Sleep Paralysis and Demons

It is natural to wonder if sleep paralysis has anything to do with demons or other supernatural dark forces, since people often interpret being unable to move, hearing voices as talking spirits with an attack of a demon or similar entity.

It is natural to wonder if sleep paralysis has anything to do with demons or other supernatural dark forces, since people often interpret being unable to move, hearing voices as talking spirits with an attack of a demon or similar entity. While some aspects of the experience lend themselves to ideas of possessions and negative spirit attacks, given the lore of human cultures, sleep paralysis is a perfectly natural and harmless experience. Conventional-paradigm scientists do not find sleep paralysis to be particular cause for concern, as it is a harmless, naturally-occurring state. Some even consider it positive, as a precursor to the out-of-body experience (OBE) which is correlated with positive outcomes like decrease pain, increased creativity and problem-solving insight, and positive life changes.

At first, it may well seem quite unusual and upsetting to someone who is not informed or experienced, but as one learns more about the science of sleep or has positive experiences with OBEs, this fear tends to subside. At worse, you will understand it as a harmless experience. At best, you may come to see it as a gateway to subtle realms of human consciousness.

In ancient times, before we knew more about the brain, sleep paralysis was feared and thought to be caused by negative spirits. The uninformed individual's brain will attempt to make sense of this circumstance by creating an imaginary interpretation based on cultural references. Some interpret a demon or evil spirit of some kind, like an old witch (or Old Hag such as in Medieval Europe), while others still envision an ET abduction scenario. The ancient Chinese spoke of “ghost oppression.” Other cultures have references to "the dark presser" (Turkey), "devil riding on your back" (Africa), "the crushing demon" (Hmong people of southeast Asia), “Kokma” attacks by the spirits of dead unbaptised babies (St Lucia), “Hexendruchem” or passing witches (Germany) and “Stand-stills” (UK). Even words for bad dreams bear witness to SP in different languages: pesadilla in Spanish or pesadelo in Portuguese refers to weight and nightmare or cauchemar in French refers to a mythological demon or goblin that torments others with frightening dreams or an incubus, a demonic spirit that overpowers and takes advantage of women in their sleep.

Clearly, the phenomenon is universal and it has probably been a constant of human history. However, today sleep paralysis is accepted as a fairly common aspect of sleep. From a “multidimensional” paradigm perspective, lay and academic experiencers who have multiple OBEs also do not tend to fear sleep paralysis after multiple experiences. They tend to understand that these two phenomena are natural, positive and interconnected. Frequent OBEs tend to replace fear of death and spirits with a de-mystified and less fearful attitude toward death and the concept of spiritual entities.

Paralysis is a natural part of the sleep cycle which prevents us from acting out our vivid dreams - not malevolent forces. It is also natural that during this paralysis, if one panics, one would feel pressed down and experience some difficulty breathing deeply. However, this is not being caused by a negative entity, but our own physiology and our vivid imagination in a mixed sleep and wakefulness state. It is also common to hear noises, talking or voices in this intermediary state between sleep and lucidity.


It is normal to be scared of sleep paralysis, at first, as it has happened in many cultures throughout times. The scientific consensus is that these are natural, fairly common altered states. Multidimensional science sees them as outright positive, as sleep paralysis can act as springboard into other levels and aspects of consciousness. It is known that sleep paralysis and out-of-body experiences are statistically correlated. which is why SP is also referred to as projective catalepsy. As we learn more about natural phenomena, we tend to demystify them and no longer fear them. Sleep paralysis is no exception. Sleep paralysis and out-of-body experience are harmless, common, and natural experiences that can help us to confront and overcome fear of mystical or mythical concepts like demons and real concepts like biological death, so we can live more fully.

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