OPS Central - Sleep Paralysis

OPS Home Page Team Members Cases OPS Central In The Media Friends of OPS Equipment Alabama Folklore Favorite Links Guestbook OOPS - Bloopers OPS Free Forum Join OPS

Sleep Paralysis

     The other day, some OPS Team Members, along with some other people, were sitting around talking when a former member of OPS started sharing an experience he had one morning. One of the OPS Founders went home and did some research and called him back later that evening with some information on his experience. What he found was that this was a common thing that happens to a lot of people, he said it was called Sleep Paralysis.

     So many of us have never heard of sleep paralysis and its effects on the human race, yet it is such a common occurrence that happens frequently to many people in many different cultures. Most people are not even aware of this naturally occurring phenomena or that this is what actually happened to them when they experienced this.

     I had an experience of this nature when I was eight or nine years old. I just knew snakes were wrapped around both of my legs but yet I could do nothing to remove them or even to check if this was a real experience I was having. I could not move a muscle and even though I was attempting to scream, no sound was exiting my lips. It was not until later when I was fully conscience and awake that I was able to pull away the covers from my legs and see that there was nothing around my legs. It was a very scary and out of control experience for me.

     I decided that I wanted to do an interview with someone that had actually had an experience of this nature. I spoke with the former member of OPS who had started us on this quest to find more information that might explain to us, as well as others, and he agreed to share with us what happened with him on that morning.

Interview with Kevin Woodrow. Interviewer-Mark Hall

1. Tell us about your experience? It was about 3 am and I was asleep in my bed. A buzzing sound awakened me. It was the kind of low buzzing sound you sometimes hear when a television is on but turned down very low. I immediately opened my eyes and saw that the television in my bedroom was off and my door to the bedroom was closed. I could hear distinctly someone moving around just outside my bedroom door. I knew that no one else was in the house, so right away I was alarmed. I lied there quietly for a few moments to make sure my ears were not deceiving me. The noises outside my door got louder and louder, then the door to my bedroom began to open very slowly. At this point, I tried to get up from my bed, that is when things got really frightening. I could not move an inch, I tried with all my might but I couldn’t budge a muscle. I then tried to say something but nothing would come out. I could not move, I could not make a sound, and the door kept creeping open even more. I could now see a figure standing in the doorway looking down at me. It was the most helpless feeling in my life. My heart pounded for the next few seconds as this figure just stood there as I struggled frantically to move. Finally, I closed my eyes, trying to think of anyway out of this situation. When I opened my eyes once again, the figure was gone, the door was closed and I could move and speak again. I immediately go up and checked my entire department, room by room, no one was there and the chain lock was still on the front door.

2. Has this been your only experience with what you believe is sleep paralysis? I had never experienced anything like before in my life and have never had any experiences like this since. However, after reading and researching this topic, I almost wish that it would happen again so that I could pay more attention to what occurs. I think it would benefit the research aspect of it for others.

3. Before you found out about sleep paralysis, what did you make of your experience? I initially thought it was either a ghost or a demon. I always said that if I saw something of that nature, then I would truly believe that the paranormal realm existed. In the moment that experience occurred, I was a believer.

4. Do you still think now that you experienced something paranormal? Yes, at first I definitely considered my experience to be paranormal. I saw it, I felt it, I even heard it, everything about it was so real. Afterwards, however, I kept trying to rationalize the whole ordeal instead of taking it at face value. I was sure that the there had to be a practical explanation for my experience.

5. Do you feel this is a common occurrence and that most people just do not know how to explain their experience or approach them. Maybe people are afraid to come forward, just like most people are with their paranormal experiences? I think that it is fairly common. I have heard so many ghost stories that seem to occur while someone is in bed, or lying on their couch sleeping. I think sleep paralysis could account for many of these stories. I am not suggesting that every haunting can be explained by this, I just think that some people may be so convinced that they have had a paranormal encounter that they stop thinking rationally about their situation. They might discount the possibility of sleep paralysis accounting for their experience, either by choice or just lack of information available to them. After all, a medical explanation is far less interesting that a paranormal phenomena. What should be important though is that which is true, not that which is exciting.

6. What does sleep paralysis mean to you? It means that I actually have an answer to an experience that happened to me. Many people have different types of odd occurrences throughout their lives that they cannot explain. Not having an explanation for something like that can be very frustrating. I am thankful that I have a possible answer for my experience.

***Below you will find excerpts from WebMD on sleep paralysis. To find out more information on this phenomena, please visit

     Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Sleep paralysis usually occurs at one of two times. either while you are falling asleep, or as you are waking up.

     Up to as many as four out of every 10 people may have sleep paralysis. This common condition is often first noticed in the teen years. But men and women of any age can have it. Sleep paralysis may run in families. Other factors that may be linked to sleep paralysis include:

*a lack of sleep

*a sleep schedule that changes

*mental conditions such as stress or bipolar disorder

*sleeping on the back

*other sleep problems such as narcolepsy or nighttime leg cramps

*use of certain medications

*substance abuse

     There's no need to fear nighttime demons or alien abductors. If you have occasional sleep paralysis, you can take steps at home to control this disorder. Start by making sure you get enough sleep. Do what you can to relieve stress in your life -- especially just before bedtime. Try new sleeping positions if you sleep on your back. And be sure to see your doctor if sleep paralysis routinely prevents you from getting a good night's sleep.

Mark Hall