In the terrifying, mysterious experience known as sleep paralysis, people wake up to find their bodies completely paralyzed. They are frozen in place, unable to do anything but watch and listen as they are assaulted by nightmarish, shadowy demons.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
You probably had a dream that goes something like this. Something is chasing you you're right,
for your life and then suddenly your frozen in place, your brain screams, dick
keep moving, but your body doesn't listen, you're paralyzed, it's only a dream right, but what, if you woke up- and you still couldn't move- that's what happens during an episode of
Sleep paralysis, people wake up in the middle of the night, completely immobilized. They can't move a finger
make a sound all they can do is breathe and look around waking up in this.
It is beyond disorienting you're, completely vote
bull and you can't even call for help, but is terrifying, as the paralysis might be, it's nothing compared to what happens next
This is supernatural a par, castor, regional. I'm your host Ashley flowers,
every Wednesday I'll be taking a deep dive into
real unexplained occurrence to try and figure out the truth. You can find all episodes of supernatural and all
Spotify originals from par, cast her free on Spotify this week. I'm talking about sweet paralysis.
A terrifying phenomenon were people wake up inside a living nightmare whither
ancient shadow demons or a fluke in our brain chemistry. Sleep paralysis is far more common than you probably realise, so be careful. The night
you might be next. We have all of that and more coming up stay with us. This episode is brought to you by three
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you buy the real cost and the FDA wanna hear the shortest
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metals like nickel, lead and chromium in your lungs, that's metal in your lungs, the end
read more about the dangers of aping on the real cost dot gov everyone who goes through sleep paralysis says the same thing. They weren't
dreaming. They were awake when it happened, because they could see and hear everything going on around them and every
who only hears about sleep paralysis, says the same thing
There's no way these people were actually awake, it was probably just an extra vivid nightmare. The once you hear stories about people who experience sleep paralysis. You realise there is a problem with that theory
you start to wonder: if it wasn't real, then why did they all see the exact same thing? This question haunted a man named David hovered in nineteen. Sixty three,
It's a college students studying and Williams poor Pennsylvania one night he wakes up in his dark off campus bedroom to find himself completely paralysed. He can't lift a finger. In fact he can't move a single bone in his body. He tries to call out for help, but his vocal court aren't responding either.
Nothing like this has ever happened to him before. So he has no idea if its ever going to end, he feels more helpless
and more vulnerable than he's ever been in his life and that's when it gets a thousand times worse, David. Here's, a faint, shuffling, sound,
It takes a second to realize that
the sound of footsteps,
there's some one in his bedroom. He try.
to roll over and switch on the light, but his muscles still won't cooperate. Meanwhile, the footsteps are getting closer. Then he feels the bed sink down
like some things combining in David, tries to screen
but no sound comes out and that's when he feels a sudden pressure on his chest.
Like something's kneeling on him, pressing him down.
into his mattress. He can't see it. He can only feel it, but whatever it is, grabs his throat and starts to suffocate him. Sheer terror
runs through David's body, an overwhelming sense of dread. He is convinced in this moment he is going to die, then something changes.
David doesn't know how he shake off the paralysis. He just said
Lee realises that he's able to move again he leaped out of bed
switch is on the light in the room was empty David searches
bedroom, but there's no evidence of an intruder which is
more bewildering he's had plenty of bad dreams before so he knows
was not a dream, but he's choose Scare
to go back to sleep. His mind is racing like
Is he having a nervous breakdown, or was he really just
attack by some kind of phantom, the next
nay, he considers telling someone. But what can he say is friends will do
brush. It offers a nightmare or worse, laugh at him, so he keeps it to himself if he once answers he's gonna have to find them on his own. The question is where
start keep in mind this? Is this sixty, so there's no Google, so David heads to the local library. He doesn't fine
hard answers, but there is no shortage of folk tales about nocturnal phantoms like this occupy us and Incubus aims
it mesopotamian demons that raped men and women in the night to steal their seamen or impregnate them, and soon David becomes kind obsessed. He keeps poor
in over these types of stories well into grad school after he graduated
the job as part of the folklore department at a college in Newfoundland, Canada David's only been
His new job for a short while when he starts to hear about this local urban legend, the people,
new. Finland call it the old hag from what David gathers it's this.
how do we spirit who attacks people in their sleep? Some people think it's away,
some say it can be male or female. Others argue it's a satanic.
