Beyond Horror: How to Snap Out of Sleep Paralysis
A couple of nights ago I had this weird experience. First I was asleep, then I heard some distant whining sounds like somebody was crying, and as I started to listen closer, the sounds got more and more out of tune, and at some point, I felt that I was pulled out of the dream. I was lying on my bed. Fully awake.
My eyes were open. I couldn’t move my legs, arms, my head, or my mouth. I felt an evil presence in the room. I felt dreadful and helpless. I recognized this state immediately, thinking in my head, “Oh, come on, not again…” And then I started uttering a prayer, and after about 10–15 seconds was able to move my arms, then legs, and then snapped back into reality.
I have experienced many sleep paralysis states since I was 14. Most of them happened in my twenties unless I forgot about some of them. I am 30 now, and they happen at least once a year.
The most terrifying one was the very first experience I’ve ever had. Back then I was quite an emotionally messed up kid. On top of that, I was listening to very depressing music. Very depressing. Like The Cure’s fourth album depressive… I listened to “Figurehead” and “Siamese Twins” for hours on a repeat of which I regret deeply. Wallowing in such a terrible state was very damaging to my mental health.
It happened one night. I was asleep. I was seeing dreams. All of a sudden, there was a disturbing high pitched noise in my head. It was getting louder and louder. There was also static noise in my field of vision.
Then something popped. I felt like I was forcefully pulled out of my sleep. I lied on my bed. My eyes were open. I felt completely awake. I felt terrified as if I was about to die. I was trying to move my head, arms, and legs, but they all seemed to be tied down. There was a strange sensation of electricity as I was trying to move my arms and legs. I also couldn’t move my mouth.
There was a feeling of evil presence near me. By the side of my bed stood a hooded creature. It was very tall. The high pitched sound came from its mouth. Its face looked so much more terrifying than what I’ve ever seen in horror movies. It was the face of a skeleton with a large mouth and very long, thin, and sharp teeth. And then the high-pitched sound turned into screeching as it charged at me.
Just like in the song “Hotel California”, the next thing I remember was running for the door, trying to find my parents, and then I woke up.
I experienced this when I was about 14 years old. Back then I wasn’t sure what it was, I was very relieved that it was “just” a dream. But I didn’t know if there was a guarantee that it would never happen again. Or, in case it happened again, how would I’ve known I could have escaped it just like I did the first time. One thing I knew, however, was that I needed to add some adjustments to my life.
Sometime before that experience I was curious about magic and psychic stuff and read a couple of books on these topics. I got very interested in out of body experiences, which in the books were often presented similar to lucid dreaming. I tried practicing. As I started noticing some progress, I got really scared and stopped completely.
I then connected the dots and realized that sleep paralysis and out-of-body experience have a lot in common. And that it is a very dangerous domain.
I later learned that many other people have had similar experiences and that these experiences are being categorized under the term “sleep paralysis”.
Here are some links to videos that illustrate the state pretty well:
I would like to dedicate this article to explain how to escape the “near-death” experience of sleep paralysis, and what we could learn from it.
Many years since that first experience, I have had many similar occurrences. However, when I realized that I was conscious, couldn’t move and there was an evil presence, I then would usually shut my eyes, and focus on praying to God asking to help me.
The coolest thing is that God helped me every single time. The help was so timely, so tangible, that I rarely had to ask more than five times as the electric bondages that tied me down would get loose and I would snap out of this crazy nightmare.
It is easy to dismiss these experiences as just some fancy nightmares. But I wouldn’t be so hasty.
Imagine that you suddenly find yourself in a place where you know for sure that you are going to die. It could be an execution site, concentration camp, the wilderness full of hungry lions, or anything of that sort. You are completely conscious. You are terrified. This is the suffering at its peak. You know that this is it, and there is no way out. Again, this is 100% real for you. But then, as the moment of truth is about to happen and you are crying for mercy, you suddenly wake up. This was a dream. But it was very lucid, very real. It was very traumatic. You pretty much lived through a very traumatic experience.
This is what sleep paralysis can feel like. It can be very traumatic.
This makes me think of the Matrix when Neo wakes up after being in the office with agent Smith, and they inject this scary little shrimpy thing into his stomach.
These experiences also make me think about the nature of reality.
There is no guarantee that we are not going to awaken from this reality back to something else, thinking what a weird dream it all was.
I think about it this way. If I told somebody back in the day when nobody knew that such a thing as sleep paralysis existed, they would have probably laughed and thought that I was either exaggerating or have lost my marbles.
But what if it’s just the tip of the iceberg. What if there are experiences out there that I have no slightest clue about. But they are as real as any other experience, and every experience is a real experience in the sense of being an experience.
This reminds me of Shakespear:
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
To make things a little weirder, why can’t I think of life as an experience and dreams as experiences too. And then I can have a common denominator and call every experience just experience.
“To sleep, perchance to dream — ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause. There’s the respect that makes calamity of so long life.”
Just like we suspect death to bring its own set of experiences, life as experience can also be compared to a dream in the sense that it is experience.
And because of the fact that experiences are all we really know or can know, it is not rational to take experiences lightly. Especially, if our own intuition suggests to us the dangers of experiences that might await us when dying, sleeping, or anything of the sort.
The only reason why we take the “reality” reality more seriously, and other experiences, more lightly is because the experience of reality convinces us more. Usually, it is the feeling that this is “more real” than other experiences. But in the moment other experiences are no less convincing than the reality itself.
I compare this to science.
Not many have a deep understanding of science and its methodology, but when many hear a scientific authority say that things are one way or the other, many gladly accept it as a fact, often relying solely on authority. This seems insane to me. Yes, maybe we’d rather trust others than ourselves, but it is still trust, not a guarantee that things are one way and not the other. We often seem to trust science as if it was beyond human when it actually is inconceivable aside from human. As if scientists created the very fabric of reality itself.
However, in reality, there is no tech support — at least not in the way portrayed in the movie “Vanilla Sky.” And if there were, it would not be the scientists. Maybe “meta-scientists” beyond the experience, but not the scientists inside of the experience.
I would be very careful dismissing any experience saying that I don’t care about them because they are not “scientific.” I believe that every experience should be approached with caution, examined carefully, and made sure that it is not going to harm us. As we are not above and beyond our experiences — we aren’t creators of our own minds, and their ability to experience — but are in it, and can nonetheless interact with them, we need to realize that they are all there is in the moment of the experience.
I hope I was able to give you some idea about what sleep paralysis is, what are some dangers associated with it, and what we could learn from this phenomenon.
Unfortunately, I find myself in a state of sleep paralysis a minimum of once a year. However, once I realize that I can’t move and there is an evil presence in the room, I stop struggling and begin to pray: “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, be merciful on me, a sinner.” It takes just about 5–15 seconds of saying this prayer, and the bondages that tie me down get loose, and I can get back to safety, feeling wonderful relief and gratitude instead of post-traumatic stress.
To conclude, the state of sleep paralysis can be extremely traumatic. It can be a hell-like experience. To avoid this extremely scary experience, the easiest way to go is to ask God for help. If, for some reason, you avoid God, then at least try this for the sake of getting out of the experience.