Many people have experienced waking up from their sleep in the middle of the night and found that they cannot move. Even though they are awake and fully conscious of what is happening around them they are completely immobilised. Many have sensed a seen or an unseen presence on them or in the room. It is an extremely unnerving feeling and the person going through it is gripped by fear. This group of symptoms is popularly known, especially in the medical world, as ‘Sleep paralysis’ also known as Old Hag.
Sleep paralysis can be a very scary thing. In it, you know you’re asleep, you try to wake up, but you can’t. It’s often accompanied by an irrational feeling of utter terror, and sometimes images of figures in black cloaks. Many cultures have developed supernatural explanations for sleep paralysis. In China, it’s called mèng yǎn, “ghost pressing on body.” In some Muslim countries, it’s associated with an evil djinn. In Africa, it’s called “the witch riding your back.”
A man or woman is attacked during the night, usually lying on their back, when an evil entity sits upon their body, causes paralysis, and even sometimes chokes or smothers it’s victim. Though their motivation may differ, (possession, revenge, or just wanting to upset the living) the attack remains strikingly similar.
And these stories are not limited to Western cultures, in fact, quite the contrary. In Thailand people refer to being Phi um (ghost covered) and phi kau (ghost possessed), and these experiences include a feeling of pressure, paralysis, and something black covering the body. In Japan, kanashibara (“to tie with an iron rope”) is a common known and accepted experience. In the Far North one speaks of agumangia (Inupik) or ukomiarik (Yupik) in which “a soul” tries to take possession of the paralyzed victim. In Laos, da chor is described as follows: “You want to listen, you can’t hear; you want to speak, you are dumb; you want to call out, you cannot; you feel you are dying, dying; you want to run away. You piss with fear in your sleep”.
One of the scarier experiences with sleep paralysis is the inclusion of lucid dreaming and false awakening. The sleeper recognizes he’s asleep and tries to wake up. He opens his eyes in relief, but soon realizes he’s still asleep. This can go on for some time, sometimes resulting in an actual awareness of his real surroundings—the pressure of the covers, the light of the room beyond his eyelids—but still the inability to fully waken. That awareness can slip away again, returning the sleeper to the hallucinations.
Muscle paralysis in sleep is a necessary thing. People who act out their dreams on a regular basis are prone to accidental injury—even jumping out of windows. Knowing that you’re asleep and paralyzed, however, can be frightening. You tell yourself to open your eyes, just to get caught in another false awakening. One theory is that sleep paralysis affects the larger parts of the body more completely. You can try to wake up by wiggling your toes or fingers. It’s also possible to pray during this time. This will often give comfort that lets you fall back into unconsciousness. You may be able to avoid sleep paralysis by getting sufficient rest and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Generally, ghosts don’t intend to steal your energy, but it can happen. When they try to communicate, they have to manifest in this realm. That’s no easy feat for the departed, so they take some of your body’s energy to help themselves manifest. Formerly human ghosts will only take what they need.
So a theory is that demons (or the Devil/evil spirits/negative entities) attack some people when they are at their weakest. Could we be seen as ‘weak’ during sleep?
Many of my clients had experiences with ghosts and demons their whole life but this year many of my clients have been getting many nightmares which is leading us to believe they being ‘attacked’ by demons in their sleep.
In the past few months many of my clients had countless dreams where they faced with a negative entity, it appears as a ghost sometimes, or once it appeared as a crazy man, also I heard from my clients that ghosts got speaking to them in their ear just as they fell asleep. It has a horrible voice.
Common things in the dreams is being in a dark place, having their body shaking or feeling unusual sensations in their body and witnessing/experiencing disturbing things.
I do believe that you can be ‘attacked’ in sleep, these forces will try anything to get you it seems.
Types of Demonic Encounters
The various types of experiences that occur during sleep paralysis correspond directly with various neural correlates. These main subtypes of demonic experience include: the Intruder, the Incubus, and odd demonic sensations. Additionally, there’s a fourth type that is less common characterized as a “mixed experience.”
1. Demonic Intruder
Those that encounter a demonic intruder tend to report that they were either threatened, terrorized, or sensed an evil demon in the same room as them. Those that experience sleep paralysis for the first time and/or are relatively new to the phenomenon of sleep paralysis are more likely to believe that there’s a demonic intruder or “sense the presence” of a demon. The “Intruder” subtype is strongly associated with sensing the terrifying presence of a demonic entity.
- Apparitions: Many people claim to see apparitions or the ghost-like image of a demonic entity. This entity may look like a traditional “demon” but may also appear as an evil person, animal, ghost, or other entity. This image may appear blurry or may be highly specific depending on individual perception.
- People: You may sense that a demonic person has entered the room. This may be someone that’s deceased and/or a person that’s still alive. Your sleep paralysis experience may project this individual as being closely tied with the devil.
- Noises: Some people claim to hear voices of a demon or another related evil entity. These voices may be subtle and hard to decipher or they may be loud, clear, and in your native language. They may give commands or make threats depending on your sleep paralysis experience. In other cases you may hear the demon moving through your room.
- Sense of presence: The most common attribute associated with this sort of experience is a sense that the demon is in the room. In other words, you can “sense” that a demonic threat is nearby, even if you cannot see or hear it. Your gut instinct may be warning you that a demon may be close.
