Thursday, March 25, 2010

Seeing Things That Aren't There

When I was about five years old my parents took my sister and me to see a monster movie.

That night, lying in bed, I looked in my doorway and saw the monster standing there. Inexplicably, my sister, in another room, saw him too, and started screaming.

As to how we both saw the same monster, I do not know. Since it cannot be explained, I don’t try to.

But her screaming brought my father into her room, where he quieted her. Then he stood in my doorway, checking on me. Here’s what I remember vividly. The monster was transparent and I could see my father though him. After that, I don’t remember anything.

I wasn’t particularly scared of this guy. He was just standing there looking at me. He didn’t try to enter my room.

Years later I found out what happened to me is called a hynogogic hallucination. They aren’t all that uncommon, and happen in that state between wakefulness and sleep.

Years later, when I was about 21, I had another one. During that time, I often suffered from sleep paralysis. In that state in-between being awake and going to sleep, I would often find myself paralyzed. It got to the point I didn’t even pay much attention to it.

One night I found myself paralyzed. Then something unexpected happened.

First, I heard a woman’s highheels clicking on the sidewalk outside my house. Then I heard her talking in English, but I could not understand her. “I’m having a hallucination,” I thought. It didn’t bother me for some reason.

What happened next did bother me. I heard what appeared to be a giant been buzzing above my bare back. The worst part of it is that I could feel the air from its wings across me,

Then this “bee” dropped down, as if it was going to land on me. This was too much. I got scared. Trying to break that paralysis, I tried to rock back and forth, and finally was able to move. The “bee” went away.

This hallucination was as vivid as could be, but I knew it was a hallucination. Now as to why people have hynogogic hallucinations, I have no idea.

Because of what happened to me, I suspect that when people in the past claimed they were being attacked my demons at night, they were having hynogogic hallucinations. They are, I believe, in many ways culturally determined, otherwise I would not have seen a monster from a movie.

One thousand years ago, and who knows what I would have hallucinated. In my case, probably a succubus.

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