They Come In Your Sleep, or do they?

Consider this post a sample of the kind of thing I will be covering in my book “Differential Diagnosis of the Paranormal: Did I See a Ghost?” The premise for this nonfiction work will be the combination of my counseling skills/psychic abilities/ghost hunting experience/medical career background/rational-thought processes. Given my strange set of talents and exposures throughout my lifetime, one of my best skill sets is taking people through an experience to determine if it might have been paranormal or not. People come to me all the time with photos, audio, and tales of what happened to them and they inevitably want to know, “was it paranormal?”

Probably the most common time to have a ghostly visitation is around sleep time. I usually take people through a line of questioning first. We can delineate whether or not this is possible paranormal activity or parasomnia (sleep-related) problems.

Here’s some of the typical questions I present:

1. Has it occurred more than once?

If it’s occurred once, it could be a single event in which case we can’t discern if it was paranormal or parasomnia.

If it’s occurred more than once, please keep a log. I want to know the times, the details, how you felt, how you noticed it and how it seemed to go away.

2. Does it occur at the same time of night, like say 3:30 am?

If the answer to this is yes, you might very well have set your internal clock. This is very common. You know, when you have to get up 7:30 am and you wake up at 7:27? We have an interesting internal clock inside our bodies and once you set the clock and note it upon awakening, you recall that number and it becomes your “magic” number. You see a similar thing in your family dog. He comes and sits at the door at 5:30, knowing you’re going to be home from work. So, you’ve awakened at 3:30 in the morning and noted the clock with exasperation. The next night, you go to sleep and wake up at 3:29 and you are even more exasperated. You have now officially gotten yourself used to waking around 3:30. There are lots of reasons that people wake up during the “witching hour,” but the most commons ones are stress and anxiety and the other is a reset clock. All it takes is when you wake in the morning at 7:27, you note the time on the clock. This helps you imprint the new true time to wake up. When you go to bed, click on your alarm time of 7:30 and study it for a moment. Go to bed. You will soon forget to wake at the cursed 3:30 time.

If your answer to this question is no, then we might be dealing with the #1 culprit—uncomfortable sleep. Restless sleep occurs when you are tossing, turning, and not comfortable. You wake up at various times of night and finally awakened stiff, sore and generally exhausted. As well, sleep apnea (brief periods of stopping breathing) can also cause one to startle and awaken, as well as the sound of your own snoring. If the answer is no, we move on to #3.

3. Do you have a history of sleep apnea, night terrors, sleep paralysis, sleep walking/eating?

If the answer to this is yes, I’d say we’ve just upped your chances of parasomnia issues 10 fold.

If you said no, you’ve never had these issues, then I would refer to #4 next.

4. Do you take any meds?

If your answer is yes, let’s find out what kind of meds and how long you’ve been taking them.

If the answer is no, then we are on to #5.

5. Was there anything stressful going on in your life when with this occurred?

If your answer is yes, we might go on to discuss the timing of the sleep issues with the stress/anxiety and if it has affected your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

If the answer is no, we are on to #6

6. Do you notice any other symptoms when it happens, like inability to move or intense terror?

If your answer is yes, I am putting you on the yes to #3 category.

If the answer is no, you were able to move and didn’t feel terror that made you call out in distress, then we go on to #7.

7. Does it happen when you are falling asleep, waking up, or during the night?

If you say it happens while falling asleep, I am likely to consider that you have fallen into sleep state and did not realize it. We often think we were up until 2 am but we actually had brief periods of sleep. As well, during the falling asleep period we enter alpha state which is a very receptive time to get information. This is why we get great ideas about a project while falling asleep and have to rush to find a post-it pad and a pen. It also might make us more receptive to spirit communication, as well.

If you say it happened when you awakened in the morning, it’s highly likely this was during REM. If we wake up during REM (dream state), we usually not only recall the dreams vividly, but we can see things with our opening eyes that are still from the dream state which is much like sleep paralysis where your body is still in the paralytic state during dreams (a wonderful protection to keep us from acting out our dreams). Note if your body was slow to respond or move and once you were fully awake, the phenomenon ended.