spell that anyone can cast on their enemies, but one thing
everyone agrees on, though, is what happens when the old hag attacks
victims, weak in the middle of the night, unable to move or screen as a shadowy figure, holds them down, suffocating and smothering that. So that gets David's attention
It sounds exactly like what happened to him in this. Isn't just some old legend, the people of Newfoundland talk about the old hag like it's real
many say they have even seen it themselves, which means either one of two things is true
hey. There's some rational explanation for all this, in which case may be David, can help get to the bottom of it or be they
all seen the same demon he has so David keeps digging
gets organised and starts documenting people stories even ropes in here.
students to go out and interview everyone they can about the old hat and the results were chilling. Now
just the stories themselves, but how many he finds almost everyone in the community
has an old hag story, either
themselves or someone. They know some people,
seen it more than once and theirs
a remarkably consistent most victims only see the old hag out of the corner of their eye. They just
rabbit as an evil. Shadowy figure sometimes adjust, watches them. Some time
it jumps on their chests and starts to strangle them, and sometimes it tries to push or pull them out of bed. There were even a few people who say they ve gotten a good look at their attacker, although their descriptions,
very one. Man describes in old woman in a hat a female grads
sees a male figure in a white mask with a creepy red smile, but there are a few creepy details that just keep cropping up. A number of people were called distinct,
smells usually a dusty sweaty odor, which I don't know about you
but I don't usually smell things in my dreams and then there's the sound over and over victims described this very distinct. Sound of shuffling footsteps,
almost like a block of wood being dragged across carpet. One woman calls it a snuffling sound David, always
asks. Ok, how do you know you were dreaming and they always
The same thing we could see
either bedroom around them and hear things going on in the house, and it didn't
angel dreams. Do it was a continuous, normal flow of tat.
I, like you, experience when you're awake. The episode usually lie
did until they managed to move their body in some small way, like wiggle, a finger after that the attacker vanished. It has to be wild for David to hear all of it.
The number of stories. The similarities and David has experience
it all himself. So either he's just stopped
pull them handsome unknown medical condition or the monsters from his folk tales are stepping off the page.
After doing his initial survey, David finds that a staggering twenty three percent of people he questioned had one of these episodes.
Obviously this is more widespread than he realized, but is this the case everywhere, or is it just happening in Newfoundland?
David takes his investigation to the mainland
winter nineteen. Seventy three, he does a radio interview talking about the old hag legends and the bizarre experiences he's documented and that's when the floodgates burst.
he starts getting letters from people all over Canada, people who have never heard of the old hag, but who have experiences just like that.
Many of them are relieved to have someone else to talk to about it. They kept their story secret for years because they were afraid of sounding ridiculous.
all the while they been terrified that their attacker will return and for some of them it has over and over
Still after years of researching and gathering stories, David's no closer to understanding what's causing the attacks, as far as he can tell, it, haven't to run fifteen percent of people and is in connected to a history of mental health issues, but he also cannot rule out the
Possibility that maybe this thing is supernatural, fortunately, the old hag attacks don't seem to cause long term health effects for any one, apart from fear and trouble sleeping. If the attacker is a demon, it must be content to leave its victims. A lie. That's about to change the next time the old hag strikes over one hundred people die
Coming up a new investigator joins the case.
Imagine living with a secret so big that if any one
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and they get it off your chest. Do you think you could take a secretly got to the grave
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Three M has always been driven to improve lives with science and innovation. It's this forward. Thinking mindset that lead three m to invent House
the items you ve come to know and love like posted notes and command talks, but
yeah. I'm believes they have a responsibility to use their science to improve lives in even more ways. That's why they're responding
the coordinating nineteen crisis by working on solutions for some of today's biggest challenges as a leading provider of personal protective equipment, three m is producing critical products for healthcare workers and, first responders,
and donating to local and humanitarian aid partners around the globe. There also
making more respirators than ever before with plants working around the clock,
reducing more than ninety five million respirators per month in the? U S, helping those in the front line,
to continue the fight three m science applied to life.
more about. How three M is helping the world respond to the covert nineteen pandemic at three m: dot: com, slash covert and back to the story.
