Most of us look forward to going to bed at night. We associate sleep with feelings of rest and rejuvenation. However, for these AskReddit users, a quick wink could just as easily turn into a hellish “living nightmare” known as sleep paralysis. For many of those who experience these terrors, they are said to interact with a “sleep paralysis demon” who often visits them during these episodes. The following responses reveal what it’s like.
Source list available at the end.
I actually have it fairly often. So much so that I actually realize when it’s occurring. These days, I just close my eyes and won’t open them, no matter what I feel or hear.
Doing this, though, doesn’t force me to wake up, and I still have to wait for it to end. I still feel and hear everything. Sometimes I feel like I’m being dragged somewhere or just constantly feel like something is touching me along with muffled voices.
Before I learned how to cope with it, I’ve seen quite a few awful things. Horror films don’t really do anything for me anymore because I’ve already seen the most terrifying things I possibly could. Here are a few things I remember off the top of my head:
– A little girl in the corner of my room staring at me. Then, without notice, she shrieks and runs up and starts choking me.
– A large dark figure, kind of like a human silhouette, emerging from the foot of my bed and staring down at me.
– Something banging and scraping on my bedroom door. I keep it locked at night because I have had ones where it opens by itself. EDIT: No, the door isn’t open when I wake up. It only opens in the dream.
– My bedroom door opening by itself followed by dark figures coming into my room.
– The earliest one I can remember is with my mother in the room, and she’s sitting on my bed, then her face morphs into a demon-like thing.
The worst thing is when you try to fight or call for help. Your voice doesn’t work and your body will not respond. You just feel helpless.
I’ve only experienced it three times, but my first time was the worst. I’ve never had any visual encounters, but when it happened the first time, I was laying on my left side and started to feel that pressure on my chest. When I realized I was paralyzed and started panicking, something whispered in my ear, “Just coming in to say goodnight.” That’s when I felt like something was pushing me towards the edge of my bed.
I get bouts of sleep paralysis every couple of weeks, and I also see shadow people as opposed to what people normally associate with sleep paralysis. Pretty terrifying. During one of my worst experiences, my paralysis kind of merged with lucid dreaming, and it involved a strange shadow cat.
I have experienced sleep paralysis literally hundreds of times. To me, it’s usually a slick, black alien-type creature about four feet tall, although I have seen a grim-reaper type figure as well. I don’t tend to get auditory hallucination, so keeping my eyes closed pretty well negates the entire experience (except for the actual feeling of paralysis).
I usually have minor motor control of my toes and am able to break myself out of the paralyzed state by flicking my toes together, which creates enough stimulation to break through the paralysis and wake me up.
Sleep paralysis is, without a doubt, the scariest thing I have ever experienced and will likely ever experience.
That feeling when you’re convinced there’s something standing over you while you’re trying with every fiber of your being to move any muscle is truly terrifying. I remember waking up wailing incoherently the first time I experienced it.
I had the sudden urge to wake up one night, and as much as I tried to open my eyes I couldn’t. Couldn’t move my body and I could only get my eyes open for about a split second. Each time I opened them I could see a figure getting closer and closer to my bed until I think I woke myself up out of fear as I don’t remember what happened after it got about 2 feet away from me.
I was 16 when it happened to me, and I had no clue what it was so for a few weeks I was convinced that the house was haunted. I did not sleep well or without a light on. It wasn’t until I told my mom about it that she said it sounded like sleep paralysis.
I get mine almost nightly. It was scary at first, not being able to breathe. I always hear this buzzing noise, almost like this static sound, but it feels like it’s rattling my brain. Sometimes I feel like I’m spinning. I imagine it’s the same feeling as if you were free falling down a dark tunnel. I can open my eyes and see, but I can’t move and it feels like something is pushing down on my chest. Occasionally, I have heard evil sounding voices and seen evil looking creatures.
I have learned to snap out of it with breathing. Sometimes it’s not that easy though. I used to try to tense all my muscles up to snap out of it, and it’s true you have to make yourself sit up or stand up right away. Otherwise, you’ll slip right back into the paralysis state. At least, in my case, I do.
Scariest experience. I had my daughter sleeping next to me. I went into my sleep paralysis and heard children laughing, then a demonic type of laughter. I opened my eyes and my daughter was facing towards me and her face started to take shape into some sort of horrid evil demonic face. I quickly closed my eyes and started my breathing process to snap out of it.
I got it several times a week for years, and after a while, you get used to it. I learned to control and slow my breathing, stop straining and relax, and work on moving my toes, which always seems to snap me out of it. I’ve tried the lucid dreaming, but have never been able to do it. I’ve never really had the demon sitting on my chest thing or other scary visual hallucinations, but it is always accompanied by intense paranoia like “He” is standing right outside my door.
