Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream… – The Everly Brothers
Next to nostalgia, sleep is my favorite drug. During these long winter nights there is nothing more appealing than the cozy warmth of my bed. Prying myself out of it on subzero mornings like today takes all the willpower I can muster.
I have mentioned before that during my college years I spent a great deal of time performing field research, and experiments in lucid dreaming. OK, they were called “naps” at the time, but “field research” sounds so much more important than “dozing for an hour before dinner”. Like a diver heading to the floor of the sea of sleep, a person passes through the lucid dream state of REM sleep on both the way down, and the way back up. My previous post was about the way down, but what happens on the way back up is even more startling.
Are you aware of “Sleep Paralysis”?
No, seriously. There is such a thing. What’s even more serious is that I have been experiencing it since I was a kid. When it first happened it scared the crap out of me. Lying in bed with my eyes seemingly open, the dark room was illuminated like a sepia toned photograph. I was looking at the wall, and I couldn’t move, but I was aware that I was waking up. That’s when I saw it.
It was a mechanical bug, about the size of a football. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, and it was moving up the wall. It was metallic, and seemed to be made out of sharp angular pieces of steel. It had no eyes but its legs and antenna were moving as it climbed the bedroom wall. I tried to tell myself that I was dreaming, and that I should wake up, but I couldn’t. I tried to make the bug stop crawling on the wall by willing it, but despite my realization that it was a dream, I was unable to control the movements of the bug. On it climbed as I tried to scream and move. That is when I realized I was paralyzed. Then I panicked, and in panicking I woke up.
Since that time it has happened again periodically, usually after a long day with lots of physical activity. When it does I can now realize it for what it is. The fantastical creatures that I see are usually some sort of mechanical device, or object that seems at once both familiar and foreign. At other times though, the creatures that I see take the form of veiled, shadowy figures. These are the ones that cause me to wake in a cold sweat.
Over the years I have gotten better at recognizing these dreams for what they are, and have been successful in waking myself up. Only recently have I begun to try to stay in these lucid dream states. Try as I might though, I am unable to control these dreams the same way as I can control the ones that I have on my way down into sleep. These creatures and bugs always move of their own will despite my attempts to control them.
I have never mentioned any of this to anyone, because I always assumed it was some strange and unique mental illness that I suffered from. Lord knows I have enough other issues I don’t need to be freaking people out about this kind of stuff. In doing some light internet surfing recently, I came across a reference to “sleep paralysis” as being the cause of many “legends” surrounding witches, alien abduction stories, and succubus / incubus. All of these mythological creatures share the ability to paralyze a victim while they attack, or molest them. Researchers speculate that people who make alien abduction claims are actually experiencing sleep paralysis similar to what I have described above. The same goes for legends of witches, incubus, and succubus casting spells on people while they slept.
Reading the descriptions of sleep paralysis, I am certain that this is the explanation for the black & white dreams that I have where mechanical bugs and veiled figures move about my room. At least I hope it is, because the thought of real demons and bugs crawling around while I sleep would be enough to give me insomnia for the rest of my life.
So has anyone else ever experienced anything like this? I’m curious to hear.