Demon following me

Demon following me DEFAULT

More on what a demon is and why they hate you!

By Julie Lucas

The Virginian-Pilot|

Oct 06, at AM

In our last blog we covered: What is a demon? Let's recap: A demon is an evil, malevolent spirit being which is the offspring of Satan or the Devil. A spirit being is a creature that can not be seen by the naked eye and has a body mass that can not currently be weighed or measured.

To expand on this thought a little, it has been proposed by many biblical scholars that demons are fallen angels. This is an incorrect teaching. There is and NEVER has been any indication that angels in any form prefer to live inside of a human body. Angels are a being that was created directly by God; this includes all the fallen angels. Angels have the ability to manifest their own human form, so why live in someone else's? Demon's were created and most likely descended directly from Satan and/or his angelic followers. I am not buying into the theory that these creatures are all Nephilim spirits; however I am saying that some of them might be Nephilim spirits just not all of them. They have found other ways to continue to create more demonic spirits. No expert in the field of demonology can say for sure how this is accomplished exactly but as the human population expands it goes without saying that the population of these creatures is also expanding.

The bible says that creatures procreate "each according to its kind" (Genesis ) and this theory seems to have some biblical basis in that Jesus refers to the Pharisees and others that do not understand His words as belonging "to your father, the devil" (John ). I don't think Jesus is referring to the men themselves, but to the spirit beings that were in control of their actions, thoughts and behavior. Jesus refers to others in this way and in other biblical texts seems to be speaking directly to or about something other than the person in which Jesus is directing his dialog.

Really, demonic spirits that inhabit a human's body and have some amount of control over their personalities and behavior is not that far a stretch. Only a few hundred years ago men did not understand cells on a molecular level or particles on a subatomic level, so who is to say that we at some point in our scientific endeavors may come to understand this other dimension of creation that is not visible to our naked eye? The more scientists explore our universe, the depths of our oceans and the intricacies of the human genome; it becomes readily apparent that we have only skimmed the surface of creation. Wouldn't it be nice if we had an x-ray machine that could detect these little parasites and a pill to rid ourselves of them permanently? Just wishful thinking on my part….

Now that we have explored briefly what a demon is, let's continue our discussion as to the universal purpose that drives them to do what they do and why?

We have so far established that demon's are the offspring of Satan and thus are continuing in the hatred of their "father, the devil". If we look a little further into the verse: "And I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your [Satan's] offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." Genesis

This hatred or "enmity" as the bible calls it was DELIBERATELY PUT THERE BY GOD HIMSELF! I emphasize this point for a reason. This enmity is there so we as God's created creatures would not be lost forever; so that we could still be redeemed. If we would have become at any time Satan's ally in this war for control over heaven, earth and everything in it then we would have, as a race of beings, been relegated to the eternal ash heap of eternal history, or the eternal "outer darkness" as the bible refers to it. Although we are a fallen creature too, we still yet have the divine spark of kindness that sets us apart from these fallen creatures. There is very little that any denomination or faction of Christianity completely agrees upon, but for those experienced in the field of deliverance (or exorcisms as the Catholic Church refers) they are universally in agreement that these creatures that once uncovered and exposed are driven by purely evil motives. They NEVER, EVER at any time have the well being of the person that they inhabit in mind. Their full and complete concern is living and continuing their existence through the person in which they inhabit. What sick and twisted little desire can they fulfill through your flesh? This, quite frankly is their entire game plan. Eventually, as the bible tells us, that Satan comes only to "kill, steal and destroy" (John ) he will eventually take your life. The demon's moving on to the next sorry host, usually a family member since they prefer things familiar.

Join us next time as we continue to uncover the secrets the enemy holds so dear in order to keep you and me and all of us in bondage to his schemes!

You can take God out of government, schools and even the church, but you can't take God out of us…

My how times have changed. Parents once worried about their kids out roaming the streets taking drugs, now the shoe is on the other foot…

As always, email me YOUR spiritual questions, top favorite headline picks or your "off the record" comments to [email protected] I will include your name and city, and if the headline pick is interesting, appropriate and not offensive, I will post them!


4 degrees of demonic possession

Possession doesn�t happen overnight. It�s a process, and it always requires an open door: playing with Ouija boards, attending or conducting s�ances, even going on a ghost hunt with friends. No matter how innocent one�s intentions, dark spirits can take advantage of such opportunities. In his book �An Exorcist Tells His Story,� Father Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist of Rome who passed away Sept. 16 at the age of 91, identified the following stages of demonic activity:

1. Infestation. This is �haunted house� type stuff: footsteps, voices, apparitions, furniture or other objects moving without human agency, odors with no discernible source. Rather than directly affecting people, infestations affect only property, objects, or even animals.

2. Oppression. Activity steps up with physical attacks, sleep disturbances including regular nightmares, frequent and severe illnesses, major depression or anxiety, severe financial or employment problems, and relationship troubles. While these things happen in the normal course of life, all of them happening at once or in rapid succession could be a sign of demonic presence.

