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Sleep Paralysis: Awake But Still Asleep

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Biology 202
2000 First Web Report
On Serendip

Sleep Paralysis: Awake But Still Asleep

Hiro Takahashi

A person may wake up and find himself unable to move or speak as if he is frozen. He also may hear footsteps, see a ghost-like creature, or feel someone sitting on his chest. Throughout the history, people considered this phenomenon as work done by evil spirits. However, the modern science can explain the terrifying event as a Sleep Paralysis.

A Sleep Paralysis is possibly a hereditary disorder in which one experiences very frightening seconds or minutes of total body paralysis with little respiration and eye movements (1). A victim in this state feels awake, but he cannot move or speak (2). In addition to the immobility, the common symptoms include feeling choked or suffocated, hearing strange noises like footsteps and voices, seeing beings or dark shadows, and feeling an existance of someone in the room (1). Although these symptoms often direct the victims to believe in ghosts, mistransmission of neural signals in the brain causes Sleep Paralysis. When a person sleeps, his brain sends signals to inhibit any muscle contraction (3). If he comes into consciousness before the brain sends signals to activate muscle contraction, he cannot move his body, and consequently, become "paralyzed"(2).

In order to understand how a body becomes paralyzed while the person is awake, it is necessary to understand sleep cycles. In a mammalian sleep, the brain activity undergoes two different states called non-REM (NREM) sleep and REM sleep, which differ very much from wakefulness (3). NREM and REM sleep alternate cyclically through the night; in human, about 80 minutes of NREM sleep starts a night of sleep, about 10 minutes of REM sleep follows, and this 90 minute cycle is repeated about 3 to 6 times during the night (3). During NREM sleep, a body produces few movement, but the body has capability of tossing about in bed and producing some other motor events, such as sleepwalking and sleeptalking (3). The cardiac-muscle contraction and breathing occur at a uniform rate, and the eyes move slowly (2). During REM sleep, on the other hand, heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure vary (3). The eyes move rapidly because most dreaming takes place in this period, and the sleeper probably "look" at the moving objects in a dream (2).

The brain's control over muscles during REM sleep points out that in this period, a body is normally in the state of total paralysis, called a "nonreciprocal flaccid paralysis" (3). Probably to prevent a person from "acting out" a dream, the brain sends signals to inhibit any muscle contractions (2). Although some peripheral muscles, such as the muscles of the fingers and face, still twitch, the large skeletal muscles become relaxed, or "paralyzed" as a result (3). Some evidence supports that the motor paralysis of REM sleep protect against the acting out of one's dreams. A patient who suffers from rare syndrome called REM Sleep Behavior Disorder lacks the normal nonreciprocal flaccid paralysis, and he acts out violent dreams during REM sleep, often with injurious consequences (4). For example, a 60-year-old surgeon dreamt that he was attacked "by criminals, terrorists, and monsters who always tried to kill [him]" and fighting against them in the nightmare, he was actually punching and kicking his wife who slept in the same bed (4).

A nonreciprocal flaccid paralysis during REM sleep is accomplished actively by postsynaptic inhibition of motorneurons (3). Although the exact process of motor inhibition is not clear, some neurotransmitters and hormones are known to generate the many components of REM sleep. Aministering physostigmine, an inhibitor of the catabolic enzyme, increases the concentration of acetylcholine within the neurons in the pons, making it possible to artificially generate and start REM sleep in the middle of NREM sleep (3). Carbachol, the cholinergic agonist, produces a period of REM sleep in cat when directly injected into the pontine tegmentum (3). The hormone melatonin, a "master hormone" (5) that mainly controls circadian rhythms, also seems to play an important role in enhancing the REM state; the level of melatonin secretion by the pineal gland reaches its lowest during REM sleep (5). Such neurotransmitters and hormones probably activate or inhibit the activity of second messengers, which then activate or inhibit the third messengers, and so on till the last messenger inhibit the synaptic transmission or cause hyperpolarization of the motorneurons. And if, for some reason, the nervous or endocrine system continues to release the neural inhibitors, a person may experience Sleep Paralysis as he enters awakefully into or awakens directly from REM period (2).

While the modern neuroscience can describe the state of Sleep Paralysis as some errors of the neural transmission in the brain during REM sleep, a person who has seen or heard ghost-like figures/voices may easily believe that eveil spirits fully controlled his entire body. However, the images or noises, which the victim believes that he has seen or heard, are most likely hallucinations; and hallucinations, too, can result from the brain activity. In the 1960's, the Canadian neurologist W. Penfield introduced that electrical stimulation of the temporal lobe can cause the auditory hallucinations in the wake state (5). The buzzing or ringing sounds in the ears and other auditory hallucinations are closely associated with the activity of the auditory cortex and involves the temporal lobe (5). During the early period of sleep paralysis, the activity of the temporal lobe increases significantly, sometimes inducing hallucinatory sense (5). Similarly, the visual cortex generates internal visual stimuli, causing the victim to "see" terrifying figures during the paralysis (5).

How an episode of Sleep Paralysis induces visual or auditory hallucinations is still not clear, but it seems to have a significant relationship with anxiety (5). For anxiety is a neurocognitive event closely related to both psychological and physical processes, the extreme anxiety or panic may cause the release of several different signal molecules that trigger all kinds of physical events (5). A person experiencing Sleep Paralysis feels mortal fear or extreme panic, and hence, the brain generates and releases internal visual or auditory stimuli, producing hallucinations.

