• Randy333
    I mention sleep paralysis in this post’s title because it’s a title that’s likely to draw more attention than a more specific title tailored to my purposes. I am not strictly interested in sleep paralysis stories. To be specific, I am primarily interested in certain kinds of apparitional experiences, many of which happen to occur during the altered state commonly known as sleep paralysis. I am a collector of memories, a connoisseur of nightmares, if you will. I am enchanted by all matters phantasmagoric, dreadful, and inhuman. If you stay a while and get to know me better, you may find you like some of what I have to offer. For this post, I’ve come here to request personal or secondhand accounts of nonhuman apparitions, namely those strange and sinister specters some call demons or evil spirits. There are many such accounts on the internet, many of them scattered chaotically around divergent comment sections, and many of them hastily written and sometimes lacking in the degree of detail researchers such as myself would like. I could browse for hours through forums, taking notes on the stories that interest me the most. However, rather than do that, I shall begin a new discussion here, for those of you who, like me, are drawn to the anomalous, the dark, the demonic, and the dreadful. As a final note to this introduction, let me make it clear I make no claim about the ultimate truth of the sleep paralysis, hypnagogic, or hypnopompic phenomena nor related and similar aspects of consciousness. I write this post purely as a phenomenological venture, to gather further detailed information on the subjective qualities of specific apparitional experiences. I will not here give any interpretations of such manifestations. Rather, I am only interested in descriptions of them.

    A few notes about myself: I am a writer and paranormal researcher, with a primary interest in demonology. I have personal experience in sleep paralysis, hypnagogic and hypnopompic states, shadow apparitions and other manifestations, lucid dreams, and so-called astral projection. On a number of occasions, I have made attempts to deliberately induce sleep paralysis and other such states, and have attempted to commune directly with some of the manifestations associated with these states. While my metaphysical interests extend to the cosmos as a whole, I am drawn deepest to what I can characterize as ethereal elements of the cosmos: questions of dreams, nightmares, sleep paralysis, parasomnia, hauntings, demons, insanity, astral and infernal visions, advanced intelligence, alternate dimensions, the occult, transcendence, and, as an ultimate mystery, immortality. My interest in altered states extends to other dimensions of consciousness as well, to include UFOs, alien contact accounts, DMT realms, salvia realms, and any of the various entities encountered in these spheres. It should be noted that, when I use the word entity, it does not inherently carry a connotation of sentience. Entities in my terminology can be either sentient or insentient. I sometimes prefer the term over ‘beings’ or ‘apparitions’ because it can hold a more neutral connotation, signifying a presence exists as a subjectively external, distinct aspect of a subject’s field of consciousness, wherein many presences assume a form distinguishable from inanimate objects. Many apparitions have a humanoid, creature-like, or monstrous appearance, rather than, say, the appearance of a simple nondescript artifact. These can include humanoid shadows, creature shadows, various nonhuman guises, occasional human-like apparitions, and other kinds of manifestations. Rather than refer to all such manifestations as beings or apparitions, which can foster biases, I find that, semantically, the word entity can be used relatively neutrally to denote an aspect of the experience distinct from mere background.

    Those preliminary considerations aside, allow me to clarify a few matters of importance to me, what may be considered possible misconceptions about some of these altered states. I could write much more on the complex nuances and questions involved in this field, and I have, however here I only wish to make a few short mentions to give some context to my approach to this.

    For one, sleep paralysis does not always feature complete, unbreakable paralysis. Sometimes the paralysis is only partial and sometimes the paralysis is breakable. It’s conceivable all sleep paralysis is fundamentally breakable even if a subject feels it is unable to break the paralysis in the moment. In any case, a subject can begin a sleep paralysis episode in a complete or partial paralytic state, and then come to find it is able to break the paralysis by itself. Note as well that even if paralysis is broken, this may or may not cancel the altered state itself. I only note these matters for any who have the impression sleep paralysis necessarily involves unbreakable full body paralysis. Hypnagogic and hypnopompic states also do not always feature paralysis. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. It is possible, for instance, to awake into a hypnopompic state and feel little if any paralysis. This depends in part on the subject.

