Night Terrors

Oh my God! There’s something in my room!

I can hear it moving about. A barely there, slow swishing movement. I can sense it’s dark, heavy presence weighing down the air in my bedroom, even with my eyes closed.

My heart speeds up, pounding faster in my chest.

The empty side of my bed dips down. It’s sitting beside me now. I feel the mattress bend. I sense it leaning over me, watching me. Oh God, I should scream – but I can’t.

Oh no! Now it knows that I’m awake. Eyes as black as death are studying me, perceiving the shift in my breathing from shallow, calm inhaling and exhaling to a rapidly increasing tattoo.  There is a malevolent curiousness in it’s observation of me. I fascinate it. What does it want? What will it do next?

Oh God, please don’t touch me.

My heart wants to leap out of my chest. I know I should run – but I can’t. I am frozen, literally paralysed by fear.

I can feel it’s breath on my face. Why can’t I move?

And then it’s gone.

I finally get the courage to open my eyes. There is nothing there. No sign that anything was ever in my room. Was it just a bad dream after all, or was someone, something really there?

How can I go back to sleep now?

 

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Have you ever had an experience like this? Such paralysing terror in the dark small hours of early morning, an experience that leaves you buzzing with adrenaline and shaking with immense fear. I wish this on no one. Yet I will never forget that night.

Was that thing real? Had an evil entity somehow got into my room while I was in a most vulnerable state; asleep and unable to defend myself? Do dark spirits really exist or can there be another explanation for what I experienced?

Science calls it sleep paralysis. It is a state where your mind has come out of REM sleep but your body has not quite yet done so. Your mind is active and cognizant, it may even be still on the edge of a dream but your body is still unable to function as it is still in deep sleep. You will feel as if your body is frozen. You may not be able to speak because your motor skills are not functioning yet and this temporary paralysis can cause you a real fright.

Why would terror be involved? When we are in this state have we left ourselves open to shady memories. Or maybe our subconscious has easier access to our deepest fears and in such a vulnerable state, they are released. Does sleep paralysis force us to face the demons in our soul?

But what if there is, on the other side in the spirit world, unspeakable evils that in our waking conscious life we easily block out as we go about our daily lives? Would suffering from sleep paralysis be a perfect opportunity for that evil to slip between the two worlds and enter into ours?

This week, the veil between worlds is at it’s thinnest. That is the real origin of Halloween (All Hallows Eve). The folklore around this time of year states that the spirit world can easily slip into our world and walk amongst us. That is the reason why we dress up in costume, it’s to fool the spirits and avoid possession.

But how do you protect yourself at night when you think you are safely tucked into your personal sanctuary of cotton and down? Can you fool the spirits then?

Let’s be practical here for a moment. There are no such thing as ghosts and goblins. Science has a perfectly logical reason, backed up by an arm full of studies for the phenomenon know as sleep paralysis (night terrors to you and me). Why should we even be having this conversation. Scientist know everything. Right?

So tonight, as the spirit and real worlds merge closer together in anticipation of Halloween and you prepare for slumber, don’t give it another thought. Just think about that soft warm bed. Think about those fluffy pillows. Nothing can harm you while you sleep. The dark shadows in the corner of your room are just that, dark shadows. That swishing movement that flutters across your face as you turn over is just the forced air from the furnace. And that uneasy feeling that you are not alone in your room, well…..?

 

 

 

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