Also, hallucinations during Sleep Paralysis may happen, for one keeps dreaming even after some parts of his brain wakes up directly from REM sleep. Since the nervous and endocrine systems continue to release the neural inhibitors which sustain the paralysis, it may be possible that those systems keep releasing the neural activators that stimulate dreaming. Thus, a person continues to "see" the images and "hear" the noises produced in the dream that he has just had in REM sleep from which he has awaken.

Understanding more neural concepts of Sleep Paralysis, some researchers now hypothesize that a very rare condition called Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS) may closely relate to Sleep Paralysis (1). Upon the death, a SUNDS victim produces no body movement even though he experiences a myocardial infarction and strong breathing difficulties and should straggle in agony (5). The death may be caused by the extreme muscle atonia during Sleep Paralysis, which is so severe that even the cardiac muscles and the diaghragm paralyze (5).

Until I started researching on this subject, I have believed that the total paralysis of a body is due to an evil taking absolute control over the body. However, the interactions between neurons in the brain can explain this seemingly mysterious phenomenon in a scientific way. Although the explanation is not complete yet, for there are many unclear processes about Sleep Paralysis, the current hypothesis appears to reject the possibility of ghosts on this matter. Of course, it is impossible to completely disprove the existence of "spirits", "minds", or "God" affecting one's behavior. Nevertheless, like Sleep Paralysis and SUNDS, many or the mysterious conditions and behaviors which are only explained in supernatural terms probably result from brain.

WWW Sources

1)The Evil's of Sleep Paralysis

2)The Body During Sleep

3)Basics of Sleep Behavior

4)REM Sleep Behavior Disorder: A Neurologic Dissociative Sleep Disorder

5)Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis



Comments made prior to 2007

I have been trying to figure out what was going on in my sleep untill i read this.Now i am happy to know what my body was expeiencing. It's quite scary your first couple experiences of sleep paralysis but now i'm gonna stay calm when it is happening to me and try to get my own understanding of the experience ... Jeremy, 21 March 2006


I have had sleep paralyisis at least once per month for the last 8 years. I am 29 as of this writing. I just had the experience about 1 hour ago and thus has caused me to do reasearch about it on the net. I noticed that many Dr.'s contribute this to anxiety, stress and other factors. My question is ... why is there always an evil presence in that concious yet body is still asleep phase? Today I heard a loud static sound, and opened my eyes to a spider crawling all over my arm. When I prayed to God, or said His name (Jehovah) the spider would start to disappear. I finally went thru my mental prayer when I awoke. This leads me to believe that it is more of a spiritual occurence, because I never have positive images while in this paralized state. I know there are many things in which our ancestors thought it was demonic rather than scientific, only to find there was a scientific explanation. However, I think this is different and cannot be simply written off as "scientific". There is not enough proof to show that it is scientific.

About a month ago I had another episode of sleep paralysis and I saw a small presence in the room with me. It was dark, and I could not see it's face (I am getting chills typing about it right now). My question is, why is there always an evil presence not only associated with my episodes, but so many others I have read about? ... Abel, 24 August 2006 


i was thinking it is evil who do that during night but now i find out why. I am suffering from sleep paralyze possibly every nigh spicily when i have dinar ... Salah Nasser, 28 January 2007


I used to have this sleeping disorder when I was a child.  It has come back once or twice with adulthood, but otherwise, it is in the past.  I used to, with great effort, move my hand to my face and pull an eye open, which would wake me up, but sometimes the struggle was too much and I would go on into a deeper sleep. 

Since the brain can do this to me, can it also cause me to get migraines just as I am about to wake up?

It seems, as I have discovered, if I get less than 4 hours sleep a night, I do not get migraines.  If I get 6 hours or more, it's about a 90% chance I will wake with a migraine.  Later in the day, I get an hour or two nap and that is the routine as it works.  Doctors just sort of treat the migraine and don't get into the sleep thing I have.  I take MaxAult for the migraines when they do get me.

I woke one time, and just as I woke, I felt this white-hot needle going into my head... bingo.  A migraine in 5 seconds.  That is how they can occur.  I wake with them otherwise.  I figure it my brain doing things it shouldn't.  I have a clean bill of health otherwise.

Thanks for your time.  Have a good day ... Jay, 11 February 2007


I have a question, and hope someone out there has an answer, it has been months and I have thus far failed to find one.  Has there ever been a record of anyone receiving the effects of sleep paralysis without having been asleep?  The reason I ask this, is a while ago, having not slept in a few hours, I was sitting at my computer, and it seemed to have happened to me. Within seconds I was too tired to hold up my own head, and my breathing got very difficult. Then I began to feel a sort of dizziness as my limbs lost feeling, and dropped to my side. after this, the dizziness turned to near blindness. I could see, but nothing would focus, and everything I tried to look at seemed to dart around like a mosquito. By this time I had no feeling in my entire body, could move nothing without quite a bit of concentration, and I could barely breath.  My mother heard me try and make out some kind of cry for help, and found me there spilled into my computer chair. She rolled me to my bed, and poured me into it. Within about 10-15 minutes I had regained everything I once had, but my sea legs did not ware off for another ten or so minutes.  I went to the emergency soon after. I had an E.K.G. and a C.A.T. scan, with no results, and I piss less in a week then the amount of blood they took that night. After basically telling me I was lying, the doctor told me that my symptoms did not fit anything at all.  What I do know, is I have been researching the issue ever since, and can only base my problem on Sleep Paralysis. All the symptoms match. And again, my question....Has there ever been a record of someone under the effects of sleep paralysis without ever having gone to sleep?  I hope you can shed some sort of light on this subject, as it,...well, it freaked me the hell out, and no one has been able to answer me!  Thank you for your time ... Mitchel Henderson, 7 December 2007


