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Subject: Night Terrors... are you afraid of the dark? rss

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Mike Bourgeois
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You're laying in your bed, it's late and dark and there are sounds you hear but can't connect to where you live... they just don't mesh with what your brain knows. A creak here, a groan there... a soft tread of (?)feet? Your pulse races, your breathing is shallow but rapid... and your body is paralyzed.

Night Terror is how I've heard it called and it seems to stem from those I've talked to from being afraid of the dark.

Now strangely enough I'm not afraid of the dark but I used to suffer Night Terrors and I capitalize it because it's a really crappy thing to run into and it ran my life at nights for a while. The worst part was laying in bed and hearing the soft pad of feet across the carpet... reaching your bed and then the soft, low breathing behind you... the wanting to roll over and face whatever it was but having your body refuse to move... just couldn't do it... I couldn't twitch a muscle.

Only thing that saved me and I wonder sometimes if dogs and cats don't have a warped sense of humour was our dog of the time Sarah bounding into my room when I lay there stiff as a board and jumping up on the bed... she farted loudly and that as much as anything broke the paralysis and after I'd groaned about the stench I hugged her for a long while and the unseen presence of course was long, long gone. I wonder if this was just happy happenstance or if she'd sensed something wrong and come in to break up the crap going down.

Am I alone in this happening or has it happened to you? How has it changed you... or has it had no affect beyond the immediacy of that time? Don't know why now I'm curious but sometimes old memories are very vivid.
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Rick Holzgrafe
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I am not afraid of the dark, and never suffered night terrors on a regular basis. I remember only two occasions that might count.

The first was awakening in great terror, with a strong feeling that something large and horrific hovered near the ceiling in the darkest corner of the room. I don't think that I had any idea what it was or might have looked like at first, although by the time I was fully awake I did have an image in my head. It involved a wasp-like thing with curved talons a yard long, and as slender, sharp, and strong as surgical needles. These were intended, I somehow knew, not for my flesh but for my soul. This image may have been constructed after the fact, in an effort to think of something that might justify the terror, rather than the terror being caused by the image.

And once as a teenager I awoke with paralysis and thought I heard two sets of footsteps, not in my room but as if I were eavesdropping on someone walking down a tiled corridor somewhere. One of the pair seemed to be talking to the other in conversation or (judging from the tone) instruction; I could not make out the words. As the effect continued, the sounds grew fainter as if the pair were receding down the corridor. This one was intensely interesting to me (I remember it clearly, forty years later) but there was no terror, no feeling of threat. Just the paralysis, footsteps, and the one quiet, unintelligible voice.
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This happened to me occasionally from ages 13 to 23. Freaking weird. And scary! It hasn't happened in over a decade.
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Kevin Li
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It sounds like you may be describing an episode of sleep paralysis.

Wikipedia wrote:
Symptoms and characteristics

Physiologically, sleep paralysis is closely related to the paralysis that occurs as a natural part of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is known as REM atonia. Sleep paralysis occurs when the brain awakes from a REM state, but the body paralysis persists. This leaves the person fully conscious, but unable to move. The paralysis can last from several seconds to several minutes "after which the individual may experience panic symptoms and the realization that the distorted perceptions were false". As the correlation with REM sleep suggests, the paralysis is not entirely complete; use of EOG traces shows that eye movement can be instigated during such episodes. When there is an absence of narcolepsy, sleep paralysis is referred to as isolated sleep paralysis (ISP).

In addition, the paralysis state may be accompanied by terrifying hallucinations (hypnopompic or hypnagogic) and an acute sense of danger. Sleep paralysis is particularly frightening to the individual because of the vividness of such hallucinations. The hallucinatory element to sleep paralysis makes it even more likely that someone will interpret the experience as a dream, since completely fanciful, or dream-like, objects (often described as looking distinctly demonic by those who experience the paralysis)[citation needed] may appear in the room alongside one's normal vision. Some scientists have proposed this condition as an explanation for alien abductions and ghostly encounters. A study by Susan Blackmore and Marcus Cox (the Blackmore-Cox study) of the University of the West of England supports the suggestion that reports of alien abductions are related to sleep paralysis rather than to temporal lobe lability.

