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Hypnagogia: A Bridge to Other Realities

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Biology 202
2000 First Web Report
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Hypnagogia: A Bridge to Other Realities

Yun-Wen Shaw

" To dream and altogether not
to dream. This synthesis is the
operation of genius, by which both
activities are mutually reinforced."

Every night of every day, people everywhere retreat to their beds to sleep, and oftentimes to dream. Many of us are not aware however, that the many levels of consciousness we undergo during the stages of sleep offer a link between our conscious mind and its manifested dream world; perhaps even the possibility of another realm of cognition altogether. Hypnagogia, the deeply relaxed state of consciousness that occurs shortly prior to falling asleep, has been recognized for hundreds of years as a source of creative thought and intuition by a long list of distinguished philosophers, artists, and scientists, names of which include Aristotle and Albert Einstein (1). Research into hypnagogia is now shedding light on long-sought-for explanations of psychic abilities and creative intuition obtained outside direct sensory processes by revealing the possibility that our brain may have the ability to tap into other states of consciousness (6). The phenomenon of the hypnagogic hallucinations which occur in this period are characterized by a slideshow of highly condensed, discontinuous, and bizarre imagery of faces, figures, animals, print and writing. Also accompanying this is often hearing one’s name being whispered, hearing music, and undergoing temporary physical paralysis (4, 7). These visual, auditory, and physical stimuli, have been known to cultivate intuition, bring flashes of inspiration, and offer creative insight to those who experience them (1). During this fleeting psycho-physical state, people report randomly occurring visual and auditory experiences which are relatively more disconnected and short-lived when compared to dreams characteristic of REM sleep. Hypnagogia is in fact very common, occurring in 72 to 77 percent of the population, many are unaware of the phenomena (1).

A possible physical explanation for Hypnagogia is rooted in the discovery of magnetite crystals in cells of the brain and meninges. It has been found that there are five million magnetite crystals per gram in the human brain, and twenty times that number in the meninges (2). These ‘biomagnetite crystals’ are oriented in the brain in a manner that maximizes their magnetic moment, thus allowing the crystals to act as a system, and marking the ability of the brain to sense energy fields (4). These crystals could very possibly be the cause and explanation behind psychic abilities, as well as the feelings of intuition during states of hypnagogia.

Let us further explore how this phenomenon may be possible. Studies that show the proximity of the crystal-containing brain cells to the pituitary and pineal glands, have led researchers to propose that these glands may use information from the earth’s magnetic field to regulate the release of hormones in the brain, thus directly controlling conscious awareness levels (2).

However, there is still no way to ’read’ the signals that might be carried by the brains magnetic emissions. Despite this being so, the evidence indicating the existence of these signals and their possible constitution of a means of communication between various parts of the brain, is very compelling. This is the system that many speculate to be that which selects the neural areas to be recruited, so that the appropriate state of consciousness can elicit the suitable phenomenological, behavioral, and affective responses (4).

Studies have been done to show that various low intensity magnetic signals delivered to the temporal lobes indeed have a positive effect of producing various hallucinatory effects in the subject . Such effects include vestibular feelings in which one’s normal sense of balance is replaced by illusions of levitation and vertigo. Also experienced are transient ‘visions,’ whose context include motifs that appear in near-death experiences and alien abduction scenarios. Another neuromagentically elicited experience is bursts of emotion, most commonly fear and joy. Interestingly, all of these experiences very closely approximate those in the hypnagogic state.

Further experimentation performed on monkeys has determined the temporal lobes to be the part of the brain which mediates various states of consciousness. EEG readouts from the temporal lobes are markedly different when a person is asleep and undergoing a hallucinogenic seizure, or on LSD. In this case, seizural disorders confined to the temporal lobes (complex partial seizures) were characterized as impairments of consciousness. In the study, monkeys were given LSD after having various parts of their brains removed. The monkeys continued to ‘trip’ no matter what parts of the brains were missing. Only in the case where both temporal lobes were removed did the substance seem to have no affect the monkeys at all. The conclusion inarguably shows that the temporal lobes, in addition to all their other functions (in aspects of memory, language, music, etc.), also function to mediate states of consciousness (4).

The interpretation of hypnagogic images in some studies have seemed to provide striking examples not only of the existence of various states of consciousness, but also of clairvoyance and telepathy (7). In his book Hypnagogia, Andreas Mavromatis declares that "…hypnagogia gives rise to the insight that there are many realities and that what we call wakefulness merely constitutes one of them…hypnagogia suggests the evolutional possibility of a further expansion of consciousness, and poses a serious question concerning the nature of reality" (7). People have applied many different strategies to channel into the "powers of the hypnogic’ by means of meditation, hypnosis, spiritualism, hallucinogenic drug use, and others. Many hypnogists report states of instantaneous intuition, exhilaration with an inspired poem, mystical insights, and exquisite peaceful joy. Occultists believe they can tap into clairvoyant experiences in the hypnagogic. Others feel that they can engage in self-hypnosis so that they can achieve things they thought impossible or too difficult, by hypnagogic visualization (5).

Hypnagogic stages of sleep, with all its hallucinatory imagery, tends to act as compelling explanations for many claims of alien or supernatural encounters. It is easy to imagine how an individual who has had a hypnagogic experience with sleep paralysis, who is not familiar with the neurological explanation, to likely interpret their strange experience in terms of their cultural beliefs or in other bizarre supernatural terms (2). Hypnagogia presets new dimensions of a true New Age exploration, waiting for us all to travel together into this New World. And if any are skeptical, we can gain confidence in our hypnagogic pursuits from the realization that we are following in the footsteps of some of the most creative, intuitive and influential human minds in history. After all, Aristotle and Einstein can’t be wrong.


WWW Sources

1) Altered States

2) Mind Whispers - Psychics and Scientists ; Patrick Marsolek

3) Hypnagogia ; Robert Novella

4) The Production of Consciousness out of States of Consciousness

5) Psychic Syzygy: Hypnagogic Antilogic

6) Paradigms of Consciousness During Sleep; Donald J. DeGracia, Ph.D.

