Sleep Paralysis

The Howling Stump.

This photo, from 2009 is of a hawthorn tree in Leicestershire. I used to pass it on cycle rides to Market Bosworth but it was only visible in the winter when the hedges were clear of leaves. It looks to me like it belongs in a story of haunted houses.

Sleeping can reveal that I am aware of how my mind deals with sleeping or waking. Falling asleep is like flicking a switch, the switch has to do several things at once. It will switch off hearing and bodily movement. The mind has to do the opposite switches when we wake up. Something seems to break the sequence when we’re in REM dream sleep.

Sometimes, we want to wake from a dream and have to struggle. Sometimes, we wake but the switch to allow the muscles to move doesn’t come on immediately. This leaves me in a state where I am awake but can’t move, not even to open my eyes. This is a state of Sleep Paralysis. I get this about once a year.

Fuseli Night Demon

It’s not just me, this theme has attracted artists like Fuselli. SP seems to reflect the times, demons in the past and UFO alien abductions more recently (especially in the USA where aliens ISNA more popular theme). Others have recounted the feeling of crushing or a sentient presence in the room. I don’t get any of that but the strangest I have had is a loud grinding buzzing sound inside my head.

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