3. Obsession. As the name implies, at this stage the afflicted person has a hard time functioning, being constantly preoccupied with thoughts of the demonic activity commandeering his or her life, and frequently with thoughts of suicide as well. Sleep becomes nearly impossible.

All three of these stages can be addressed by a competent deliverance minister. However, the last stage is reserved for official exorcists

4. Possession. Contrary to popular belief, possession is not demons entering a person�s body and taking over his or her soul. A person�s free will is never removed, only severely compromised. In possession, a person is so physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually broken down by going through the other three stages that demonic spirits are able to seize occasional control over that person�s actions.

Telltale signs of possession include superhuman strength, speaking in a language the victim doesn�t know, inordinate aversion to holy objects, knowledge of events or facts the victim could not possibly know, and according to Diocese of San Jose exorcist Gary Thomas (whose story was made famous in the book and movie �The Rite�), changes in facial features.

Telltale signs do not include degree head spins.

  1. 2 number chart
  2. Os giken 240z
  3. Preakness winning times
  4. Hyundai dealership chesapeake

The Demon Attacks at Night: Explaining the Incubus Phenomenon

If you've ever woken up in the middle of the night feeling as though you're being crushed by a demonic being, you may have just experienced what's called the incubus phenomenon: an "attack" by a male demon. (Its female counterpart, the succubus, usually attacks men.)

The phenomenon is, in many ways, the quintessential nightmare. For centuries, the incubus demon has been said to haunt sleepers, inspiring tales in traditional folklore as well as works of art.

Now, a new meta-analysis from the Netherlands suggests that this frightening phenomenon may be more common than previously thought — and that it should be taken more seriously by psychiatrists and psychologists who hear such accounts from their patients. [Top 11 Spooky Sleep Disorders]

The so-called attack usually occurs during an episode of sleep paralysis, a condition that's even more common than the incubus phenomenon, according to the meta-analysis.

Sleep paralysis is a result of the dissociation of sleep phases, said senior author Dr. Jan Dirk Blom,a professor of clinical psychopathology at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.The condition happens when a person is falling asleep or waking up. During sleep paralysis, two aspects of REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep, occur when a person is conscious.

During REM sleep, which is the period when a person typically dreams, the body's muscles are relaxed to the level of paralysis, presumably to prevent the sleeper from acting out his or her dreams, Blom said. But when sleep paralysis takes place, the person's mind wakes up — however, the person is still dreaming, and the body is still paralyzed.

"Lying in bed in such a state of paralysis, the brain's threat-activated vigilance system kicks in and helps to create a compound hallucination of a creature sitting on the chest," Blom told Live Science.

What the afflicted person sees is a combination of their actual surroundings and a nightmare, which is projected onto the real world. The experience feels exceptionally real, Blom said.

Tracking demons

In the meta-analysis, which was published in November in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, the researchers looked at 13 studies of the incubus phenomenon that included nearly 1, people. The different studies came from various countries, including Canada, the United States, China, Japan, Italy and Mexico.

The researchers found that over 1 in 10 people, or 11 percent of the general population, will experience the incubus phenomenon in their lifetimes, Blom said. "That means that there is an 11 percent chance for any given individual to experience this [the incubus phenomenon] at least once during their lives," he added.

But in certain groups, the odds of "encountering" an incubus are higher. Among people with psychiatric disorders, as well as among refugees and — somewhat surprisingly — students, the odds of experiencing the incubus phenomenon are as high as 41 percent, Blom said.

The analysis also found that people sleeping on their backs are more likely to experience the phenomenon. Alcohol consumption and irregular sleeping patterns also make an incubus visit more probable, Blom said.

Though the frightening experience gets frequently dismissed as "just a bad dream," Blom noted that the incubus phenomenon can lead to additional problems, including anxiety, difficulty sleeping due to fear and even delusional disorder, a mental illness akin to schizophrenia.

In the paper, the researchers speculated about a possible link between the incubus phenomenon and sudden unexpected death syndrome, a situation in which a healthy person inexplicably dies in his or her sleep.

"People who have experienced the incubus phenomenon often report a level of anxiety that is 'off the scale,'" Blom said. "Many of them have the feeling that they will actually die during an attack. Whether that ever happens is unknown, even though for a person experiencing it, it is not hard to imagine this [happening]."

The analysis also found that the form of the incubus figure and how people react to it can vary based on the person's cultural background.

For example, "patients with Muslim background often tell me that they see the incubus phenomenon as a proof that they are being haunted by a jinn, an invisible spirit created by Allah out of smokeless fire," Blom said.

Sometimes, however, the incubus may take on a much more friendly and entertaining form.

"I recently spoke to a healthy year-old girl who had experienced the incubus phenomenon," Blom said.  "She found four miniature penguins dining at a table on her chest, and had been thrilled and amused rather than scared."

Originally published on Live Science.

