You often here tell of night terrors – frightening visitations in the night by things from the beyond. Demons, or daemons if you prefer. Ghosts. Spirits. Monsters. Hobgoblins.
They often come hand-in-hand, or hand-in-cloven-hoof/wizened claw/non-corporeal-grasping implement, with sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis, of course, being a real thing – unlike the monster part – where you’re awake but your brain has forgotten to tell the rest of your body and it leaves it in the paralysed state you slip into while you sleep so as not to beat the living shit out of yourself, or others, as you act out your dreams.
Because you’re paralysed when you wake, even though it lasts for a relatively short period of time, it is terrifying. You can’t move, and your eyes play tricks on you – hence the ghosts, monsters, demons, strangers and god knows what else of the paralysis tales. It also, so they say, is hard to breathe. You struggle to get your breath. It feels like your chest is being sat on. A heavy force pushing down on you, limiting your capacity to draw in air.
It’s not something I ever want to experience. But equally, there’s a part of me that is quite curious.
This morning, though, I came as close I have ever come to experiencing the phenomenon.
I awoke early this morning. Maybe around two or three am. I wasn’t entirely awake, just woken by something but not fully conscious. I didn’t move, rather than couldn’t move. But I could feel something pressing on my chest, preventing me from breathing.
The closest I have come to sleep paralysis.