As many of you may already know, we here at GhostTheory subscribe to a more skeptical mindset. A mere logical and headstrong sense when we review cases. There are many explanations that we like to use when debunking cases or evidence presented to us or the world. Like a swiss army knife that is full of an useful arsenal of tools, we have our own arsenal of explanations that are best used to explain what many consider paranormal events.
I’d like to talk about Hypnagogia, or as it’s more commonly referred to, Sleep Paralysis.
Now note that this will apply to the majority of cases were people will either be in the state of sleep and be awaken or be in the drowsy stages leading to sleep.
In a Hypnagogic state, an individual who is in the REM phase of sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) which is the most profound state of sleep, is awakened and their body remains in a paralyzed state. It’s been reported that terrifying hallucinations sometimes come from this state. Where a person is aware of their surroundings and can recognize objects near them, but then interpret the body’s reaction or paralysis to that of a dangerous situation. Hallucinations range from demonic, angelic to ghosts and other unworldly beings around the individual (Alien visitations/abductions).
“Dream Caused By The Flight Of A Bee Around A Pomegranate Only Seconds Before Awakening”
How does one go from being asleep and dreaming of being in your favorite movie scene or a night club full of beautiful women who are all over your (don’t ask, I was watching ‘El Cantante’ the other night) to that of a demonic being standing at the foot of your bed or Aliens abducting you?
Environmental or external influences for one.
I remember as a child when my grandmother (not a very pleasant woman) would “tuck” us in for sleep, but had her own way of getting us to be quiet. She would tell us that if we were not asleep by a certain time, there were these “witches” that would turn into owls and scratch or peck out our eyes if they heard children awake in the house. She would mock the “witches” cackle and scare us kids. She would also tell us the story of “La Llorona”. The weeping woman. Which is a legend throughout the Americas with many origins and premises. The one we heard was of this lady who drowned her children (for unknown reasons) and would then commit suicide after realizing what she’s done. Her ghastly spirit would roam the town/city looking for her lost children. Snatching any child who was not inside their home asleep.
Now after hearing this “bedtime story” I would try my hardest to fall asleep. At times I would wake up in the middle of the night and being scared when listening to the house settling in or other noises that I swore were the witches cackling.
Even though I never (as far as I can remember) experienced a hypnagogic event, I’m sure this is a major reason why scientist and researchers think that ghosts are explained by sleep paralysis. Makes sense.
So can we say that the influences of bedtime stories of zoomorphing Wicca practitioners (do we call them wereowls?) and women suffering from postpartum psychosis and/or Munchausen syndrome by proxy disorder (La Llorona) are enough to explain ghosts? No, we cannot.
Hypnagogia can better explain bedside or bedroom ghosts or Alien abductions, but it does not explain the other reports of apparitions of awake, coherent and sober individuals.
In general, Hypnagogia helps us explain our physiological responses that can contribute to paranormal phenomenon, but I find it difficult for it to explain other paranormal cases.