7) Hypnagogia: Bridge to Other Realities



Comments made prior to 2007
i noticed your link to my article "Mind whispers..." on your page on Hypnagogia:


needs to be updated.

The correct link is now:

Warm regards ... Patrick Marsolek, 13 June 2006



I was reading ur article on Hypnagogia. I've have had serious Sleep paralysis before falling asleep for the last 10 years. I am 27. I just wanted to share that it's incredably terifiying. When this started I guess I had hypnagogic hallucinations for the first 3. And it's not fun. I think that people who don't have think of it as romantic. (p.s. I'm not insulting you guys) But sometime it feels like i'm going to die. Maybee because i was always scared I did not understad it. I have done 3 sleep tests. And nothing wrong was found. I went to see a neurologist at mount sinai hospital in toronto. They did a cat scan and my brain was 100%. But that i might have a cross between epilepsy and narcolepsy and that they could do nothing to help me. I told the doctor to go f-himself, and left. Who can I talk to about this? I would love to share my experiences and maybee understand them beter? Any help would be greatly appreciated ... Anthony Lorusso, 30 December 2007


Angeleye 's picture

I've been able to see

I've been able to see patterns right infront of me,I can see the energy all around me in vibrations,I've even seen third eye right infront of me looks like a triangle then goes into a big eye with weird wings spinning cycles , then looks like dark hole like a vortex. I've had dreams where I was places like Italy,or Egypt, Spain, yet never been there .

Terry Q's picture

Third eye

I can see a greenish/white eye like while I’m awake with symbols and looks like 2 eyes



I have had this exact same thing happen! Seeing vivid colorful sacred geometry shapes appearing and morphing and then the vortex or what I always call a portal! I've also seen the triangle with 3rd eye and wings, and when I get relaxed whether I'm tired or not, I am suddenly pulled into other realms or places in different times. Just like you, I have been to Greece and Rome surrounded by their architectural columns, Egypt in the desert by the pyramids, and other places long lost that I have never laid eyes on. I can see energy fields like distortions in the atmosphere as well. You literally made me feel less alone in all of this. Thank you for sharing

Serendip Visitor's picture


Hey I would like to discuss what you have experienced as I have too

HannahG123's picture

Halucinations, astral projecttion

Ive been suffering with sleep paralysis since i was 15, im now 31, and still have it....

Recently its more vivid than ever, I too keep seeing the "eye" in a triangle, with what looks like wings or wavy lines around it??.... really freaked me out.

Mostly I hear what can only be described as 1000 voices at once, it causes your head to spin and go into panic, and creating the impending fear that you are about to die and no one knows how scared you were?

Im beginning to see more of what is like a kaleidoscope geometric shapes? - The kind you see on films when people are tripping?

Ive now had it for 10 nights on the run, its never happened this much before, im not stressed, i don't drink caffeine or smoke, or do drugs! a few nights ago I could literally feel and hear my heartbeat coming to a stop whilst seeing what can only be described as a pulsation... slowing down, and I knew if i didn't wake from the paralysis to breathe I was about to die. It scared me so much I never went back to sleep that night. Ive been to see doctors and therapists and like another person who has commented, everything has come back 100% normal. !!!

I too have visited places ive never been too? Tunisia being the weirdest, on a beach and then a man began shooting at people... the next day there was a terrorist attack in real life! , again SERIOUSLY freaked me out!

I am able to "fly" sometimes, but only upwards, and have ended up in space? but again the feeling of intense fear takes over and I try my best to wake up again., and dragged back to my body?

As one of the other commenters have said, I feel its being romanticised but its honestly terrifying, i am scared to sleep!!!!

My mind is awake but my body is asleep, the only advice I could give to someone else suffering with this, would be the only way to come out of it is to try and completely calm yourself until you can move a finger, toe etc, and try drag yourself out of the sleep. But my GOD it does its best to drag you back to whatever this weird dream world is!

Ive found the only thing sometimes I can control is my breathing, my partner knows now if im breathing weird in my sleep, im trying to tell him to wake me up as im having another "episode" - any info on this would be massively appriciated!!!!!

Nhunt's picture

Sleep paralysis

Hi Hannah! You are experiencing astral projection!!

kim b's picture

white room

This is a new experience to me. When I'm in the state between sleep and awake, I go to a large white room. I meet spirits there. One night I went to the white room. I was lying in the center of the room. There was a group frantically discussing something. Some were human form, and others were the silhouette of a human but only energy filled the silhouette. They weren't aware that I could hear and see them. There method of communication was so rapid, my human brain couldn't keep up. I quickly realized, they were discussing me. Someone realized I was aware and ripped me out of there. I abruptly woke up in my bed gasping for air. Every time I fell asleep, I'd end up back in that room. Only to be ripped out of there again, and gasping for air. I understood that I had crashed a meeting about me. I believe it was my spirit council.

Bill's picture

White Room

I found these comments after googling white room. I woke up in this room once. I don't remember much, unfortunately, but the image has been stuck in my brain for over ten years.

I remember waking up and I was lying on something that was also white. It was about the size of a single bed, but I don't think it was really a bed. I think there were other 'beds' in this room or space. Maybe a line of them to either side of me? I have a distinct recollection that I was not alone, and there were at least two or possibly more other people I sat up, or tried to, and as I did a kind female was there and she sort of soothed me and encouraged me to lie back down. I have the impression that we had a conversation, but I don't remember any of the words.

I wish I remembered more, but that's about it. I felt like this female being knew me. I want to say that she was human, but I feel like that isn't quite right.

Anyway, this memory or dream or memory of a dream has never left me, it seemed very real, in a way that I can't describe. I am happy that other people have had this experience. Maybe that place does exist outside of my mind, if only in other people's minds, but I want to believe that it is out there somewhere in a tangible way. Thank you for sharing your experience, I know it has been a while, but it really did give me a bit of hope.

