“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.” (Wired.com)
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.
THE MOCKING VOICE
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 Wired.com:
“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.
THE GREASE PEOPLE
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.
THE LITTLE MEN IN THE BOARDING HOUSE
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.