I Thought It Was ‘Just’ Sleep Paralysis. Please Don’t Be Like Me.


I have had sleep paralysis since I was an early teen. It is such a terrifying experience! Words can’t do it justice. Anybody that has suffered from it can attest to this. Sleep was now a nightly ordeal of terror. Dread consumed me. I knew with certainty that I would wake up at some point in the evening halfway between sleep and waking life powerless to move all while… He … watched.

Eventually, I did some research and the scientific explanation for what I was experiencing gave me a modicum of comfort. When I would have a bout with sleep paralysis, the rational account of what was happening to me put me at ease. I could force myself to wake and ignore… Him. With time I stopped having episodes and moved on with my life. That is, until the events of the last few nights. Now I don’t know what I’m going to lose first, my mind, my life, or my soul. So, I write.


Did you know sleep paralysis takes place during REM sleep? Our bodies are paralyzed during this phase of sleep. It is where our most vivid dreams occur, and if we were capable of movement during this time, we would be acting out all of our dreams in real life. Sleep paralysis happens when REM sleep is interrupted. The person wakes up and is aware, but they are incapable of moving. This period is also marked in some with intense hallucinations. A great deal of the claims in bygone eras of demon possession, succubi, and even modern accounts of alien abduction were just people suffering from sleep paralysis and ascribing a supernatural explanation to something easily described by science. Well, that is the rationalization for this phenomenon, needless to say, now I have my doubts.


For over a decade the Man in red ribbons has been waiting for me, always in my peripheral vision hunched in the corner of my room. Even though this has been occurring for the past 12 years, I have never gotten a good look at Him. A whisper would escape the corner of my room. I could never quite make out what He said, and if I struggled hard enough, I was able to break His invisible binds and bring myself back to the waking world. As mentioned above, over time it stopped. Palpable relief gave way to sheer terror when it began again last Friday. Now, for the past few nights, I not only fear for my sanity, I fear for my life.


Did you know that the tiny pocket on the front of your jeans was originally designed to hold pocket watches? I always wondered what it was for. Speaking of jeans, the word originates from the city of Genoa. You see, the French referred to the city as Genes…


Last Friday I remember comfortably sliding into bed after a long day at work. I live alone and as of late had really cherished the solace of my bed on nights like this. I was invited out for drinks and typical weekend revelry, but I was much too tired and was enthusiastically looking forward to a full night’s sleep. I closed my eyes as sleep overtook me. The next thing I remember is opening my eyes and not being able to move my body. Oh great, I thought, here we go again. I hadn’t had an episode in over a year. The initial feeling of panic receded briefly as I reminded myself that I was just in sleep paralysis, and it would pass. I surveyed my surroundings. At first, all I could see was the light from the street lamp coming in through my open window and the time on my digital alarm clock. I calmly waited to fully wake up. I avoided looking at the corner of my bedroom where I know He resides, but foolish curiosity got the better of me. Normally, His figure was hunched over, but this time I could see He was standing.

Jesus, the height of this thing.

The red ribbons that surrounded Him flowed in the still air of the room carried on a nonexistent wind. They obscured His face. Occasionally I would catch a brief glimpse of His eyes. They were bright yellow, an impossible, saffron hue. In the few milliseconds they were revealed, they gave me the coldest most hateful glance that I have ever received in my life. That look was unmistakable. It was one of seething hatred.


I know if those ribbons ever dropped away, and I had to look at that face. I will either go mad or die. There is no middle ground.

I just know it.

As I have mentioned, I can bring myself out of the paralysis if I struggle enough. I quickly fought with my body, forcing it with every fiber of my being to wake up. All while He whispered the same incomprehensible phrase over and over again. I turned my head toward that corner in my room only to see that the man was gone. Sweet relief consumed me. I had finally woken up.


Did you know that Abraham Lincoln is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame? Speaking of wrestlers, did you know that John Cena holds the record for most Make a Wish Foundation fulfillments? What an awesome dude…


The next night I fell asleep with much trepidation. I was rattled to my core. In all my years with sleep paralysis, He had never moved toward me.

And Jesus that look in His eyes.

I awoke again locked in the throes of paralysis. I noted the time on the clock and immediately turned my gaze with a laser like focus on the corner of the room where He now stood. He was in exactly the same position I had seen Him the night before.

To my absolute horror He rose and began to float off of the ground. The red ribbons whipping around His figure, obscuring His face while occasionally revealing those odious eyes. He rose to the ceiling and began, to my horror, slowly but surely inching His way towards me. His limbs made a popping sound as they turned backwards and clutched the ceiling. The whispering grew louder, and to my terror I could finally make out the message he had been harassing me with all these years.

What can it mean?

Understanding washed over me.

Oh God!?!

I clutched my chest as my heart threatened to burst out of my rib cage. I could feel my mind become further unhinged. I won’t write down what he said for fear of making it that more real, but now I know he was coming for me, body and soul. I, as quickly as I was capable of doing so, woke myself up.

The following night (last night) the same thing occurred. I looked to see the time on the clock. Its bright redness screamed out the time into the darkness of my room, 4:30 just like the previous two nights. With fear and apprehension, I turned my gaze to the ceiling to see the man crawling towards me, precisely in the same position he was the previous night. With every movement his limbs cracked. His voice began to fill my head. It threatened to burst my skull with his demonic message. I struggled and struggled to wake myself, but as he moved closer, the feeling of paralysis grew stronger. I could feel an evil emanating from this being, a wholly malicious energy holding me in place. There’s no other way to describe it.

It felt like death itself.

I finally awoke as the Man over my bed began to descend towards my sleeping body.


Did you know that what most people think are a horse’s knees are actually its wrists? Their skeletal structure is different than that of humans. The bones that correspond to our wrists (carpal bones) are what we are looking at when we think we see a horse’s “knee”. Isn’t that fascinating? Who am I kidding? There is no way I am going to be able to distract my mind from the Man and His impending return tonight. And those words that started as a whisper and ended up screaming inside my head.

(Stop! Don’t write it down. You’re going to make it true!)

“6/12/18. In the next world, you’ll never sleep again.”


Forget what I wrote above. That’s just ridiculous. The machinations of a stressed out mind on the edge. I am just experiencing sleep paralysis and there is nothing supernatural occurring here. As a matter of fact, I am staying awake past 4:30 just to prove to myself that that is the case. If I don’t sleep, I won’t experience hallucinations and… He… won’t come. That is that.

The more I think about it the more absurd it all seems. The Man surrounded by red ribbons. Yeah, right. It’s just a hallucination, a symptom of a disorder with a perfectly scientific explanation. What an idiot I have been. I’ve let fear and ignorance overtake my rational mind. I feel like such a moron.


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About the author

Cliff Barlow