Guest Elizabeth's picture

White room

Hello! I'm so glad u shared ur experience. I keep looking for more information about this white room but I haven't found any answers or others stories about it. I literally the other day told myself to stop using my time n energy on trying to understand what I/we experienced. Then today I got an email with ur experience! Luv how the universe works! Lol reading what u wrote I have instant chills (validation of truth) :) I haven't been back to that room but maybe cuz I was looking n trying too hard. The information here between the 3 of us, is really the only information that feels real that I can find. If u know of any other places I can look into will u please let me know? I know this white room exists. There are too many similarities. Dreams might stay on mind all the time but most of it fades away n details change or are gone completely. But this white room is definitely a place we have all been to. Okay I'll say bye for now I'm just so excited my thoughts are faster than my typing n I can go on n on about this lol thank u again for posting ur experience here, u definitely made my day n opened a door that I thought was closed forever. I feel as if we are supposed to know something specific about this room. The universe is bringing us together for a reason. There are no accidents :)

Elizabeth Visitor's picture

White room

Hi! Thanks for the reply. I live north of Houston TX, what about you? It's so great to have someone to talk to about this! I'm so excited to learn more!

Kim B's picture

White room

I’m REALLY north of Texas! I’m just south of Toronto lol. Ah that’s too bad! I was hoping we could meet and chat about this stuff. It’s so isolating to have experienced it . There aren’t many people you can tell. But after I read your experience and the point of view you had in it, I began to wonder, if maybe the lady that came over and was looking me over, maybe she’s on earth? Like how you were brought to fix someone on the table. Maybe she was too? Do you know what you were wearing? She was wearing a white robe.

Elizabeth Visitor's picture

White room

Hi! I can't believe I found you! I've been to that room a few times. As I read about your experience I knew what you were going to say next. The difference was at the start of my experience it was like I was being led into the white room (better than our color white can be) it felt like they needed my help with something. Sorta like I worked there just in a different department. I was standing next to the silhouettes. There were 2 or 3 of them around that table. All I could see of them was lower chest level but they were way out of focus, extremely blurry/swirling. I think now, like you said, I was seeing that energy. We were communicating. I don't know what was said I just know it was happening. I looked down at the table. Now, I don't know who exactly was on the table but you are the only other person I have ever come across that is aware of that room. And not just that, but you were experiencing it from the exact opposite perspective! I'm so excited! Lol when I looked at the table all I could see was the extra vivid and detailed pregnant belly of the person/human laying there. The top of the belly had already been removed and I was looking at the top of 5 tiny baby heads. It was so detailed I could see their veins right under the developing thin layer of skin. I have no clue what they wanted me to do. That was it. I woke up the normal way I wake up, I wasn't ripped out of this experience. When I woke up I had a deep knowing that I was physically somewhere else. The weirdest thing was how clean everything stayed. There wasn't any blood drops or anything....

The second time was similar to the way you felt in the room except this time I felt myself "come to" . I was very confused because I was just in my house. Also it wasn't the room, I was in a white hallway. I stopped walking trying to get my bearings and I saw a being in front of me. I felt like it was male. There was 2 doors on my right but without doors. Just blurry grayish rectanguls. The being hadn't noticed I wasn't following him anymore and he turned to go through the second opening. I yelled out " wait, wait! Angel!?" I don't know why I called him that but it startled him and when he realized what was going on he instantly went to that out of focus energy state and was coming towards me very quickly. Then I woke up, back at my house, very scared and in defense mode. It happened so fast!

It was a gift reading about your experience in the white room and even if we didn't share that dream state you still made my night!

Kim B's picture

White room

Wow! Thank you so much for your reply!!!
I’m feeling so many things rn. I’m relieved that I’m not the only one talking about visiting a white room. I feel validated. Thank you! It’s not the sort of thing you can talk about with most people. And I love hearing about your similar experience but from a different pov. I can’t pretend to say I understand what happens to me, I can only reach out and see if there are others with similar experiences. And I have!! But so far you are the only one who has reached out and shared your experience!
Can I ask, where abouts you live? I’d love to have a friend close by who shares my experience

Elizabeth Visitor's picture

White room

Oh my gosh I just got chills reading your reply!! I was thinking it was a white lab coat but now that you said that it could've been a robe! This is so crazy in such a great way! Lol

Kim B's picture

White room

I know! I’ve never heard of anyone else going to the white room! And after hearing your account, I’m beginning to wonder about so many things. Maybe those of us who are sent here as healers, also do so in the spirit world. That night when I was on the table in the white room, I was certain I had stopped breathing. The woman in the white robe who was looking me over didn’t seem to be doing anything, but was concerned and conferring with the others. But then whose hands grabbed my shirt and yanked me out of there? Ugh I’m sure I’ll never have it all figured out but it sure is interesting and something to think about , isn’t it?!

Gayleen Mendoza's picture

Seeing rooftops of what looks like a European place, not a city

Nice to see this blog. Last night was the 2nd time it happened. When I closed my eyes. On the left eye, i can see rooftops of a big place. No skyscrapers, red or orangish tile roofs. I was not moving, but the scene I am watching is moving. Like I am marvelling at the beautiful sight so I am looking laft to right. No vision on my right eye. After awhile, I opened my eyes and the light is on (night mode). I messaged my Aunt right away, she is into psychic stuff. I googled my experience and found out what it is called hypnagogic hallucination. Then tried to sleep again. The vision came back on my left eye. One person said, enjoy it. So, I did and I enjoyed the rooftops. But now, I am interested on what it means. The first time it happened, it was blurry, I had to think of what I am seeing, a coffee table and wooden sofa chairs around it. Oh, the ones we had when I was young. I thought maybe I miss my deceased parents and went to sleep.

Lately, I am interested in what I heard that we should be able to live all the different dimensions of life. What are the different dimdnsions and how to experience it? Maybe if I interpret my dreams, I wohld know. Thank you for this. I get to share my experience. And maybe explain what the rooftops mean. My husband said when he came home from work, maybe that will be our next holiday destination.