Tereza is a London-based science and technology journalist, video producer and health blogger. Originally from Prague, the Czech Republic, she spent the first seven years of her career working as a reporter, script-writer and presenter for various TV programmes of the Czech national TV station. She later took a career break to pursue further education and added a Master in Science from the International Space University, France, to her Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Prague's Charles University. She is passionate about nutrition, meditation and psychology, and sustainability.
Jacob Lee - Demons (Philosophical Sessions)

Bostonia: The Alumni Magazine of Boston University

You Asked, We Answered
Many readers took advantage of our invitation to ask Patrick McNamara, associate professor of neurology and psychiatry, about their bad dreams. Here are some of those questions, along with McNamara's responses.

QDo individuals with PTSD suffer from nightmares or night terrors? Does cognitive restructuring work for the disturbed sleep of individuals with PTSD? Are there other strategies that may help individuals plagued by nightmares/terrors due to PTSD? Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing your research. — Margaret Klehm (SPH'87)

AHi Margaret. Yes, people with PTSD report frequent nightmares but they are of a special kind. Nightmares of people with a history of severe trauma are very often filled with the same imagery from night to night with a only minor variations. Ernest Hartmann, however, has shown that the dreams and nightmares of persons with PTSD evolve over time such that there is a greater and greater integration of the emotional aspects of the trauma into the cognitive, personality and emotional system that dampens down the emotional charge associated with the trauma so that daily functioning can carry on. As recovery evolves, the nightmare imagery starts to fade and become less repetitive but this often takes years. Cognitive restructuring has been shown to help as has some pharmaocotherapeutic and pharmacotherapy during the acute phase (months after trauma) but then cognitive and psychotherapy can do the job thereafter.

QDr. McNamara, I am a 66 year old married man For the last several years I been having a recurring nightmare several times a month. I'm being chased by one or a number of unfamiliar men. I fall to the ground and as they approach I violently kick my feet to keep them at bay. At this point I am usually kicking so hard that I awaken my wife, often by kicking her. I have fallen out of bed several times and just before Christmas last year broke my big toe.

A friend (??) told me that I have REM Sleep Disorder and that it is a risk factor for Alzheimer's. While the dreams and falls from bed bother me somewhat, I didn't consider them as anything very serious. Should I be more concerned and perhaps seek treatment? — Steve Silverman (CAS'64)

AHi Mr. Silverman. I, of course, cannot say whether you have REM behavior disorder but I do think it worth you being seen by a sleep medicine specialist. REM Behavior Disorder is characterized by the sorts of dreams you describe. As the disorder progresses the acting out of the dreams/nightmares may become more violent — there re many cases of patients really injuring themselves and bedpartners. There are effective drug therapies for REM Behavior Disorders and related conditions. REM Behavior Disorder is sometimes — not always — a sign of early Parkinson's Disease and related conditions including Alzheimer's but many people have signs of REM Behavior Disorder and never develop these degenerative disorders. Every case is different. Whether or not you have REM Behavior Disorder, it is worth speaking to your doctor and sleep medicine specialist and perhaps undergoing an overnight sleep study. Even if you do not have REM Behavior Disorder the sleep study can identify the extent to which your sleep is disrupted by your dreams/nightmares. Once you have that info treatment options can be considered with your doctor.

Q Do recurring anxiety dreams count as nightmares? I have 2 major themes, one is that my car has been stolen. I even remember in my dream it having been stolen previously (in dreams) and keep track, as in, "Oh, not again! This is the 5th time it's been stolen!" [if in fact I have had 5 dreams in recent months or years about my car being stolen) or "I just had my car stolen (in a recent dream)--no way the insurance company is going to believe me."

The other is more frequent these days--I have to pack up all my stuff & move suddenly, or maybe go on a trip. But I don't have enough boxes to fit all my stuff in, nor enough time even if I did. Variations may also include not just not enough boxes, but also only a small car to transport them. If it's a trip, of course I'm also supposed to be in the airport in an hour I have moved a lot in my life I dream very vividly. I haven't had monster/demon dreams in a long time however. The times I wake yself up are usually when I talk (or yell) outloud & these are generally very surface dreams--talking/complaining about something I'm dealing with in waking life. No mystery. Any comments on the above are welcome! — Liz (SED'91)

AHi Liz. Yes, many recurring anxiety dreams can be considered nightmares - particularly when they wake you up and your affect is negative. Regardless of their name, if your anxiety dreams are bothering you or interfering with your daytime functioning you may try the cognitive restructuring techniques I mentioned in the interview (above). I would recommend doing these with a therapist but you can also do them alone with a workbook. There are many good cognitive behavioral workbooks in the bookstores. You can modify the exercises therein to fit your situation.

Your stolen car dreams are intriguing given that you remember a previous dream while you are in a dream. Many people report similar phenomena regarding their dreams thus refuting theories of dreams/nightmares that consign them to random, incoherent noise.

