Sleep paralysis. What is it?
When we can't move, lying in bed, can't lift our head or move or arms or speak to scream, and we sense some malevolent presence in the room, just out of sight, looming over us, that's sleep paralysis. Shrinks note that i's a naturally occurring symptom of deep REM sleep, our body is temporarily paralyzed to stop us from acting out in our dreams, or whatever, so we're conscious, 'awake' before our nervous system kicks back in. The reverse being sleep walking....
BUT that doesn't explain the creepy monster/s looming over us. It doesn't seem to make 100% sense either; and when two people dream the same sight in the same room (one waking up to see the monster looming over their partner who is having the dream at that exact same moment) or receiving wounds from the creature (demonic scratches, alien punctures, or other), then the psychological underpinnings of the phenomenon fall short. Like with so much science, they can make a guess how it occurs but never a why.... why this apparition in the room? Is it 'the very painting of our fear'? Or something truly external?
My own SP experiences are rare but each one seems profound. As I've written in earlier posts, I've seen a demonic creature in the room even after I had awaken from my nightmare, and was shouting at it to go away before it faded, laughing silently at me all the while, into a moonlight reflection. And I've been lifted out of my bed, ass first, up along the ceiling and out the window, accelerating up and up faster and faster into the sky until shooting up back into my body in the bed, as if a second bed was way up in the sky. In each of these instances I wound up awaking and leaping out of bed as if from an electrical jolt of satori.
You can dismiss these as hallucinations, waking nightmares. I won't argue with that. But you know what else are hallucinations and waking nightmares?
All that we see, hear, and touch is a nervous system illusion, a translation: matter is perceived erroneously as solid (it's just vibrating energy) and permanent (like everything in the universe, it's always in the process of disintegrating); faces are perceived as unchanging from breath to breath (they're constantly shedding skin cells and absorbing passing dirt); linear time and 3-D space are perceived as a constant (a necessary illusion for the functioning within it - i.e. you can't be on the look-out for food and bears when you're overwhelmed by the totality of the cosmos).
This is all 'shared hallucination' or collective consciousness, distinctive to humans of our current era, the way our senses process stimuli (vs. say, a dog or insect's) and the way we've been trained to process, identify, and order the information we decode from that stimuli. If we look at all these pictures of sleep paralysis demons, from different artists, different centuries, how can we dismiss them as less real than normal waking perceptions?
For example: A man looks at a picture of the ocean, which is just pixels of color on a flat surface, and from those pixels he sees the ocean. If he's really really tired or possessed of vivid imagination (this happens to me a lot) he might actually smell salt air or hear a distant rush of waves. A dog looking at the same photo wouldn't see anything of interest: he would sniff it and judge it as inedible and inactive and then move on. BUT if we fold that photo into a paper airplane and throw it for him to fetch, he sees it as prey, a quarry). By the same token, we walk our dog past a tree on the sidewalk and our mind says "tree - yeah yeah, keep walking" - we just perceive the tree and maybe stale dog urine if there's no wind that day. Our dog 'sees' the dogs who have been there from their urine scents, the way we see the ocean in that picture. Dogs' urine is like a bulletin board message: who's in heat? who's marking territory? who's new in town? Are these dogs hallucinating just because we can't discern these things?
Scientists tend to forget the way our sensorially-decoded paradigm is limited to human perception of self and their myopia makes them paranoid, like fundamentalist Christians seeing heretics in the cobwebs of their attics. If a Christian has sleep paralysis, the being looming above him would be perceived as Satan; if he had being reading David Icke, the being would be a reptilian alien; a gnostic scholar would see an archon; a UFO scholar, a flock of greys come for an abduction.
The thing is, though, most humans, even non-scientists or philosophers, agree the stimuli we all perceive differently (according to our nature in this world) are 'the same' in each case. Dismissing this phenomena as 'mere hallucination' conjured from the semi-asleep state by our panic over being unable to move (i.e. in dreams your fear of monsters creates them) is the easy way to get around the uncanny fear it generates.
Personally, I believe that there IS a rational psychological interpretation as valid as any esoteric one.
BUT it doesn't explain anything, neither from a mythic / collective unconscious standpoint, or a physical, mental, or supernatural one, which in this case I mean as a reinterpretation of the supernatural as human experience that involves a sudden surge of DMT or third eye awakening. In other words, science can describe how DNA might unpack a seed so that it becomes a tree through photosynthesis, soil and water, but it can't explain why, or where it all comes from to begin with. They have no idea which came first, the chicken or the egg, or why they bothered to come at all. They don't know why sleep paralysis occurs in the way it does, only how it occurs, the mind waking up before the body does. Why do we sense this evil presence in the room? We usually sense the presence before we realize we can't move, so which came first? Does the demon wait for the right situation to pounce?
It's inadequate to dismiss these apparitions as half-awake nightmares. We still don't quite know how third eye dreams / imaginings work. We can analyze the cones and rods of the eye, the pupil, the optical fluids, but what we sense in nightmares has no correlation to anything we can measure.
