Sleep Paralysis and The Old Hag
Written By: Godlypunk
The study of sleep paralysis has only been semi-seriously studied for about ten years or so. No one knows exactly why or what causes it. What is being studied is what happens to our bodies while undergoing an episode.
There are numerous accounts all over the world of people having these experiences. The thread of paralysis being what connects them together. BUT, there is another thread-- the characters involved. They seem to have a common appearance to those that actually ’see’ the entity involved in the SP experience. An old hag being one of them. According to legend, (yes this has been going on for some time), she sits on the victims chest and sends nightmares into the victims head. This particular character has been witnessed as doing this even today. There is actually a web site dedicated to recording these experiences at http://www.old-hag.com/
I had my own encounter with this character at the age of four or five years old which is what sparked me to taking a closer look into the phenomenon. Not because I had the same experience as described by researchers and victims but instead because of the difference. In my encounter she never sat on my chest and never paralyzed me. Or to put it another way, I was not paralyzed during the event.
My encounter went like this:
I woke up in the middle of the night. I wasn’t scared, I just woke up. I laid there and could hear the breathing of my brother sleeping on the other side of the room. Other than that, the house was quiet and all was still.
As I lay there I hear creaking floorboards in the hallway. The same creaking a person would make walking down the hall. It was coming from the living room area, not any of the bedrooms in the house. I lay there listening as it made its way down the hall to my bedroom door. I heard the door open and pretended to be asleep.
I had no idea what the "thing" was up to or what it would do. I also had no idea who it was. I heard it come closer and closer to my bed (mind you, I was NEVER paralyzed). Whoever it was sat beside me on the bed. I could feel the weight of the individual on the mattress.
At this point my fear grew because it had zero’d in on me. I still pretended to be asleep, hoping that whoever it was would leave. I laid there and laid there and laid there and nothing. I would guess an hour passed and its weight never shifted and it never left. My mind raced as to what to do. If I screamed it might kill me I thought. So I eventually built up the nerve to pretend to shift in my sleep and steal a glance at the individual.
So I shifted my weight and turned my body in the bed and peeked. There on the bed sitting beside me was a very old woman. Her eyes were wide and her gaze was penetrating. She was horribly wrinkled with gray unkempt hair. In the very brief moment that I peeked, she was gazing directly into my eyes about two feet from me. Her appearance horrified me as did her behavior. Knowing that she had been staring at me like that for well over an hour was incredibly disturbing.
Now my heart raced because I knew who it was. I knew it didn’t belong there and I had reason to be very afraid of what it might do. Still pretending to be asleep, I began to sweat under the covers. But there was nothing I could do to alleviate the heat. I’m not sure how much time passed at this point but it seemed like an eternity. I hoped against hope that she would get up and leave but she did not. Finally, amidst the fear and the sweat, I drifted off to sleep.
I awoke to the sound of my brother turning over in his sleep and coughing. I knew he was at least a little awake so I opened my eyes again and she was gone. I got out of bed and went into my parents room and begged them to let me sleep there. But my father refused and flat out told me to go back to bed and that I had just had a nightmare. I pleaded saying that it was real but to no avail. So I stood outside their bedroom for a few moments and inched my way back in and crawled under their bed. There, with the cobwebs and dust, I lay until morning.
Later in my life my wife and I were drinking coffee late one night and sharing stories about ourselves when this topic came up again. She recounted the same exact description and the same (non-paralyzed) encounter with this hag. Not to mention she was roughly the same age as me when it happened. I knew at that point that there had to be something to this, for us both to have seen the same individual or at least the same type of individual.
With the advent of the internet, I have since been able to find many more stories of this hag character under the guise of Sleep Paralysis. That "catch all" term for night terrors and such. What becomes clear looking into SP is that no one really knows much about it except that it seems to be wide spread among the population. It is my belief that since we can’t allow the belief that these characters are real, we call it a condition and slap a term to it. Reasonable thought would suggest that if it were a condition then why would all these people be seeing the same types of characters? Why not a giant spider sitting on your chest? I had an aunt who was deathly afraid of cows, yes cows. But never heard her describe a cow sitting on her chest. What about a snake, a barbarian, a giant, or an IRS agent? No, it seems these same characters keep coming up again and again. You would think it would lead one to believe that there is some ’realness’ to the characters involved. But still the "civilized" reaction seems to be, "Oh, that’s just sleep paralysis". It’s become quite clear to me that it makes people feel better to label it something mundane. It makes us feel safer and more secure perhaps.
Why is it so hard to believe that there might actually be beings living in other facets of reality and that they are moving back and forth effecting us at vulnerable points and performing similar tasks? Science has been leaning towards the existence of additional dimensions, so why is it so unreasonable to think that other creatures might exist there as well? In books such as Hunt for the Skin Walker and The Mothman Prophecies, a very convincing case is made for this kind of inter-dimensional rifting.
If I am right, perhaps we need to look back at our past and rethink those stories, lore, and myth. If we keep an open mind we may find that maybe, just maybe, we are missing some real truth.