I used get this "evil paralysed me" feeling when i was paralysed and usually saw a ghost. i tried to shout or move but no sound escaped my mouth and couldn't move at all. it happened again yesterday and was almost convinced that ghosts/evil spirits were getting the better of me. But, me being a practical and logical guy, erjected this theory and started researching on this phenomenon. I came across this research paper on Sleep Paralysis. This greatly helped me in alleviating my fears. And next time i "see" a ghost during sleep paralyses, ill just laugh at it ;-)  Thanks for the research ... Siddarth, 10 December 2007 


Simon's picture

So you think anxiety and

So you think anxiety and things being on your mind in general make it more likely.

Makes sense. Might prevent you fully relaxing and sleeping properly hence problem. Worrying it might happen again.. that then makes it more likely.

If praying, meditating or anything else comforts you it may help by reducing your anxiety.

Serendip Visitor's picture

This has been happening to me

This has been happening to me also for years. Dont sleep on your back it makes it more likely to happen. I once saw green eyes staring at me. Sleeping on my side or belly makes it happen less. Whatever is the cause praying helps. I also notice it happened more during a period of my life when i was doing bad things...partying to much, sleeping around, abortions....since ive became a better person it happens less.

Simon's picture

Heh. Its weird isnt it. I

Heh. Its weird isnt it. I think its just your imagination working with whats youre perceiving.

I had two there. I felt slightly heavy but sat up with relative ease and had no worries at all when I built up some nerve and concern then faced them.

Maybe thats why I dream I'm like a titan sometimes lol.

Funny that. One of the kids told me the other day he had a bad dream. Dreamt I was a giant pale monster chasing him. Does sound like my idea of funny ;)

stella's picture

sleep paralysis

I just had a sleep paralysis. It was horrible.i just woke up and check the internet out and i was glad im not the only one. I couldn't move and it felt like im trapped in something and i was aware i'd see creepy creatures because i used to read some articles before this happened. i heard a man's voice at the back of me saying something about hurting me or taking my body and it really hurts, my back felt like its been drilled. i had a hard time trying to wake up but thanks goodness i woke up.

Tseleng's picture

Its really scary but it can be helped...kinda

i have been suffering from Sleep Paralysis for all my 31 years of life. it happens about once or twice a month, dreadful fearsome state of no control while your brains picks up all sorts of signals and senses having a field day exaggerating the Sleep Paralysis with extreme panic attack.

through breathing exercises and meditation, the fact that i am conscience at that moment means i can calm myself down and talk myself to either opening my eyes or moving at least one limb.

1. i have learned that its better to start by trying to move a small part of your body.
2. since its mostly anxiety/stress induced try to speak to yourself in positive terms and if you have the heart for it make a joke of it all
4. Stay calm and understand that it will pass, and move your focus away from the SCARIER SYMPTOMS of inability to breath properly which only makes the hallucinations worse since you will be stressing more/ adding to your anxiety.
5. Meditation and/or prayer provides a sense of reassurance (whatever brings you peace of mind, that's all that matters)
6. Not completely sure about this since Sleep Paralysis is not really a scientific or spiritual phenomenon...but what works every time without doubt is finding a consistency in my breathing and the pattern from that breathing allows me to count myself down from 10...and most of the time it works within seconds PLUS the hallucinations are more controllable so to speak.

Thanks to this page...i feel normal again which will mean less and less SLEEP PARALYSES attacks.

Serendip Visitor's picture

sleep paralysis

The sighting of a dark spirit is seen during the paralysis as well as been seen by the people in the same house I am trying to create a blog to unite all the people in prayer to remove these entities every Thursday at noon its not set up yet lack computer knowledge

Serendip Visitor's picture


so im a 20 year old ive been having the problem for years and still now present im scared because what if we dont wake up one time what if we struggle and struggle to breath! How can i get help with this are there meds to help this?

Serendip Visitor's picture

Whys it scary? If every time

Whys it scary? If every time the purple figure reaches you, you can move... doesnt that mean you imagine it to be helpful?

