The Horrors of Being Asleep Yet Awake: Sleep Paralysis

“You wake up, but you can’t move a muscle. Lying in bed, you’re totally conscious, and you realize that strange things are happening. There’s a crushing weight on your chest that’s humanoid. And it’s evil.” (

Scientists have a name for this medical condition — sleep paralysis. I have a name for this, too: fudgin’ nightmare. It’s pretty common, though. In fact, it is believed that half of the population has experienced this. You’re not alone. Yay for that.

Even without these stats, I’d still tell you you’re not alone — simply because I’ve had more than my share of sleep paralysis “attacks.” And no matter how much I google sleep paralysis, there are things that keep me bothered.


It all started on a trip to a province in the South. One morning, I woke up and found myself paralyzed. I couldn’t move but I could speak. Suddenly, I heard a grim male voice. Although I could not see him, he was talking to me. And he was mocking me every time I try to speak.

“Wag mo nang labanan… Hindi ka makakagalaw…”

I started calling Shy Guy but he was totally in slumber.

“Hindi ka nya naririnig. Hindi sya magigising…” Then he laughed so boisterously, I easily concluded he was more like a demon than a maligno.

I struggled. Then he spoke again, “Wala ka nang magagawa! Akin ka na… Kahit saan ka magpunta, susundan kita…”

I started shouting, “Hinde, hindi mo ako makukuha. Umalis ka. Umalis ka!” But he was mocking me, repeating the words I uttered.

And then I started doing something I had not done for a veeery long time. I prayed.

He stopped mocking me. But as soon as I was finished, he began talking again. “Walang magagawa ‘yan… Nakatakda ka nang kunin.. Kukunin ka na namin…”

It lasted for about 10 minutes but it was the longest 10 minutes of my life. He was just telling me he would get me and that there was nothing I could do about it.

Suddenly, I was able to move and started scooting to one corner of the bed. I was sure it wasn’t a dream; I was fully awake.

Paranormal? Nah, I thought it was what scientists call sleep paralysis. Here’s the medical explanation for it, again from

“This research strongly suggests that sleep paralysis is related to REM sleep, and in particular REM sleep that occurs at sleep onset,” write researchers Julia Santomauro and Christopher C. French of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, at the University of London. “Shift work, jet lag, irregular sleep habits, overtiredness and sleep deprivation are all considered to be predisposing factors to sleep paralysis; this may be because such events disrupt the sleep–wake cycle, which can then cause [sleep-onset REM periods].”

I would’ve shaken it off but I have had the same experience a number of times since then, even now that I’m here in the comforts of the city. It was the same guy, the same awful feeling. The monster who would get me in my sleep. Call me childish but it really scares the hell out of me.

Sleep paralysis? I think so. Nothing paranormal.

That may be a typical case of sleep paralysis but that doesn’t explain what happened to my friends.


Four of my friends drove to Subic to shoot a short film. They were Tonet, Dohna, Rex and Mimay. They hit the road early morning to catch the sunrise, which was integral in the film. They arrived in Subic at around 4am, around 2 hours too early so they decided to sleep in the car while waiting for the rest of the crew.

There were two cars. In Car A were Tonet and Rex; while Dohna and Mimay, Car B.

Tonet was facing an open window with trees on her view. She fell asleep. Later, she woke up only to find herself unable to move. She could not even turn her head so her sight was fixed on this area in front of her. From somewhere an old man appeared in the distance. He had long hair, red eyes and greasy black skin. Greasy because it was shiny and it felt like it bounced the moonlight, making him visible in pitch darkness.

Imagine the terror Tonet felt when that old man appeared.

But that was not the problem. The problem was that the old man would not go away. To make things worse, he started walking towards my friend so slowly. Tonet was watching painfully, trying to scream but was unable to.

The old man walked weirdly; his back arched and his arms dangling on his sides. The entire time, that black creature was looking at her intently. His red eyes fixed on hers.

After what felt like forever, the old man finally reached Tonet. But it did not end there. The black creature moved his face closer to hers as he stared obsessively as if inspecting Tonet’s face. The man also had this odd sound and murmured words that were incomprehensible, like it was another language.

And then, he touched her face, still staring. It lasted for minutes. And then the old man went away. Tonet was finally able to move when the creature disappeared.

Terrified, Tonet woke Rex up. Fearing the creature was still around, watching her from the distance, she decided not to say anything as it might invite other creatures in the area. They started filming and ended that afternoon.

On the way to Manila, they were all in one car. Tonet was still quiet when Dohna blurted out, “There’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you guys but I was too afraid to talk about it…”

With that, Tonet had this awful feeling that Dohna experienced the same thing. True enough, she did. Almost the exact same thing. The only difference was that the creature in Dohna’s case was a boy with horns. But just as black and greasy. The boy walked and talked just as weirdly. And did just what the old black man did.