Serendip Visitor's picture

hypnopompic experiences

I'm 63 years of age and about four years ago started doing yoga/meditation and for the last two years I’ve been getting regular hypnopompic visions in the early hours of the morning.

Typically theses visions happen when my sleep is interrupted, which could be anywhere between two to six hours after falling asleep and the room is still in relative darkness but never after first morning light has started filtering in just before totally getting up. I never have these visions during the day.

I am absolutely certain that I’m awake when they happen, quite a number of times I have awoken my wife to tell her about what I’ve just witnessed. I don’t do that a lot now because she is not that impressed to have her sleep interrupted on a regular basis.

The visions always move towards me and often stop momentarily when adjacent the bed and sometimes sharpening in focus at that point, they never move in a direction away from me. I have had them at our home and also other people’s places, (ie son or daughters’ home), so it’s not something specific to our physical address.

Sometimes my visions are in full colour, other times they are simply illuminated white/glowing images and occasionally shadowy objects. The visions are probably best described as images rather than animations. Most times there is more than one image, not at the same time. After having a vision, often literally just moments later, there is a second vision. Sometimes these seem related to one another and other times not.

I have noted, at times there is correlation to what’s happening in my life and the content of my visions and other times I can’t fathom a connection at all. The objects within these visions often seem to be metaphors. Like on one occasion, I had been deeply thinking about these experiences and wondering what they are all about. That night I had amazingly clear vision of what could be best described as a thinking man statue, however the skin was a coppery/bronze colour.

Another time I had had a conversation earlier that evening with my brother about our son and his wife and we were pondering whether they would have more kids, that night I had two visions…the first I couldn’t understand, it sort of looked like a handful of golf clubs, (I’m a passionate golfer), however the second vision showed me an infant in blue clothing, (a boy I assume). I realized while driving to work, they weren’t golf clubs in the first vision but were actually a handful of cooking implements. Our daughter in law works in a restaurant, (cooking and waitressing). The penny dropped, I had expressed doubts that evening whether my son and his wife would have more kids…the vision was telling me that they would and it would be a boy. I haven’t told my son and his wife of this experience however I have told my wife and brother. I guess time will tell.

When I first started having these experiences I was bit anxious on a few occasions but these days I look forward to them. I believe I'm receiving a form of information/awareness which is correlated to a deepening my meditation practise. Prior to getting these hypnopompic experiences I had had a couple of 'knowingness' events which hit me towards the end of a meditation session and shift to hypnopompic is simply a progression. My belief is that hypagognic and hypnopompic events are openings into other realms where our sensory perceptions grow beyond what we consider normal in our human experience.

Serendip Visitor's picture

this is all the spirit realm

This has been happening to me for many, many years. The thing is; sometimes I feel at ease, other times I feel terrified as if someone is in my room that is not supposed to be there. The "fight or flight" thing kicks in. I don't think this is an accident. I believe that there is a thin veil that separates us from the spirit world and some people can access this better, whether they want to or not. Last night, a man with a plaid shirt was standing next to me, walked around my bed and stood at my bedroom door for a tick prior to walking out. I yelled because I was afraid. I keep the lights on at night. No wonder kids are afraid of the dark. I believe that our bodies are reacting to something external, and the scientific research is reflecting the "results" of what we see/and or hear.
I just say a prayer and hope that it goes away sometimes.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Re: this is all the spirit realm

Hi, I just want to say that I've experienced similar things and they feel very scary sometimes. A spiritual intuitive advised me that nothing from the spirit realm can cause you harm unless you give them permission and that you can ask them to go away and they have to obey. So saying a prayer and hoping they go away is pretty right on. I've been trying to have more control so I don't enter panic mode but it is hard when you are half asleep.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Visions of people

I had no idea what this was, but am still confused by it. I thought I had entities in the past in my house, too many things happened and all happened after a fall down the stairs. At night before I go to bed I see many faces, or people in full form, but they look like they are talking or walking - in other words these visions look like I'm watching a video. There are so many different people, men women children. Some are crying and it is quite vivid. They sometimes actually come off/out of the wall and what looks like a bubble/orb comes near me while trying to sleep. inside of it, I can see the person who I may have just seen on my wall. Two white crystal cylinder shaped mists are on one side of me head and two on the other - which sparkle, every night. I have wrong intuition which is scary and I don't open up much to others. I'm not afraid of the silver crystal mists, but when I see all those faces, sort of spooks me. I see quite a few crying, one vision is of a little girl about 5 years old walking down a dirt path, like she is from the 1930's, But all the visions are in motion. I have never had the problem of not being able to move while trying to sleep. I have also seen a silver coil reach out from my mirror which attaches to me. So weird, I used to drink a some wine before bed so I could sleep and not see thesis visions. The white mists do not scare me, it almost feels like Angels protecting me. Is there ANY connection to the spiritual world rather than just hallucinations? I never hear voices, I never see "shapes" - just people! The videos are always in black and white, few have been in color. Could someone please respond and let me know if you have had these experiences? I have never been asleep when I see them, I am lying in bed and they suddenly appear. HELP! Thank you,

Ronnie54's picture

I have the same issue... im

I have the same issue... im only 20 and all i see are faces , the images are like flashs, like someone is clicking on photo's way to fast or the pictures move way to fast.. and its all in black and white.. i just had it.. i've only had 2 of these moments in the past 2-3 months..

David's picture


I have had similar experiences. The key to understanding why is that you go right into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep rather when you are deeper asleep. You dream while you are partially awake. You can affect this "dreams" and change them. There may be many influences regarding the content from your own life including lonliness. I have found there is nothing to be afraid of from the dreams, they are dreams, but you might want to do something giving to others, so you can share real things with others.
Departments of Neurology are now more familiar with Narcolepsy of which Hypnogogia is one symptom and there are tests for it. Concussions can stimulate Narcolepsy which appears to be genetically predisposed.

