Sleep Paralysis: My Real Life Horror Story

Sleep Paralysis: My Real Life Horror Story

I’m startled awake gasping for air. Was something choking me?! And what is that loud siren noise?

Laying on my back, there’s a crushing pressure on my chest. I open my eyes, but my husband doesn’t seem to be bothered! What the hell?!

Oh my God! SOMETHING HAS ME! Something’s pulling me! There’s more than one. And they’re slowly dragging me down & off the side of the bed!

“ZACHARY!” I try to yell but my mouth won’t move, words won’t come out. Barely, I hear my voice quivering.

I sense evil in our bedroom. And there’s not shit I can do about it. I can’t move. I can’t speak. But I can see. And I’m fully aware of the demonic presence that’s trying to take me to the other side.

How is my husband sleeping through this?!

I see dark figures, silhouettes… I can’t make them out. I try to scream over & over again. Eventually I make enough noise to wake my husband.

He tells me I’ve had a nightmare & goes back to sleep.

What?! Uh-uh. No sir. Unacceptable. That was NOT “just” a nightmare! That ish was real!


{5 minutes}


Okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly real, but I swear to you it feels real in literally every sense of the word.

It’s like you’re in a real life horror movie. Sometimes I wake to an impossible amount of hands touching me all over my body & one time a whisper in my freaking ear! And always, that evil presence.

One time I saw the silhouette of a huge crow sitting on top of me. That was pretty scary considering that’s a sign of death!

I’m convinced that evil has been with me since childhood. That’s when I first began having these terrifying experiences. But I didn’t know what they were, so I made excuses for them to make myself feel safe.

I’m also convinced that when this happens, evil is trying to sneak me to the other side. Their side. And I’m scared that they’re going to eventually succeed because ultimately I belong there.

I know I’m sounding kind of crazy right about now, but if you’ve ever experienced sleep paralysis you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Sometimes my episodes will come in spells, meaning I’ll have them often over the course of a week or two. Then I get extreme anxiety around going to bed. As it gets later the more anxious I get. It’s awful.


Interesting TidBits

  • People all around the world give the exact same descriptions.
  • The ancient Romans attributed the malevolent presence & the strong pressure on the chest {that’s present during sleep paralysis} to incubus {incubare: lie upon} & succubus attacks. Incubi were believed to be male demons & succubi female demons who were attacking the sleeper.
  • The Italian word “incubo” that is used today to signify “nightmare” is derived from the Latin word “incubus.” And the English word “nightmare,” is derived from the word “night” and “mare,” where “mare” signifies “demon.” Additionally, a “nightmare” was formerly believed to be an evil spirit that would haunt & suffocate sleeping people.
  • In a research article by J.-C. Terrillon & S. Marques Bonham, they hypothesize that Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome {SUNDS} may be an extreme case of sleep paralysis. SUNDS is a rare condition that’s prevalent in southeast Asia. Death is caused by heart attack. Sleepers experience strong breathing difficulties, are found lying on their backs {typical of sleep paralysis}, & there appears to be little or no struggle or movement in the process of SUNDS. Furthermore, many cases are reported to have a “fixed” or terrified expression on their face. -Hmmm. . . wonder what they were afraid of? Just sayin’.

The below video is a 10-part playlist featuring David J. Hufford, known as The Authority on sleep paralysis. He is also a professor & director at the Doctors Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine at the Penn State College of Medicine {Hershey}. He is the author of The Terror That Comes in the Night: An Experience-Centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions (Publications of the American Folklore Society). That is my Amazon affiliate link. For further information please see my Privacy Policy.