It also generally comes with the feeling of being held down by my chest or of “falling deeper” almost like drowning into a deeper sleep which I can’t wake from.
I actually did practice some lucid dreaming techniques, and while I haven’t been able to master lucid dreaming, a lot of the tools to help you identify that you’re in a dream helped me to control my sleep paralysis now. I still get the “I can’t wake up” problem, but I have just enough motor control to alert my husband that I’m having a problem, and then he makes me wake all the way up and talk to him for 5 minutes, so I don’t just fall right back into it. I love that man.
I don’t get a face to look at. It’s always at the edge of my left-side vision, and it walks slowly over to me while I’m hyperventilating and gets into bed with me.
The one time it has ever been different was when my sister was very young, maybe around 4-years-old, but instead of seeing the dark entity, I saw her, glowing pale white (as a toddler), and she slowly walked towards me and crawled into bed with me. That’s the most terrified I’ve ever been.
Face your problems and rationalize. I found myself unable to move, with a puppet dropping out of the shadows of the ceiling. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, I was as frozen as ice- even my breathing didn’t seem real. He dropped onto my chest with an appropriately sized carving knife and cut into me, but I still couldn’t move. It was a dream, it was my imagination, it was something in between, but regardless, it wasn’t real. Of course, my brain made me think the pain was real.
This happened a lot, each time the situation slightly changed. Sometimes my lips felt like they could move, but were sewn shut or sealed, like in the Matrix. The last time it happened, I remember raising my hand at the last minute and grabbing it by the neck, crushing it before it could cut me. Sleep demons? Paralysis? Recurring Nightmare? Whatever it was, after being on and off for a good 8 months, it was gone.
I have a few different “sleep paralysis demons” and one sort of “sleep paralysis guardian angel”. The demon ones are the usual shadowy figure standing over me or by my bedroom door. The worst one was while I was lying on my side with my back to the door and it felt like someone got into bed behind me, under the covers, and put their arm around my waist. Then, it felt like they were cuddling into me, and I could feel breath on my neck. It felt like they cuddled me for about half an hour. All this time, I’m trying not to show that I’m panicking because it feels like I’m getting cuddled by a skeleton with claws. It was only about the second, maybe third time that I’d had sleep paralysis, so I nearly had a heart attack when this thing felt like it was moving in closer to kiss me behind the ear. Worst of all, it whispered “Not yet. You’re not ready yet. I’ll come back when you are.” To me, it sounded disappointed and excited. It felt like it was silently telling me it meant that it was coming back when I was about to die. Scared the heck out of me.
My “sleep paralysis guardian angel” was a weird experience. I’d been getting sleep paralysis on and off for about 18 months, by this point, so I could usually tell straight away when it was happening. At first, I thought it was the usual demon things beside my bed, but when I looked properly, I realized I could clearly see a man kneeling next to my bed smiling at me. It wasn’t a creepy smile, more like a parent coming in to check on their kid. He looked like he was dressed in a 50s style suit and hat. He didn’t say anything. Although I got the sense that he was letting me know everything was alright and that he’d look after me.
The strangest thing about my “sleep paralysis guardian angel” was that I felt like I knew him. Almost like when you see a relative you were around a lot while you were really young, and then don’t see for years.
I used to see something along the lines of a shadowy man. I always saw a figure coming out my closet, but it had no face. When I brought it up, I was sent to go and see a therapist, and all they kept on asking me was about drug use. I was about 14-years-old, and I can still picture it.
I get to see mine about once a month. Usually, somewhere near the full moon (which is odd). It starts out usually with me waking up. I can always tell what is about to happen, so I try to scream and wake someone up to shake me out of it. If that does not work, I try to move my limbs and force myself to roll out of bed and wake up. This typically does not work, so I know it’s time for the visit. A shadow forms along the floorboards of my bedroom and starts going up the walls. I can then feel the presence of radio/ T.V. Static. This shadow starts to form into a demon similar to the early renditions of Slender Man. He has no eyes or face, just little balls of static where the facial structure should be. He slowly starts edging closer and closer to my face and the volume of the static rises, and I can feel it very lightly shocking me. It then puts me in some weird trance by grabbing the sides of my face and screaming directly into it (this is the scariest part). The scream is so shrill, I can’t even describe it to you, and how terrible it is. As this happens, the room starts to turn red and these giant arms start to form into long spikes. So, while Im stunned/hypnotized, it starts taunting me with the spikes. Rubbing them around my neck and heart etc. He then reaches up and stabs me directly in the throat and I wake up.
