To sleep, perchance to wake

For a few years now I’ve been suffering from these episodes when I’ll wake up from being asleep unable to move, except for my eyes. Generally when this happens I feel like there is someone in the room lying on top of me and I feel very afraid*. Not a particularly nice experience, but it seemed pretty benign overall.

For some reason this topic came up at a rib bake-off contest I was at on Saturday, where the winning rib chef commented that he also had such experiences and it was called sleep paralysis. Pretty obvious really. So I owe him a big debt of thanks for that – plus for the excellent ribs.

What’s fascinating about this, aside from finding out I’m not such a unique freak after all, is the wealth of folklore attached to it. The concept of the old hag, or incubi sitting on top of you, is often cited, as is the more recent trend towards alien abduction ‘victims’. Figures really. Wake up – can’t move – strange feeling of someone in room with you – then you wake up again in the morning unable to explain what happened. Quick! Call Mulder & Scully!

Of further interest to this minor revelation is that I only found this out due to the usual random sequence of New York life. On Wednesday I was in Beauty Bar chatting with someone, who introduced me to someone else who was the boyfriend of one of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby team. Because of this I got convinced to go along to their charity race on Friday which was a whole heap o’ fun. For those of you who don’t know what a roller derby is – it basically involves two teams on roller skates trying to skate fast round in a circle and get past each other to score points. Anyways, while at this crazy event I met some more people who gave me a lift home in a nice wood panelled van and then invited me along to their barbecue the next day and there I learnt all about sleep paralysis amongst other things. Good random fun, and definately the manner in which I’m now intending to live my life – or at least my social life.

* As an aside this was a very different feeling from the odd times in our old family house where I used to half wake up to a ghostly shape floating 5 feet above my bed. For some reason I always found that vaguely comforting after I stopped freaking out. Sorry gran, we’ve moved now, so hope you’re alright with the new owners.

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