My Experience With Sleep Paralysis


By a guy who wants to remain anonymous so people won't think he's totally nuts.

About 10 years ago I went home to visit my parents and after a rather large Sunday meal, found myself quickly napping in my father's recliner.  I had been asleep for several minutes when something suddenly startled me and caused me to jump from my chair - but I couldn't.  It was a very peculiar sensation.  I was unable to move a single muscle.  Needless to say, suddenly becoming totally paralyzed isn't a fun experience. 

In addition to my new found lack of mobility, I had the strangest "buzzing" sensation coursing through my entire body.  It was on my skin, ringing in my ears, and setting my brain on fire.  BZZZZZZZZZZZZ. I felt my teeth chattering at the same frequency - thousands of times per second.  Somehow, I was able to look across the room to see my mother reading a newspaper.  I tried to scream.  I tried to wave.  I tried to do anything to capture her attention.  All was to no avail.

Suddenly I found myself aware of yet another presence.  It's rather hard to explain how exactly I came to know that there was another being in the room with me.  However, my knowledge of this presence was more certain than if I had seen him/her/it with my own eyes.  It was there..looking at me, interested in me,  and somehow behind what was happening to me.  I panicked but was unable to do anything about it.  Then I fell back asleep only to wake up an hour or so later with a bizarre story to tell.

This experience remained a mystery to me for quite some time.  I knew I hadn't had a mere nightmare for the experience, while surreal, had a very distinct quality found neither in real life nor in dream life. 

Finally, about two years later, it happened again.  This time, I was totally alone and found myself looking directly into the black coal eyes of a gray alien.  Like my first experience, I was pretty shaken, but the amazement of seeing a little man from another planet somehow lessened my fear and made me pay more attention.  I don't exactly remember all of the details, but this event was nearly identical to the first.  The buzzing, the paralysis, the feeling of not being alone, and this overwhelming "paranormal" air.  And, like before, after being inspected by the spaceman, I quickly fell back into sleep.

Although I'm very skeptical of most paranormal phenomena, I actually began wondering if there wasn't something to all the alien abduction stuff I'd read about on the Internet and had seen on television.  I was so inspired (made nutty??) by this event, I fired off a letter to one of the leading abduction researchers to get an official expert opinion.  Not surprisingly, I was told that I had likely been abducted by aliens and that it's a very common thing.  I was given a list of books (most of which I'd already read before the experience) and told to stay in contact should anything else significant happen.  That wasn't much help.

Well, time passed - and over the next few years, these experiences became much, much more common.  During these incidents, I witnessed more aliens, a few demonic figures, an old man (that looked like the old man from the movie Poltergeist.with hat and all), and even an angelic figure complete with a transparent and flowing white gown.  And, as in the first experience, each was marked with the electrical buzzing sensation, paralysis, etc. - The common denominator.

As even more time passed, I read more and found a name for what was happening; Sleep Paralysis .  Somehow, giving a name to an experience suddenly validates it in your mind.  "Oh, so that's what is is," I thought.  But I was still without any tangible answers.

According to some researchers, there are chemicals released in your brain during sleep, which acts as an on-off switch for your muscles.  This is a precautionary move by your body so that, when you dream of wrestling a cow to the ground, you don't wake up to find yourself choking your wife with a pillow.  Without this on-off switch, they say, it's likely you'd act out in real life that which you're dreaming.  Sometimes, however, it's possible to awaken when the on-off switch isn't working.  You're suddenly awake and you can't move.

Based on what I've read, this is common enough that most people will have this bizarre experience at least once.  A much smaller percentage of the population, however, will experience episodes of sleep paralysis fairly often.  After dozens and dozens of the occurrences, I'll take a wild guess and say that I'm part of the latter group.

As episodes of sleep paralysis became more and more common, I began to recognize them almost right from the beginning.  With practice, I was no longer totally disoriented and was able to begin focusing on what was really happening.  While it sounds a little silly, I was able to embrace the experience and, in a sense, push through the initial barrier until I was actually able to play a bit.  Getting to this point was a bit of a hurdle, but doing so allowed me to prolong the buzzing for up to ten minutes at a time.  Sometimes it felt very harsh, almost violent.  Other times, the feeling came on slowly and I was able to ride it like a slow-moving escalator.

Unfortunately, I've not been able to do much beyond prolong the episodes of sleep paralysis.  By prolonging, though, I radically increase the opportunity to have the bizarre associated experiences such as seeing aliens and traveling out of my body.  Today, this is almost common practice for me.  With some planning (see sidebar), I'm able to have these weird experiences almost as often as I like.  Without planning, I average about one episode per month.

So, Do You Really Believe You're Seeing Aliens?
Although I have had countless experiences suitable for any supermarket tabloid, I have to admit that I'm a bit reluctant to believe I'm really leaving my body and that I'm really seeing spacemen.  Don't get me wrong - these experiences seem incredible real.  As I said earlier, I am very certain I'm not merely having a dream.  I know this.  However, I can also say that the sensations are somewhat different than my waking states.  Perhaps I am having a bona fide paranormal experience.  Most likely, I'm experiencing some still relatively unresearched state of consciousness.

It is interesting to note, though, that people throughout history have been claiming experiences identical to mine.  Likewise, there have been numerous myths and lore built around sleep paralysis.  In former times, before Star Trek and Whitley Strieber, there was the Old Hag who would sit on the chest of the hapless victim, slowly drawing their breath.  Then there were the demonic incubi and succubae who, while restraining their prey, would often add a sexual element and attempt to mate with the experiencer. 

In modern times, we have the aliens who restrain the abductees with their mind rays (or whatever other alien technology they choose to use), often removing genetic material (sexual element).  Sometimes there are the shadow people who sit just beyond the edge of vision and watch.

The theme is nearly identical throughout all of these myths - the characters witnessed, more often than not, are a product of the experiencer's culture.  In my case, as someone who has a wide interest in the paranormal, I have witnessed almost all these archetypes.  Since I read about aliens, demons, etc., it's only reasonable I would see them in my sleeping hallucinations.

It would be really nice if I could tell you the absolute validity (or lack thereof) of these fantastic adventures, but I must confess that I'm clueless.  I can help you get there, but you have to decide if they're real.