QI have a lot of nightmares as I have wicked PTSD. But my question is this: what is happening when I have a nightmare and scream in my sleep and wake everyone in the house BUT me. Shouldn't that wake me too? If not, why not. Thanks.— Cecilia F. Roberts (STH’01)

AHi Cecilia. That is a very excellent question. For most dreamers who cry out in their sleep they do wake themselves up when the voice or scream becomes loud enough. But it true that some dreamers take a longer time to transition out of the REM brain state into a non-REM or waking state and for the people (you may be one of them) the dream state is a very deep brain state and so transition to another sleep state or to waking takes longer. So you need to scream longer or louder to rouse from the REM state.

Q Can't wait to read your book. Have always been very interested in dreams because of my own personal library of recurring dream images some of which have been harrowing. My question: Are there major differences between the sexes in the kinds of nightmares that they have? More specifically in childhood nightmares. Thank you so much.— Jody Gelb (CFA’78)

AHi Jody. Yes there are major differences between the sexes in the kinds of dreams they report and the kinds of nightmares they experience. The differences exist from childhood on up to old age. It is impossible to summarize all the differences that occur but differences in nightmare content stands out. In women, nightmares very often contain unknown male strangers (these can be natural or supernatural agents) that are out to harm the dreamer. The dreamer, however, only rarely interacts with these strangers. Instead she is being chased by them or is trying to avoid or flee from them, etc. In men, when male strangers appear there is very often a violent confrontation between the strangers and the dreamer. In women's nightmares the strangers are usually a group and in men the stranger is usually one person. In children's dreams you get the same kind of differences but the unknown male strangers are replaced by animals. Now these are just generalizations derived from hundreds of dream content studies. Every person/dreamer is different and thus you can have violent confrontation in women's dreams/nightmares as well. The point here is that across a range of cultural populations these differences seem to occur fairly reliably.

QWhen I have nightmares, they are usually about one of the following two situations: 1) My teeth have become extremely loose. This is quietly horrifying, but I usually don't awaken. 2) I'm in the backseat of my car, it is slowly moving and I can't get to the driver's seat, which is empty. I can't move very well and I can't see very well. This scenario does wake me up. In waking life my teeth are fine, and I don't have inordinate fears related to driving. Are these themes common? — Gwen Perkins Murphy (CFA’90)

AHi Gwen. Yes, these are fairly common dream themes but they rarely rise to the level of a horrifying nightmare. On the other hand the tense anxiety associated with such content can stay with you for days afterwards. Common interpretations of the "In a moving car but can't get to the steering wheel" content is that it is metaphoric of a difficult to control and anxiety-provoking situation in your life. These sorts of dreams fade away as the situation in your life resolves. The loose teeth dream is also very common but it often involves teeth shattering and falling out. It is often associated with distress but no-one knows why these teeth falling out dreams occur. It would be an interesting study to look at its associations. Who gets the dream, when and in association with what life circumstances? At this point we just don't know. There are lots of things that need to be investigated in the dream world.

QAre dreams where I am being physically attacked (by an intruder, or someone on the street) considered nightmares? Whenever I have these dreams I always wake up feeling so uneasy and that feeling carries with me thoughout the day. And what about dreams that have people who have died in them? Sometimes I wake up from those dreams with a sense of unease and other times I feel as if that person just needed to pay a visit. — Sandie Keogler (CAS’74)

AHi Sandie. Dreams of being physically attacked are not necessarily considered a nightmare even when you awaken in distress. A nightmare typically is associated with feelings of extreme fear and distress. If you have that extreme fear in association with these dreams then I would say that yes you are experiencing nightmares. In any case recurrent dreams that cause you distress during the daytime should be talked over with a therapist if you have one. If the dreams are recurrent and if they are causing increasing amounts of distress then I would recommend seeing a therapist. If on the other hand they are just bothersome but do not cause you too much distress or chronic stress then you can use meditative or cognitive techniques on your own to deal with them.

Dreams when you are "visited" by people who have died are very common, particularly when the departed is a loved one. Typically after bereavement most people dream about the loved one for months afterwards bu tthen the dreams of that person stop and only occasionally reappear. While these visitation dreams can be quite emotional they are generally experienced as healing. The dreamer gets the message that the loved one is okay and that life must go on.

QDr. McNamara: This sounds like a fascinating and important project. But I wonder why you named it "Unholy Spirits" when the subject has nothing to do with "holy" or "spirits"--neither psychological terms but religious ones totally irrelevant and inappropriate to the subject. Best, David Eller "Introducing Anthropology of Religion" (Routledge) — David Eller (GRS'90)

AHi David. The editors called the interview "Unholy Spirits", not me, but I nevertheless think the title is okay. Indeed in my book I show that traditional cultures and very likely our ancestors treated beings in dreams and especially in nightmares as supernatural agents. For ancestral populations, dreams and nightmares were often — though not invariably — what we would call today religious phenomena. They were times whe you might interact with spirit beings, gods and demons. So religious concepts are not only not totally irrelevant to the subject of dreams and nightmares, they are vitally important to understanding them.

