I have long since been fascinated by the idea of sleep paralysis, and have always wondered about the implications of such phenomena.

     I have seen and heard many accounts of people experiencing horrifying apparitions, otherworldly experiences and profound revelations during them. It is a mysterious phenomenon to say the least. I have tried many times to replicate the experience for myself although to my dismay, I’ve never been able to accomplish it. I’ve tried everything, meditation, breathing exercises, drugs, binaural beats, weird ass music but so far nothing has worked. That is, until just a few days ago. I know a lot of you who read this may think of me as insane or just outright stupid for trying to induce this state of mind onto myself, in addition to doing it without supervision. But I can’t help it, I’ve always held a deep fascination for the paranormal, and I am stupid. Now however, I wish I had never even tried, but as they say, curiosity killed the cat and discovery brought it back.

    Several days ago, I ended up stumbling upon this strange website full of so called spiritual guides and enlightened ones. At first glance it seemed like simply the ramblings of an insufferably woke millennial, but despite my initial skepticism I pressed onward. It was weird, and I was not entirely convinced about its authenticity due to the fact that it looked like it was made by 5th graders after a couple classes of Microsoft Office. It had broad flamboyant green banners which irritated the eyes to glance at. The background itself was a solid black with words written in blue letters further adding to the eye ache. At the top was a poorly rendered picture of some chakra decorated blue humanoid figure that looked to be ripped straight out of a Tool music video. Almost immediately I was tempted to exit, until one tab caught my eye.

       It was hard to discern the blue words amidst a solid black background, but eventually I managed. The tab was titled “Lucid Dreaming 101”. With nothing better to do, I decided I’d humor them for a bit. I clicked the tab.

     I was rerouted to a new page which bore the same title as the tab itself. Luckily this page had letters in white, making it less stressful on the eyes. There was loads of information on it about the phenomena of sleep paralysis and astral projection, including it’s supposed effects and how to perform it. The tab at least seemed to be well put together and organized so I began reading. The article stated that the best way to perform lucid dreaming or sleep paralysis was to remain motionless with the eyes closed for a long period of time. Apparently by remaining motionless for a while it was possible to trick the brain into believing that the body was asleep. The goal was to put the brain into a sort of trans which allowed one to retain consciousness while being unconscious. Yeah, I know it’s hard to explain. They also made sure to highlight the importance of remaining conscious while attempting this, meaning if I just outright fell asleep, it likely wouldn’t work. They suggested using stimulants such as caffeine or other drugs in order to remain awake as well. I was intrigued by this idea and decided to give it a shot later that night.

          Several hours later I got myself ready for bed and after showering and brushing my teeth I got underneath my nice warm comforter. After downing three cups of espresso, I made myself as comfortable as possible and laid flat on my back with my arms at my side. I closed my eyes and laid there, completely motionless. In order to make this effect work, it was crucial that I did not fall asleep as stated before. I must’ve laid there completely unmoving for at least an hour, while still remaining conscious. Eventually I began to sense a strange buzzing sensation in my toes. It was somewhat similar to when you cut off circulation to your arm or hand. Slowly the feeling crept through my body, all the way up my spine until it climaxed at the crown of my skull. It felt as though my body was beginning to slowly sink into my bed, but in reality, it was probably the numbing effects I was feeling. The sensation was unlike anything I’ve ever really felt before. It was a mix of dull tingling and slight discomfort that left me feeling somehow relaxed. Somewhat like the feeling of that first morning stretch and yawn combo. Hard to explain really, as I had never experienced a feeling quite like it.   

                 Anyways I remembered the article saying that this feeling was to be expected, so I continued to lay still for a few more minutes. Eventually I slowly opened my eyes to reveal my darkened bedroom. I scanned around the room with my eyes, waiting as they adjusted to the darkness. I tried moving my fingers, but to no avail. Many people might have panicked upon that realization, but I was ecstatic. It had worked! I had successfully put myself into a lucid state of sleep paralysis. My eyes eventually adjusted and I was able to make out the details of the room. My room looked similar yet distorted somehow. It was like looking through a fish-eye camera lens, and as if my mind was recollecting the image from memory rather than my eyes actually relaying the imagery.

      I began getting very excited as I realized all of my attempts had finally paid off. Maybe those spiritual guides did know a thing or two after all. After several minutes of toying with my newfound ability I decided to attempt to take things to the next level. I had heard rumors about people being able to accomplish astral projection this way, and figured I’d give it a shot. For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, it’s basically a projection of the human consciousness outside of the body. People claim that your soul can willingly leave your body and explore its environment in an entirely new way. Obviously, the notion of using a spectral doppelganger of myself was quite enticing to me. I was highly skeptical about the authenticity of these reports, but that didn’t stop me from trying.

        I gathered my energy and attempted to will my spiritual self free to temporarily escape my earthly binds. No luck though, I was unable to accomplish much. In fact, I still was completely unable to move any part of my body aside from my eyes. Most likely my failure was due to the fact that I was a complete novice at these things.

             Time seemed to slow in that moment somehow, even though I had no means of discerning any palpable change. I just had the feeling that’s how it was. In the corners of the room shadows seemed to dance and sneer, but would instantly dematerialize when my gaze fell upon them. For a second I thought I heard whispers, but told myself it was nothing but an auditory hallucination. I thought ignoring them would make them vanish, but it didn’t.

