I shared this with my new pal , Pandora, the other night and just did some interesting research.
Tell me if this ever happened to you:
About a year or two ago, I woke up to find a very old and VERY HEAVY woman on top of me (Blotchy bloated skin. Think of that body they pulled out of the lake in “Silence of the Lambs”).
I was pinned down, couldn’t breathe, and she began humming this eerie tune in my ear.
I couldn’t move. I couldn’t scream. I was paralyzed and suffocating.
Then she vanished and I never went back to sleep.
Of course I never wrote that down, because I was afraid I’d be committed.
Guess what? I’m not alone. It’s actually a condition known as “Old Hag Syndrome” or “Sleep Paralysis”.
Victims of “Old Hag Syndrome” awake to find that they cannot move, even though they can see, hear, feel and smell. There is sometimes the feeling of a great weight on the chest and the sense that there is a sinister or evil presence in the room. And like the above reader, they are often quite frightened about what is happening to them. The name of the phenomenon comes from the superstitious belief that a witch – or an old hag – sits or “rides” the chest of the victims, rendering them immobile.
This is all scientifically explained actually.
When you go into REM dreaming sleep, your brain immobilizes your motor functions (Or else you’ll act out your dreams. )
“Sometimes your brain doesn’t fully switch off those dreams – or the paralysis – when you wake up,” Hirshkowitz told ABC News. “That would explain the ‘frozen’ feeling and hallucinations associated with sleep paralysis.” According to his research, the effect only really lasts from a few seconds to as long as a minute, but in this half-dream half-awake state, to the victim it can seem much longer.
It’s quite common in people who are under high stress or regularly sleep deprived. Which fits me to a “T”.
Fair enough. Makes sense….
Only one question.
I can understand the dark shadows, or even the boogieman…
…but why has this apparition appeared as an “old hag” to so many people over the centuries?
… Why can’t she look like Nicole Kidman?
Some places aren’t quite buying the scientific explaination.
OK there is a spirit in North America called Old Hag. In other societies she has a different name.
The “attack” itself deals with a man waking in up in the middle of the night feeling that his chest is being “ridden”. While most men only feel the pain, out of breath and a heavy pressure. Some men upon awakening see the image of a old women riding his chest. Thus the name Old Hag.
That settles it! I’m never going to sleep again!