QI have recurrent nightmares of a dark time in my life when I owned a transmission business that went through a year and a half of bankruptcy reorganization and then collapsed. I had mechanics stealing everything from me: my shop tools, my customers. One time my manager had opened the shop on a Sunday and was selling my parts to friends of his. My nightmares occur fairly often but with variations of what is going on. None of the stuff in the nightmares actually happened just that way but all thing would be quite possible given the reality of the situations. I suffered depression during this time and often left the shop to be run by the manager who was only pocketing stuff for himself. The shop opened in September '78, just half a year after my getting double degrees. The shop closed for good in April of ' I also was undergoing a run away child who was thought to be dead for two and a half years as well as a first wife who came down with chronic asthma partly due to working around the fumes in the garage. We had no money to heat our house and so we taped off all rooms except the kitchen and the master bedroom, the two rooms that we lived in during the winter. Lots of trauma which led me into ordained ministry.— Ron Francey (MET'78)

AHi Ron. Dreams and nightmares sometimes operate as a means by which you work through painful emotional memories. When the process works properly the nightmares and painful dreams last a few months or perhaps a few years. If you continue to have nightmares about a particular period of life after years and years then therapy or counseling might be in order. There is no good reason to suffer repeated memories of those bad times if the memories cause further suffering now and when help is available.

QHello. I enjoyed the article about your work but wondered whether the monstrous element always appears in a nightmare as a supernatural being. Are there not nightmares where spaces or places are dreadful, terrifying, monstrous, not to be entered, etc.? As a child, I dreamed repeatedly of such a place/room/house. Also, you discuss the monstrous as something that confronts the self, but are there not also nightmares where the dreamer sees the self as or as becoming a monster? As a young woman, I once dreamed I morphed into a sort-of many-fanged tree-like monster who turned open mawed on my terrified date. Very Freudian, I'm sure, but it was interesting, since the horror wasn't felt as fear, but as belonging to the dread strangeness of the situation.— CR (GRS'00)

AHi and thanks for these excellent questions. Yes, the monstrous element does not always reappear in the dream as a supernatural agent. There can be merely a sense of foreboding and dread or there can be as you say scenes of terrifying rooms or doorways or caves, etc. For some people it's a good sign when the monstrous element is personified as a supernatural being as it sometimes indicates that the cognitive/emotional content associated with the monster has been been brought into finer focus and thus can be more easily be dealt with. For other people the appearance of a supernatural agent within a dream signals no such progress. In reference to your other question when the dream self morphs into a monster it is usually, in my opinion, a danger signal (indicating submersion of the self into very negative territory) but sometimes the morphing of the self into a monstrous being is a sign of progress if the self had previously been powerless of unwilling to experience anger or rage, etc. I point out in my book however that interactions with the monstrous in dreams should never be taken lightly.

QI'm wondering what it might mean if one does not experience terrifying nightmares (other than perhaps occasional nightmares of the anxiety variety, like waking up late, forgetting where to go for a mtg, etc.). Is it significant that I, for example, enjoy my dream life and look forward to it because it is almost always interesting and gives me pleasure?— Anonymous (GRS)

AI have never met anyone that had never experienced at least one terrifying nightmare in their lives. But there are many, many people who only very rarely experience bad dreams. So rest assured it is perfectly normal not to experience nightmares! If you enjoy your dream life please continue to do so. Revel in it! You ask about the significance of being able to enjoy your dreams. There are people who are classified as "fantasy prone" or who exhibit high scores on a personality trait called "absorption". These are people who also often report a rich and enjoyable dream life. Again, I urge you to continue to enjoy your dreams but I also urge a little bit of caution. Dream images are more powerful than most people assume. It is important to be enriched by your dreams, not absorbed into them.

Q What do you make of dreams containing relatively benign images of people in a painful past that leave one shaken on waking?—Sally Glass (SPC'72)

ADreams where you see people in ordinary imagery and contexts but who were part of a painful past are not uncommon in dreams. I think most scientists who study dreams would say that some positive emotional work was occurring in such dreams — work that helps you to integrate the painful memories and then move beyond them. From another point of view dreams sometimes point to people in your current life or past who need something from you.

QA lot of people believe that there is great symbolism in dreams, with some maintaining that specific images are associated with specific fears, needs,ideation in general. What are your thoughts about this? — David Chiriboga (CLA'64)

ASymbolic images definitely occur in dreams if we are to take the testimony of many dreamer's as accurate but every dream is composed of several layers of semantic and perceptual content. One layer is certainly symbolic, such as when a monster is symbolizing or metaphorically representing an overwhelming affect that you are experiencing. But when seen from another point of view, that of traditional peoples and ancestral populations, that same monster takes on a "supernatural" significance — Freud called it the "uncanny" — and it is that aspect of the image that yields the intense fear and horror that is associated with nightmares.

QDreams of being stuck in a basement where the stairs turn into a slippery slope that I can get up. Recurring nightmare since child hood. — Maureen Savage (GRS'96)

AHi Maureen. Your recurring nightmare sounds a lot like those dreams where you run and run to escape some monster but get nowhere. Many dream scientists suggest that such dreams are related to the paralysis that accompanies REM sleep. REM sleep is associated with inhibition of the anti-gravity muscles in the body so that you are essentially paralyzed while you undergo REM sleep. That sense of paralysis then invades your dream life occasionally. Dream images picture the feeling of being unable to move as a frightening experience.