Serendip Visitor's picture

Sleep paralysis

I'm a 14 year old girl, and I've experienced this almost every week encluding today. I can not move anything. I think I'm awake since my eyes open but I get so scared. Like this morning, I couldn't move, speak. I looked out my door and saw a purplely shadowy figure walking towards me. I got so scared. Then it got right next to me and as soon as it touched me I could move, I never went back to sleep because everytime I do when this happens it happens again. I am glad to know I'm not crazy. But this really is a sleep disorder? Thank god people experience this too

Serendip visitor 's picture


I'm seriously glad to know that im not the only one and that it is scientifically proven and not mythological I wish they had some type of way to take it away, or find ways to get out of the paralization stage Quicker Cuase I simply just to move my arms or legs n seems to work
but it is very hard and over whelming to do

Serendip Visitor's picture

cant move trying to wake up

i just woke up but i could move or speak at first i thought that the next door neighbors where making lots of noisse but then i thought is it day time then i tried moving i couldn't move i was stuck i tryed screaming and nothink came out i started to think that i was dieing but then i moved. and when i did the nois3e when away

Serendip Visitor's picture

Seems to be a great deal of

Seems to be a great deal of superstition around this subject. I say superstition as that usually fits with people each believing they know the reasons and cure yet none are logical or demonstrates any factual basis.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I cant say Ive ever tried

I cant say Ive ever tried shouting out JESUS. Never needed to. If he is indeed listening why should I bother him with things like that?

Assuming the whole experience isn't imaginary anyway, any being experiencing emotion is open as a rule to other emotions. I dont care if its imaginary or not. I felt fear so I gave unconditional compassion. Worked for me. Ive been seen as a "father" since and invited to a cavern where they look different. Surreal but dreams often are.

Simon H's picture

Lol. It would seem one mans

Lol. It would seem one mans definition of "not religious" isnt the same as anothers.

Simon H's picture


Lol. Theres no need for panic. Research claiming it can cause death is phoney and just a delusional persons imagination at work.

Think about it. How could any scientist attribute that as a cause of death. How would they know what was happening at the time and know of any physical problems that might cause death too. The whole ideas laughable. It IS vivid and it seems real becuase you feel youve woken. That inspires some people to get creative with it and overblow it.

Martins's picture


yeah you might be right,but no one knows anything about it clearly,think theyre just guessing ;)

Martins's picture

My Sleep Paralysis

Hi everyone,just yesterday,i came home from college,and i went to my room and i just lied down on my bed,and i fall asleep,and i experience My 2nd sleep paralysis in like 7 months,but this one was much different then the 1st one,so yeah when i fall a sleep,and then i just suddenly opened my eyes like half way opened,and my vision was just like extremely blurry,it felt like i was really really drunk,and i felt really confused,at that point i didnt even know where i am,and at that point i got a bit scared,but then my vision back on normal,but only then i realize that i cannot move any part of my body,except i moved my eyes a wee bit,and then after a few minutes i just fell back a sleep,but then after a few minutes,i had another one sleep paralysis,and then i was just looking a the sealing,and then my mum and sister came in my room and they sat down on my bed and they were talking to me and i answered to them(but the best part is that my sister was at school and my mum at work at that time,they werent even here at that time when i experience sleep paralisys,(but it felt soo real,like i would just talk with someone while i would be awake.) and that is not the end yet,after that,i saw(felt) that there was someone sleeping next to me,but only thing what i saw,was something black,nothing else,and at that point i got even more scared,and i felt like i tried to roll out of my bed,and i actually rolled out of my bed,but i just fell like a plank cause i could not move any part of my body,but then after a few minutes,(i dont know how) but i realize that i havent rolled out of my bed,and then i just fell back asleep,and when i woke up,i started to look for some information what actually happened with me,and allthat happened in like 1 hour,cause when i went to my bed,it was 1pm and when i woke up properly,it was 5 minutes past 2pm... and that feeling,to feel sleep paralysis is actually scary,i would not like to experience it ever again. thanks for you attention,Martins.

Simon H's picture

Just seems real

Yeah I think it just seems real. Maybe its a trick of the mind. I felt like I'd woken up too. The deja vu things normal too. That feeling that youve dreamt it all before and everything in life was kinda as you shaped it or heading there. Just chemical.

Even if its imagination I just go along with it. Seen black figures which seemed hostile until I ignored the feeling and went for friendly. Relaxation followed and I think I slipped back into normal dreaming. The disguises fell away and behind them were scared kids. Sort of. All cool and good tho. The white figure I only saw the night before a relative died.

People get these things all sorts of times tho. Look at it this way. Im no monster out to get people. Despite that one of my kids told me he had a scary dream where I was chasing him (I do that for fun lol) but he was scared because it was dark and I was white and huge like a monster lol. Now if it were real that would make me one. But from my perspective Im normal. That means if they are real they are just like any of us and not really scary. Plus it'd make me a lot bigger so who cares. In the far more likely event its not real its just our imaginations playing out in our dreams.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I'm seriously freaking out

I'm seriously freaking out about this

Serendip Visitor's picture

ok so i have this dream that

ok so i have this dream that i cant get out of almost once a week and i been having for a long time. it was just once and mouth but they have not been getting better. i want to know what i can do to help them or stop them if there is a way? i have been to 5 doc and no one know wat to do with it. they have put me one stuff hoping that will help but it does nothing. im just so tired of having them and i just want them to go way. if you can help me plz write me back my email is or if u know someone that can help me. i dont care but it get to the point that im so scared to fall to sleep at night cuz i dont know if im going to have one.

lexi's picture


I just woke up from a bad dream! And i looked it up and my dream was i was dreamin about my bf meeting my gmaw then all of a sudden i heard hey like i felt someone say hey in my face felt like it was coming off my blanket and then i couldnt get up to turn on the light! I wanted to scream but couldnt!! Finally i just lefted my self up and got up!! I felt like i was gonna die laying there!!:/ should i go back to sleep??

