20 Of The Most Terrifying Accounts Of Sleep Paralysis Ever Recorded

Scott Robinson

1. Can’t Wake Up

When I was in the army I was sleeping in the top bunk when I had sleep paralysis, first I hallucinated seeing my buddy come in the room looking for me, approaching the bed and looking at me while his face slowly turned weirdly evil with long teeth, then hands came up from around the bed and started grabbing me. I was awake the whole time with my eyes open but couldn’t move or speak. I was trying to scream “wake me up” because there were other people in the room when it happened. Eventually, they heard me mumbling and woke me up. One of the scariest things that ever happened to me.


2. The Old Lady

I had the classic (I think) sleep paralysis hallucination. Was in a fuzzy state, believing I was awake. A shadow in a corner of my room started moving and an old lady got closer to me. First, her hands crawled up my legs and then she climbed on the bed and on my torso. I couldn’t breathe and my arms were locked on each side of my body. Worst sleep experience I ever had. Even worse than when my cat passed out after headbutting my bedroom door, waking me in the middle of the night.


3. A Creeping Horror

Happened a few years ago, when I was sharing a hotel room with my sister and my parents. I ‘woke up’ and was fixed laying on my back, hallucinating seeing this small woman climb from the foot of the bed up upon me. I can picture it so clearly to this day: short spiky hair slightly obscuring her face which was in shadow from the dark room. She had this demonic grin on her face as she crawled over me and put her face right in front of my face. I was desperately trying to scream to wake my family up who I could see lying peacefully asleep around me. A horrifying experience that happens once every couple of years.


4. Not Quite Dead

I’d just come out of a dream where I’d murdered a guy and tried to dissolve him with caustic soda. He was wrapped in plastic under my bed but started to thrash around, I’d apparently tried to melt him before he was quite dead. As everyone one else here says, I was locked in place, unable to speak or move and it was a truly horrible, frightening experience. I’ve only had it twice and while I’m glad I experienced it, twice was fine, thanks.


5. A Goblin From The Window

I’ve been suffering from Sleep Paralysis on a regular basis for almost the past 3 years. Usually 1 or 2 times a week at the moment (it was much worse in the beginning)

Most of the time I see someone in a corner of the room coming slowly toward me, or even some kind of goblin/falmer-like creature climbing from the window to get into the room.

The scariest hallucination was one time when I fell asleep on the couch and woke up in some sort of forest. There was a white-ish mist and dark trees everywhere, and there was something breathing heavily behind me. Couldn’t do anything of course, thought I was tied up or something.

Upon really waking up I realized that the “trees” I was seeing were folds on the couch and the white mist were light reflections from the computer. (I fell asleep facing the couch, computer behind me on a stool) Shit was terrifying.


6. Double Inception

It was scary. I had this episode about 4 months ago where I realized that I was dreaming a.k.a lucid dreaming. I was standing at the edge of a cliff and having watched inception, I jumped off it to wake myself up. It seemed to have worked and I was in my bed. Only this time, I could not move one bit and I felt as if I was choking, not able to breathe as if something really heavy was placed on my chest. I wanted to scream to my dad who was lying just beside me but I just couldn’t. About 2 minutes into this torture, I woke up.


7. Near Crying

A friend called me in the middle of the night saying he got attacked by a ghost and was like near crying (pretty manly dude too). He explained that he woke up and a ghost was holding him down for a few minutes and he was like paralyzed.

I told him I knew exactly what that was lol! It took him a lot of convincing that it wasn’t the real deal and his house was haunted.


8. The Edge Of The Void

It happened to me one time in my life. There was a sort of demon-like figure, but it was also like a void of nothingness I don’t really know how to explain it, standing in the corner of my room. I couldn’t look directly at it and it was slowly moving closer to my bed, I snapped out of it when it was right beside my bed.

It was fucking terrifying.


9. Cloaked Figures That Sway And Chant

I have Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis (I have these episodes very often) and honestly, they’re terrifying. Most of the time I see these 7ft tall cloaked figures that sway and chant.

One of the worst ones that springs to mind is when I woke up (obviously couldn’t move except my eyes, crushing weight on chest etc), and I could hear noises downstairs in my kitchen. I then heard footsteps slowly coming up the stairs and they stopped for a second. Then I heard something absolutely gunning it down the hallway towards my room and slam into my bedroom door. Silence after that.

There was the time the little girl from The Ring was sitting in the corner of my room breathing heavily.

I once had a giant bird trying to eat me, I felt it scratching at my skin and everything.

I get it a couple times a week so there’s many more I’m missing out but they aren’t fun.


10. The Shadow Thing

I saw a hooded figure standing in the corner. I had gone through a couple of months of medical exams, tests and was off work. Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I wasn’t sleeping. It had been already a few weeks without sleep when this happened. I was in bed almost asleep.