QWhat is the significance of recurring imagery in nightmares? Many of my nightmares include the same features . . . e.g., elevator with a cut cable, falling from great heights. Also can you explain why some in a dream a person has an out of body experience (e.g., looking down at oneself from above)? Thanks in advance for your insights. — Beth (GSM'91)

AHi Beth. There are many theories out there that seek to explain recurring imagery in dreams and nightmares. Some scientists claim that the recurring imagery is a perseverative phenomena associated with down regulation of the prefrontal lobes during REM sleep. Let me explain a little. During REM or dream sleep blood flow to the areas of the brain called the prefrontal cortex is decreased relative to waking. Now the prefrontal cortex normally helps us to switch attention whenever we need to. So when it is not working properly (as in REM) then it is more difficult to switch attention and so you get repetitive imagery. But that theory does not explain why the repetitive imagery occurs across dream periods or nights rather than just within the same dream. So other scientists say that repetitive dream imagery represents attempts by the dream to overcome some emotionally charged issue. The jury is still out on this issue. No one really knows why some images recur in dreams and nightmares. With respect to out-of-body experiences, the standard explanation relates to the paralysis that normally occurs during REM. The mind interprets the paralysis as lack of restriction in this case (in stark contrast to cases often interpreted out-of-body experiences as the dream self leaving the body to visit other places or even other supernatural realities. None of these explanations seem satisfactory to me. Only further research will settle the issue.

QI need to ask about sleep walking. I used to live in a townhouse with the bedrooms upstairs. I would sleep walk and wake up by falling on the stairs. I would open the door and call for my cat, even though he was already indoors. I would continue to do this nightly. The fall would wake me up and then I'd continue to sleep walk. I live in a one story house now, and if I am sleep walking, I am not awakened by falling. What causes sleep walking? Why would I sleep walk and awake and go back to sleep while walking? — Joanne Lowell (CLA'73)

AHi Joanne. I am glad you now live in a one story house. People who regularly sleep walk need to take it seriously and make the sleep environment as safe as possible. Sleep walking occurs for most people they are in slow wave sleep — a very deep form of sleep. Sleep walking occurs when your brain is still in slow wave sleep but the transition to that sleep state is incomplete. For some people the sleepwalking is repetitive — they always go to the same place when they sleep walk. For others, the walking is random. For yet others, the walking is dangerous as they do not avoid objects or stairs or even roads and highways. For yet others, the walkers are uncannily able to avoid obstacles even though they are sound asleep. Some people respond well to medication so it may be worth speaking to your sleep medicine specialist about this.

QWhen one has nightmares of a reoccurring theme, are these nightmares actually helping the person work through the issue or is it simply an expression of the associated emotions? — Jana (CAS'90)

AHi Jana. Reoccurring dreams/nightmares for some people does represent attempts at integrations of emotionally threatening material. If the dream images do not begin to recede after several months, then an experienced therapist or trusted confidant might help. To the extent that the recurring imagery diminishes over time while the dreamer feels better over time then we can say that the recurring dreams are helping the individual integrate the emotionally threatening material.

QI only experience nightmares when I'm sick. Otherwise I rarely remember dreaming at all. This has been true since I was a child. Often it's the same four nightmares, each one a disturbing circumstance that awaken me slowly, and leave me with a sensation I need to shake off. Are nightmares when sick common? And what purpose do they serve, if any? — William (COM'04)

AHi William. Yes, nightmares are common when you are sick, particularly when there is fever. If you buy the theory that dreams in general help you to integrate painful emotional experiences then it would make sense that they are called in to help when that painful experience is an illness.

QAre you serious? Is there actually malevolent spirit possession? I assumed it was the substance of scary fictional stories: Rosemary's Baby et al. Do you know any "possessed" people? — Ralph Bergman (LAW’63)

AHi Ralph. As I review in my book, many traditional peoples and ancient peoples and presumably ancestral humans believed in spirit possession and believed that nightmares were triggered by and reflected malevolent spirit possession. Nightmares in modern people also sometimes involve spirit possession. Nightmares in modern people also sometimes involve spirit possession themes and virtually always involves the dreamer's ego or self being under threat of annihilation or takeover by an alien and monstrous entity. And yes, demonic possession is alive and well in people from all over the world as the medical and psychiatric literature attests. Since I have written about spirit possession I regularly get contacted by people who claim demonic possession. I always refer them to psychiatric services.

