Strange sleep disorder makes people see demons
2013 04 03

By Stephanie Pappas | LiveScience



When filmmaker Carla MacKinnon started waking up several times a week unable to move, with the sense that a disturbing presence was in the room with her, she didn’t call up her local ghost hunter. She got researching.

Now, that research is becoming a short film and multiplatform art project exploring the strange and spooky phenomenon of sleep paralysis. The film, supported by the Wellcome Trust and set to screen at the Royal College of Arts in London, will debut in May.

The Sleep Paralysis Project


Sleep paralysis happens when people become conscious while their muscles remain in the ultra-relaxed state that prevents them from acting out their dreams. The experience can be quite terrifying, with many people hallucinating a malevolent presence nearby, or even an attacker suffocating them. Surveys put the number of sleep paralysis sufferers between about 5 percent and 60 percent of the population.

"I was getting quite a lot of sleep paralysis over the summer, quite frequently, and I became quite interested in what was happening, what medically or scientifically, it was all about," MacKinnon said.

Her questions led her to talk with psychologists and scientists, as well as to people who experience the phenomenon. Myths and legends about sleep paralysis persist all over the globe, from the incubus and succubus (male and female demons, respectively) of European tales to a pink dolphin-turned-nighttime seducer in Brazil. Some of the stories MacKinnon uncovered reveal why these myths are so chilling.



Sleep stories
One man told her about his frequent sleep paralysis episodes, during which he’d experience extremely realistic hallucinations of a young child, skipping around the bed and singing nursery rhymes. Sometimes, the child would sit on his pillow and talk to him. One night, the tot asked the man a personal question. When he refused to answer, the child transformed into a "horrendous demon," MacKinnon said.

For another man, who had the sleep disorder narcolepsy (which can make sleep paralysis more common), his dream world clashed with the real world in a horrifying way. His sleep paralysis episodes typically included hallucinations that someone else was in his house or his room — he’d hear voices or banging around. One night, he awoke in a paralyzed state and saw a figure in his room as usual.

"He suddenly realizes something is different," MacKinnon said. "He suddenly realizes that he is in sleep paralysis, and his eyes are open, but the person who is in the room is in his room in real life."

The figure was no dream demon, but an actual burglar.

Myths and science of sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis experiences are almost certainly behind the myths of the incubus and succubus, demons thought have sex with unsuspecting humans in their sleep. In many cases, MacKinnon said, the science of sleep paralysis explains these myths. The feeling of suffocating or someone pushing down on the chest that often occurs during sleep paralysis may be a result of the automatic breathing pattern people fall into during sleep. When they become conscious while still in this breathing pattern, people may try to bring their breathing under voluntary control, leading to the feeling of suffocating.

[...]


Read the full article at: livescience.com




Tune into Red Ice Radio:

Carol de la Herran - Hour 1 - Robert Monroe & Altered States of Consciousness

Dr. David M. Jacobs - Abductions & The Human Alien Hybrid Program

Bob Frissell - Hour 1 - Transitioning Into The 4th Dimension<

Peter Russell - The Primacy of Consciousness

Anthony Peake - Hour 1 - The Nature of Reality & Twilight Zones of Consciousness

Anthony Peake & Tom Campbell - Consciousness Creates Reality

Jim Elvidge - Are we Living in a Simulation, a Programmed Reality?

Penney Peirce - Frequency, Intuition, Time & Dreams

Anthony Peake - Mystery of the Brain, Precognition, Time Dilation & Déjà vu

Penney Peirce - Dream Interpretation, Path of Inquiry & Changes in 2010

Anthony Peake - The Dreamscape, Tulpas & The Lucid Light Stimulator



Radio 3Fourteen:

Dianne Collins - QuantumThink & The End of the Great Divide

Chris Augustin - UFO Sightings, Alien Abductions & Mysterious Implants





Related Articles
5 mind-bending facts about dreams
Freaky Sleep Paralysis: Being Awake in Your Nightmares
Dreams of Prophecy: Evolution and the Biology of Psychic Phenomenon
Lucid Dreaming and Mental Illness
Is ’daydream learning’ possible ?
Neuroscientists successfully control the dreams of rats. Could humans be next?
Brain scanner ’reads’ people’s dreams - accurately enough to see what they are dreaming about
This Is What Alien Abduction Looks Like To Those Who Say They Were Abducted
David M. Jacobs, Ph.D - What are Alien (Human) Abductions About? (Video)


Latest News from our Front Page

If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would Anyone Notice?
2014 10 01
The subject enters a room in which a 12-year-old boy is seated. A 20-minute conversation ensues. The subject quizzes the boy about current events and other topics to get a sense of his intelligence and personality. But the boy is not what he appears to be. Unbeknownst to the subject, the boy is wearing a radio receiver in his ear, and ...
Obama has had accurate intelligence about ISIS since BEFORE the 2012 election, says administration insider
2014 10 01
‘President Barack Obama’s intelligence briefings have provided him with specific information since before he won re-election in 2012 about the growing threat of the terror group now known alternatively as ISIS and ISIL, an administration insider told MailOnline on Monday. ‘Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate ...
Can holding a magnet against your head help defeat depression?
2014 10 01
Former GP Sue Mildred suffered from crippling depression and anxiety for 20 years. On two occasions it was so severe that she ended up in hospital, and for 15 years she was unable to work. Sue, 51, has tried antidepressants, talking therapies and, out of desperation, even ECT (electro-convulsive therapy), where an electric current is passed through the brain. This did ...
Extremists to have Facebook and Twitter vetted by anti-terror police
2014 09 30
Theresa May to announce new Extremist Disruption Orders to strengthen counter-terrorism if the Tories win the next general election Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives. They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”, ...
Scottish Independence: Protesters demand revote
2014 09 30
Pro-independence campaigners gathered outside the Scottish Parliament for the second day in a row, this time to demand a revote of the September 18 referendum. While yesterday’s “Rally For A Revote” saw the return of Saltires and Yes banners to Holyrood, it did not match the turnout for the “Voice Of The People” rally held on Saturday, when up 3000 people ...
More News »