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Sleep paralysis - Lyle Hopwood
October 12th, 2015
11:27 am


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Sleep paralysis
This is an account of a dream from 1998 I first shared with the Jose Chung Literary Society. I'm only posting it here so I can point to it from a Facebook post on sleep paralysis.

I left early from work with earache and a mild fever and some feeling that I had a cold. I had been making odd mistakes all day – transposing letters, for instance, writing ‘sapre’ for spare. I had also taken an interoffice envelope back to the post drop because I’d read the ‘to’ box on the left as the’ from’ box, on the right. I’d assumed it had been mis-delivered. We only have one convention at work and I’ve never made that mistake before.

When I got home I took 2 herbal immune boosters (Wellness Formula) and since I didn’t feel sleepy, drank a fairly large amount of alcohol. I ate two spring rolls for tea and went to bed. At 2:30am, since I was having difficulty going to sleep still, I got up to drink some water and take a Melatonin sleep aid.

When I got back to bed I gradually relaxed. I noticed that I was in a very unusual state of mind. Instead of swirls of color behind my eyes when I closed them, I could see very precise geometric shapes, such as volvox, diatoms, the scales on a hair shaft, snowflakes. Each one was very clear, made of green lines. I managed to empty my minds of all thoughts and eventually fell asleep. I began a typical dream about staying in a hotel with Stephen.

Suddenly, I thought I woke up. A bright light was streaming in through the curtains. I tried to turn towards the window, but instead of my head moving the whole room appeared to tilt. I could see the framed pictures, which cover my bedroom walls, on surfaces they shouldn’t be. It was almost like being lifted up and backwards, but with no sensation of movement. I then felt myself lying on my back on a surface very like my bed. I was completely paralyzed, unable to move or cry out. The pictures were still on the walls but they’d changed. Instead of being oblong and framed, they had become parallelograms with the tall axis upward, and they were of carved dark brown wood. They were not like anything I’ve ever seen. They looked like mandalas or sunbursts. Some had a face in the middle. The edges were ‘fractal’ shapes or ‘flames’ such as are painted on hot rods, but uncolored. Just carved wood. I was very afraid.

I tried to move again and discovered that something was holding me down. It felt like a beam from the ceiling pushing me into the surface. It was particularly heavy over the hips and the chest, but flickered down to my ankles and up to my head as needed. The beam strength varied over my chest so that it sometimes felt like someone was sitting over me pushing me with their hands and bouncing me into the bed. I couldn’t see anyone, and it did feel like it was a force from the ceiling.

I seemed to hear voices around me, but I ‘heard’ them inside my head – they seemed to come from the base of the back of the skull. They were telling me that everything was going to be all right and I wasn’t going to be hurt. I got a glimpse of fast moving figures, grey shadows, around me. One scurried around be, or perhaps over me, so fast that it appeared to be animal like. I didn’t get to see the faces of any of them. They told me some other things  which I’ve forgotten. After a while, since I was still afraid and trying to struggle, they showed me a picture of several men and women sitting at a cafeteria bar on stools. The picture became part of the experience, and the men and women nodded and told me I was going to be all right. I didn’t recognize any of them. They seemed very diverse people, but they were all white. When they spoke, their mouths moved and I ‘heard’ them as normally as you hear anyone in a dream.

The shadowy voices told me they had to do something, and they produced a rope-like object. They told me it was 200 feet long. They were very clear about that as though it was important. The rope was silver and covered in scales like reptile scales, about an inch or two inches in diameter. The sharp pointed ends of the scales were keeled – lifted up from the rope surface, making little scoop shaped knives (think of a long artichoke flower).  They began to feed this rope into my abdomen, just below the navel. Luckily, they fed it in with the scales pointing upward, so it didn’t rip my flesh. In fact, it didn’t hurt at all.

Suddenly, I was on my own bed again, but the pictures were still the alien mandalas. The pressor beam had gone but I was still paralyzed. I could hear blood pounding in my ears. Once again, I was afraid. I tried to turn my head and shake my head to make the pictures go away. There was a sound of a quiet ‘click’ and the pictures became normal. I looked at the alarm clock and it was 5:28 am. As I lay on my back again, the whooshing noise of blood in my ears started again and I looked rather nervously at the pictures on the wall. They began to turn weird again. Just as I was about to panic, the automatic timer lights went on in the living room and I was able to concentrate on the lights. The dream gradually faded.

Afterwards, I fell asleep again and had an ordinary dream.

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