    Beyond that, let us also recognize this: Not everyone is terrified of sleep paralysis and related phenomena. Sleep paralysis is commonly characterized as terrifying by those who experience it. This is a subjectively genuine description and one I have experienced myself. However, terror, dread, and other such emotions are not universal facets of the experience. It is very possible to not be afraid in the state at all, whether of the paralysis, apparitions, or other phenomena present. This stoic approach to parasomnia states can take some time to develop. Even as you begin to eliminate fear, you may find certain manifestations or senses incite dread, such as elements that excite personal phobias. Even so, one’s reaction to such states can in principle and in practice be largely controlled, if not fully controlled. This composed, focused state of mind can allow one to conduct clearer observations and experiments and explore deeper dimensions of consciousness. Bear this methodology in mind as we consider this field and have other experiences in the future.

    As an addendum to this section, I would also note I find it important to recognize that there is often a question about whether a subject was actually awake in the normal sense when the subject experienced an altered state such as sleep paralysis. Based on my analysis of my own experiences and those of others, it appears that, sometimes, the subject is awake in the normal sense, and sometimes, the subject is asleep, and only appears to be awake in the normal sense. If you consider telling a story, do note whether the percipient ultimately appeared to be awake.

    About three years ago, I was involved in research to compile cases and evidence to establish a clearer, more nuanced account of this somewhat obscure array of phenomena. I find that some authors don’t approach the phenomenon in as much philosophical and scientific depth as they could, and often use mere anecdotes as the bulk of their books, or dismiss the phenomenon entirely as a mere meaningless glitch in the human mind. I feel these matters could benefit from a much closer and experimental examination, and for that I have worked over the years to compile information and organize concepts and research. For the past three years, I largely took a break from this field, and wrote ‘fiction’ as well as dabbled in some creative designs and other interests. Recently, I decided to pick up where I left off and, as part of my literary plans, I intend to write a book devoted to a comprehensive account of a certain breed of apparitional experiences and altered states, namely the vein of reality called the demonic by some. There is wide disagreement about the nature of the demonic, the semantics of the words demon and demonic, and whether we can aptly consider any parasomnia phenomena such as sleep paralysis demonic in any instances. I am not here to discuss these matters. I am only here, as I said, to collect stories. I’ve interviewed a number of individuals in-person and online and have compiled a series of detailed apparitional accounts that interest me, some of which I would like to include in a few of the aforementioned book’s chapters. I would also, ideally, like to use a few of your own accounts in said book, which I would strictly reserve for the most detailed, compelling, and vivid anecdotes, preferably firsthand accounts rather than those told by someone else. You can post accounts here or speak to me privately. I am also willing to speak further on these matters to those who share a vivid memory with me or otherwise express a genuine interest in the unknown without preconception. If I find your account particularly noteworthy, and if, upon further research, I consider you a fairly credible person, I will consider using your story as an example of this phenomenon. I will not, in any case, use any personal information such as name or location. I only wish to compile the most compelling cases directly from the source.

    Encounters could be in waking, in a hypnagogic or hypnopompic state, or in a dream state or other vision state. It doesn’t need to be in waking or a between state. Some of the most beautiful and vivid entities are encountered in dreams, sometimes lucid dreams, and I would be interested to hear some of the more rich, animated encounters of alterdimensional entities of a sinister sort.

    Detailed accounts would ideally include: how old you were; your location at the time; the time and date; if you were lying down, what position you were in, whether supine, sideward, etc.; a description of any apparitions to include color, size, specific features, voices, behavior, location, etc.; a description of any other aspects of the episode to include emotions, sounds, vibrations, pressures, paralysis, speech, actions, alterations, portals, etc.; how the apparitional experience affected you, whether you feel the phenomenon continued to haunt you, whether you subsequently had unusually vivid or disturbing dreams; and also other questions such as whether you’ve seen any UFOs before or after; whether you think you may have experienced any paranormal phenomena before or after; whether you’ve experienced any lucid dreams, astral or infernal visions, or other altered states before or after; and, as an aside, how others have regarded your experience and whether others in your life experienced similar phenomena before or after. I am very patient and observant, and there is no need to rush any accounts submitted. I ask you take no more than about 1,000 words to describe your story, however if you would like to take more time, that is fine as well. Know that you will receive no judgment from me, even if you take a hard line stance on what exactly your experience is. I am only here to collect memories. I am not here to debate these matters, nor do I intend to peddle any ultimate theory of them. I am and always will be an agnostic in my core, interested foremost in pure experiential data, pure manifestations, independently of our own feelings and interpretations of them. I hope if you’ve read this far, and if you’re as interested in the complexities and truth of this phenomenon as I am, you will take some time to humor me and give us a particularly rich story from your corner of the world. As we learn more of each other’s experiences of the strange, and as we consider opportunities to experiment and delve deeper into the doors of our minds, perhaps we will find other doors open in time, and we encounter aspects of the cosmos once hidden from us.

