Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
My Concept Of Grey
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
The Power of the Gorgon
August 3rd. 2014 ...
Are You a Natural Witch?
You Have to Believe We Are Magic...
July 27th. 2014 ...
Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?
Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle
The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls and Boys
July 20th. 2014 ...
Being an Underage Wiccan
Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition
Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches
Thoughts on Ghost Hunting
July 13th. 2014 ...
A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...
From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
My Wiccan Ways...
July 6th. 2014 ...
Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds
The Lore of the Door
Leaves of Love
June 29th. 2014 ...
What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?
Are You My Familiar ?
Invocations of the God and Goddess
Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene
Results Magic and the Moral Compass
June 22nd. 2014 ...
Witchcraft vs. Religion
Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?
June 15th. 2014 ...
Becoming Your Own Wise One
Canine Familiars: Role of the Alpha
June 8th. 2014 ...
Moral Relativism and Wicca
Paganism in Cebu, Philippines
June 1st. 2014 ...
Rediscovering My Pagan Faith
13 Keys: The Wisdom of Chokmah
May 25th. 2014 ...
Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials
How to Work With Your Muse
Awakening to our Celestial Nature (A Free 8-Day Course)
10 Things I Love about my Sacred Work as a Public Witch
May 18th. 2014 ...
Finding the God (From Christian to Pagan -Part II)
The Medea Within Us All
Visits from the Departed
May 11th. 2014 ...
Breaking the Law of Return
Mental and Emotional Balance- I CAN Have it!
Karma and Sin
The Sin Concept
May 4th. 2014 ...
Embracing my Inner Goddess through Belly Dance
When to Let Go...When to Hold On
Goddessy: Sorceress Speaks On Beauty
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Sleep Paralysis, Old Hag Syndrome, or Paranormal Activity?
Article ID: 14518
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,423
Times Read: 5,750
RSS Views: 12,206
Posted: April 10th. 2011
Times Viewed: 5,750
I just woke up. I feel the sweat beading up on my forehead. I am terrified. I know I am awake. I can’t move. The room is freezing. I don’t know exactly what time it is, but it must be somewhere between midnight and dawn. It is still dark.
I try to lift my head. I feel myself straining to lift it, but my head just doesn’t move. I open my mouth to scream, nothing comes out. A silent scream… just like in a nightmare… But I am awake – I know I am awake!
I try to sit up, to move my arms or legs. Nothing moves. I am consumed with utter terror. I am awake; this is not a dream. I know I am awake.
There is a heavy pressure on my chest, like somebody is sitting on me. I feel a presence, mean, evil, dirty. Was it Satan? A demon? I wasn’t sure. I wince inside, thinking that I am probably going to get hurt really, really bad. I am still consumed with terror. Again I try to scream. My mouth opens, but again nothing comes out.
I still feel the pressure on my chest, but it somehow spreads to my legs and feet. It felt as if someone has spread out full length on top of me for the sole purpose of pinning me down, so that I cannot move. The pressure increases, like there is the weight of two on top of me instead of just one. I strain to breath because of the pressure bearing down on my chest and lungs. The force has become greater. I feel tears trickling down the sides of my face. Time ceased. Had it been seconds or hours? I’ll never know. It seemed like forever to me.
Then it was finally gone.
I was in my early teens. The experience was in my childhood home, in my own bed.
Was it a dream? No, I knew I was awake… because the tears I had felt trickling down my face during the episode were still there when it was over… and I never experienced a transition of “waking up”… proof that it was not my imagination or a dream. It was REAL, and I WAS awake the entire time.
Many people experience episodes such as this, and it has been recently coined “Old Hag Syndrome”.
What is “Old Hag Syndrome”?
The Medical Community Explanation
The medical community explains Old Hag Syndrome as simply being sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is normal and happens every night during the REM stage of sleep. This is a natural protective function of the body that prevents people from acting out their dreams during their sleep and is called REM atonia.