One of the common names for the being who comes for you in sleep paralysis is called--in old legends--the 'old hag' and sleep paralysis is then 'old hag syndrome'
I've felt in the past that these beings are aliens from alternate dimensions testing our individual frequencies to see if we're suitable harvesting candidates, i.e. when we sleep our psychic energy might be up for grabs, the psychic equivalent of stealing your neighbor's WiFi.
If you're an easy mark they may abduct you wholesale, either physically or psionically. No UFO over your house is needed, just a good strong wireless router. they steal your astral brain and return it by dawn, ideally. But there is no clear line between the astral and physical body according to my theory, therefore the physical being might be moved as well, particularly if, say, the astral body is wedged into the physical form (i.e. you don't have WiFi so they steal your whole modem).
I think if you can fight them off successfully, wake up from the sleep paralysis through sheer act of will, then they move on -- you're not worth it. You're the fish that got away. More power to ya. Plenty of fish in the sea.
Another theory is that they are demons, ever-present just outside our worldly perceptions. I got the feeling from that demon that stayed in my room (see link in 3rd paragraph) that he wasn't from some other place on our planet, but was always around, waiting for a chance to do harm in the tangible world, visible only occasionally to psychics, schizophrenics, and people burning up from fever.
I also like the idea that demons can be called into this world either accidentally via Ouija boards, or intentionally via snot-nosed punks, and if they don't know they have to dismiss them out of this world when they're done, then the demons get to stay forever or until some angel, exorcist or psychic kicks them out. The spirit world conjured by the Rosicrucian mystics, for example, was left masterless when the Jesuits slaughtered them; the dark shadow demons conjured and then never sent back have been surly and hacking their way through underbrush of Protestantism to find the worthy Catholics and reincarnations of Catholics to torture in kind, for they are not grateful to be without the humans who understand them, and modern society still sneers and ostracizes--the civilized man's lame burning at the stake--anyone who sees or hears them. Even the peasants and uneducated who wouldn't be unseated by a radical new paradigm, dutifully throw their rocks of scorn, in an unconscious effort to please their conservative masters! The uneducated shun the educated man who won't talk down to them, they mistrust the man who won't take advantage of their ignorance to rob them in clouds of sanctified incense or finger-pointing. Throwing rocks at a problem is easier than 'hearing' it out like open-minded beings insist. This means that so much of the God's work has to be hidden from 'the faithful' for whom no miracle not centuries old can occur, lest its vessel be burnt at the stake.
I'm off topic.
I received this from my friend Sean Kelly (author of various books on saints and strange humors), they are snippets about sleep monsters from his "unfinish-able fairy dictionary":
Alps: They are rarely described, since they work in the dark and can shape-shift, but they are invariably said to wear a hat. An Alp is typically male, its prey usually a sleeping female. Alp attacks are called Alpdrücke, or Alpdrücken. The creature sits astride the sleeper’s chest and becomes increasingly heavy, until the crushing weight awakens the terrified victim. An Alp will drink blood from the nipples of men and children, but prefers the milk of women. If you say to an Alp that is pressing upon you, "Come tomorrow, and I will lend you something!" he will immediately vanish and come the next day in the form of a human wishing to borrow something. They can also be repelled with horse heads. The word, in High German, is etymologically related to Elf. The entity itself is known by many names: Crusher, Drude, Hag, Mara, Mare, Mart, Mallt y Nos, Night-Fiend, Night-Elve, Night Hag, Night-Mare, Polunocnica, Trud, Waalridder, etc.
Mare, Mahrt, Märt, Martes: The female Alp, who rides on sleeping men at night, pressing against them until they can no longer breath. The mare in the English word ‘nightmare’ is mara, the Anglo-Saxon term for that female preternatural entity that sits on sleepers' chests. (A bad dream is called a martröð in Icelandic, mareridt in Danish and mareritt in Norwegian.) In Poland, the sleep-disturbing märt is a girl with a misshapen foot. Martes is a type of French fee, dark complexioned and hairy, with pendulous breasts. The approaching being sounds like the gnawing of a mouse or the quiet creeping of a cat. The mårt can be captured by grasping it with an inherited glove or by closing up all of the room's openings as soon as the sleeping person begins to groan. A mårt-ride can be prevented by crossing one's arms and legs before falling asleep. See Murraue.
Murraue: Similar to the Alp or Mare, but she creeps up a sleeping person's body from below. First you feel her weight on your feet, next on your stomach, and finally on your chest, until you cannot move a muscle. However, if you think that you know who she is, call her by name and she will vanish. In certain parts of Germany, a person born on Sunday, whose eyebrows grow together, is called a murraue.
Polunocnica: The Russian “Lady of Midnight” is a fierce Hag who lives in a swamp and torments sleeping children with nightmares. (She is the sister of the Poludnitsa.)
Trud: Another name for Alp. The female form is trude. There are witches who can send one to those they hate merely by their thoughts. He comes out of their eyebrows, looks like a small white butterfly, and sits on the breast of a sleeping person. If you say to one that is pressing upon you, "Trud, come tomorrow, and I will lend you something!" then he will immediately retreat and come the next day in the form of a human, in order to borrow something.
Waalridder: A name by which the nightmare-causing Alp is known in the Netherlands.
So keep your horseheads and inherited glove handy, and remember to tell the demons "come tomorrow and I will lend you something" - apparently it always works.