Sometime in the early morning hours on Monday, I experienced another episode of what is commonly known as "night terrors" or "sleep paralysis." It was an odd experience. I was dreaming that I was in the New Renaissance Bookstore (in NW Portland) and I was telling the ladies who work there that I love their store, EXCEPT for the section on "elementals who reside in the forest." I found that to be a little more creepy than "spiritual" (disclosure: the New Renaissance Bookstore actually does not sell any books on the darker elements of spiritual ideas. Its purpose is to inspire people to better living). As soon as that happened in the dream, I felt a strange vibration above my body, trying to get in. My body was paralyzed and I couldn't even breathe. I just felt a vibration sensation and the "rushing sound" (like what you hear when you put your ear next to the opening of a conch shell). Since I've had these before, I know what to do. Pray to God! Somehow, I always manage to wake up and almost immediately say a prayer to God for the "light of protection."
Before I relate what happened after that, let me mention what I've learned about "sleep paralysis" / "night terrors"...from the secular / scientific standpoint. According to those who have studied it, this is a phenomenon that is more common than most people realize. In their explanation, its simply the body waking too fast out of the dream state, thus the person experiencing this feels a temporary paralysis. Its supposedly nothing to get frightened about. Easy for them to say! Each time I've had this experience, I am terrified because the official scientific explanation does NOT make sense. Well...maybe from their perspective, since anything supernatural is automatically discounted. The same scientific rationality is used to dismiss Near Death Experiences, ghosts, ESP, psychic phenomenon, and other paranormal ideas.
What I can tell you from personal experience is that the times I've had this were all the same. First, I hear a rushing sound in my ear. Then I feel an energy surge hovering just above my body trying to force its way into my body. I'm pinned down and cannot move. Sometimes, I can't even breathe. Each time this has happened (it must have happened at least 20 times in the past ten years), I'm immediately stirred awake and automatically say a quick prayer to God.
As soon as I said the prayer, a warm feeling started spreading over my body and it completely blocks the energy from penetrating me. How does science explain THAT?!? It definitely feels like a protective shield is placed around my body to block this negative energy force that's trying to invade my body. It always happens after I pray. Even as I write this, I feel chills rushing all over my body. A creepy kind of chill.
When I first started experiencing it a decade ago, I did some research on the Internet about this phenomenon. I was not satisfied with the scientific explanation, because it seemed far too dismissive. Apparently, this phenomenon has been known far longer than modern science has been able to dismiss it as one's physical body coming out of dream state. There have been stories about "gag hags" or "demons" perched on a sleeping person, trying to steal their breath or suffocate them. There's even a mystery entitled "Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome", in which a high case of Hmong men have died in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. If I were to take the scientist at their word that there is nothing "evil" about the night terror, would I end up dying in my sleep? I'm not "Hmong", though my mom isn't certain about her family's lineage. She did grow up in a village along the Mekong River and spoke a Lao dialect, rather than Thai.
This most recent episode was the first one I experienced in several years. I still have no idea why it happens, though it does seem to happen more frequently when I'm starting to get an idea about the direction I want to pursue in life. Maybe there is some evil energy force out there trying to snuff the life out of me for whatever reason. I'm just grateful that when it happens, I immediately wake up and know to pray to God for a protective force. Since I believe that we are spiritual beings in a human body and that we are each assigned spiritual guardians, I think there is more to this mystery than what science can logically explain.
If anyone else has experienced this, I would appreciate a comment or an email, with your thoughts on what you think it might be. Some may read about this experience and be skeptical or perhaps even wishing to experience it for themselves. All I have to say about that is...you really don't want to experience something this terrifying. Its better just to get a good night's sleep. Be grateful if you've never experienced something like this.
In each of my experiences with this phenomenon, I'm always on my stomach when this happens and the energy is centered on my upper back to neck and head, thus I can never get a good look to see if there are any visual images. My face is pushed into the pillow, like the energy force is trying to snuff the life out of me. Weird. Maybe I need to invest in a video camera to have it on me each night. However, I would almost be too terrified to watch it after an experience like this...especially after seeing the film Paranormal Activity last Halloween.
All I can do is thank God for the light of protection in answer to my urgent prayer requests. I'd love for the secular scientists to be right about this. It would make it easier to accept. However, the biggest reason why I can't accept their logical and rational conclusion is because the energy I feel during these episodes are definitely hovering above and outside of my body and I feel hands pushing my head and neck down into the pillow so I can't move. The force goes away after a prayer is said, once a protective shield covers my body in a warm, blissful feeling. It's odd, no doubt about it. I hope that this was the last of those experiences, because I'm getting too old for this shit. Below is a cartoon I found on a Google image search that states everything about what I experienced...so you can see, I'm not making this shit up. It would make an excellent horror film, though, wouldn't you say?