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I like to sleep in near total darkness but I have been subject to Sleep Paralysis dreams as long as I can remember. Some were so vivid I've named them. But I hadn't heard the term until I read Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World.

I'd love to follow this thread further but I gotta go to dinner soon.
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Mike Bourgeois
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rholzgrafe wrote:
I am not afraid of the dark, and never suffered night terrors on a regular basis. I remember only two occasions that might count.

The first was awakening in great terror, with a strong feeling that something large and horrific hovered near the ceiling in the darkest corner of the room. I don't think that I had any idea what it was or might have looked like at first, although by the time I was fully awake I did have an image in my head. It involved a wasp-like thing with curved talons a yard long, and as slender, sharp, and strong as surgical needles. These were intended, I somehow knew, not for my flesh but for my soul. This image may have been constructed after the fact, in an effort to think of something that might justify the terror, rather than the terror being caused by the image.

And once as a teenager I awoke with paralysis and thought I heard two sets of footsteps, not in my room but as if I were eavesdropping on someone walking down a tiled corridor somewhere. One of the pair seemed to be talking to the other in conversation or (judging from the tone) instruction; I could not make out the words. As the effect continued, the sounds grew fainter as if the pair were receding down the corridor. This one was intensely interesting to me (I remember it clearly, forty years later) but there was no terror, no feeling of threat. Just the paralysis, footsteps, and the one quiet, unintelligible voice.


Your wasp thing sounds like something I've read about before... some article on the web discussing the origins of many nightmare fueled objects that arise in the minds of people. It sounds really alien in a way and that is for me occasionally more unnerving than more organic things that might have walked the earth (or flown) many years back.
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joebelanger wrote:
This happened to me occasionally from ages 13 to 23. Freaking weird. And scary! It hasn't happened in over a decade.


and isn't it nice when such things bugger off an don't bother you anymore... I really wonder why they come and go and if there is an age barrier for them. My last one was easily when I was 17 or 18... I'm 40 now and the only things I experience during sleeping are getting kicked by my wife when she runs in her sleep.
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Tim Thorp
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I've never had night terrors or sleep paralysis, but for many years I was unable to look in a mirror in the dark. It was related to a vivid recurring nightmare I used to get where my reflection was not doing what I was doing. Going into a pitch black room with a mirror on the wall filled me with the same sense of dread as someone with night terrors.
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John O'Haver
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joebelanger wrote:
This happened to me occasionally from ages 13 to 23. Freaking weird. And scary! It hasn't happened in over a decade.


I'm damn near 60 years old and I've had two SP dreams within the last month. In one, I heard the furnace kick on at night, which means it was pretty damn cold - I like to sleep under multiple blankets and comforters in a cool dark room - except it was roaring like a huge fire. When I tried to raise up and listen more closely, something large threw itself on top of me pinning me to the bed. I could hear it breathing. The only thing that protected me from it was layers and layers of blankets. I awakened myself hollering (probably mumbling) for help.

The other was less vivid but still I awakened myself the same way. This time it was triggered by a squeaky closet door to the walk-in closet that I hadn't shut all the way. The closet is like a secret tunnel that runs the length of the apartment from the bedroom through the game stoarge area under the stairs and to the foyer. The return vent is inside it. But when the furnace kicks on, the door sounds like this:

squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek ... squeeeeeeeeeek ... squeeeeeeek ... ... ... squeeeek ... ... ... ... squeeek ... ... ... ... ... ... ... squeek ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... squee ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... squik...

anyway that triggered an SP dream.


BTW, I live in the bottom half of a nearly 100 year old house rumored to be haunted. All the so called manifestations have happened in the upstairs apartment. Oh yeah have a new neighbor upstairs I'm still adjusting to the sounds she makes (or triggers... rattling chains, beating wings, foot steps, muffled cries, and the sound of something thick dripping on hard wood...typical new neighbor in the haunted apartment sounds).


... squic...

Of course there are no dreams when I take a sleep aid. I've tried Ambien but that's prescription. The Walgreens over the counter sleep aid works well. ... squ

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When you're 11-15 years old, you hear all kinds of things while in bed.
Especially if you often sleep alone in an apartment.
In New York City.
Creaking footsteps, doorknobs turning, coffins opening and closing...I heard it all.