The room darkened my eyes flew open and I saw the shadow thing in the corner. It started moving towards the bed, like floating almost. And leaned over top of me. It had no face. The scariest part was not being able to move. I was functionally awake. I could see and hear and feel everything. But I couldn’t move at all. Tried to. Tried to scream. Nothing. Finally, the thing disappeared and the room went back to normal and I snapped out of bed hearing this sound like joints breaking.

Let’s just say I didn’t sleep for a long time after that.


11. A Malevolent Shadow

Woke up, rolled over and fell straight off the bed. When I hit the floor, a malevolent shadow/force grabbed me by the feet and dragged me out of my bedroom and down the hallway. Then I woke up for real.

The first time I woke up, I’d been paralyzed. In my half-lucid sleep, my mind rolled over, but not my physical body. That went straight into the out of body nightmare.


12. Tricks Followed By Whispers

I had them frequently a few years back. I’d wake up unable to move and get freaked out having to focus all my energy on “rolling’ out of the paralysis. Eventually, however, I just decided to go with it, accepting that I couldn’t move and that’s where it got more interesting.

As I lay there I’d hear my housemates calling me or my phone ringing, or knocks at the door which would convince me to bring myself out of it but were always false. As I stopped falling for these tricks I’d start hearing nightmarish whispers in my ear and a prevailing sense of dread. Once I’d learned to accept these (this was happening 2 or 3 times a week) I experienced a sinking sensation and things going darker as I ‘descended’ downwards out of my room and my head/senses would kind of vibrate.

I’d then be catapulted upwards and then let loose to fly around. I could never control it enough to stay local, lots of spacey type locations as I seemed to get launched very high. A few times I found my way to a wintery tree type place with a stone circle and on more than one occasion this cavey deserty pyramidy area where I seemed to be able to control the flying better.

Oh and once I was caught by the foot as I was propelled upwards and violently crashed around my room by some entity that didn’t feel too friendly. This was the last time and I was convinced I’d made some noise but apparently not. In the hallucination, my room was laid out as it was when I was much younger though which I didn’t pick up on while it was going on. That was the last time it happened. 6 years ago maybe?


13. A Little Dead Boy

I was having a night terror and there was a little dead boy standing beside my bed. I felt that I was slowly sliding off the bed toward him, but couldn’t stop myself or even open my eyes. Funny thing is, since it was a night terror I was wide awake and knew my girlfriend was laying right beside me reading a book.


14. The Dog

I had a number of experiences with sleep paralysis in the late ’80s and early ’90s. As I recall they started when I was at college and would sometimes take naps. I decided at the time they were happening because daylight was getting to my eyelids and waking up ‘part of my brain’ but not the whole thing.

One early experience with sleep paralysis came on a Sunday; I had come back from the dining hall to my dorm room and wound up asleep on my bed. I was alone in the room. Prior to me drifting off I could hear people out in the hall; someone had lured a dog into the dorm. I fell asleep, then thought I was awake but found I couldn’t move, and I was convinced the dog (which I had not seen or heard, but had heard people talk about, outside my door) was standing just outside my field of vision and about to attack me. I couldn’t move though! Then somehow I came fully awake, as I would term it, and reality synched up for me and of course, there was no dog in the room with me.

I had similar experiences on and off for the next several years. The last one I remember was actually the scariest and most disconcerting and happened five or six years after the one with the dog. I had been living in Texas and gone back to my home state for a visit, and was sleeping on a friend’s couch. One morning while my friend was taking a shower I thought I was awake but of course could not move, and I could hear two voices which at the time sounded quite demonic to me – and they were observing and commenting on me. They were talking about me in very hateful terms, and in a threatening tone. Whatever they were they were outside my field of vision. I was really scared and since I couldn’t move tried to call out for my friend, but couldn’t yell either. Then I woke up and the voices were gone, and I could still hear the sound of the shower from the other room. That was the last major episode I remember, and that’s been, hmmm, over twenty years ago.

One thing about that last episode, I already knew I was subject to these episodes, and had a notion as to what they were and (right or wrong) what explained them. But at the time it happened, I was still very afraid and didn’t know what was going on. I guess it was a bit like a (semi-) waking nightmare where your full powers of reason aren’t at your disposal to assess what you’re experiencing. Maybe.

I now think I had these experiences when I did due to something about my brain chemistry in my late teens and early twenties, and that my mind has since changed enough I don’t get them anymore. I can’t remember how I learned what they were at the time; they began before I was accessing Usenet so I must’ve read up on it in books or magazines. I remember characterizing them as hypnopompic hallucinations and am sure I read about this somewhere but I do not recall where; I was a college student when they started though so, plenty of options at the library there.

15. Friends With Spiders

I had an experience where I was sort of awake/waking up and had two people who were my best friends at the time sitting on either side of me (I was laying completely straight) but they had these crazy looking faces and were so dark and shadowy after them sitting on either side of me looking creepy as fuck for a while they started throwing just fucking loads of these giant ass spiders all over me, they were running up my torso and all over me. I was dying to move and put on my light but just couldn’t move a muscle.