Jonathan Garcia 's picture

A long night ahead

The most Ive ever felt from being at this stage is a hard grip on the side of my stomach as if something is grabbing me. I begin to hear screams and lower pitched voices, that dont make any sence at all. Dark shadows linger around the room when my eyes open I try to fight back but it really just is pointless because all that you most likely do is mumble words out your mouth along with crys for help. Sorry your alone at this point and theres no way out until you finally snap out of it sure seems like forever once youve experianced Sleep Paralysis.

Can anyone tell me if its safe to wake someone up at this stage?

jesse iniguez's picture

I often sit to myself in

I often sit to myself in silence wondering what the truth really is.... Have we been lied to for hundreds of years...or as the human species are we just to paranoid to trust others.... I dnt know whats next after death or what was before life..i have my beliefs... But all i know is the present.. and that dreams help escape a reality that weighs deeply on my soul....i lay down at night and realize were a civilization based purely on he said she its hard to separate truth from fiction and facts from opinion..cuz over time they eventually become the same...i understand why ppl say everything is an illusion and that the way we perceive everyday life is simply a mirage that manifest in order for our conscienceness to understand...maby we formed that thought so that the truth could become an illusion as well...ppl for some reason never want to see or hear the truth i consider it to be because wat we make up in our heads usually help numb the pain better..thats a bitter embrace that should always be avoided....its better to see the truth...because it eventually helps with moving forward in life".... Jesse Iniguez

Simon's picture


This is a very common occurence. The fact that many people are religious certainly doesnt diminish the chance of them reporting this. Indeep I would believe the opposite. These are people who are brainwashed into following a religious institute, usually from a young age, and taught to accept things on blind faith and question nothing.

Dont get me wrong. I believe there was a man known as Christ but I believe religion was used by many including the roman empire as a weapon of control. His demise makes it more likely he sought to encourage free thinking and threatened the power of the chirch leaders. Those romans then Intervened. There are so many inconsistencies in the scriptures it suggests manmade. Even the world is now known to be round and have no corners.

Esther's picture

It's always during nap

I'm 31, musician, writer, Christian, traveler, skeptic and thinker, yet open to possibilities. I've read some of the comments. I wasn't aware of the scientific explanation regarding this "experience". Thank you. I just had one, that I recall, I've had these episodes 5 times. First one 8 years ago. What I notice here it's the tendency to happen more in nap times. All of my episodes have been during a nap. I've had the same description: evil presence, noises, frustration just knowing you're 'aware' but you just can't move. This last experience I just had was quite interesting. I decided to took a nap in my dormitory, I was dreaming I lose a teeth. I told my husband in the dream I couldn't do that music show because I was lacking a teeth! I take care of them (in reality). Then on our way to the doctor (in the dream) I hear voices, kids playing, dancing, singing, outside my door, then someone taking a shower, I could vividly hear the water falling and became anxious to know if that was my husband who came early or someone else who found his way in! I wasn't frightened by those noises, not even by the possibility of hearing water falling, I became scared when I conciously decided to get up and couldn't. Inside of me I began to move my hand fighting that feeling and hitting the pillow that was over me, I struggled for about 2 minutes (long) I gave up, then again tried and said "leave me! In the name of Jesus" haha! I tell you this, I'm Christian but I've never been this "evil is everywhere" kinda person, I never yell his name just because I feel "strange"..Or fearful, but as soon as I said Jesus..I stopped fighting and suddenly got up. Maybe, our religion shapes the behavior of our brain. Our beliefs have a lot to do with what we see, what we perceive as real in a dream, whether it is evil or angelic, it's everything stored in the mind, and the mind has the power to liberate us from this "evil" act.. because we knows and we've been told such a spiritual name has a power against it. (Well it worked in my case, just yelling 'Jesus') .. I also thought while trying to get up, that maybe that's the same feeling people in coma suffer. They try to get up...but just can't.

Simon Hughes's picture


I cant say for sure if its real or not. There are potential explanations but they are only potential. There may also be something more far fetched behind it.

If its real, the scares are for show. My experience was that they are lost children. Well thats the closest I can do for descriptions. They dont look entirely human but behind the scares they have feelings and need caring for.

The white figure I only saw the night a relative died unexpectedly.

Serendip Visitor's picture

No one usually seems

No one usually seems physically harmed...