Serendip Visitor's picture

flashing images when trying to sleep/still awake


I"m a 41 year old female and my experience of many years is that when i close my eyes to try to sleep I see multiple clips pop up at the same time. Its like viewing multiple clips at the same time in a large screen, i hear the voices and everything is like in fast forward. It is scary and makes it hard for me to fall as asleep. I often pray for the images to go away and eventually it stops and i am able to fall asleep. I also tend to hear conversations not all the time but sometimes. It almost sound like im hearing two or more people talking on crossed phone conversation. I mention this to my husband but he thinks that I may just be tired...however when I am tired i fall asleep with no problem at all. It almost remain me of celebral from Xmen...I have no other way of describing it.

Any suggestions?

HannahG123's picture

Cerebral XMEN

Hi your description of Cerebral from XMEN would perfectly describe one of the paralysis states I have sometimes, Its like i can hear a million voices/conversations/creams/crys at once, and sometimes a million faces along with the nois.

Its terrifying and causes incredible amounts of panic, I really am scared to go asleep most nights because of it. Its not nice its terrifying!

But Yeah! Cerebral - Thats exactly how I would describe it!

Serendip Visitor cheryl's picture

i have dealt regularily with

i have dealt regularily with this since I was 21 I'm now 32 and im currently having sometimes 4/5 hallucinations per night still .Over the years i have seen and sensed some very malevolent things,huge deformed men,spiders,rats,jellyfish type creatures to moving stars, friendly furry things and geometric patterns and happy smiling spirit type creatures to name but a few. one of the most strange feelings i've had is that the creatures on occasion were just as surprised to see me.I can break my paralysis now i think because ive had it so long ive trained my body to move but cudn't expain how to be honest.It was described to me by a sleep clinic specialist doctor,that it is only a fault in the brain sleep mode like an on /off switch failure and i'm concious during a sleep phase when i shouldn't be.Well i've always felt its something more than that,but have to be satisfied with these evaluations of it.

Penny's picture

Flashing hieroglyphic imagery, invoking 'Jesus', etc.

Obviously, I have also had these experience which is what drew me to this forum. Usually it feels like hands are pushing at the base of my spine and I'm struggling to move but can't. I am not at all religious but felt compelled to call out Jesus Christ's name for 'help' and found that I was released from the grip of whatever it was. Last night it happened again... paralysis and the invoking Jesus' name. It felt like a struggle until I relinquished control and 'trusted' in the assistance. Then, poof, I was awake. Those debunking this as religious rhetoric need to understand that in the collective unconscious, the name JC would have been invoked umpeenth times in prayer imbuing it with hope, love, devotion, etc. So whether you believe it was actually some spirit of Jesus or not, the name itself has been ingrained with power over the Millennia and it is perhaps the positive thought power of this association that 'saves' the paralysed sleeper.

Also, when I awake I see the fast flashing images right in front of me as if they are external and I have no control over them. They are often tableaux that look like hieroglyphics or some simplistic visual based language like an ancient emoji (for lack of better terms). I don't understand it and am plagued with the fear that information is being uploaded into me to affect some kind of change, like a computer system being upgraded to perform higher and higher functions. I say 'fear' because it feels like I haven't consented to this — perhaps my spirit has? In any case, has anyone else seen the weird visual language? The first time it happened it looked like a Mayan or meso-American/Indian prayer wheel of sorts with writing and pictures on it. Then it looked like Hebrew or Aramaic. The latest, just looked like little crude drawings but in a line - like they were intended to be 'read' as text.

Carol Holden's picture

Hieroglyphic type symbols

I experienced this for first time a couple days ago. I know I was awake, but had just woken. The unknown symbols were quickly changing like flashing code. It appeared on the right side of a wall at the foot of my bed. It stopped and then started again twice. It was vivid, not bright or dim, in clear focus, each symbol separate but rapidly changing to a new symbol. All symbols were the same height vertically, and horizontally in rows about 2 f x 3 ft area, and about 5 or 6 lines of symbols were in the area. They were light green, and the light was not obtrusive but rather clear and defined. My room was dark, but a little bit of light was coming in behind my white solid wood horizontal blinds. This is the one and only time I have seen anything like this. I didn't feel a strong fear or a presence, but rather a strange curiosity. I could make out all the other objects and walls in my room. There didn't seem to be any noise accompanying this event/vision. Just plain weird unexpected, unprecedented, and unknown.

Alexandra's picture

For the last two months I had

For the last two months I had exact same thing, for a few times now. I wake up in the middle of the night and see with my eyes closed patterns in light green quickly changing. Not scary, but definitely something unusual :)

imthedude's picture

seeing while seeing and being awake at the same time

yo my man, ive just had this for the very first time, that i was able to see a moving picture right after i woke up. my dream ended in a chase and i ran away from police or something. right after i started running really fast in my dream i think i was facing a wall full of graffiti and i instantaneously woke up. even though i was awake i was able to see that wall full of graffiti very vividly and i saw faces on the left side of it. the faces kept switching but were always in the same place. this sped up and i recognized my grandmother all the other ones were kinda random but i think thats due to the fact that i meet lots of different people at work. then the eyes of all the people turned red like demons (lol i dont pay too much attention to that, im way too rational but its funny though so i include it in my story) anyways those faces kept changing and the wall started flickering, i wanted to keep that image going but the faces were changing too fast so i had to stop and then the picture dissolved and i only saw my bedroom wall. so anyways i found this super interesting cuz i was able to see another like video/moving picture/perception of the eyes while being awake and already seeing what im "supposed" to see, like the wall next to my bed.

im not spiritual or anything im just super hyped i was able to see while already seeing
that sh*t is fkn interesting

so anyone who knows what this is called? or whos had similar experiences?
but dont make it sound too sci-fi i usually laugh when i read those stories but no disrespect just funny to me

Jay's picture

Flashing hieroglyphic imagery

The symbols and words that look ancient are sigils. They are used to make contact with the 4th dimension. These are not hallucinations. They are real and are used by psychics to access other dimensions. Seek them out, and you maybe able to manifest whatever your heart desires. Good luck!

