ByLy Velez, writer at
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Ly Velez

Have you ever had a bad dream? Have you ever experienced a nightmare so terrifying you woke up sweating bullets afterwards? You have? Well, multiply that terror by 1,000 and add some demonic shadow people, and maybe then you will understand the horrifying plight of those who have suffered sleep paralysis.

For those of you fortunate enough to never have experienced sleep paralysis and are not sure of what it is, it can be described as a state of semi-consciousness in which the person is physically unable to move or speak but is mentally and psychologically aware of his or her surroundings. While this situation is disorienting enough as is, sleep paralysis victims also experience visions of shadow people or demons and may even feel physical pain during the hallucinations.

Director Rodney Ascher and his team attempt to portray the true dread of sleep paralysis in his horror documentary The Nightmare. The film, which documents the stories of eight people from across the globe, utilizes professional actors and special affects to recreate the nightmares these people have been experiencing every night for most of their lives. Check out the eerie trailer below.

The documentary does a fantastic job of portraying the participants' experiences, but critics have voiced the valid point that no scientific or medical expert was ever consulted to explain the objective definition of sleep paralysis. Medically speaking, the paralysis sets in during the REM stage of sleep when the body is shutting down. If the person is still even slightly conscious during this process, they may feel like there is pressure on his or her chest cutting off air, which may explain why sleep paralysis victims complain of some kind of creature sitting on their chests.

What about the shadow people and demons? Apparently, when a person is falling asleep or waking up, he or she might be in a hyper-vigilant state and are susceptible to hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations, i.e. hallucinations when you fall asleep and hallucinations when you wake up. In other words, if your sleep pattern is slightly off, you might have a couple of demon visitors when you fall asleep or wake up.

While these explanations are all fine and dandy, they don't come close to doing justice to the true stories of sleep paralysis victims. Below you'll find five of the scariest sleep paralysis tales across the interwebs. Rate them from 1 to 5 on the terror scale and see how your bravery stacks up against that of other readers!

Top 5 Scariest Sleep Paralysis Stories on the Internet

Black Demons

11 years ago, when I was 19, I had my first experience. It had been just several months since my family and I had moved in to this new home. My room was next to my parents. Around 3:00am I woke up, with a quick glance across my room, my heart instantly dropped, filled with fear and terror I witnessed 7 or 8 black slender demon like figures, there movement was choppy, jolted as they came through the walls and towards my bed. Without hesitation I tried to get out of bed, I barely lifted my upper torso before I felt this incredible pressure glueing me to my bed. I tried screaming for my mom, (funny how in life's most terrifying moments, people always yell for there mom, it don't matter who you are) but my voice was gone! Nothing. I began struggling with these demons who have now surrounded my bed. All I could do is move my head side to side trying to keep my eyes closed, but couldn't help but look what is happening to me. Time was hard to calculate, but I think within ten second's of struggling, I heard a voice! A voice that calmed me, it was soothing, like a voice of an angel, "Dan pray to God, he is the only one who can help you!". I prayed like I never prayed before, like it was my last prayer and I did it fast. Instantly they were gone, I was able to get out of bed. I went downstairs to the kitchen and sat down and pondered what the hell just happened. Personally I believe what happened to me was real. I don't believe doctors/science can explain it. People all over the world through many centuries have experienced this with the black spirits (known as shadow people) most people who have come across these demons have said they are evil, full of dread and terror.


How scary was that?!

The Little Girl

Before I learned 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 already could. Here’s 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 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, 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. Ugh, I need to stop trying to remember these things. I’m getting chills.


How scary was that?!

The Scarab

There’s a gigantic Egyptian scarab looking over me and telling me it can’t wait to taste my rotted flesh. It will then go on to describe all the ways it would eat me (think like Forrest Gump and shrimp) and then it turns into several hundred/thousand smaller versions of scarabs and buzz away into the cracks in the walls. The buzzing is very loud.


How scary was that?!

The Static Ghost

I've had a few, one time I was laying in bed with my eyes wide open and was stuck in this paralysis state. I saw 3 blurry figures beside my bed, one was directly beside me, it reached its hands inside my chest and started squeezing the air out of my lungs, I was gasping for air, this went on for a few mins, all I could do was look around the room, I went back inside and said clearly in my head, In the name of god pls leave me in peace, I felt and electric pop in the air, like static electricity and they moved back into shadow or wherever they come from.


How scary was that?!

The Scary Grandmother

I’ve gotten mine so frequently that I don’t even freak out about it anymore. It’s still scary, but not nearly as much as it used to be. The first few hallucinations were awful:

A little creature eating something on my floor. I blink. Now he’s right next to my face chewing on something and whispers “Remember me?”

An old lady standing over my head and whispers “Darling…” I told my mom about that one and she asked if I thought it was my late grandma? No. It was evil.

The hallucinations are always evil. Even if I can’t see anything, there is an overwhelming presence in the room and it is always evil. I can’t move. I’m stuck. The evil is pulling on me deeper and deeper. I can’t cry for help. I can only breath heavily as fast as I can. Hoping someone will hear me breathing so loud and will come shake me out of it. I try and move a finger. Come on finger! Why won’t you just move?! It’s going to get me!


How scary was that?!

What did you think of those stories? Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? If so and if you feel comfortable doing so, please share your sleep paralysis stories by commenting below!



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