Maybe dragging is just meant to mean get up now. Go this way. Wake up. Maybe near your mouth.. speak. I need to say something etc

Serendip Visitor's picture


Heres another possibility. They really are spirits trying to reach out to us. Perhaps we are scared because we are taught to be.Perhaps they arent evil but we feel the charge of their energy and their frustration trying to communicate to us. Perhaps they feel trapped or like none will listen

Serendip Visitor's picture

I've had many experiences of

I've had many experiences of this in my life and I am only 23. There is this one incident in which I will never forget and will remember vividly. I never have just woken up and couldn't move, I've been fully awake the entire time, or so it seems that way. I say this because as I'm lying there ready for bed I start to feel this sinking sensation in my body... Almost as if my body is falling asleep but I am aware this is happening and feel completely awake.. Never closing my eyes. Its happened so much that I can choose whether or not I let myself fall in to this bizarre state. I usually do out of curiosity. Anyways, as I was lying there positioned on my stomach I start to feel my body start to sink and right when I can't move anymore I feel an eerie feeling like someone is outside of my door. I look under the door and see someone walk past, due to the kitchen light being on, it felt like an evil presence.. So I start to attempt to shake my head to snap out of it but I felt like I was not moving. I kept trying anyways until finally my body jolts out of it... When I sat up I could still feel a presence in the room... I lay back down and start to feel my body doing this again and out of curiosity I let it again.... This time as I'm lying there I start to see the bed moving away from me like I was being lifted in there air. I could feel myself kinda floating there with my hands positioned by my waist but a couple inches outwards and not being able to move.. As I'm there I could feel a very strong presence behind me so bad that my goose bumps were stinging all over my back... Very painful... And in my mind and heart I knew.. Just knew that it was the devil behind me... I can't explain the intense presence I felt... And I knew if I was able to loom back I would see him.... I attempted to shake my head rapidly again and felt nothing but I kept trying anyways and eventually snapped out of it... Next thing I know I was on my bed and the eerie presences was completely gone! Don't know what to make of it...... But I believe that some people are able to see and feel the spiritual side and that that feeling is just me being aware of the spiritual realm... I truly believe this because if we have a spirit as well as a body then sometimes we will have interference between the realms... Almost like static shock... Maby some are just more prone to this..... But then again what do I know

David de Souza's picture

Omg now that I know I still

Omg now that I know I still feel scared. The same thing happend to me when I was about 9 in school. I was taking a long nap then I wanted to wake up but I couldn't move for like 5 seconds then I woke up. It happened to me again after 4 years but while I was going to sleep. I felt something putting pressure on my body then felt like vomiting then it went back down. I was trying to move but I couldn't. I was so terrified and the room was so dark. Then I moved my hand and I woke up completely. Now I'm afraid to go back to sleep right now. I don't want this feeling again but now that I know I still feel scared. I think it was because I couldn't sleep. I kept waking up. Trying to go back to sleep then I fell asleep but my eyes closed and awake. Then I opened my eyes and I couldn't move. Note:don't close your eyes trying to make yourself go to sleep. I discovered that it could trigger sleep paralysis. Try it if you don't believe me

Serendip Visitor's picture

My sleep paralysis experience

I was about 20 years old, 7 months pregnant, and living with my husband at my step dad's house. I was sleeping on the couch and it was about 11am or so. My husband and step dad were at work, and I was home alone. When I "woke up", I couldn't move any part of my body. I felt scared and wanted very badly to just wake up. While I was paralyzed, I saw a man walk up to me while I was on the couch. He was kind of white. Long gray hair, older, and he moved very slowly toward me. I was frightened by him. He came up to me, crouched down beside the couch right next to me, and put his hands on my hands. It was the scariest feeling I have ever felt. He didn't do or say anything rather than that. After what seemed like 2 minutes or so, I just woke up. My hands were by my sides, and I could still feel a phantom hand on mine for about an hour afterwards.
The weird thing is that the man looked a whole lot like my step dad. Right down to being very tall, thin, and having long gray hair. I don't know why it terrified me so much. He was almost transparent as well. I have only told a few select people about this, because I figure no one would believe me. I'm not really sure whether to believe it's scientific, or the work of something evil. But it surely was scary!!
Also- a side note. I don't recall hearing any noise while this was happening. A lot of people claim to hear a static noise, but I heard nothing.

I'm so scared please explain -Allysa's picture

Sleep Paralysis

okay so just early this morning, my body felt frozen. I couldn't move and I felt so scared. My grandpa is very religious and he told me whenever I get scared I should pray. I was trying to pray with my mouth open cause I thought there was something in my room. I wanted it to go away, my mouth wouldn't move, I could hear the voice inside my head saying my prayer but my mouth just closed shut. I opened my eyes and I thought I saw someone standing, just glancing at me at the side of my bed. I tried pulling my blanket over my face but my arms wouldn't move either. In my head I saw myself putting the blanket over my head but really I didn't. I then fully woke up and was so scared I looked over my bed and there was no one there. I pulled my blanket over my face and started to perspire. It felt so scary, it felt like how people are describing "evil spirits" I know that's just part of it but it's still heart dropping. Even now that I am awake, I'm afraid that something is just going to pop out of nowhere and scare me or haunt me please reply to me. I need to be fed good information on this, something that won't make me not want to go to sleep or move around my house alone.

