Have you ever woken up but haven’t been able to move or speak, have a horrible weight on your chest, and see terrifying things around you? You’re not alone. What you experienced is called sleep paralysis, a disorder many used to be believe was some kind of demonic experience. Because of that, the condition is also called the sleep paralysis demon or old hag syndrome. Thankfully, it isn’t demon possession but a person’s inability to move smoothly through the stages of sleep. It’s a pretty common condition, too, with about 4 in 10 people experiencing it at some point in their life. What’s worse are the stories people tell of their experiences, the dark figures, the voices, the touching, and all the bizarre things going on inside their heads while they lay helpless. Ready to lose a little sleep tonight? Here are 25 creepiest sleep paralysis stories.
A Dark Creature
As a child, one Redditor would get sleep paralysis once in a while. Waking up on their back, they’d see a dark creature in the corner of the room but couldn’t move. They’d try hard to scream or speak but couldn’t. Right when they could move a finger, it would rush at them.
Another Redditor tried lucid dreaming with a special sound wavelength from their phone. During the night, their eyes shot open, but they couldn’t move. They saw a 9-foot-tall dark figure in the corner with an ugly face. Soon after, they heard scary sounds. They didn’t do anymore lucid dreaming after that.
Sleep Paralysis at 10-Years-Old
At 10-years-old, one Redditor took a nap before school and woke up struggling to breathe. A heavy weight was on their chest, and there was an orange tint to everything around them. They then heard laughter; after that started, they blacked out and woke up minutes later.
Paralysis During Nap Time
Imagine getting sleep paralysis and feeling stuck without the ability to let someone know. That’s what happens to one Redditor anytime they take a nap. Being stuck in sleep terrifies them every single time. They have to wiggle their toes to notify their girlfriend that they’re still awake.
Just Saying Goodnight
For another person, the first time with sleep paralysis was the worst. Sleeping on their side, they experienced the usual heavy weight on their chest. Not able to move, they panicked and then heard a voice whisper in their ear, “Just coming in to say goodnight.”
A Dark Woman
Two to three times every month, one Redditor said during sleep paralysis they hear a feminine voice saying, “Go back to sleep,” or “Goodnight, baby.” The woman is clothed in black with skeleton hands and a young face, and she’s always sitting on their chest.
Lifelong Sleep Paralysis
One Redditor explained she has had lifelong sleep paralysis. When it first started, she saw a man in the corner of the room, but the paralysis wouldn’t let her scream to let her parents know about it. As time went on, the man would run his hands all over her body. One time, however, she saw the man dressed in black at the edge of her bed, crawling up to get her. This time, however, she screamed and discovered the man was actually real. The man ran away when she started screaming and she called 911 immediately. They never caught him.
Regular Sleep Paralysis
Getting sleep paralysis on the regular never fully numbs the horror for one Redditor. One time, they explained, a little girl was off in the corner, staring. Suddenly, the girl shrieks, runs over, and starts choking them. One other time, they heard scratching and pounding sounds outside their bedroom door. Of it all, the fact you can’t scream for help still scares them the most.
Waking up from a really intense dream next to his girlfriend, one Redditor experienced what they all do in sleep paralysis and couldn’t move. He heard a voice yelling, “Watch out, he’s awake!” Panicking, he felt the heavy weight on his chest and was tied down in a big dentist chair. It felt like forever before he could finally move. At first, he thought he was abducted by aliens until he looked it up and found out he had sleep paralysis.
A Cat's Meow
One Redditor explained they’ve had sleep paralysis since they were sixteen. They got the usual symptoms, including the lack of ability to move and heaviness in the chest. On one occasion, they felt a cat meow and jump on them, running its fur against them…but they didn’t have a cat.
Grandfather's Old House
Having first experienced it in junior high and continuing through-out their life, one Redditor was at their grandfather’s old house when they decided to take a nap. First, the music playing in the background morphed into sounds of laughter and pain. Then, the closet door opened, showing only total darkness with two red eyes staring. The words “hell” were repeatedly screamed. Finally, they were able to pull themselves out of it and run out the door.