- Touching: In extreme cases, some people end up experiencing tactile experiences in which they believe they were touched by a demon. In the “Intruder” subtype, the touches are generally vague and likely to induce a significant amount of fear.
2. Demonic Suffocation (Incubus)
The subtype of sleep paralysis most associated with demons is that of the “Incubus” – a term which translates to a male demon having sexual intercourse with a sleeping female. It is most common for those experiencing the “Incubus” subtype of expereinces to believe that they encountered a demon or were victim of a demonic attack. In a majority of cases, people claim that the demon they encounter was attempting to murder them in their sleep.
Those that encounter the Incubus experiences tend to have similar experiences during the “Intruder” subtype and demonic entities appear while we are semi-conscious. No matter how much we try to escape, we realize that we cannot move due to atonia, so the demon is free to terrify us.
- Abduction: Many people believe that they are being abducted by a demon, demonic entity, or even an alien. Some people believe that their spirit is being extracted from their bodies or that they are being physically transported to another realm by the demon. If a person doesn’t encounter a demon, they may encounter an alien.
- Assault: The demons may appear to physically assault you by constricting your breathing or inflicting physical pain. It is common for victims to believe that they are being seriously injured by the demon and that they’ll never be able to recover from inflicted damage.
- Breathing difficulties: A common sign of demonic encounters during sleep paralysis is that of breathing difficulties. The demons may appear to restrict breathing in various ways such as by strangling the sleeping victim, to the individual experiencing restricted breathing while seeing a demon.
- Chest pressure: In many cases, people believe that the demon or evil entity is sitting atop their chest, constricting their breathing. However, to the individual encountering the demon during sleep paralysis, they feel as if the pressure is a direct result of an attempt to kill or inflict pain.
- Malicious intent: In nearly every case, the person seeing the demon believes that it has malicious intent. They believe that the demon is out to either kill them or inflict some sort of harm. This is accompanied by sensations of pain, perceived assaults, and restriction of breathing. Since the fear centers of the brain are activated, we may feel a sense of paranoia or panic.
- Perceived pain: There have been reports of pain being inflicted by demons while in a state of sleep paralysis. The pain may be mild, moderate, or extreme depending on the individual circumstances. One case of a woman experiencing sleep paralysis reported that a devil sat atop her breasts, attempted to choke her, and inflicted pain that she claimed to have felt even upon awakening the following morning.
- Sexual intercourse: In very extreme cases, people have reported being “raped” by demons or having sexual intercourse with them. In recurrent cases of sleep paralysis, people have claimed to have been shown the hybrid offspring with demons and/or aliens. It should be noted that most research suggests that women are more likely to report “rape” during sleep paralysis than men.
- Suffocation: In numerous cases, people believe that the demon is out to suffocate them by either choking them or applying pressure to their chest. Those experiencing this believe that there’s nothing that can be done and that they will inevitably die. Oddly enough, they eventually awaken, realizing that sleep paralysis was to blame; they didn’t actually die.
- Thoughts of death: The demonic encounters that are experienced during this type of experience tend to be associated with thoughts of death. The victim of sleep paralysis believes that the demons are out to murder them in their sleep. The actions of the demons can appear vividly real from a first-person perspective, hence resulting in thoughts of death.
3. Odd Demonic Sensations
Those that experience the odd bodily sensations during sleep paralysis don’t commonly report demonic encounters. In fact, they may report encounters with pleasant beings like angels or happy spirits. Those that solely experience bodily sensations during their episodes of sleep paralysis are less likely to report demons.
Although demons are less associated with “odd bodily sensations” (vestibular-motor hallucinations), they still may occur. Should they occur during the vestibular-motor expereinces, you may encounter a demon while having an “out-of-body experience” and/or feel as if a demon is attempting to extract your spirit from your body. This third subtype of demonic encounters just adds areas of the brain associated with perceiving “motion” into the expereince.
- Falling: It may feel as if you’re falling during your encounter with a demon. You may feel as if you’re falling into a trap of some sort or falling to your death as a result of a demonic assault.
- Fictitious motor movements: In some cases, it may seem as if you’re able to move your body such as arms and legs. In reality, you may be having an out-of-body experience, thinking that you’re able to run away from the demon.
- Floating: It is common for people to feel as if they are floating. This floating sensation is generally associated with bliss and calmness. That said, it is possible to feel as if you’re floating near a demon.
- Flying: You may feel as if you are flying while simultaneously trying to escape the throes of a demon.
- Out-of-body experience: Some people may have an out-of-body experience and believe that the demon may fight them in some way or may harm their physical body.
- Remote viewing: In some cases, people believe they are looking at their body from a third-person perspective (e.g. outside their physical body). They may feel detached from their physical body, yet perceive a demon attacking it.
- Suctioning: You may feel as if you’re being suctioned out of your body or violently extracted by a demon. It may appear painful and/or forceful and against your will.
4. Mixed Demonic Hallucinations
Some people may feel as if there’s a demonic intruder, end up feeling attacked by the demon (e.g. suffocated), and feel that they’re being transported to another realm via flying or floating. While those new to sleep paralysis don’t often experience mixed feelings, a person may experience a blending of any of the three subtypes listed above.
It is most common for a person to experience the “Intruder” and the “Incubus” experiences simultaneously rather than either with the “Unusual Bodily Experiences.” The Unusual Bodily Experiences aren’t nearly as associated with demons and a majority of individuals tend to report feelings of bliss rather than fear during the experience.