This scared the hell out of me. I vividly remember the figure from when I was a kid. The ears are what did it. It was like a gremlin creature the size of a dog, covered in a tough black hide, kind of like with scales, but not quite. I remember drawing a picture of it in preschool. It had two companions that were similar, but smaller. About the size of cats.
I was taking a quick nap while my two-year-old was also napping. I ‘woke up’ to hearing someone open my front door and walk in. Their steps came up to my door, and I saw it open out of the corner of my eye.
The whole time I could not move or blink. It stood there for a bit, and then closed the door and went to my son’s room. That’s when I really panicked, and then… it was done. I could get up, but my heart was still racing. Threw me for a loop.
I have sleep paralysis and related parasomnias fairly regularly. Sometimes they’re simple. A recent one that comes to mind involved feeling something moving just behind my back, which was very unsettling. My most coherent sleep paralysis memory concerning an evil presence involved me first listening in on what seemed to be someone else’s thoughts. Only to have them sense my presence and start choking me telepathically. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything visually spectacular to recant. Usually, I’ll hear evil voices or laughter and feel things touching me. It doesn’t frighten me as much these days, but it will cause me to wake up out of sheer annoyance.
Worst experience I had was with a devil-like creature. Red and black with huge teeth that sat on me. It felt like it was suffocating me. It just kept pushing on my chest and I was terrified. I couldn’t move or scream. What made it really bad was that after I got up, my husband woke up startled and told me something had been pressing on his chest trying to kill him as well.
Woke up paralyzed. Couldn’t move. Heard distant voices whispering indistinctly. I would strain to hear them, but they were quiet and made no sense. Then, I’d feel the presence of eyes staring at me. I knew what was coming.
I’d open my eyes and see a young boy standing before me in a cheap astronaut Halloween costume.
He would stand there, silent and staring. At this point, I’d strain against the paralysis, fighting to move and fighting to breathe so that I could scream. Eventually, I’d wiggle a finger or a toe, and the paralysis would start to crack apart like thin ice on a lake. Once I was free, the voices and apparition would disappear. It would just be me, in my bed alone, totally freaked out.
This went on until adulthood. It still happens once in a great while, but I never see the apparition. I just sense him.
I’m standing in a big field of golden grass when, from my front and back, two massive hay bales fly at me and I’m crushed between them. At this point, I wake up and I’m unable to breathe. There’s massive pressure on my chest, and I panic and tear up. I’m aware that I am awake, but at the same time when I close my eyes, I can still see that I’m being crushed by these hay bales. Never thought of them as “demons” but, yeah, I really don’t like hay bales.
No demons, just a horrifying trapped feeling. Like someone pushing me deeper and deeper into my mattress. When it first happened, I was positive I was dying. Every time after, I realized what was going on and that it was going to suck. I usually can say an “Our Father” a few times before it’s all over. Luckily, it has only happened five or so times.
The first time I refused to open my eyes, then woke up laying with my head, neck, and shoulder hanging off of the foot of my bed. The second time, I opened my eye and felt like I had kicked something at the foot or my bed. Then, this soccer ball sized spider climbed out of my ceiling fan and started to descend a thin line of silk that connected to my nose.
The first time was when I was about 12.
I would awaken(or maybe dream I woke up) in the middle of the night. I couldn’t see anything around me, except for the silhouette of my mother in her robe, just standing next to me. I’m laying sideways on my bed and my feet are hanging down, and a second presence in the room is keeping me immobile. I actually couldn’t move my head to see my mom’s head. I could only see up to her shoulders, and I was scared that this was not really my mom.
I remember once when I fell asleep with the TV on, and I didn’t know I was asleep. I tried to move my hand and it just didn’t move. I started panicking because I was perfectly aware of my surroundings. The smell, the sounds from the TV, I was completely present, yet paralyzed. That’s when I started hearing a train. A ridiculously loud train horn went off in my room and everything started shaking profusely. The horn went off again, and I opened my eyes. A huge train came towards me at an enormous speed, and then I remember just a big flash of light.
I was awake after that, same smell, same sounds from the TV, and I could move. I was all sweaty and shaking, and I didn’t fall asleep for hours after that.
During my first experience, I woke up to the sound of water trickling on the cement floor of my basement. Almost like it was raining all around me. I then realized that I couldn’t move and my yells came out sounding more like moans. I heard a metal squeaking sound and saw a tall man pushing a metal table on wheels toward my bed with the hugest grin on his face. He stood over me for a while staring and smiling, before picking up a surgical knife and holding it over me. This was when I fell back into a dream and managed to wake myself. It was the most terrifying experience of my life.