Occasionally, something physically malfunctions and people wake up still in the state of REM atonia. When this occurs, it is common for the victim to experience horrific hallucinations such as demons, witches, aliens, rapists, intruders, etc. in the room with them. The hallucinations are very real and the person suffering the hallucination may be spoken to, threatened and touched… all while being paralyzed and unable to speak. The experiences of many people who have claimed to be abducted by aliens in their home have been attributed to sleep paralysis and the hallucinations it creates. The medical community is unsure exactly how or why the hallucinations and apparitions occur, and according to Stanford Sleep and Dreams, this remains one of the biggest mysteries in dream research.
The Folklore Explanation
“Old Hag” or sleep paralysis is a common phenomenon and described by almost all cultures of the world. Some consider it alien abduction, others the devil and his minions, others demons, or the one commonly used in the United States – the “old hag” who sits on the sleeping victim’s chest rendering him unable to move upon waking. This is often said to be a sign of an upcoming tragedy or event. “The witch riding your back” is the term used in African Culture. In Hmong culture the translation is “crushing demon”, “held down by shadow” in Vietnamese, “ghost pressing on body” in Chinese, “goblin or succubus” in Iceland, and similar translations from all around the world. The victim is paralyzed, unable to move or speak, and experiences various phenomena.
Many believe that these experiences are actually paranormal phenomena occurring, and not a hallucination.
So Exactly What Happened to Me?
I am still trying to figure this out. There is a little more to the story…
I never really told anybody about the experience when it happened because I was embarrassed, feeling that I let down my family and my church community. Being a young teen is very confusing, and often at that age we are spiritually immature and insecure. I was afraid to talk about it because beforehand I had been playing with an Ouija board… and it appeared as though I was getting answers. It was all fun and games until that nighttime episode. Then I was absolutely positive that God was punishing me in some way for “dabbling in witchcraft” and playing with the Ouija board. Maybe my punishment was demon visitation… or maybe God had just abandoned me for a while, and the demons crept in. My young, teenage mind struggled to sort through what happened and why. I was sure nobody would understand so I just kept it to myself and sought out as much information I could on God and demons. I never did run across anything about “Old Hag Syndrome” at that time, but did find many, many religious stories relating to demons.
So did I “open a portal” with the Ouija board? I couldn’t say for sure, but I don’t think so. I have never had another experience even similar to this.
Could it have been paranormal activity? Maybe. Several years later my brother had a similar experience in the same house. Also, as young children (much prior to my “Old Hag” experience) my brother and I had both seen a similar-looking apparitions in the house. Although they are skeptical about the paranormal, my parents have both recently told me of unusual things they have experienced – hearing strange breathing and seeing a white mist — things that would have frightened some people and have caused them to want to investigate.
Was The Experience a Sleep Malfunction or Paranormal Activity?
I guess I will never know for sure. I have no witness, no documentation. Either could easily explain what I experienced. The medical community can’t fully explain how or why the apparitions occur. Could this be because they really are paranormal? Or is it just some chemical malfunction in the brain that has yet to be discovered. Who knows! It could have even been a psychic experience, happening between sleep and waking state… when the conscious mind is resting and the subconscious has free reign to tap into other realms.
The search for answers to questions like this is the reason why paranormal and psychic research is so important!
We are only at the tip of the iceberg as far as reality is concerned. Science is an ongoing process, facts being updated daily as new theories are developed and proven.
It could be that the spirit world is much closer and more accessible than most of us can imagine. Maybe “hauntings” are not a rare occurrence, but a mere instance of us nearsighted humans getting a glimpse of what is going on around us all the time.
This is why I investigate.
Consider everything. Question everything.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Author's Profile: To learn more about LuminEarth.com - Click HERE
Bio: Becki Baumgartner is a founder and writer for LuminEarth.com, a Natural Health Consultant for Nature's Sunshine, and an Paranormal Investigator for Volunteer State Paranormal Research. She has a BS in Natural Health with a Minor in Herbology and is currently studying Rosicrucian Metaphysical Healing. Her main interests are Natural Health, Herbology, Permaculture, Energy Healing, Holistic Nutrition, Wild Edibles and Medicinals, Paranormal and Psychic Research, Metaphysics, and Mind/Body/Spirit Wellness.
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email LuminEarth.com... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2015 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).