It's one of the most terrifying experiences. Worse than any normal bad dream.
Here, people reveal their most terrifying experiences with sleep paralysis.
1. "And that when it whispered..."
I've only experienced it three times but my first time was the worst. I've never had any visual encounters but when it happened the first time I was laying on my left side and started to feel that pressure on my chest. When I realized I was paralyzed and started panicking, something whispered in my ear, "Just coming in to say goodnight." That's when I felt like something was pushing me towards the edge of my bed.
2. Waking up screaming is not an ideal way to start the day.
Sleep paralysis is, without a doubt, the scariest crap I have ever experienced and will likely ever experience.
That feeling when you're convinced there's something standing over you while you're trying with every fiber of your being to move any muscle is truly terrifying. I remember waking up wailing incoherently the first time I experienced it.
3. " I had no clue what it was so for a few weeks I was convinced that the house was haunted."
I had the sudden urge to wake up one night, and as much as I tried to open my eyes I couldn't. Couldn't move my body and I could only get my eyes open for about a split second. Each time I opened them I could see a figure getting closer and closer to my bed, until I think i woke myself up out of fear as I don't remember what happened after it got about 2 ft away from me.
I was 16 when it happened to me and I had no clue what it was so for a few weeks I was convinced that the house was haunted. I did not sleep well, or without a light on. It wasn't until I told my mum about it that she said it sounded like sleep paralysis.
4. I would never sleep again if I was visited by this demon.
I see mine about once a month, usually somewhere near the full moon (which is odd).
It starts out usually with me waking up. I can always tell what is about to happen so I try to scream and wake someone up to shake me out of it. If that does not work I try to move my limbs and force myself to roll out of bed and wake up. This typically does not work so I know its time for the visit. A shadow forms along the floorboards of my bed room and starts going up the walls. I can then feel the presence of radio/ T.V. static. The shadow starts to form into a demon similar to the early renditions of Slender man. He has no eyes or face just little balls of static were the facial structure should be. He slowly starts edging closer and closer to my face and the volume of the static rises and I can feel it very lightly shocking me. It then puts me in some weird trance by grabbing the sides of my face and screaming directly into it (this is the scariest part). The scream is so shrill I can't even describe to you how terrible it is. As this happens, the room starts to turn red and these giant arms start to form into long spikes. So while Im stunned/hypnotized it starts taunting me with the spikes rubbing them around my neck and heart etc. He then reaches up and stabs me directly in the throat, and I wake up.
5. Yeah, I wouldn't be scared of horror movies either if this had happened to me.
I actually have it fairly often, so much now that I realize when it's occurring. These days I just close my eyes and won't open them no matter what I feel or hear.
Doing this though doesn't force me to wake up and I still have to wait for it to end. I still feel and hear everything. Sometimes I feel like I'm being dragged somewhere or just constantly feel like something is touching me along with muffled voices.
Before I learned to cope with it I've seen quite a few awful things. Horror films don't really do anything for me anymore because I've already seen the most terrifying things I already could. Here are just a couple of the things I've seen (story continued on the next page...):
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-A little girl in the corner of my room staring at me. Then, without notice, she shrieks and runs up and starts choking me.
-Something banging and scraping on my bedroom door. I keep it locked at night because I have had ones where it opens by itself.
The worst thing is when you try to fight or call for help. Your voice doesn't work and your body will not respond. You just feel helpless. Ugh, I need to stop trying to remember these things. I'm getting chills.
6. "That sense of dread and pending doom scared the crap out of me."
I used to have sleep paralysis up to 10 times a night, most nights at one point. I would wake up with that familiar feeling of 'buzzing' or vibrating in my head, I would see flashed of light. That sense of dread and pending doom scared the crap out of me. I would even hear what sounded like english being said backwards. And obviously, paralysis.
7. "If I don't make every effort to move, I will be stuck like that forever."