Sleep paralysis?


Another real-life story that scares me even up to now was that of my friend Hazel. Hazel was a friend in UP Diliman; she’s the girlfriend of one of my best friends.

When she was a freshman, she was staying at a boarding house in UP Diliman. Since her first week in that house, she had been having this terrifying “dream” in which four little men was dragging her body out of the bed. Not just that, they were also “exploring” her body. And like in the case above, she couldn’t speak or move. She could just watch things as they happen.

She said the little men looked old. “Little” because they were only less than 3-feet tall. They were all hairy and had “piercing” stares.

It happened twice or thrice a week throughout the semester. Although it scared her to death, she regarded them as nothing but nightmares.

There were four of them sharing the room and she never mentioned her dreams to any of them. She was afraid to talk about it. Until one afternoon.

The semester was just about to end when she found one of her roommates restless. Let’s call her Roommate A. Roommate A started the topic of moving out and finding a new dormitory or boarding house elsewhere. She would not say why, she just wanted out as soon as possible. Hazel had been wanting to leave the house, too, so she agreed and convinced the two others to join them.

One Sunday afternoon, they were all in the room when another roommate, Roommate B, started talking about her weird dream the night before. In her dream, she could not move and four little men were exploring and dragging her body out of the bed. She said she was scared but she was just laughing it off.

Suddenly, Roommate A began crying.

Apparently, Roommate A had been having that “dream” for the longest time. Hazel, too. And what was more surprising, Roommate C was also having the same nightmare. All of them in the room had experienced it and three of them, regularly.

They were out of that boarding house two days later.

Sleep paralysis?


  1. I experienced that too. I wanted to move but I can’t and I know I can see everything. I was with my little sister that time and I really wanted to get up. That shook me real good because I went to my mom afterwards. Haha!

    Midway while reading this entry my mozilla crashed. The part where your friend Tonet and the black greasy old man. Scary. Or maybe i need to change my browser.

  2. at siyempre binasa ko to late at night, while I’m all alone in the house… hm, sleep paralysis nga ba? methinks it’s too flimsy an excuse for your friends’ experiences. scary!

  3. when i was little my mom would often remind me to wiggle my toes if i ever get paralyzed in my sleep… luckily it stuck in my head and i was able to apply it years after…

  4. these are some terrifying SP accounts! it’s nice to read some accounts that take seriously the experiences. while science has a lot to say about REM intrusion and the physiology of sleep paralysis, many of the actual accounts of SP that have “uncanny” details like your friends’ are ignored. from an ecologitcal/shamanic perspective, sleep paralysis may be seen as a state of consciousness that lifts the veil between worlds, opening the mind to mutual dreams, dreams of locale, and ancient creatures. also little people are common in SP accounts all over the world, cross-culturally. great tales!

    • thanks Ryan! One of my friends also told me that before, “sleep paralysis may be seen as a state of consciousness that lifts the veil between worlds…”

      Hard to believe but that’s really an interesting look at it. There really are so many things that are hard to explain even in this day and age.

  5. i have had my share of nightmares too. i will not recount wat dreams they are as they always make me cry in fear. anyway, each time i get nightmares, i usualy know that it is only a dream. since i can think and talk i call out jesus’ name. that works pretty well for me. oh, drink water when u wake up from a nightmare.

    • Most of the time I’m like that too! In my dreams I know I’m just dreaming!

      Thanks for the water tip, although I’m always too lazy to get up, especially when I’m scared to death hahaha 😛

  6. i have my share of sleep paralysis, too. the first time I saw a white lady moving closer to me, which, according to my auntie, happened to a couple of visitors sleeping in that room. i still experience sleep paralysis paminsan-minsan pero wala ng multo.

    my friend also suggested that in case of sleep paralysis, you either move your pinky or blink your eye.

  7. Scary stuff!!! These kind of sleep paralysis tales are just one side of the coin. While we all phase through sleep paralysis every night as we fall asleep, lucid dreamers use this state to initiate Wake Induced Lucid Dreams (WILDs), out of body experiences (OBEs) and other cool phenomena. Check out to see how to use sleep paralysis for lucid dreaming – without inducing the scary bits!