One time in her sister’s room, one Redditor explained she was asleep and saw a dark figure jumping around the room. She had sleep paralysis often, so she didn’t tell anyone. However, her sister said she had had a weird dream and described the exact same figure in detail.
Three Sleep Paralysis Stories
One Redditor explained they only had three different experiences with sleep paralysis. The first time a cat sized shadow crept up their bed and onto their chest, something that was very uncomfortable. Next, an eerie looking man walked around their room and hid behind their door. Fortunately, the last one was much more silly. They saw silly penguins walking around their room.
Another Alien Abduction
For about a year during their 20’s, a Redditor would get sleep paralysis often. During one of their most terrifying experiences, a bluish light appeared and four alien figures were at the corner of the bed. Before being abducted, they fought through the paralysis and turned on all the lights, trying to tell themselves none of it was real.
As one person lay on their side, they felt someone slip into bed with them and wrap their arms around their waist. They could feel the hot breath on their neck and the figure cuddled with them for at least thirty minutes. The thing finally said, “Not yet. You’re not ready yet. I’ll come back when you are.”
After being kicked in the face by a horse, resulting in a broken jaw, this Redditor said they started getting horrid sleep paralysis. With a mirrored wardrobe facing them at night, they fell asleep and would feel like something was pulling them toward the mirror. Sometimes they would be pulled off the bed. It terrified them so much, they didn’t want to sleep.
This Redditor said they’ve gone through cycles of sleep paralysis, experiencing the common dark figure at the foot of their bed. However, after a while, they repeatedly kept seeing a brown-green gremlin with pointy features. Normally, it would appear on their stomach, making it hard to breathe. But when they were on their side, it appeared behind them, speaking in a weird language.
Sometimes it doesn’t take hallucinations to make sleep paralysis freaky. In this case, one person doesn’t have visions of dark figures but wakes up paralyzed as they sleep on their stomach. With their face in the pillow, they struggle to breathe, and if they don’t calm down, will start to hyperventilate.
Exploding Head Syndrome
Another part of sleep paralysis is a horrible condition called “Exploding Head Syndrome.” For this Redditor, they’d experience a loud “boom” like a gunshot exploding in their head. Getting back to sleep was almost impossible.
For one Redditor, a dark monkey-like figure with long arms appeared all around them. Frequently, it would try to bite them, jumping all over. At one point, when they dropped their arm over the bed, it did bite them. As time went on, it stopped being an animal and just became pure evil, sending them into hysterics.
It started with a scrapping sound. They thought it was their dad’s leg at first because its the sound he makes when he walks. After not being able to move at all, they started to panic before seeing a bald man’s head appear. The bald man was thin and blue. It said, “You have to warn her.”
One Redditor’s mom had entered their room as a dark silhouette right as they woke up from a dream. The mom hobbled over and suddenly looked like a monster from Where the Wild Things Are. They were on the top bunk while their sister was on the bottom. With their mom’s head close to the bed, she started tickling them. The tickling intensified and the mom started to grunt. No words could come out of their mouth to tell her to stop. The tickling turned into jabbing and digging into their torso and the mom started howling.
One Redditor rarely had hallucinations during sleep paralysis but would mostly feel paralyzed. On two occasions, however, they experienced hallucinations. The first time was the feeling of claws dragging over their left arm. They couldn’t scream for help and felt like they were going to die. On the other occasion, they were paralyzed but heard their mom say, “Baby, it’s time to wake up.” When they were able to move, they found their mom sleeping in the next room.
Like many others, one Redditor woke to the feeling of a weight and pressure on their chest and the sense of a great evil nearby. Unable to move, they saw a figure walk through the doorway. It was a very old skeletal woman with sunken eyes, long grey hair. She had been completely naked with her ribs sunken in. The woman approached as they struggled to become loose and took every ounce of strength to be set free. When they regained control, the woman vanished.
After having an argument with his wife, one 33-year-old man decided to chill out and take a nap. Waking at 2pm and unable to move, the man was yanked off of the couch and dragged around on the floor. He couldn’t see whatever was dragging him. Praying for it to go away, a veil was lifted and it stopped. But when he looked, he saw a hand print on his leg where the thing grabbed him.