I get this on a regular basis, but mostly when I nap, not when I go to sleep for the night. I have never experienced the "demon", but the experience is terrifying. I can see everything (or at least it seems like I can) but I am unable to move. It feels like if I don't make every effort to move, I will be stuck like that forever. I usually have to start by wiggling a toe, or a finger, and then keep that momentum going until I fully wake.
It takes an extreme amount of effort and if I don't keep the effort constant, I have to start all over again.
8. Cuddling is not always a comforting thing...
The worst one was while I was lying on my side with my back to the door and it felt like someone got into bed behind me. Under the covers and put their arm round my waist. Then it felt like they were cuddling into me and I could feel breath on my neck. It felt like they cuddled me for about half an hour. All this time I'm trying not to show that I'm panicking because it feels like I'm getting cuddled by a skeleton with claws. It was only about the second, maybe third time I'd had sleep paralysis, so I nearly had a heart attack when this thing feels like its moving in closer to kiss me behind the ear. Worst of all it whispered, "Not yet. You're not ready yet. I'll come back when you are." To me it sounded disappointed. It felt like it was silently telling me it meant that it was coming back when I was about to die. Scared the crap out of me.
9. Not all sleep paralysis experiences are bad experiences.
My "sleep paralysis guardian angel" was a weird experience. I'd been getting sleep paralysis on and off for about 18 months by this point so I could usually tell straight away when it was happening. At first I thought it was the usual demon things beside my bed, but when I looked properly I realized I could clearly see a man kneeling next to my bed smiling at me. It wasn't a creepy smile. More like a parent coming in to check on their kid. He looked like he was dressed in a 50s style suit and hat. He didn't say anything. Although I got the sense he was letting me know everything was alright and he'd look after me.
The strangest thing about my "sleep paralysis guardian angel" was that I felt like I knew him. Almost like when you see a relative you were around a lot while you were really young and then didn't see for years. If that makes sense.
10. It's bad enough that these nightmarish creatures appear without them also whispering creepy things in your ears.
I've had cycles of sleep paralysis for as long as I can remember and regularly see two different 'demons'. The hallucinations are visual, auditory and you can physically feel them at times. They have become more vivid as I've gotten older.
One is a tall dark hooded figure that always stood at the bottom of my bed.
My scariest experience with him was when I woke up one night with sleep paralysis and the big spooky hooded demon was standing right next to me (story continued on the next page...).
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His hood was covering his face but I knew he was watching me and I knew he was evil.
The second one I see is a smallish gremlin type creature that's got pointy features and is a browny green colour (very similar to the one in the painting but I had seen him before I had seen the painting or even knew what sleep paralysis was). He normally appears when I'm on my back and restricts my breathing and speaks in a weird whispery language.
I woke up once and he was crouching in the corner of the ceiling. When I looked at him he turned his head and looked right at me and smiled.
I woke up on my side once and I could hear him behind me, speaking in his freaky language and then I felt his snake like tongue going in my ear and making a slithery noise.
I can't tell how glad I am when I found out that there was a scientific explanation for it and that I wasn't actually being haunted.
11. I would be so scared of my mom after that...
The earliest one I can remember is with my mother in the room and she's sitting on my bed, her face morphs into a demon like thing.
12. Well, that's one way to cure yourself of sleep paralysis.
I used to have them as a teen and it would scare me so much.
But I started getting really mad and annoyed and just thought, "You know what? Screw it!"
After that, the next time it happened I mustered ALL of willpower to shakily raise hand and give middle finger to darkness.
Instantly went away and never had another.
13. Children or elderly people are always the creepiest.
Old lady sitting on my chest telepathically telling me I'm going to die and she wanted to watch but, she wasn't going to do it.
Pretty much, moment after moment of endless terror that someone was in the room watching me and plotting...
14. It's creepy how it can seem like it lasts for hours.
I have only experienced this a few times however the worst by far was for what seemed like hours this thick column of fire that spanned from my floor to my ceiling just at the side of my bed... Watching me.
Came round eventually and felt like I was suffocating.
15. "And then, you see them."
I was eight years old when it first happened.
You awaken in a panic. Something is not right, and you know it. Something is close. Something is in here with you.