In the early nineteen eighties. David hovered research into the old hag phenomenon is getting lots of attention from scientists and sleep researchers they tackling
We already have a name for what he's studying sleep paralysis mean the term has been around since one thousand nine hundred and twenty eight, and it was thought to be a rare side effect of narcolepsy, but David's research shows it's far more common. Still. No one knows what caused
Is it and why people's experiences are so similar in David's nothin?
only one interested and figuring it out for Shelly
There is a matter of life and death in nineteen
seven Shelley's, a graduate student at the University of California, LOS Angeles
studying medical anthropology, which is basically a cross between human culture and biology, and she here
but a wave of mysterious deaths affecting a group of South EAST asian refugees living in the. U S living
dams are mostly young men, usually around their thirties, who appear to be perfectly healthy. At least
east until they go to sleep one night and never wake up. Doctors are mystified, may end up to
he had up to a sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome which basically,
is nothing more than they died in their sleep, and we have no idea why,
but Shelly, wonders if there's something the doctors missed like may be. The cause of death is in one.
hundred percent medical, so she
interviews over a hundred refugees and what she finds is terrifying. They
don't need doctors to tell them. What's killing them. They
already know the refugees? Call it? The Dodd show roughly translated night spirit, sound familiar. Apparently it's an evil spirit that attacks
the night paralyzing its victims with fear and read. The refugees are terrified
so much so there are literally setting alarms every half hour to stop themselves from falling into a deep sleep, but it isn't working. The Dodd show heaps visiting one refugee describes a dark shape. They came over his whole body like a heavy weight, which sounds just like David hovers encounter only. This was with a group of
people from the opposite side of the globe most and the refugee Shelly talked, you are members of the Hmong, an ethnic group from louse which is worlds away from Eastern Canada and yet
their reporting, the same experience? What is deaf
and is the number of people experiencing it base,
his surveys, David estimated, that around fifteen percent of people worldwide might have an old hag type encounter
but when Shelly interviews the refugees, fifty eight percent say that they have personally seen the Dodd show
and no one in Newfoundland, ever died from an old hag attack. So why is it suddenly kill
healthy young men. The refugees have their own theory,
They tell Shelly that, because they left their homeland, the Spirit of their ancestors can no longer defend them from the Dodd show, which is a pretty tragic thought in
Span of just a few years. The CDC counts one hundred seventeen dead, which
is a massive number for the size of the Hmong refugee population. In the U S, meanwhile, the CDC is able to figure out
one thing about the hmong men, their disproportionately affected by
genetic condition known as brew gotta syndrome, which can lead
Two abnormal heart rhythms, but it can't be the whole answer, because
gradually the number of deaths decreases until they stopped altogether. So if this
I'll just some genetic fluke you'd think that the deaths would have continued at the same rate forever. So, even if brigade
syndrome was ultimately what killed them. Something else triggered. It may be that
something was the night spirit. Maybe
They finally woke up paralyzed and saw it huh
ring over then they were so frightened. It
grew there underline condition and stop their heart. It would at least six
lane why they dont show killed these men while the old hag left its victims alive by it does
and explain why two groups of people as far flung as Eastern Canada and allows have such familiar folk lore. Once you start looking you
find similar stories from all over the world in China. This ix
science is known. As ghost oppression in Ethiopia
it's bizarre and in Turkey it's a malevolent gin, but of all of these legends, one in particular sticks out. It's about an old nurse
demon called the Mara, the Mara, with an evil goblin like creature that was said to ride on people's chests at night, causing bad dreams. A swedish folklore is described it by saying the Mara could be heard coming. There was a click in the lock. There was a patter crossing the floor and there was a sound as if some
things. Soft were being hold across the board, which sounds an awful lot like what David heard in his college bedroom
not only that the Mars name comes from an Indo european word, meaning crusher. Recalling the intense pressure, sleep, paralysis, victims feel on their chest. It's all
so one half of the old german word knocked mar or nightmare that
in its original meaning nightmare did not refer to just any bad dream. It actually meant a female evil spirit thought to lie upon and suffocate sleepers,
to literally the experience. We now call sleep paralysis,
which means that as late as the middle ages, people everywhere knew about this. They talked about it like that.
Finland locals talked about the old hag and the Hmong talked about the Dodd show
somewhere down the line. The word up watered down, but ass David found out the deed
Never left and before
on a new generation of detectives, rose to continue the search for answers and what they found terrified them coming up an internet.
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Less than a decade after Shelly Adler investigated the deaths of the hmong refugees, a person named TIM
round started his own search for the truth in ninety. Ninety four team is just forty.
years old and living in Nashville Tennessee, one night he's lying.