16. Lucid Dreaming Gone Wrong

Tried to lucid dream for months. Did all the right things, kept a dream journal, checked for dream signs, etc. One night I finally found out I was dreaming. I remember being so overjoyed I was dreaming, I woke up. People say to stay calm when you realize you’re dreaming or else you can enter sleep paralysis. Whoops. I saw shadows darting around the room, and heard a witch cackling at the foot of my bed. I even felt the pressure of the bed shift as she sat by my feet. I experienced this for about half an hour until I forced myself to go to sleep to make it stop. Worst fucking time of my life. Never tried lucid dreaming again.


17. The Growling Only GOt Louder

I have recurring sleep paralysis. Mine generally all feel the same, certainly cause the same terror despite the fact that I am aware now that it’s sleep paralysis. It’s like my hallucinations react to my self-awareness.

It began as a demonic fuzzy dark figure that would hover above my bed and suck the breath out of my mouth from about 6 inches away. Gasping for air and struggling to move, I would lay for several minutes (felt like eternity) until finally I’d break from it, sit up in a panic startling my girlfriend, and it would of course be gone. Prior to reading up about sleep paralysis, I actually thought it was possible these were actual paranormal incidents (despite not being a religious person — to the contrary, very scientific minded). That’s just how realistic and terrifying these events are.

The next time it happened I had read about sleep paralysis. So I heard something slip into bed next to me, and as I struggled to turn my head to the left to look (I was paralyzed, obviously), it started to slowly growl and get angrier and started to rise above me. So I quickly averted my eyes straight up again at the ceiling and the creature started to calm its breathing next to me. I thought to myself “Oh man, it’s sleep paralysis. This is kinda cool. Let’s try to keep calm and figure it out.”

But each time I tried to control it or move, the creature would get angry, and I would involuntarily feel my heart rate go up and get really stressed. So I decided I’d just fall asleep, power through it. That’s when the creature whispered “Yes, just fall asleep. You’ll be safe” in a sinister sarcastic way. Which just made me more nervous.

And each time I tried to power through the sleep, I’d hear more creatures start crawling up my walls making horrifying sounds and I’d have to open my eyes to see what was going on — and they’d scatter.

So finally I decided I’d just wake up. So I strained and strained to raise my arms and roll over and finally I broke out of the paralysis and everything of course was gone.

And now, it just keeps escalating. The more aware of these incidents I become, the more I try to control or fight them, the more insidious and scary they get. It’s actually pretty awful.


18. Four Cloaked Figures

I used to have sleep paralysis several times a week when I was a teenager. It always happened right before I was going to sleep so it still felt like I was fully awake. Usually, I could tell it was happening because I would suddenly hear a continuous whooshing sound and my entire body would suddenly feel paralyzed.

Some of the time I wouldn’t hallucinate, other times I would hear whispers in my room and sometimes I could hear my mother calling me but I could never call back.

One time I felt the paralysis happening then suddenly 4 figures all dressed in black cloakes stood beside my bed. They proceeded to grab my hands and feet and while I was trying to scream they dragged me across the floor and as they got to the bedroom door I was dropped and was back in my bed.

I know it was my imagination but it felt so real.


19. Woke Up Whimpering

I get sleep paralysis fairly frequently and have for many years. It is such a calm terror. I wake up, and I can’t move any part of my body, except to open my eyes to look around. I want to scream, but I can’t. Even though I still have my rational brain telling me “relax, just relax and it will be over soon”, it’s still a terrible feeling. I find I am usually extremely warm too, which may be a trigger for these episodes, so I’m uncomfortable on top of it all. Also, if you sleep while cuddling and wake up in paralysis, it feels like the weight of the person is just going to suffocate you to death. I remember so vividly my boyfriend’s arm being draped across my chest and being terrified that I would never be able to free myself from underneath it.

I’ve never had any visual hallucinations, thankfully. I’m scared of everything as it is, so adding that into the mix would take this to extreme nightmare levels. Only once did I experience anything like that. I woke up, and couldn’t move. I was lying there next to my boyfriend waiting to come through the other side when I heard this horrible, demonic-sounding, shuddering low-growl of a sigh from above me. It was that degree of sound that horror movies use specifically to unnerve the audience. I was overcome with fear and woke up whimpering.


20. A Pale White Head

I only had it once when I was three years old but I’ll never forget it.

My grandparents lived in rural Korea, where there’s little street lights and it’s just a bunch of farms. This particular area had some ghost stories and my grandfather swore that he saw one walking outside his farm a few times when it was pitch dark. One night, while I was sleeping with my mother, I had sleep paralysis and I saw this floating pale white head with no defining features. It didn’t say anything or do anything but just stare at me for what seemed like forever. Since everyone was sleeping, it was completely dark so this white bald head with cold eyes stood out from everything.

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