You try to scream. But your mouth will not move. Soon you discover that you cannot move your body, either. All of the straining and the willpower only lets you blink, or maybe move an index finger, if you're lucky. There is no escape from this.
Soon you see them. Something in here with you. Something that isn't human. You try to scream for your mom and your dad in the next room, but you can't even make a noise.
And then, you see them (story continued on the next page...).
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If you could scream, you would do it now.
They don't walk. They glide. Moving over to your bed, they look down on you, their elongated bodies some horrific caricature of the human form. You know their intent is malevolent; you can feel it, sense it, even though you're just a child.
The stark white light of the full moon screams through your windows (is all of this light coming from the moon?) and their sick, long frames dance in front of it. Your sister is in the same room and you wish through hot tears that you could make enough noise to wake her up, so she could save you. But you can't do a single thing. One of them comes right up to your face - his giant black empty eyes right in your face - and puts his finger to his lips - oh god he knows I want to scream -
And that is the last thing you remember.
16. Suddenly disappearing has got to be one of the creepiest things a sleep paralysis demon can do.
I saw a shadow-man walking around my room, disappearing behind my open door. This was the scariest one I've had so far.
17. "There's no way of me knowing it's happening until after it's over."
My girlfriend has this and it happens once every few months. She says she sees shadows walking around or crawling on the wall toward her, but she can't move or scream. But she knows I'm there and can even tell me what I was doing while she was laying there paralyzed. She can sometimes tell me what I was looking at or that I was petting the cat.
It's creepy and scary, but there's no way of me knowing it's happening until after it's over.
18. The scariest creature in the Doctor Who universe.
There was a Weeping Angel in my room the other night, but I could not even lift a finger to save my life. It was the most horrific thing I've ever encountered.
19. And I thought kittens were always a good thing.
I saw a cat sized shadow creature at the base of my bed and it slowly crawled up on to my sheets and finally up to my chest. I felt uncomfortable.
20. "I felt a presence there in the room with me."
Imagine, if you will, waking up, and all you can see are tones. No colour. And then suddenly realizing that you're actually seeing the insides of your eyelids, and you can't even open them. And then, I realized that I couldn't move. Not one bit, at all. I couldn't even twitch a toe.
Normally, I would have been fine with this, but for one small, very insignificant problem. I felt there was a presence in the room with me. And I don't mean a ghost, or a spirit (they're not spirits per se, they're more like a recording, repeating over and over). This was... something else. And it was coming towards me (story continued on the next page...).
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This, for those who haven't made the mental leap yet, is something you DO NOT WANT when you're paralysed.
My fight or flight response was going completely insane, only I was unable to either of these things. I was pinned there, like a chair glued to a wall with no more nails. And then, I had a sense of what this thing was. Utterly evil. Positively demonic, in fact. All I could "see" were the hands. Grey, wizened hands, cracked with age, or evil, I didn't know which. There weren't any nails either. There were claws, filed to rough points.
And this pair of hands was coming towards me, pinned on the bed. They may have been connected to something else, or not. My mind wasn't exactly up to thinking about this at the time. So, to sum up, I was pinned on the bed with some kind of grey demon hands coming at me. Slowly. As though they were enjoying the complete and utter fear and terror I was experiencing at the time. And then it occurred to me to mentally shout for help.
And then I saw, felt, and became aware of a light- the brightest I have ever seen, or will ever see. Brighter than the Sun. It was like the primordial light of the universe, come to my aid to burn whatever this... thing was that was coming towards me to ashes. My bonds were loosed, my muscles started working, and my eyes shot open, and thank fuck, it was over.
Screw sleep paralysis.
21. One of the only nice examples of sleep paralysis.
I saw a couple of surreal looking penguins walking around my bedroom. It was amusing and funny.
22. It was happening to her husband at the same time...
Never realized this is what I had experienced until I started looking around here. Worst experience I had was with a devil like creature. Red and black with huge teeth that sat on me. It felt like it was suffocating me. It just kept pushing on my chest and I was terrified. I couldn't move or scream. What made it really bad was after I got up my husband woke up startled and told me something had been pressing on his chest trying to kill him.