In bed with the television on and he's just starting to dozed off when he hears something is bad
basing facing the open, doorway and ass? He looked through it here
CS, someone in the hallway it moves closer and TIM, sees that it's a towering human, like figure like a shadow, come too
Life in looks mail in shape, but its face is featureless. Has no
He's no knows no. Now it's just this amorphous impenetrable darkness, the one distinguishing character
Stick? Is that its wearing a wide brimmed hat and what looks like a long trench coat
I don't know about you, but if I saw that in my hallway I would be chilled to the bone and TIM is only fourteen. He is
definitely frozen with fear the
it doesn't seem to have noticed him yet so he lies there, pretending to be asleep, praying that it goes away, but apparently he's peeking.
Because he sees the shadow lean into his grandmothers room,
Then he leaned back out in looks right at him. It
damn there for a long moment before it, slowly moved down the hallway out of view at this point, tins really worried for his grandmother. He summoned his courage
leaps out of bed and runs screaming into the hall when he gets there. The shadow is gone at this point, though his yelling has woken up, his grandmother and his great grandmother
Tim's hysterical and insist there was an intruder, but there's no
sign of one still his grandma
and great grandmother, believe him they both saint. They ve seen this same thing before for ten it's validating, but years pass and he starts to lose combat
Maybe it was just a figment of his imagination, maybe
grandmother and great grandmother would just humoring him before long. He stopped talking about it until two thousand and six, when TIM is twenty
six years old. It's two in the morning and TIM is up listening to the radio. The host is talking about something called shadow beings, human shape, patches of darkness, that flick in and out of someone's peripheral vision.
the host in his guest start describing in eerily similar experience. They ve been hearing about a lot of people say they ve been way.
up to see a shadowy man with a wide brimmed hat looming over the TIM, is
Stein. This is exactly what he saw so he
on the internet in fines, even more people with similar experiences stories about
Waking up frozen in bed, unable to move or scream and seeing the shadow of a man in a wide brimmed hat eventually
TIM fines, so many stories that he's having trouble, keeping track of them all into those.
He launches a website to compile people so called hat man sightings tons of you
is right in they share personal experiences with sleep paralysis as well as study
theories and research, but by far the most popular discussion
about the hat man. People describe him as a dark.
We'll figure around six feet tall like
a shadow. But somehow
darker wearing a wide brimmed hat
long trench cope, sometimes these
him alone. Sometimes he's fly.
by two shadowy companions and almost every one who sees him
describes this same overwhelming sense of evil and dread. Ok, so let's take a step back, we
got the old Hag the Dodd show the Mara
hey man. The stories are just so specific, inconsistent across
cultures in centuries, and yet no one
truly knows what to make of them. The good news.
is all the research from David Halford, Shelly, Adler and others have provided a ton of data for scientists and
Thanks to them. We now have an explanation for at least part of the mystery. The paralysis part,
as the medical community understands it. Its actual
the normal for our brains to paralyse us. When were asleep, that's why we don't get up and start acting out our dreams
but every once in a while. For some reason we don't really understand our brain turns the paralysis,
too soon or turns off too late, and we wake up still
unable to move. So. Basically what people experience during sleep paralysis is a brain glitch, one that occurs right as were falling asleep or right, as were we
hang up can even explain things like the old hag. Apparently, scientists think of sleep paralysis as the state
wean wakefulness in dreaming. So we can see our bedroom, but the parts of our brain that create or
dreams is still firing on all cylinders, which creates bizarre
Our visual hallucinations meets a pretty tired explanation.
But it doesn't solve everything like why so many people are having the same exact, who
some nations, the closest answer for that comes down to pop culture.
Whether that religion or folk tales or even movies, basically we're all seeing this,
things, because world afraid of the same things, one sleep, paralysis, expert psychologist, Christopher French, thinks that the hat man sightings could be inspired by Freddy Krueger
the hat wearing billion from the nightmare on ELM Street films, who kills his victims in their dreams. But as a theory, it doesn't really pan out
There is plenty of people. Remember seeing the hat man years before the first nightmare on ELM Street,
came out as early as nineteen. Seventy one.
two, maybe there's another answer out there, one that's.
Actually demonic or somehow spiritual, even the
experts agree that more research is needed in the mean
I'm recent surveys estimate that forty percent of people will experience sleep, paralysis,
at least once in their lives. Dont worry, though there are precautions, you can take, get plenty of sleep limit. Straw
avoid sleeping on your back and if you do wake up stiff as aboard,
With a shadow demon looming over you, try not to freak out things for listening,
back next week, with another episode, you can find all episodes of supernatural and all other Spotify originals from par cast for free on Spotify Zoo.
natural stars. Ashley flowers in his Spotify original from park asked its executive produced by MAX Cutler.
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Transcript generated on 2021-08-04.