General Sleep Paralysis Facts

  • There are two types of sleep paralysis, isolated {ISP} & recurrent {RISP}. In one study, researchers found that 90% of the respondents they surveyed experienced intense fear during their RISP episodes. And about 50% have invoked a paranormal or supernatural explanation.
  • When we sleep, our brains normally cause our muscles to relax & be still {so we don’t punch someone, for example}. This is called atonia. In sleep paralysis, atonia occurs when we’re awake. Freaky!
  • Sleep paralysis can occur when falling asleep or when waking from sleep & typically lasts anywhere from a few seconds to minutes.
  • Episodes usually end on their own or by someone talking to or touching the individual. Also making a concerted effort to move can sometimes end an episode.
  • Most episodes occur while individuals are lying on their backs, though studies have shown that most people don’t fall asleep in this position.
  • Sleep paralysis usually begins in teen years. There are generally no medical risks associated with it. Though it can be a sign of narcolepsy.
  • Symptoms include: difficulty breathing {a feeling of being choked &/or pressure on the chest}, the inability to move, being aware of surroundings, feeling completely awake, & being able to accurately perceive the surrounding environment. Some people sense that someone else is in the room or that there is an evil presence in the room. Some people will have visual hallucinations. And some people will experience what is below. . .
  • According to thesleepparalysisproject.org, in addition to visual hallucinations, “sleep paralysis episodes may be accompanied by hallucinations of an auditory, olfactory and/or physical nature. Commonly reported hallucinations include doors opening, animals growling, approaching footsteps, scratching, internal buzzing/beeping, malevolent whispering as well as smells of rotting flesh, ‘death’, decay, damp, mould and feelings of being moved, drifting, rolling, floating, cold or heat. Out-of-body experiences are also sometimes reported.”
  • Most common precipitating factors were found to be stress & disruption in sleep patterns. It’s been suggested that the hallucinations that come along with sleep paralysis may occur more frequently in creative individuals, though it’s not been confirmed statistically.
  • Other possible risk factors are traumatic life experiences, bipolar disorder & certain medications.
  • Sleep paralysis is not well understood. Many sufferers who have sought treatment have mistakenly been diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia, & prescribed antipsychotics.

Dark Figure {sometimes present in sleep paralysis}

Treatment Options

*I am NOT a specialist. Confer with your doctor before starting or stopping any medication.

There is no proven treatment to reduce the frequency or to stop sleep paralysis. The best advice is to adopt a regular sleep pattern.

Avoid sleeping on the back if possible, as that’s when sleep paralysis typically occurs.

The most common medical treatment to reduce the frequency of ISP & RISP episodes is the prescription of tricyclic antidepressants, such as imipramine & clomipramine. These are also widely used in narcolepsy whose main symptoms are uncontrolled daytime sleepiness & cataplexy {sudden loss of muscle tone}.

Or, taking melatonin at appropriate times for better control of circadian rhythms may be beneficial.

Do you experience sleep paralysis? Share your experiences in comments! I’m curious to know how many of my fellow bipolar sufferers from sleep paralysis.

Sources: SleepEducation.com, TheSleepParalysisProject.com, Article: Does Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis Involve More Than Cognitive Neurosciences? {Jean-Christophe Terrillon & Sirley Marques-Bohnam}


Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer :: Blogger & Creator of The Sunny Shadow


6 Comments

  1. This sounds absolutely terrifying. My heart goes out to you…I pray you will be relieved of this! When I was in ICU a couple months ago I had s very strange dream state that would occur while I was actually awake. It seemed so real, but wasn’t. One time I was dreaming I was kissing someone and awoke fully to my mouth puckered and my head turning to the side as if I really were. Another time I was holding a cup of tea that wasn’t there. Nothing like you experienced but strange nonetheless. Again, I so hope you are relieved of this and that you know in your heart you are on the good side.

  2. I haven’t experienced this per say but when I was younger, I awoke to find Jesus (or someone – something) posing as Jesus standing at the foot of my bed. I’m am so relieved to not be experiencing this. I think it’s the only symptom that I’ve read about so far that I don’t have. I’m so sorry that you have to live this though. Your optimism is always an inspiration and teaches us so much.
    Sandra recently posted…The Bipolarity of Being BipolarMy Profile

    1. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve experienced this too. But it sounds like only once, so hopefully it won’t reoccur. I’m impressed by your ability to maintain your composure! I have yet to reach a point where I feel somewhat in control during these episodes. I still freak out, even though I know what’s happening. Perhaps writing about it was therapeutic in a sense & it will give me the strength I need to face these demons head on! Lol.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      -Krista

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