So....I've done some research into night terrors and....this writeup isn't part of that node.

There's an overlap, but I think it would be a mistake to just label the things I'm describing as "night terrors" and assume that it's all part of the same thing.

Phenomenology changed my life, so instead of trying to fit a concept into a context of psychology, or religion, or whatever, I'd much prefer to describe to you my experiences as they happened and let you make your own minds up. I reserve the right to present some of the new things I've found on the subject in a later writeup. Please try not to infer that I'm pushing a particular agenda unless I specifically do so, I'd like to leave my own tentative personal "spirituality" out of this for the time being. Thanks.

As I said, I've done some research to try to understand these things that happen to me, and I have read the night terror writeups. I don't feel like this belongs there. I've never read anything on "night terrors" and felt like it was really describing the experiences I have. I've found lots of documentation that confidently describes symptoms, causes and the criteria for night terrors. Very few apply to my case. That said, some things do ring a bell. Like the sleep paralysis element.

One last thing I'd like to mention is that similar experiences to mine have been "reported" (traditionally, orally, or by anthropologists, etc) by pretty much every cultural group we have a record of. I'll spare you further analysis for now.

 

First Time

 

 I was lying in bed, somewhere between sleep and waking. Suddenly I was wide awake, feeling that almost essentially indescribable feeling we all get sometimes when we just know that something is about to happen. Tension....real tension. Impending....something. I didn't know what, but it broke suddenly with a soundless explosion in my head. I flinched, it occured to me that the shock I had (kind of) heard and felt wasn't real, because my mum hadn't woken up. Then I noticed that I couldn't move any more, and I started to panic.

So here I am, about 15 years old, paralysed, fully conscious now, staring at my ceiling and a little worried about the possibility that I was having a brain embolism/heart attack/epileptic fit. Ten years later and I'm still a little bit weirded out by what happened next. I became aware of a threatening presence in my room, which I could only spatially define as being above and around me. I couldn't see it, but I could feel it. It felt very bad.

I'm not saying this was "real" outside my head, I'm just describing my perceptions as they happened.

Parallel to my awareness of the room I was in, was my awareness of my own mental state...this thing that I felt in my room....was in my head as well. I could feel it, and I could see it. The best word for how it felt is one I've already used; threatening. Also, evil, really fucking evil. Evil like a force of nature you can't escape. Dangerous, dangerous like something that could damage you to any extent at will. Its visual representation in my mind's eye shifted...not constantly but sporadically, there are two main images of it that I have retained. The first is a huge, dark, brooding vaguely humanoid being and the second resembled a vampire; teeth, eyes,and it was flying, no, whirling around the inside of my head. Use your imagination. It wasn't nice, it seemed calculated to terrify me. There was no question in my mind that all these impressions were aspects of the same thing. I just knew it at the time. I was paralysed in my bed, and for the first time in my life I was paralysed inside my own imagination. I was stuck with this horrible ( a word I dont use often or lightly) inescapable thing in my mind that was somehow also this presence in my room. I had a kind of direct awareness of its nature (it was in my mind, after all) and I was seriously scared at this point....the thing in my mind was what was paralysing me, it felt like something drastically bad was happening. I remember the vampire-avatar leering at me while I just watched, defenceless, more or less cowering with nowhere to hide. I was so scared of literally losing it at this point, as in crumbling under the pressure of my own fear and dying, that I instinctively reached for something...a kind of safe place or a point of control. I found a phrase and kept repeating it in my head, not with any sense that I had found some kind of magical protective talisman, more like someone rocking back and forth whispering "there's no place like home" over and over again...

Hard-headed atheists, critics, cynics, and well established contributors, forgive me for what comes next. This writeup has no ideological agenda, my artistic agenda in this case is to simply present the events as I perceived them.

...I prayed, I was praying my little heart out. I just remember praying for my life, over and over again. I remember the words I used, but I don't believe they were what mattered. If I'd have been born a muslim or a jew or a buddhist or a hindu or an animist or a viking then I'm sure they would have been different but no less effective. Obviously if I was an unbeliever then I would have been in deeper trouble and my soul no doubt mercilessly devoured. (I joke).

Almost as soon as I started this I felt the power of the thing that threatened me receding, I got the sense that I had done something right almost by accident. I felt calmer. I became less stuck in my own head and more aware of the room I was in. I felt the presence of the thing that had attacked me withdraw and literally disappear out of the window  by my bed (a really striking part of the experience). I sat up, I looked out of the window for a long time. It felt fantastic to be free. A few hours later I got up and went to school. It was years before I told anyone about it. That was the first time I fought a demon in my sleep, but not the last. Demons 0 tiger cub 1

 

 

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