       Time slowly rolled on, and all the while a deep guttural sense of dread began to seep into me like blood from an open wound. It was a similar feeling to when you’re trying to sleep at night and you suddenly hear a random noise. You try to tell yourself it’s just the house settling, or maybe an animal scurrying about, but for some reason your mind won’t let it go. Something about the dark itself makes us feel vulnerable to everything, and turns otherwise serene and comforting places into discomforting nightmares.

        I tried telling myself the same thing as I laid there, that it was all just a dream, but I could not convince myself. The feeling of being unable to move also began to further elevate my levels of anxiety. The feeling of helplessness slowly began to make me feel more and more nervous, despite my best efforts in warding the feelings off. I began to succumb to my anxiety, and watched helpless as the room began to distort around me.

      The walls and ceiling began to expand and extend slowly in all directions, as if they were made of putty and someone began to stretch them out. Everything else in my room seemed to increase in size , or maybe I was just shrinking. They continued upwards and outwards until I was but the size of a house cat compare to my queen-sized bed. Suddenly, a red glow began to slowly appear underneath the crack of my door. My bedroom door is directly adjacent to my bed so I noticed it instantly. A wave of dread flowed through me as I instinctively sensed something was wrong, very wrong.

        The glow got steadily brighter as my fear level increased exponentially. Suddenly *creeeeeeaaaaaaaak*, the door creaked slowly open and swung out until it met the opposing wall. The red glow was immense by this point and swallowed up my entire room. The glow seemed to have no definite source, it just seemed to be everywhere but from no distinct direction. At this point, my room looked like one of those old photo development labs. Suddenly a shape began to take form further down the hallway, bathed in a red glow. It appeared as no more than a blob of shadows at first, but then it began to take on a more distinct figure. My pulse quickened, and heart clamored in my chest as I watched helpless as the thing manifested. A long narrow arm formed, then a torso, then legs, a head and another arm. It felt like my heart was about to burst from my chest. I screamed internally to myself to wake up, but to no avail. The figure now stood, fully formed. It was tall, with a long skinny neck and other extremities. I watched in unrelenting terror as the figure began to get bigger and bigger. It was coming closer. I felt as though my heart was about to rupture from all the stress.

          “It’s just a dream, it’s just a dream.” I kept trying to reassure myself. The figure continued its slow methodical approach. It stopped, right as it’s head crested below the doorway. I stared at the thing trying to rationalize it for what it was. The figure was not definite in form with parts of it swirling and growing darker and lighter. It had no definite edges and they would ripple slowly like the flicker of a flame. It appeared as a shadowy form though it had a distinct form it retained throughout the entire ordeal. It was like my mind was incapable of fully comprehending the entity. The figure filled my soul with a sense of dread that I really cannot put into words. I have never been so terrified in all my life.

       Alien? Demon? Angel? What the hell was that thing? The questions raced through my mind as the terror racked my being. The being stood in my doorway, completely motionless aside from the rippling effect. As it stood there, slowly red spirals manifested and swirled around it’s face like tiny whirlpools. Eventually they settled into 2 separate white orbs that glowed like malevolent nightlights. It’s shape appeared uneven with elongated arms and pointy gnarled fingers. I felt fear, fear like I had never felt before, and never wish to feel again. A fear that makes me shiver even as I recount this event onto this document. I always thought it was just a lame cliché that authors would use to heighten tension, but unfortunately it is all to visceral for me now.

           The figure remained motionless, looming overhead and just staring at me with those sinister unblinking red eyes. Slowly it’s head cocked to the right. It raised its long spindly arm and began to reach for me. I struggled and squirmed with all my might, desperately trying to break free of the mental prison of my own creation. The figure’s hand moved ever closer, until it made contact with my throat. The grip of the insidious thing was like ice on my skin. It was as if it’s hand had been dipped it into liquid nitrogen. The thing let out a low rumble which slowly began to increase in volume as its freezing fingers slithered around my throat. It continued to increase until the point where it became all but deafening. The malevolent beings grip continued tightening around my neck like a vice grip. I reserved myself to death in that moment, feeling as though there was no escape.

       My mind was accosted by a spiral of terrifying random images and hideous draconian things. Things I lack the ability to even properly describe. They zoomed past in an instant, a galactic slideshow of hellish visions and twisted realities. I saw monsters and men, gods and demons, all warring eternally in a bloody morbid display of gargantuan proportions. I saw the cosmos, and the primeval hideous eldritch things that lurked behind the curtain of the dark tapestry. We are oh so small. Last thing I remember, was the stinging of hot tears well in my eyes.

         I lurched out of bed in a frenzy. Damp with cold sweat while my heart thundered in my chest at an erratic pace. I sat up in my bed and gasped for breath, astonished I was still alive. After a few moments had passed, I felt the most intense calming sensation descend over me. I realized it had all just been a dream, and I was so incredibly relieved to be out of it. I chuckled to myself while I slowly crawled out of bed, almost shrugging off the event entirely.

    “Damn that was intense.” I remembered thinking as I sauntered my way into the bathroom. I flicked on the lights and instantly squinted from the sudden oppressive light which accosted my eyeballs. Half blind I hobbled over to the sink and began to down mouthfuls of delicious water which seemed to flow from the fountains of Mount Olympus itself. The refreshing liquid was calming as heroin to my soul, and I savagely lapped up mouthful after mouthful. After thoroughly satisfying my thirst I stared into the mirror as my eyes had finally adjusted to the brightness. Upon viewing my reflection however, my heart sunk like a rock. What I saw there, lacks proper explanation. I saw in that mirror a series of several small and distinct bruises. One on the right, four on the left. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they almost looked like the imprints left by fingers. I haven’t been sleeping very well lately.