It’s October. That means it’s spooky time.
I was on the Facebook group “Creatures of the Night” recently, and someone’s story reminded me of my own experiences with sleep paralysis. From what I understand, this phenomenon happens when your brain does not fully shut off during sleep. In my personal experience, it has happened when I have been severely sleep-deprived.
College. When I lived off of vegetable beef soup, coffee, and Pepsi. Side note–I do not remember ever drinking water during college. Anyhow, I was getting 3-4 hours of sleep on a good night, because I was an obsessive-compulsive nerd who loved to study. Between classes, I would go back to my dorm room for some much-needed rest.
In a prior dorm room, when I had a roommate, I had a few strange episodes of sleep paralysis. While sleeping, I felt someone sitting on my bed, watching over me. The feeling was that the entity was benevolent. I asked my boyfriend at the time if he had stopped by my dorm room when I was sleeping. He had not, which makes sense. Benevolent is not a term I would use to describe him.
A more frightening episode happened a few weeks later. I was napping, and I felt like someone was clawing down the length of the underside of my mattress. A voice was repeatedly hissing, “Get OUT.” Not the best experience. That nap got a 0/10, would not recommend.
I eventually moved to a “closet single” dorm room, and the strange experiences took weird to a whole new level. While I slept, there were once again two entities, one good, and one bad. Like Yin and Yang, they were black and white, and they encircled me. In one episode, I was the little spoon, and the white entity was the big spoon. It seemed a genderless, but protective, force.
Keep in mind that during these experiences, I was partially awake, but could not move when I attempted to. I could hear conversations of my college colleagues in the hall outside. I could hear good old Todd practicing his trumpet upstairs. I was frozen, but I could see my dorm room quite clearly.
The malevolent spirit terrorized me during other episodes. Once it appeared as a giant curtain, dark grey, at the foot of my bed. In the most terrifying scenario, it transformed into a tornado-like cloud and forced itself into my mouth.
My friends wanted me to bless the room somehow. But I knew it was not the room, but my mind, that was haunted. My angel and demon followed me to my parents’ house. I simply was not getting enough sleep, and my brain went wonky because of it.
It has been many years, and many medications, later. Thankfully, this does not happen to me anymore. My child did have an episode where he saw a monster with a top hat come out of his closet, so I am wondering if sleep paralysis was at play.