23. Drenched in blood, sweat and tears.
You know how sometimes when you're leaving a room and you turn the light off, you suddenly feel like you're being chased and you need to run the fig off? It's that feeling all over again sans the running bit. Drenches you in cold sweat and sometimes a little urine too. I always go to the bathroom before bed though, since I'm a natural lucid dreamer and do sometimes get stuck in a sleep paralysis.
24. This is a actually a good description of sleep paralysis
It's just a feeling that something is there but not visible. I am paralyzed and get the sense that something is just out of sight. Maybe not the best description but it is a really awful thing to experience.
25. Trying to get out of a state of sleep paralysis seems like a battle with your own mind and body.
I have been having bouts of sleep paralysis since I was 16. It usually goes like this: I wake up from a light sleep, sometimes my eyes are open and sometimes not, I am aware of my surroundings and I can hear whatever is happening, but I can not move. By pure force of will I am able to slightly move my head. If I begin to think about my breath I usually start to panic because it is very hard to control. On a rare occasion I will hallucinate while paralyzed. This usually involves a feeling or sound. I once heard the front door open and a cat meow. I then felt the cat jump onto the bed and rub its fur on my arm (I had no cat).
The act of breaking the sleep paralysis feels like a battle of will power (story continued on the next page...).
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It is like trying to break free of a force that is holding you still. Each attempt is exhausting. It will usually take 4 or 5 tries and after each try I feel my self sink a bit back into my self. It's like backing up to get a run at trying to break through a door. I push and push until I can't anymore. Eventually I push through and wake up all the way. Sometimes after I wake up I have a cloudy mind for hours afterwards.
On a real bad night I may have half a dozen or more bouts of sleep paralysis. I have developed techniques for dealing with it. Sleeping on my side is the best deterrent. If I can keep from getting panicked about breathing then I am sometimes able to ignore it altogether and just fall back to sleep (this has been a great source of some awesome lucid dreaming). I have been dealing with it for 22 years now. You may find it comforting to know that not once have I been permanently paralyzed (obviously). I've always been able to get up and suffered little more than just being scared.
I have, on more than one occasion, been paralyzed while watching the clock. I was able to see the passing minutes while I laid there. Because of this I am convinced it is a real thing and not me just dreaming I am paralysed. I also one time fell asleep in a room full of people and they witnessed my paralysis. They said my eyes were open and I was shaking my head slightly but they didn't realize anything was going on. I was trying to get their attention to see if they touched me if it would help.
26. It's inescapable.
Finally breaking free from it only to fall into another episode within minutes, over and over again. Sometimes when I break free I will hold my eyelids open with my fingers so I can fully wake up and not fall back into it.
27. "It felt like I couldn't breathe, thought I was gonna die."
For me I've definitely had more terrifying things happen, like voices telling me to run, but the scariest was the first time. Nothing strange happened other than conscious paralysis, I just had no idea what was going on. It felt like I couldn't breathe, thought I was gonna die.
28. Luckily, it was only a dream.
It has only happened once to me and it scared the crap outta me. I was taking a quick nap while my two year old was napping. I 'woke up' to hearing someone open my front door and walk in. They steps came to my door and I saw it open out of the corner of my eye.
The whole time I could not move or blink. It stood there for a bit and then closed the door and went to my sons room. That's when I really panicked and... It was done. I could get up and my heart was racing. Threw me for a loop.
29. I guess you just have to get used to it...
I have sleep paralysis and related parasomnias fairly regularly. Sometimes they're simple, a recent one that comes to mind involved feeling something moving just behind my back, which was very unsettling. My most coherent sleep paralysis memory concerning an evil presence involved me first listening in on what seemed to be someone else's thoughts, only to have them sense my presence and start choking me telepathically. Unfortunately I don't have anything visually spectacular to recant. Usually I'll hear evil voices or laughter and feel things touching me. It doesn't frighten me much these days, but it will cause me to wake up out of sheer annoyance.