QDr. McNamara, Does your book expand upon the comment in the article which states, "A different form of nightmare, heavily influenced by memory, occurs frequently in people who have experienced trauma of one kind or another." My wife had quite a traumatic childhood (abuse, rape, assualt on several occasions.) Sometimes she has bad dreams (especially after a stressful or disturbing evening) during the night in which she finds herself back in the situation she experienced as a child or teenager. She opens her eyes and speaks as if she is experiencing it right then. She actually communicates with me as if I am part of the scene but does not recognize me as her present day husband. I even ask questions that she would only know in today's world (like about our children or pets) in which she hears but is unable to give me the right answer. How can these dreams be minimized? What should I do while she is having this dream? Are there other resources you would suggest? — Al (ENG’87)

AHi Al. Yes, my book does cover nightmares that are linked to trauma memories and yes there are many resources available now to people who experience these types of nightmares. The kinds of dreams your wife experiences can be minimized with proper cognitive behavioral techniques and sometimes with proper medication or a combination of these two. Your wife should see a therapist who has been trained in latest treatments of post-traumatic stress disorder. There is a very good center for treatment of PTSD at the Boston VA center under direction of Dr. Terence Keane - a world authority on the disorder.. If you call that center I am sure they can put you in touch with some good resources I would also recommend that your wife see a sleep medicine specialist to have an overnight sleep study done because it sounds like she has what is known as a parasomnia. This is a mild sleep disorder that can effectively treated as well.

Q Hi Dr. Mcnamara, As a teenager I had a dream that took place in a small cabin by a placid lake, on what seemed like a moor. The cabin was rustic, isolated. I was there with my brother, in the midst of a kids' game: lying on our stomachs on either side of a couch, and looking at each other through the space under the couch, we were shooting rubber bands at each other's faces and trying not to flinch. This game continued, but then I heard this strange sound, growing louder. I sat up to listen, and it was a horrifying noise, a weird, fake stretching noise. (It reminded me of the sound effects used in Last Werewolf in London). Then, from behind the couch, my brother's face appeared. It was all wrong though. The eyes were frightening, the skin was mottled. And his neck was stretching, his face floating up from behind the back of the couch. I ducked down but kept watching under the couch, and then his face appeared suddenly in the space there and moved toward me very quickly. The sound and image and cold feeling of dread was so terrifying that I forced myself awake to avoid seeing anything more. My heart was pounding. I kept slipping back into this dream whenever I tried to go back to sleep. Then, for a long while, every dream I had, no matter how benign, would eventually find me in strangely familiar territory: I would see an aerial view of this moor, lake, and cabin and I would shoot toward it. The terror would explode and I'd force myself awake at once. Sometimes I could barely avoid being in the cabin, and that would raise the fright-level. Other times I avoided the cabin, but would end up in a strange, Victorian-like factory with all these warrens and pipes, a maze, and I would feel as if i was being stalked by the potential of this image. Eventually the dreams stopped, but I still visualize them to this day. I always wondered what that dream was indicating. It was really vivid and the image, for some reason, was truly horrifying. Thanks for your thoughts! — Nathaniel (CAS’94)

AHi Nathaniel. Of course only you can say what this dream/nightmare was about but modern psychology would probably say that it contains a memory of something scary and disturbing that happened to you and that involved your brother. Alternatively, it could just have been a young boy who was worried about himself and his brother and so was imagining scary things etc. You could probably find out what the dream was about if you worked with it with a good therapist, one who knows how to listen and reflect and who will not impose some weird interpretation of the dream on you. Traditional pre-modern peoples would sometimes take a dream like this and claim that an evil spirit was trying to get you to through an image that you trusted (your brother). They would see you as prestigious because you avoided the possession by the evil spirit as it never possessed you but could only stalk you. Eventually apparently giving up entirely as the bad dream does not haunt you.

Q Hi Patrick. I experienced a recurring imagery, while awake, that turned out to be a warning of things to come. In my mind, I kept seeing a blade attempting to cut my left eye. When I went to the ophthalmologist for a new prescription, he had to refer me to the retinologist who in turn had to perform laser surgery to prevent detachment of the retina. About two years later, I began having the same recurring imagery with my right eye, and soon after cobweb-like floaters and light flashes appeared. Fortunately, surgery was not necessar, though the floaters and flashes are now permanent. How would you explain this imagery? My belief is that there's a spiritual world parallel to ours that gets involved from time to time for our sake; I've had other types of experiences, including nightmares, that have convinced me of this. — Jose Antonio Santos (SED’87)

AHi Jose. These are dreams that are sometimes called somatic dreams because they contain imagery that is directly analogous to some bodily process or injury or illness. In the literature there are many such dreams and ancient physicians sometimes tried to elicit such dreams from their patients so they could better localize a diseased organ. Your dreams were particularly dramatic instances - the dream imagery reflected apparently a very localized disease process. The explanation that is typically given is that a disease process sends sensory information up to the brain. During waking we just feel discomfort or pain and then say to ourselves my eyes hurt or my vision is blurry. When this same set of sensory information is sent while you are asleep the dreaming brain does not use language to interpret the info - instead it uses visual imagery to do so and thus you get these amazing visual translations of a disease process. As for your belief that a spiritual world parallels this world science cannot adjudicate the issue, but I think most spiritual traditions would say that the spiritual world is not separate from us but is in some sense our world.