Serendip Visitor's picture


I experienced this once when I was only 5 years of age. At that time I was experiencing unusual sleep disturbances, the first was an apparition of a man clearly standing in my doorway. It was so real my father walked the entire house to confirm no-one had broken in and entered. Because I was so frightened and convinced I had seen someone in my room, my parents put me in bed with them. I very clearly saw what you just described as some kind of very bright, very colorful hieroglyphics in bubble (tablet) form streaming across the room; something that would resemble in today's terms as being foreign text streaming in a ticker tape, virtual reality fashion. It was so very clear and I was very much awake, I even asked my parents could they see it because it was an amazing experience, but I was confused by what it was and what I should be trying to understand. To my disappointment they claimed they could not and they too were perplexed by what it was that I so very clearly seeing that they could not. After that the images stopped.

That's not to say that's the end of my experiences, in fact it was just the beginning, but it was the last time I saw the "hieroglyphics". I've had many powerful experiences, both while awake and asleep ever since. Perhaps it is what awakened whatever it was inside my brain that allows these powerful images. Fascinating to saw the least!

Visitor's picture

Hi Penny, like you, I have

Hi Penny, like you, I have also experienced the unusual, foreign language writings, like in tablet format. Sometimes I also hear foreign languages being spoken. Sometimes I "know" their origin, but many times I do not. Like you, I also tend to project some of these images outside my mind (in front of me, on walls, etc). Like many on this forum, I also experience sleep paralysis (I always get the sensation that I have an evil presence behind me). I experience hypnagogic imagery the second i feel drowsiness setting in. Sometimes in a groggy state, but with my eyes still open, I begin to experience some of the hypnagogic visions. Seeing faces and strange people suddenly appear in my field of vision is always startling to me. Personally, I find all this very interesting (amazing where the mind can take us).

imthedude's picture


yo my man, ive just had this for the very first time, that i was able to see a moving picture right after i woke up. my dream ended in a chase and i ran away from police or something. right after i started running really fast in my dream i think i was facing a wall full of graffiti and i instantaneously woke up. even though i was awake i was able to see that wall full of graffiti very vividly and i saw faces on the left side of it. the faces kept switching but were always in the same place. this sped up and i recognized my grandmother all the other ones were kinda random but i think thats due to the fact that i meet lots of different people at work. then the eyes of all the people turned red like demons (lol i dont pay too much attention to that, im way too rational but its funny though so i include it in my story) anyways those faces kept changing and the wall started flickering, i wanted to keep that image going but the faces were changing too fast so i had to stop and then the picture dissolved and i only saw my bedroom wall. so anyways i found this super interesting cuz i was able to see another like video/moving picture/perception of the eyes while being awake and already seeing what im "supposed" to see, like the wall next to my bed.

im not spiritual or anything im just super hyped i was able to see while already seeing
that shit is fucking interesting

so anyone who knows what this is called? or whos had similar experiences?
but dont make it sound too sci-fi i usually laugh when i read those stories but no disrespect just funny to me

Marlene Martin-Smith's picture


I also have this condicton I expierience swirling colours and imagery like places and people I have not meet before I also hear family names being called out with warnings to be careful or congratulations. I do have a sleep disorder I have crhronic sleep talking . However I have experianced hypnagogia during day time as well I also see the aura around people the colours being the same as the colours in the hypnagogia experiance. As a spiritualist I always accepted this as a mystical experiance, and have enjoyed this experiance my doctor is now telling me that it is stress and has arranged appointments to help me I am not brave enough to tell him that I think it's mystical so have agreed to go along with this , I also work in mental I'll health Iand I know how this can be treated. Marlene inverness scotland

Wendy's picture

Hallucinations while awake

Thanks for the interesting blog post and comments. Just two weeks ago I had my first daytime experience of what I now understand to be hypnagogia. I was in Kauai on vacation and had hiked into the waterfall on the Napali Coast with a casual friend. While we were sitting by the falls having lunch, I started having hallucinations. It was like dozens of flashes of scenes that went by so quickly I couldn't really grasp what they were. At first I thought I was just remembering my dreams from the night before. But they just kept happening and in fact kept happening for about two hours. I was still awake, not sleepy and was able to function more or less. During this time my companion and I hiked back to our car. The hallucinations came and went but they were still happening. Although the hallucinations themselves were not scary, I was very scared. I didn't know what was happening to me. I thought I was having a stroke or somethng. After they finally faded away, I felt a bit drained and almost hungover. I was also extra emotionally sensitive. Only several days later did I realize that the hallucinations were exactly the same as the little flashes of dreams that I have as I am falling asleep and in that state between consciousness and sleep. Then I was able to do some research and discover the phenomenon called hypnagogia. I'm very glad to have a description for what I experienced, although I still don't have an explanation for what brought it on at that time, other than that I was very relaxed and in a beautiful place that also was very spiritual.

William Alexander's picture

response to WENDY


I am a retired anthropology professor, who studied under Michael Harner, a leading expert on shamanism. What I am about to say may not "cure " you but should be of interest.

It might be worth your while to read an article from the American Anthropologist back in , I believe, the 50's, by Anthony F.C. Wallace, about what are called revitalization movements, in which the case is made that in societies in crisis, waking dreams on the part of an individual lead to personality transformation for the individual and a reduction of stress in the rest of society. Also, there is a related article by Julian Silverman, also in the American Anthropologist about Shamanism and Schizophrenia.

The point is that such experiences tend to receive negative reactions in our society, but in "primitive" societies are respected and lead to good things.

Wendy Francis's picture


Dear William,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post. I am not looking for a "cure" for what I experienced; I only want to understand and learn from it. I had a look at Wallace's paper on revitalization movements. Thanks very much for the reference.

I continue to be puzzled by the fact that the images or hallucinations themselves were not meaningful because I don't remember any of them. It is simply the fact that I had waking hallucinations that is of interest to me. Someone told me that it was a sort of initiation into that world that exists between the conscious and the unconscious. What I'm mostly curious about is whether or not I can tap into that world again in a way that increases my understanding of myself and the human condition.


