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Tales of the 'old hag' continue to endure

Posted on Tuesday, 11 October, 2016 | Comment icon 14 comments

An 18th-century depiction of sleep paralysis. Image Credit: John Henry Fuseli
A terrifying phenomenon known to cause paralysis and hallucinations at night is surprisingly common.
Have you ever found yourself in a half-waking state, either while falling asleep or waking up, and completely unable to move or cry out no matter how hard you try ?

Known as sleep paralysis, this distressing experience is thought to occur when a person is stuck in a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. The inability to move is thought to be due to the muscle atonia normally induced during REM sleep to stop us physically acting out our dreams.

To make matters worse, some people also experience hallucinations while paralyzed which can include seeing an ominous figure in the room and feeling a strong sense of presence.

In some of the worst cases, this intruder can be seen and felt physically climbing on top of the helpless experiencer, resulting in a crushing sensation on the chest and difficulty breathing.

This particular experience has also come to be referred to as "old hag" due to how often the hallucinated figure is perceived to be an ugly old woman shrouded in black.

Fortunately though, aside from being terrifying, sleep paralysis in itself is generally harmless.

Source: Live Science | Comments (14)

Tags: Sleep Paralysis, Old Hag

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Chaldon on 11 October, 2016, 18:52
Strange you didn't had one. Succubus coition was the explanation for nocturnal emissions during the Middle Ages.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Lucas Cooper Merrin on 11 October, 2016, 22:04
Comment icon #7 Posted by Merc14 on 11 October, 2016, 22:42
The demons of yesterday were replaced with aliens in many societies and the alien abduction BS.
Comment icon #8 Posted by coolguy on 12 October, 2016, 4:03
Old hag use to vist me
Comment icon #9 Posted by Lucas Cooper Merrin on 12 October, 2016, 6:08
Tell us more cool guy......what happened?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Susanc241 on 12 October, 2016, 7:20
I have only ever had the one experience of sleep paralysis and I hope never to have another. Pretty standard with waking and not being able to move my upper body and though I tried to scream I was aware of this moaning sound coming from me. Had a huge black presence on the bed beside me and another at the foot of the bed to one side. Also the huge weight on my chest. I fought to get up and thrashed my legs as hard as I could to no avail. In what I presume to be no more than a few seconds or perhaps half a minute in total, I 'woke up' properly. The black forms vanished and the scream I had been... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by badtucker on 12 October, 2016, 16:18
i have had several in my lifetime... only one and possibly the 2nd most terrifying of them would i describe as a succubus. i remember it vividly, was about 10 years ago. started more or less as a sort of sex dream, then suddenly i was awake..there was a horrific creature on me, couldn't move... couldn't do anything... didn't want to look, just wanted to cry out but couldn't. the creature was pretty horrible, hair like long black straw, wrinkled grey/green skin... no face, but a long tounge from a mouth i couldnt see. jeeze was terrifying. but it all seemed over quicker than it felt, and i was ... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Chaldon on 12 October, 2016, 19:09
Wow! It's all so weird and vivid, all those creatures, or at least black entities. I've never seen anything like that in my life, even in half-sleep. I suspect my domovoi (house spirit) loves me and never takes visible form. There never ever been anything visible, although in the childhood I've had a lot of horrible nervous experiences. The worst were the episodes of violent agitation and screaming at night in half-awake condition - don't know how this condition is called in English, in Russian for ages it was known as 'kriksy' (??????), but that's not an official medical term. To get rid of t... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Chaldon on 12 October, 2016, 19:20
I remember very well that when I had those 'kriksy' screams I was completely aware of everything around me and even was pretty cool-minded at the time but was completely unable to control my body which, like all by itself, wanted to run somewhere and screamed like in terror. It was really weird. I was 7-8 years old, I think.
Comment icon #14 Posted by XenoFish on 13 October, 2016, 1:51
Your luck would attract an incubus.

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