Nowadays, I'm no longer afraid of the undead. I do have a healthy respect for some of the living, which is why I keep one of these in the nightstand.

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klide wrote:
It sounds like you may be describing an episode of sleep paralysis.

Wikipedia wrote:
Symptoms and characteristics

Physiologically, sleep paralysis is closely related to the paralysis that occurs as a natural part of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is known as REM atonia. Sleep paralysis occurs when the brain awakes from a REM state, but the body paralysis persists. This leaves the person fully conscious, but unable to move. The paralysis can last from several seconds to several minutes "after which the individual may experience panic symptoms and the realization that the distorted perceptions were false". As the correlation with REM sleep suggests, the paralysis is not entirely complete; use of EOG traces shows that eye movement can be instigated during such episodes. When there is an absence of narcolepsy, sleep paralysis is referred to as isolated sleep paralysis (ISP).

In addition, the paralysis state may be accompanied by terrifying hallucinations (hypnopompic or hypnagogic) and an acute sense of danger. Sleep paralysis is particularly frightening to the individual because of the vividness of such hallucinations. The hallucinatory element to sleep paralysis makes it even more likely that someone will interpret the experience as a dream, since completely fanciful, or dream-like, objects (often described as looking distinctly demonic by those who experience the paralysis)[citation needed] may appear in the room alongside one's normal vision. Some scientists have proposed this condition as an explanation for alien abductions and ghostly encounters. A study by Susan Blackmore and Marcus Cox (the Blackmore-Cox study) of the University of the West of England supports the suggestion that reports of alien abductions are related to sleep paralysis rather than to temporal lobe lability.



OMG!! This has happened to me!! Not in a long time. And usually when it happens I feel like I am paralyzed or something is pushing down on me and I can barely breathe. I silently scream at myself: "Wake up! Wake Up! Wake Up!!" to no avail.

I didn't know about this!!!!! Wow!!!!!

I've never been afraid of the dark and actually prefer total darkness and silence in which to sleep. Noises don't usually bother me, but might wake me up as I am a light sleeper.
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Tim Thorp
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philomars wrote:
berserkley wrote:
I've never had night terrors or sleep paralysis, but for many years I was unable to look in a mirror in the dark. It was related to a vivid recurring nightmare I used to get where my reflection was not doing what I was doing. Going into a pitch black room with a mirror on the wall filled me with the same sense of dread as someone with night terrors.



I'm 43 and still think of "bloody mary" when I see a mirror in the dark and always look away..


Oh yeah!

What's funny is we have a dresser in our bedroom with a 4 ft high mirror. Sure brings back memories when I wake up at 2 in the morning looking at the mirror...
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I don't have paralysis. I don't know if what I am having is a dream, but there are many times where something spooks me while I am asleep, and my impulse is to come out of bed swinging. Literally.

Or, on a few occasions, come out of bed and go for the shotgun. That last time that happened tho, I have to blame my wife. And one of our cats.

The wife had just bought these lamps at IKEA that have a foot switch to turn them on. They are set up down the hall from the master bedroom in our TV room. So at three in the morning, all the sudden a light flips on down the hall, and before I really knew what was going on I was out of bed and going for the gun.

There have been other times when I have found myself standing in the hallway keyed up for a fight holding various objects as a weapon - some random stick, an umbrella, and in one instance, I was holding a dining room chair over my head and looking for someone to smash.
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Good grief man, what kind of neighborhood do you live in?
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mbourgeois wrote:


Only thing that saved me ... was our dog of the time Sarah


I've read (and I can't recall where) that getting a dog (any kind of dog) is the best treatment for a child with night terrors. I recall the reasoning was that the comfort of a warm body was enough to break the episode. I don't know if it works for night terrors, but when my kids went through their "monster in the closet" phase, shutting the dog in their room always seemed to fix it.
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I've only been terrified at night on canoe trips with just my wife. The isolation of nature, combined with cracks and scurrying in the bushes really gets to me. However, if I fall asleep and wake up a couple of hours later, I'm not longer afraid and actually feel quite at peace.