Serendip Visitor's picture

Relieved I'm not alone and have a name to this horror.

I am so relieved to see that I'm not alone, I heard the word Hypnagogia from a doctor today and went to look it up. Although a sleep doc said I might have narcolepsy I don't have the episodes of sudden sleep or muscle weakness. Sleep paralysis and terrifying experiences however. All my life. I will tell you about some of the most terrifying ones I had:

I wake up in my bathroom thinking "what am I doing here?" so I move to my living room, I noticed that I was floating and not walking it terrified me. Then in my living room something started to spin me in the air and threw me into a wall ( I remember thinking "ouch it's going to hurt") but it didn't...I am not a religious person but I was so terrified that I started praying real hard, I saw a yellow beam of light and was back on my bed, unable to move and hearing an eerie whisper in my ear, couldn't understand what it said.

the second one was when I heard someone unlock my door and get into the apartment, I asked "who is it?" He said ( the name of my ex) except my ex didn't have a key...terrified I closed my eyes and heard it come near me and lay down in my bed, beside me. I was so scared that I just kept my eyes closed untill I guess I fell back to deeper sleep.

I sometimes sleep in weird positions, I woke up to see a hand above my head- then i realized that one of my hands was beside me the other under the pillow. It wasn't My hand above my head.

I could keep going telling all the horrific things I've experienced. Sometimes I feel like I'm zapped my electricity when I wake up and unable to move and hear a buzzing sound. Once I heard a woman say "You know I love you"- with a playful tone etc;

The most important part of all this though..I often dream that I'm in alternate realities, worlds just like ours but I know they're not ours. I also know some people there that I don't know here on Earth. I also have had some premonition dreams, some silly some more serious. Examples: The night before going to my driving school the first time I had a dream that I came there and was told " Sorry we forgot to put you on the schedule for the computer, you will have to wait about half an hour" - The next day the very thing happens. Or most recent I dreamed that my sister got beat up my her b/f. they never had physical fights. I called my mom and told her about my dream and she said, "that's exactly what happened"... I had some more dreams like that but they don't happen often.

I am grateful that I at least have a name for all those scary experiences.

Trent Farmer's picture

I could have written your

I could have written your post. Some of what you describe is OBE, Out of Body Experience. Also referred to as Astral Projection. Totally understand the alternate reality dreams. Mine look exactly like consciousness so I'm fake out that its a dream and like you, I know the people there and sometimes confide in them that I have a suspicion that I'm dreaming and laugh and say, "Are suggesting I dont exist!"

macewan's picture

Astral Projection

You are having OOBE - astral projecting.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Ordinary Dreams

These come to me as just normal dream experiences. This stuff happens to me every night but the difference is I'm not scared by it. I relish in being able to float/fly, for instance. remind yourself that you can't be harmed. Prayer is excellent. being religious isn't important -it's what it means to your subconscious.
people spend years training to achieve what you naturally have. but I suppose, they don't have the fear towards it, and that really is the only problem. the problem isn't your brain: your brain is doing what it should do. The problem is how you relate to the experience: the problem is the fear.
Encourage in ordinary waking life: instances of Trust, Letting-go and standing up for yourself. these will filter through to your subconscious, and (hopefully) ease the panic in the hypnagogic experiences.
rather than say "God, take it away from me" say "God, give me the strength to endure"
that, afterall, is courage, and courage the antidote to fear.

Pomodoro's picture

Sleep paralysis is the 'holy

Sleep paralysis is the 'holy grail' of astral projectors. It is a special condition which allows one to experience astral projection (out of body experience, oobe). So, believe it or not, many try to achieve it deliberately. They do this by lying very still on their backs and not moving at all and waiting. The paralysis takes 15 or so minutes to achieve on average and takes over swiftly when it occurs. It is best achieved after having slept first. Because you know not to panic, you can try to move the astral body and explore. They say the 'evil' presence is often felt at first, but eventually dissapears as your fear of it diminishes.

The way to get out of sleep paralysis is to change your breathing, it is apparently the only thing you can still control. By doing this the paralysis soon goes away.

Why do people see or sense demons instead of angels? The reason is stated as being because the closest astral plane to us in occupied by lower spirits and the angelic beings are in higher astral planes which this technique of projection does not enter.

Know that by lowering your fear during a paralysis, the incubus loses power. Know that you will soon move again and that the thing can't hurt you. Dont talk to it but command it to go. Make yourself feel powerful during the paralysis.

Try not to sleep on you back and don't concentrate on breathing etc as you drift asleep, just daydream about fancyful things.

If you hear voices during the day when fully awake, well then it is not hypnogogia, it could be schizophrenia or if you dabbled in some esoteric stuff like Ouija board contact ,and soon after you hear voices - possibly a spirit, which you invited to bother you. I'm not religious but am not arrogant enough to think that something else could not possibly exist.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Yes, that's exactly what I do

Yes, that's exactly what I do , insitictively, I command it to go away. The problem is..some of them force so much fear and terror into me that I wake up gasping and terrified and afraid to close my eyes again. I did have the positive ones however, very few but when I had one of them I've experienced emotions I didn't know existed, hard to describe. I also woke up happy and rejuvenated after those.

Dave from Wheeling's picture

Great Site

7 years ago I was having lunch alone at my favorite Chinese Buffet, and I overheard a conversation at the table next to me. Two guys in business suits, one was explaining to the other how he woke up last night to find Tolstoy sitting at the foot of his bed, and how proceeded to have a conversation with him. He described a few more scenarios and went on about how this kind of experience was common for him. Under normal circumstances I would never interject myself into a conversation between two strangers at a restaurant, but this guy seemed to be describing my "freak-outs", as I have called them most of my life, and he seemed to have some insight about the nature of this phenomenon. So I did walk over to the table and talk to the gentleman, and that was the first time I had ever heard the word Hypnagogia. I finally had a proper name for my freak-outs. As soon as I got back to my desk, I Googled the word, and found that there was not much out there in the way of definitions, examples, or blogs like this one.
Every once in a while, I do another search to see if anything new has popped up. Tonight, I found this blog, and I just wanted to say, great blog, and thanks to all who have shared their stories. Reading through a bunch of them tonight, I'm struck by a few things, especially that others use the same exact phrase as me, calling these episodes, "Freak-Outs". Anyway, I've written too much already, I won't launch into examples of my own, maybe some other time. I basically just wanted to say thanks to all of you and to the blogger, and to reiterate what so many of you have already said... you're sure as hell not alone.

