen to me when visiting the hills of Idaho, when, from a deep sleep, I opened my eyes and sat up screaming in my bunkbed seeing something not very friendly staring very close right at my face! I had no sleep paralysis involved then.
I do agree with you that possibly we can still be in a dream state that when slightly awoken we project images out into the room. If one can stay lucid they can then possibly “face their fears”?
Ryan Hurd says
yes, nightmares and SP can collide. Ever dreamed you were running through jello? Or felt very heavy suddenly in a dream and trapped? This is how SP can intrude into the dreamworld.
The biology of SP is just part of how the experience unfolds. I totally agree that expectation plays a role, which is why SP visions can be “tailor made” worst nightmares, including realistic and re-traumatizing memories.
SP is indeed a place to face fears. It takes courage and compassion, simultaneously. But if you feel out of control, you can always wake yourself up:
As to entities and their intentions…. that’s really about your personal beliefs. Regardless if they are “real” or a subconscious part of you, it’s good to know when to draw boundaries and protect yourself. Staying open is not always the best course of action! Sometimes, it’s better to wake up and shake it off.