It was late. We were hanging out in the basement of my family home, the usual dark and private place for teenagers to dwell. My then boyfriend and I were squished into one lay-z-boy chair watching a movie, which was the norm when you worked at a video store and got all the new ones free.
I must’ve fallen asleep. I don’t remember what I was doing before…lights. Round, amber flashes before my eyes and the startling cry of a lost child. Someone or something was pushing down on me, pressing the air from my lungs and I couldn’t move to stop it. I had lost all control of my body. I thought I was shaking, but I couldn’t make my arms push the monster on top of me away. I couldn’t even open my eyes. Only darkness. And the increasing panic that I was being punished, or worse killed. Open your eyes! I commanded. Open your eyes!
When I woke from the blackness I sobbed audibly. It was only a minute or two, but it felt like a full nightmare. My boyfriend was holding my arms, terrified. What just happened? I thought you were having a seizure! What’s wrong?! I didn’t know what to say, or what happened, only how I felt. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t move. Was it a sign? Was something after me? Had I gone too far into the paranormal world and now one of them was after me? I couldn’t say anything. Who would believe me anyway?
Several weeks earlier, my family celebrated Christmas and both my sister and I received Sylvia Browne’s Book of Dreams. Browne, a world renowned psychic, was an author my sister had turned me onto, and we’d been reading several of her books about the afterlife, haunted locations, and totem spirits. I’d been slowly making my way through this book, which was more an educational book than a paranormal or spiritual read like her others. The Book of Dreams dealt with archetypes and dream symbology, common images that represent the changes or people in our lives. You know, like how we all have dreams about flying or falling or showing up naked to class.
A week after my scary episode, I was in the living room, stretched out on the couch reading through my Book of Dreams. On sleep disorders, actually. I bolted upright. Sleep paralysis. A condition where your state of sleep is interrupted and your conscious mind “awakes” before your body does. Seriously, check out WebMD. The symptoms include feeling an evil presence, stiffness of the body, flashing lights, loud noises, hallucinations, a weight upon one’s chest, and/or a sense of choking.
So I’m not crazy after all. Or possessed, which was quite a relief. And sleep paralysis is not a chronic condition, it’s rather rare. It only happens if your body goes in and out of a state of sleep and consciousness too quickly. I’ve never experienced it since, thankfully. What I do find odd is the fact that I read about my experience one week after going through it. Was I meant to get that book to help me understand what happened? Was someone watching over me? Or am I just really that superstitious and gullible? Something tells me I wouldn’t be asking these questions if I just dreamed about showing up naked to school.
Have you ever heard of experienced sleep paralysis? What do you think about it being a medical physical condition that attaches negative emotions to its occurrence? It has a paranormal ring to it, don’t you think? Sweet dreams, my ghoulies.