Mo's picture

Not sure what is

I'm 16 right now and for past few months (maybe more than a year, don't remember) I have been having strange dreams, that I am able to control to some extent and remember what I think is the whole dream. Over the course of my childhood, I would always see imagery when I wake up from sleep. Sometimes very unclear ghosts dancing or a single person with greater detail. The one I remember the best was an army man coming to my bed and sitting on it and then I tried calling out to my dad (like he was my father), but I couldn't.
Now in the past few days I have been waking up to weird imagery in front of me, usually like a transparent threaded cloth, waving in front of me. I also think I see a face for a short moment, but I might be denying that, because it would creep me the heck out. As I wake up, it's caused by a sound. Now I keep trying to sleep, but I get this feeling of decreasing or increasing in size (don't remember and I think this relates to something else, it isn't like somebody laying down on my chest, which happens to me maybe one every 2 weeks), sometimes followed with a sound. In addition, when I close my eyes I see loads of imagery, zooming in and then leaving. The last one I remember were stone faces and I tried focusing on them and then these darker faces mixed with black, white and red popped out. Now I am extremely paranoid, I check my closet every night, I am not sure if it is caused by my dreaming, but it doesn't help when I see this stuff at night. Right now I am writing this after waking up several times in 1 hour 30 minute timespan.

Disturbing's picture

Sleep disorder or...

It's not exactly comforting to know others feel what I do because I would rather a solution lol

When I was younger I had an imaginary friend, I'd sleep walk, my parents would catch me standing infront of things talking and they actually changed the lock on the front door so I wouldn't walk out(they kept the key in their room). As an adult the sleep walking, the imaginary friend is just a funny story. The thing is As I grew older it all went away but it was replaced with something that's worse. See as kids nothing really creeps us out because we are innocent but as adults it's scary stuff. So, it began...sometimes I feel my chest warm and tingling, my heart racing, im fully aware im not asleep but im not awake either. feeling the presence of someone behind me. Waking up to shadow in front of me, sometimes I get pissed and tell it to just go away. Last night I caught myself saying "really? This s#it again? Go away!" sometimes I know I'll slap at the figures. I don't know if I actually do it or dream I do but it sure feels real. The reason I linked in my childhood experiences is because what if this is something other than dreams or sleep disorders. For a long time about 2 years while I was in a relationship all activity seemed to calm down as my partner slept next to me. A few times I awoke to a dark figure in front of me but I didn't freak out (maybe cause I felt safe my partner was laying next to me?) but now I sleep alone and the fear is back. Is it fear of the dark? Is it something more? I think not having an answer makes it worse.

Mo's picture

I am too scared to touch the

I am too scared to touch the image in front of me. I usually move to see if the image follows with me, to make sure I am imagining it.

Brooke's picture

To: Sleep disorder or...

I hear ya. I had similar experiences as a child. I didn't have an imaginary friend, but I would just see people that would smile and/or wave at me. I would wave/ smile back and when I asked my parents about it- they saw no one. I slept walk as well but only on rare occasions to my knowledge. It's strange you talk about it leaving you alone when someone is in bed with you because that happened to me as well when I was with my ex boyfriend. I slept fairly well, in fact. The problem I have is that Im not sure I accurately remember all instances in vivid detail. The ones I've mentioned on here are ones I have written down immediately after... I feel our memories (at least mine) seems to alter things a bit as time passes and it's quite frustrating. The roommate that I mentioned in one of my earlier posts actually went as far as to be hypnotized- she believed that if she were in an "unconscious" state, she could more accurately remember what happened. She truly believed that there was some kind of entity in our apartment...she believes that it was some sort of ghost/demon and according to what she told me her therapist said- her mind remembered a dark, shadowy figure that seemed to be looking directly at her but she couldn't see it directly.

In recent experiences, I can't remember seeing a figure- I just hear and feel it.

It's entirely frustrating. I would like an explanation as well. I'm also shootng for a scientific- logical one.

Serendip Visitor's picture

hypnogogia, meniere's

Your explanation of magnetite crystals in the brain is fascinating to me. I have experienced hypnogogia all of my life. Most of the time it is extraordinarily terrifying...the images I see. Occasionally I will see the most intricate and beautiful patterns. I have taken to drawing some of these images. When I wake up, it is hard for me to distinguish a dream from reality for a period of time. This can happen whether I force myself to wake up immediately, or sleep through the night.

I have also experienced sleep paralysis. When I was a little girl, I thought I was haunted. (silly, I know) It can, however, be easily interpreted that way. Especially if you see a "shadow figure" or see a presence that takes on the feel, look and sound of a human person.

I have experienced vertigo when falling asleep at times as well.

I have noticed a correlation between intensity of dreams, intensity of vertigo, and intensity of awareness when there is a thunderstorm on its way. I am wondering if the change in pressure triggers something in the mind. Perhaps I am extremely sensitive to changes in weather and it causes a physiological response?

Just some thoughts

gagan's picture


i thought i was alone into this so never really expressed it to anyone around me...been having this experience for a long time...once i heard someone calling my name(like my grandmas voice whos been dead for the past 6 years)..back in 2006 a zombie like hand(completely white)slapped me on my face...scared me to death...then once while sleeping i felt as if someone whispered into my ears..although its scary i have started enjoying it in a weird sense(i know its not a pleasent experience)but all of u will agree to this it does make us a stronger person...all the trivial issues of everyday life seem to be nothing..i mean how many people experience this?but then again for some its otherworldy and some wanna get rid of it...anyways god bless all of us and let love prevail..