One night we were about 3 lakes into our trip, spending the night by some rapids (which were very loud). Well, suddenly in the middle of the night there was a loud crashing in the bushes. Karla insisted I get out of the tent and check it out. So I crept into the darkness without my glasses and saw a large, brown, furry creature. I was convinced it was a bear and let out a silent scream. Then a tree crashed into the lake and I realized it was just a beaver.
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I've had them. Not recently. My son had 3 extreme night terrors when he was about 6. To the point of screaming and being totally blind to us being in the room.
 
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Shaun L wrote:
I've only been terrified at night on canoe trips with just my wife. The isolation of nature, combined with cracks and scurrying in the bushes really gets to me. However, if I fall asleep and wake up a couple of hours later, I'm not longer afraid and actually feel quite at peace.

One night we were about 3 lakes into our trip, spending the night by some rapids (which were very loud). Well, suddenly in the middle of the night there was a loud crashing in the bushes. Karla insisted I get out of the tent and check it out. So I crept into the darkness without my glasses and saw a large, brown, furry creature. I was convinced it was a bear and let out a silent scream. Then a tree crashed into the lake and I realized it was just a beaver.


The Great Canadian Carniverous Beaver ... yeah you have to be careful of them... smother yourself in woodchips and they'll be all over ya. I'm glad it was gnawing something into the water and not onto your tent... that would have been a tragic end.
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KrackerJack wrote:
mbourgeois wrote:


Only thing that saved me ... was our dog of the time Sarah


I've read (and I can't recall where) that getting a dog (any kind of dog) is the best treatment for a child with night terrors. I recall the reasoning was that the comfort of a warm body was enough to break the episode. I don't know if it works for night terrors, but when my kids went through their "monster in the closet" phase, shutting the dog in their room always seemed to fix it.


Yep a number of people have stated that pets allow them deal with the feelings as instead of worrying about the unknown sounds now everything can be attributed to the beasties and you don't feel that apprehension. Dogs and Cats are also supposed to be able to sense the supernatural and provide warning to their companions should something approach their general vicinity.
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I used to have horrible episodes at night. I tried running out of the house in my sleep more times than I can count.

Mirrors have always scared me. You know in that cheesy movie, American Werewolf in London and the guy gets up in the middle of the night and he's doing something in the bathroom sink and then he stands up and his dead werewolf friend is right fucking behind him and reflected in the mirror?

Scares the crap out of me. I still don't look in the mirror when I'm brushing my teeth. I wander around the house instead.

Fuck mirrors.
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zorazen wrote:
I used to have horrible episodes at night. I tried running out of the house in my sleep more times than I can count.

Mirrors have always scared me. You know in that cheesy movie, American Werewolf in London and the guy gets up in the middle of the night and he's doing something in the bathroom sink and then he stands up and his dead werewolf friend is right fucking behind him and reflected in the mirror?

Scares the crap out of me. I still don't look in the mirror when I'm brushing my teeth. I wander around the house instead.

Fuck mirrors.


http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/720805/are_mirrors_...

Interesting article on mirrors.
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I suffered from severe nightmares for years, and had numerous episodes where I was awake and dreaming at the same time, and long story short, I eventually found that I could just stop it from happening. I'll be having a dream, realize that its heading into terror-town, and I'll just take a deliberate detour to somewhere else. Not really lucid dreaming, but enough control to avoid waking up swinging more than once or twice a year.

Our current bed has an interesting feature. On many occassions I've been laying in at night, and feel something press down on a corner and then start moving across the bed towards me. Pretty much feels exactly like a cat walking across the bed. Here's the fun part..I've experienced this with the lights on while I was reading a book. After a lot of trial and error I eventually figured out that if I pushed on my side of the bed in just the right way, the whole phenomenon would play out, and even my wife can feel it. I'm guessing it's some peculiarity of the inner suspension settling.

Funny thing is that my experience with all this is the primary reason I have no belief at all in any flavor of the supernatural.

Fact is, human senses (and the perceptions they cause) are utter crap and trivially easy to fool and mislead.
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