  8. I think I experienced sleep paralysis too. I dunno if it really IS sleep paralysis. I know, kakahiga ko pa lang, I always check the time before I go to sleep. Then ang pakiramdam ko half-asleep half-awake ako, and a huge force is pulling me up. I can’t open my eyes or move at all. I thought my soul’s leaving my body, sobrang ganun ang feeling. All I can do is pray.
    One time, I’m having an afternoon nap, I can hear someone’s talking during the attack. Then nung mawala yung attack, I hurriedly asked my family if merong umakyat sa 2nd floor, coz I often leave my door open when I sleep. It’s my mom pala, and I found out I can hear sounds around my area even if I’m asleep. There are nights na sunod sunod na umaatake yun and it came to the point na I’m scared to go to sleep. Terrible.

  9. ang scary naman! imagine ma-attempted gangbang ng hairy gnomes…

    for some wild and horrific lucid dreaming states, you can induce the same kind of imagery and sleep paralysis with meds like stilnox, unisom and topamax (sidefxs).

  10. I had one experience in Clark when I was still working there.

    It was about noontime when I woke up unexpectedly from a nap. I was lying like that of a dead man in a coffin. I have a huge pillow, though still exposing my face, on top of me with my arms crossed over it. It only lasted for about 3 minutes but the experience was unforgettable.

    I felt an entity near my head, not my face, about to come near. Good thing it didn’t make any sound nor touched me, but I felt its aura like when someone would try to surprise you but you know he’s/she’s there. I dunno how I moved though. All I remember is that I just abruptly moved and sat on my bed. Then I ran out of my room.

    Not really that scary but it was my only experience. 😀

  11. finally, may nabasa na rin ako na nakakaexperience ng ganyan.. i had several, pero (thanks bro) eto gising pa rin… and yup, it’s so terrifying kasi the weight is so heavy on my chest.. and i happened to had the vivid look of the monster.. at ang nakakatawa it looks like shrek haha.. sana ‘sing bait na lang ni shrek din..

  12. Do you still experience the “dreams”?

    With regard to prayer, you have to have faith in God. If you don’t really believe in Him, prayer is futile.

  13. Hello! I’ve been lurking and reading your blogs for almost a year now and I like them.

    Anyway, I stumbled upon your Sleep Paralysis entry and I couldn’t help but remember what happened to me a few months ago. I also blogged about it. [link]

    I am agnostic too so i don’t believe that God nor demons have anything to do with it… but it’s still a scary experience so praying might help in calming you down.

    Hallucinations are very frequent when you’re experiencing SP. They said that it’s caused by lack of sleep and stress. I tried changing my sleep pattern and it helped a lot.

  14. if you are jewish, read the “shma israel” before you go to bed.or find it wriyyen out phonetically. It’s a special prayer you read while falling asleep, it gives your soul swords to protect your body while you sleep, its a very real thing you are expiriencing

  15. waah!!! i’ve had SPs too.. haha.. during the first one, it was a black dog, and he was making this creepy black hole suck me.. but if u look closely, it’s not really a dog, it was a statue, a statue in my bedroom which did not look like a dog at all. i wouldn’t say what statue it was since some may get offended. but it had strange eyes…(the statue was not in my room anymore since we renovated our house and got rid of it and its likes already..)
    and then in the latest one, it was a lady. a freaking lady who laid beside me on my bed. I was staying at a condo building at that time. This lady was breathing heavily next to me and as she breathes, she touched my boobs (lesbo, alert? LOL) and her touch suffocated me. darn, i was alone in that room, alone in that condo. it lasted for what seemed like a thousand years and when i finally managed to be really awake, i could not get back to sleep even when it’s still dark outside.

    those are the most vivid in my memory as of now

  16. madalas ko to maexperience yet i dont even know kung anung tawag dito, until now. purely sleep paralysis lang yung nangyayari skin- i guess 😛 Pero kasi super dilim ng room ko kaya siguro di ko lang nakikita ung mga creatures. hehe. nice blogpost.

  17. The similar things happened with me….. It started back in 2009, I woke up and was unable to move. I tried harder and harder but was just lying and fixed at only one sight. Although I was not alone in the room, I prayed for about a minute or two, then its gone. I told my parents and family about this but no one believed and considered it my restlessness.

    then It happened couple of times more, I felt the same thing that some one is walking on my bed, and as these steps magnifies toward me I suddenly got woke up and found myself paralyzed.
    although I haven’t seen any thing weird or scary in that duration, but I prayed. After 5 to 10 minutes it usually disappear.

    I felt this regardless of my location, even I am in other cities or other countries. It still presently happen once in a 6 month time.

    And the Best thing is that, Now I enjoy these moments and praying in that perfect ceased moment makes me more fresher. I am no more afraid of these paralyzed moments, because now I know how to scare these things. Just recite ” Ayat- ul – Qursi” and then every thing will disappear.

    The above is perfectly true and I swear these are my real story.

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