Joyful's picture

I have your sleep problem

I have your sleep problem also BUT without the scary images. Fear is a very powerful thing and releases chemicals in the brain. You are not alone and you do have the power even in your sleep state to talk to yourself. Your brain will listen. I am a Christ follower I do believe in demons and Angels. But more importantly I believe in the power of prayer. It always always helps me to try to to myself and tell myself it is just a dream.....I am usually feeling very I have been in a fight but if I go back to sleep I wake up not too long after. Look up about fear and what happens in the brain. I am a teacher and I always teach my students every year that they are in control of their thoughts feelings and emotions. I teach a monster lesson about the connections we make in our brains. Just as learning to read makes connections so do your greatest desires...hopes...dreams...and fears. When thoughts are dwelled on they will create a connection in your brain. The more the use the stronger the fatty tissue around the connection. This actually helped me when I was pregnant and for some reason I was REALLY FEARFUL of someone coming in an harming me. I actually quit watching the news because the fear was becoming stronghold. I was having nightmares frequently. Since becoming a teacher and understanding how the brain works, it has helped me be a better teacher #1 but it also helped me with my sleep problem. It helped me conquer my fear of being in a coma and never waking up....of suffocating....etc. My youngest child also has this and I have helped him over come the fears when he is stuck in his sleep. It really works to build good connections. It's not an accident that even the Bible says to think on good thing...lovely..pure...right...etc. I do believe fear has always been my greatest I still have to conquer it even now especially since my kids are growing up and there are so many scary things that can happen. Believing and practicing Faith...hope...and LOVE have really helped me. So I hope it will help you scare away the fears that are overwhelming you in your sleep.

Renee''s picture

Sleep paralysis

Hi Allysa,

I have had this particular event happen only 2 times in my life both within the last 14 months. I responded to Yvettes post which might help you out. I just want you to know it is not something that happens frequently, I believe it requires quite a bit of energy on the spirits part.

My first experience was when I was taking a nap, deep in sleep, in the state I was in, I saw a shadowy figure, I was then pulled with extreme force and shoved off of the bed, I was being dragged at such a fast speed. It felt almost as though I was falling but it was pulling me. I tried to scream for help, I was paralyzed, I could not yell or move, it was awful. The entire event lasted maybe 3 minutes and eventually I felt the release. I was able to yell, or so I thought but it was only a whisper. I was so exhausted after the event. I was in my bed and hadn't actually been tossed off the bed, however this is what I saw and felt every bit of it. I am a frequent, very vivid dreamer and this was NOT a dream. The lingering negative energy was just awful.

Please know this is not a frequent event, don't be afraid. Ask your angels and spirit guides for help. I am not a religious person, I am very spiritual and have seen both sides of the spiritual realm. They are real and when you call for their help they will help you.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I had this exact same

I had this exact same experience last night some thing some one grabbed me around the waist and my arm and tried to pull me off my bed I couldnt scream it was just a whisper felt so real.... cant see faces though just a long thin dark arm....

Simon UK's picture

Wondering if it's partly

Wondering if it's partly genetic. I have had these dreams but they weren't able to hold me down. I've had no fear of the black figures since the first time, and no fear of the white figure since that first time either.

Yet one of my kids said the other day he had a scary dream where he couldn't get up...

It may be playing before bed that doesn't help. I sometimes chase em and make "nom nom" noises in their ears or cookie monster impressions lol. He said he dreamt he woke up and saw me but I was really big and white and looked like a giant or monster and ran over to him like I was going to eat him.

Simon UK's picture


Kinda the same. Mine started out scary, until I kinda forced myself not to be scared. That changed it all and I've had no worries since.

Shame it's not an option to sleep near someone who has it regularly. I'd love to know if it has any influence.

Yvette's picture

Sleep paralysis

Tonight my daughter (17 yrs old) called my cell phone crying, asking me to come to her room quickly. She explained to me that she woke up and looked In the mirrior and saw her face disfiguring, everything started turning orange slowly, and heard a growling sound in her ear. Are these really signs of sleep paralysis? It is extremely frightening. I've never experienced anything like this myself. She said she felt the presence of someone in her room. She says it happens a lot and is starting to feel like it's the devil.

Joe's picture

sleep paralysis

I share your daughter feelings. I am 42 now and last night i had my third occurrence in my lifetime. I don't believe everything scientifically because there is just something wrong and it sure feels very real. My first time happened to me as a teenager while i lived with my parents. My relationship with my father was terrible and i had a bad experience one night…weird thing is that my brother was awake during my event. when i woke up scared and trying to catch my breath my brother stated he felt something going around our bed. My second occurrence (when i was 23)i had a bad dream and in my own dream i realized that the power of prayer is real as it woke me up. Last night it was happening to me again and again and every time it would happen i would pray and then wake up only to go back to sleep and it happening again and again…it must have been about 3-4 times…not sure. I am not fanatically religious as i don't go to church regularly but having seen both sides of the coin a little too close for comfort i do believe in higher power…just pray and move on

Serendip Visitor's picture


Hi Yvette,

I am a mother of 2 boys (ages 7 & 10) thank God they do not experience this, I do, however. Your daughter is not experiencing sleep paralysis. I have been sensitive to energies, entities, etc. since I was a little girl, some are wonderful, others very malicious. One knows when there is something malicious around, I compare it to feeling a hot summer breeze on your skin (good) to very cold and damp weather on your skin (negative), one knows the difference. This is the same thing.

What has worked for me is praying to God, or whatever higher being she believes in. I ask to be surrounded in white light and call upon the angels of white light. I also recommend smudging which is an ancient Indian ritual of burning sage sticks around the house and saying a prayer.

Negative entities feed off of fear and negative energy. Remind her they cannot hurt her, only scare her. I hope this helps you.

Here's a great prayer I like:

The light of God surrounds me
The love of God enfolds me
The power of God protects me
And the presence of God watches over me
Wherever I am, God is

God Bless you both!