Download: Download this Article


Me demon following

The Real Story Behind Those Sleep Paralysis Demons

You wake up in the middle of the night and there it is: a menacing presence that you can first feel and then see when you open your eyes. Scared like the dickens, you try to scream and bolt — but you can’t. It’s like you’re paralyzed or being held down by the evil presence.

What in the world is happening? Three words: sleep paralysis demons.

It’s a thing, and you’re not the only one who’s experienced it. Read on to learn more.

How people describe them

What is this “demon” that leaves you trapped in your body, unable to move or scream? It depends who you ask.

For some it’s a faceless, shapeless presence trying to suffocate them. Others describe it as a creepy old hag with claws. Some see an alien and experience what they believe is a full alien abduction. And for others, the demons look like a dead relative.

Different cultures have different explanations for sleep paralysis demons.

Canadian Inuit attribute the sleep paralysis to spells of shamans. Japanese folklore says it’s a vengeful spirit that suffocates its enemies in their sleep.

In Brazilian folklore, the demon has a name — Pisadeira, which is Portuguese for “she who steps.” She’s a crone with long fingernails who lurks on rooftops in the night, then walks on the chest of people who sleep belly up on a full stomach.

Are these ‘demons’ real?

The short is answer… sort of.

The paralysis is real. It’s called sleep paralysis. The phenomenon of ~seeing~ something demon-like while experiencing sleep paralysis is also real. It’s called a hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucination.

As for the demon itself, it’s not real. We promise.

However, there might be a shred of truth to the belly-up component of the Brazilian fable. It turns out, you’re more likely to experience sleep paralysis demons while sleeping on your back.

What’s really going on

While sleep paralysis demons are definitely creepy, the explanation behind them is actually kind of boring.

Sleep paralysis happens when you wake up during the dream phase of sleep. During this period, your brain turns off signals to the rest of your body to keep it from moving or acting out your dreams.

If you suddenly wake up while still in this phase, you’re fully conscious but unable to move.

Sleep paralysis

It’s estimated that anywhere from of people experience sleep paralysis, but not everyone gets the demon experience. That’s because not everyone experiences sleep paralysis alongside hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations.

Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations

Vivid dream-like experiences, referred to as hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations, can seem real and are often frightening. They may be mistaken for nightmares, and they can occur while you’re falling asleep (hypnagogic) or waking up (hypnopompic).

During these hallucinations, you may see scary people or creatures near you or even lying in your bed. And they’re often accompanied by sleep paralysis.

These hallucinations can happen if you’re partially conscious during the rapid eye movement (REM) cycle of sleep. In that state, you’re looking at the real world but also dreaming — the prefect recipe for seeing things that aren’t really there.

You might also see a distortion of something that really is there. For instance, the pile of clothes on your chair could turn into a person sitting there watching you sleep, or the light from your alarm clock could morph into a red-eyed monster.

Why you might be more likely to see them

When you sleep on your back, you may be more likely to be aroused from sleep or wake up during the dream phase, due to things like snoring and undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea.

The following can also increase your chances of experiencing sleep paralysis and hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations:

Keeping the demons at bay

Knowing that sleep demons aren’t real and that episodes of sleep paralysis generally don’t last for more than a minute — even if they feel like a lifetime — can help ease some of your stress about them.

Here are some other tips to help you reduce your chances of experiencing these episodes:

  • Adopt a healthy sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, and aim for 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Improve your bedtime routine. Take a cue from the Pisadeira story and avoid going to sleep on a full stomach. Refrain from having caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime. Doing something relaxing before bed can also help you get a good night’s sleep.
  • Don’t sleep on your back. Sleep paralysis is more likely to happen when you sleep on your back since you’re more likely to be awoken from snoring or sleep apnea, so opt for any other position that’s comfortable. If you have the tendency to end up on your back even after falling asleep in another position, placing a pillow on either side can stop you from rolling over all the way.
  • Treat any underlying conditions. Stress, anxiety disorders, and other mental health conditions can contribute to frequent episodes of sleep paralysis. Treating the underlying cause can help prevent these episodes.
  • Talk with your doctor about medications you take. Side effects from certain medications can lead to sleep issues, including vivid dreams, nightmares, and sleep paralysis. If your episodes started or increased after starting a new drug or you think your medication could be to blame, talk with your healthcare provider.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep. Just avoid working out too close to bedtime.
  • Use relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are just some relaxation techniques that can help you de-stress before bed to keep stress — and sleep demons — at bay.

Also, be aware of lucid dreaming. This often occurs with sleep paralysis.

A lucid dream is when you’re aware of your consciousness during a dream. During a lucid dream, you’re able to take control of what happens in your dream.

Most people have had a lucid dream at one time or another.

The bottom line

Sleep paralysis demons may not be real, but that doesn’t make the experience of being trapped in your body with the sense or vision of one any less terrifying.

If you have frequent episodes or are finding them to be anxiety-inducing and disruptive to your daily life, talk with your healthcare provider.

Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow, or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddleboard.

Muse - Follow Me


You will also be interested:


257 258 259 260 261