    - D.L.X.
  • Changeling
    I once saw the ghost of a man in a rock on a road near Gigmoto, Catanduanes, The Phillipines.
  • TheMadFool
    Apparitions, dreams and nightmares though intriguing pale in comparison to the real question which is, "how do I know that I'm not dreaming right now, as I type these words into the message box?" How do we know the universe, everything from the smallest atoms to gigantic galaxies, isn't some kind of collective, or more fascinatingly one person's, dream?

    The only way to discover the truth would be to wake up in another reality like in The Matrix and discover that the world you knew was a dream. Unfortunately, that doesn't solve the problem at all because you could be dreaming that you woke up from a dream that you woke up from a dream that you woke up from ad infinitum.

    One could say that a dream differs from the world we take to be real in certain crucial areas e.g. you can defy the laws of nature of the real world in dreams but attempting to fly like a bird in the real world is going to end in you getting bruised or, worse, dead. Yet this is a realization that's only available to those who've dreamed and awakened with memories of such wild dreams. Since we can never be sure that this our world is real or just a dream because no one till now has woken up from it and passed on the information to us, we'll be in the dark probably for perpetuity.

    Actually if you really think about it, seeing apparitions when awake, as so many have claimed, might be an indication that this world is just a dream: these spectres maybe the law-defying instances that "prove" that, just like we break the laws of reality in our dreams, this reality too is just another layer in our dream world where the laws governing our familiar reality are broken.
  • RegularGuy

    I must admit that I didn’t read your entire post, but I reckon you are interested in firsthand accounts, so here goes...

    A few months back I was dreaming, and I don’t remember the entire dream, but I dreamt about a high school acquaintance. He said to me, “I’m not so and so. I’m an alien. There is going to be a race war and we will protect you. You can murder human beings... and now forget...” He then stretched out his hand and touched my temple and I forgot what had happened in the dream before his appearance.

    I presume he meant that I could kill Nazis because I had been threatening them to the Google, iPhone, PC, and smart TV surveillance devices in my home.

    And that’s that. I’m not sure if this is what you were looking for, but that’s my account.
  • sime
    Firstly there is the problem of confabulation, especially when subjects are pressed for more detail; are people accurately reporting their earlier experience, or are they improvising novel content over a vague memory? With memories, it's never clear which parts are authentic.

    Also, what are the necessary descriptive features of an apparition? Or is an apparition more of a hypothesis about experience?

    My dozen or so successful experiments with day-time and wake-induced sleep-paralysis were personally interesting, but i have no idea how to report most of them, and they were bizarre and my memory is vague. None of them involved aliens or apparitions. My favourite experience wasn't even visual, but more of a blind ecstatic trance accompanied with a feeling of moving at lightening speed and a wooshing sound like a jet engine. Ironically, the dullest experience was a high-definition visual OBE that lasted for about a minute, that felt so real and ordinary that I briefly wondered whether I was actually awake and physically in my kitchen, but then realised I must have been asleep because the kitchen clock told the wrong time, plus there was this dizzy sensation from feeling pulled around on that mythical elastic cord that I never actually saw...
  • god must be atheist
    Randy, you are a writer. You have a superb command of verbosity. That opening post is reading material enough to win top prize in a short story contest.
  • god must be atheist
    Seance Sense Made Sensible for the Senses

    I went to a seance and heard an apparition
    Say to the medium, "appardon, but the partition
    between living and dead are a pair of tits on
    a padre's son; appoint me to a rendition
    and I will sing you the blues of apparitions:

    "which ghoest like this: appardon, but the partition
    between living and dead are a pair of tits on
    a padre's son; appoint me to a rendition
    and I will sing you the blues of apparitions:

    (And over and over again.)"
  • jgill
    Forty years ago I decided to attempt Castaneda's Art of Dreaming. Amazingly, his instructions (Don Juan) worked the first time and I "awoke" in what seemed to be the normal world, but with colors, sounds, etc. accentuated. I would enter this state of mind usually during a hypnagogic interlude. No drugs were involved. Today, these are all pleasant memories.
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.