Serendip Visitor's picture

I thought I was the only one!

I thought I was the only one! It happened to me today during a test in class. I put my head to take a nap. I couldn't move or anything! Just move my toes. This is pretty scary. Am I the only one that is haunted by this?


Somone email me? I would really like to talk to someone about this.

Laura Martinez's picture

omg.....I thought I was the only one!

Excuse me I kno u dont kno me I dont kno u but im experiencing the same situation im scared to go bak to sleep.....honestly I really dont want to sleep at all this experience happened to me 3 different times last night! Then I research it n it says it can cause death im freaking out I feel like crying sometimes cuz the visions are too real n horrifying!

Martins's picture

No way

You serious,3 times,i bet you were just terrified. where did you find out that it can cause even death? :O yeah i know that feeling when everything feels just soo real,but its actually not. i would not like to experience that feeling again. and i think that sleep paralysis only happens then,when youre just really tired and when you wanna get a wee nap,cause you have work later on or something,and you just dont get a good enough sleep,cause before that time when i experienced sleep paralysis,i did not had a sleep for like 20hours straight,and i tried to get a wee nap cause i had a work after like 3hours,and i think my body was just too tired to wake up or something. thats my guessing.

Serendip Visitor's picture

sleep paralyses

Hi, I saw your comment, and my heart goes out to you. I am 32 and have been having my episodes since 13. In the last 3 years, my episodes have decreased from multiple times a week to almost none. My secret that I found worked for me (and trust me, I am not religious AT ALL) is than when this is happening, it seems the episode gets stronger and carriers the more you fight. It's going to sound easier said than done, but like I said it worked for me. ... Okay: if you find yourself in an episode, don't fight, relax, breath and say Our Lords Prayer. Within your mind fight off the attack with calmness and a prayer. Again, I am not a religious freak or anything, but I truly believe that these episodes are caused by bad energy and the only way to fight it is with good energy. If you need to talk more, I am more than happy to help:

Martins's picture


Hi,i dont think that would be that easy,cause when it happened with me,i just could not think of anything,except that (what the hell is going on) i was just like too confused( out minded). but i might try it next time if it will happen with me again,what i hope it wont tho ;) And i dont get it,why everyone thinks that there is some evil spirits or something,cause i dont believe that,cause its obvious that its just happening in that persons head whos having a sleep paralysis,like (hallucinations).

Serendip Visitor/ Tina (guest)'s picture

sleep paralysis

I have never did any research about this until today. This has been happening to me since I was 14 years old I am 24 now... There was a period of time where it didn't happen. I can say over a year or longer and just a few months back I am starting to experience this once again... I surely do not feel that this is only a matter of the brain. I don't think it makes any sense that you see unexplained scary figures or a ghostly presence or hear bad things. Why if this is happening can't we see or hear something that is not demonic or ghostly or terrifying?? That is what does not make sense to me? It happened to me today about 3 or 4 times upon waking up and falling back asleep this morning. It always happens right when I am about to fall asleep this time I saw a black shadow doing movements right at the side of my bed. Other encounters I would hear demonic voices and laughter. I am terrified when this happens to me because sometimes it is for longer then usual and i wonder if i will get out of it or die that way? This is troublesome and terrifying still for me even though it's been happening to me for so long. I think that it is way more matter then just the brain. If anyone else agrees feel free to reply to me.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I have had this experience

I have had this experience since I was younger, my first time being around 4th grade when I slept on my stomach for the fist time. I had always blamed it on sleeping on my stomach since that's when it most often occurred and so I refused to lay on my stomach afraid it would happen again. I began sleeping on my stomach again when I passed out while watching a movie and realized it was something more than that. It starts with my eyes opening then I can't breath and as I'm struggling to roll over or to move I realize nothing is responding to my request. After I realize what's happening I start with picturing my hand. I picture my fingers moving as I try to wiggle them tips first. I've found this often helps wake me up. Not sure why, then I move to wiggling that arm after it is moving I push myself up which awakens me. It's a hard process of course but I've found it's the best way to fix it because you know what's happening. My mom and grandpa say it happens to them too and it scares all of us. I worry Everytime because it can't breath I can't really control my blinking either. It doesn't happen too often anymore but it still worries me. I've told my friends when were stayin at eachothers houses about it and that if the here me breathing hard to push me until I wake up. I haven't noticed in any other comments but does any one else feel as if they're throat is almost swollen or has something around it? Does anyone know of any way to prevent this?

Simon's picture


Lol. Brain scan wont help.

Sat around for ages. Bundled in and treated to laying in a clanking tube with what can only be described as someone crinkling a crisp wrapper in your ear and brushing you gently with cotton wool. End result. Nothing found.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Further question about sleep paralysis...

I always have this this kind of experience since I was young until now. As I read your article I came to think of one question. Recently I’d I experienced sleep paralysis again but this time I was able to move and I felt relieved, but deep inside my mind I keep asking myself am I really awaken? But actually I am still dreaming and I am not aware that I am in much modified but very familiar place, very different from my actual place. Only to find out that I was still steal dreaming because I was the second time. This really happened to more than twice...

Madam Pomfrey's picture

We need help. I guess

Brain scan or something.