If it happens in the middle of the night, I would want to ask you a few more things. The shifting sleep states can arouse you to awaken, as well as turning in bed and adjusting the pillow. In those brief moments, you might experience phenomenon, but I would want to know if the phenomenon woke you up or you woke up and felt something strange about the room.

The combination of a dark room, semi-sleeping state and the general unease adults feel about suspended animation of sleep and some of the residual childhood issues with it makes the bedroom the ideal place to experience phenomenon. However, it also makes you a wonderful subject for contact. Messages from dead relatives most often happen in the bedroom not over tea in the living room

Not all bedroom encounters are otherworldly. The majority can easily be dismissed, but the few that have qualities which defy explanation can be attributed to the receptive state that non-practicing psychics are in during their relaxed state. I say non-practicing psychics because we’re all wired for it, we just use it or don't develop it.


  1. I'd rather not think about it at all. If I don't think about, it won't happen. And if it did happen and I don't think about it, then it didn't really happen.

  2. Ah, interesting mode of operation--I like it. Hee hee. Yeah, I could seriously write books about my weird bedtime happenings (no, men, not those bedtime happenings--get your minds out of the gutter). hee hee

  3. this is a great post, full of information!

  4. When your tired and near sleep state, your mind can play tricks on you. It's like laying in bed and relaxing while thinking about a song over and over again. Eventually you can begin to hear the song in your head. I think many paranormal events can be explained through that. I don't think a spirit would be attracted to sleeping energy.

    I personally have never had anything happen during sleep. It always happened when I wasn't really expecting anything.

  5. I couldn't help but think of alien abduction experiences.

  6. Yeah, alien abduction cases--I gotta tell ya, Barry... I've had a few of those myself (no not abducted by aliens) but I had night terrors that always involve these large gray faces right near mine and I scream in bloody terror with a horror that is so primitive it's worse than death or any kind of horror. My heart pounds wildly, I thrash around and my screams wake me up. In one of the dreams, 4 of them carried me away. I don't believe in alien abductions, but I think some of the qualities of night terrors and sometimes sleep paralysis when you're still in REM and dreaming but your body can't move are absolutely spot-on alient abduction scenarios.

  7. I have had more than a few bedmates comment on the horrifying garble-moan sounds I have made while in the midst of a sleep paralysis-type state.

    Not to mention shaking myself awake to determine the looming spectre is actually present in the form of the closet door, complete with a hat and robe hanging off of it.

  8. I used to be plagued by sleep paralysis accompanied by hallucinations of what would otherwise be called shadow people. That usually took place around 3-3:30. I don't have the full experience anymore, though I very often wake up around that time.

    I also heard a theory on the 'witching hour' concerned with something about a change in geothermal energy... basically, the earth cools at night and around 3:30 it begins to rewarm for the next day.

    BTW, at the moment I find it eternally amusing that my word verification for posting this is 'Lotan'... an evil Babylonian water dragon. Template for Leviathan, believed to be a synonym for Tiamat...

  9. I'm not sure if Paranormal things are going on in my new student house or not.
    It's true that I'm always sleepy, but something doesn't feel quite right about the place, and I've come back to find lights/ doors in different states to how I left them.

    I also took a photo of my outfit in the mirror, and behind me there seems to be a floating Cat and some other faces. I'm not sure if things are as they seem though.
    The problem is that I'm quite ill at the moment and I also hallucinate, but even friends say there is something iffy about my new house.

  10. Pangs;
    Lucky bedmates. Sounds like a fun night and entertainment too. Yeah, I wonder what happens when you put together two people with sleep paralysis in the same bed? Holy heck!

    The sleep state is indeed a very weird thing. I find that the weirdest crap happens during the 3 am hour and part of me wants to attribute to that about the length of time it takes to run through sleep patterns, given a typical bedtime of around 11, but I do appreciate the theory of the earth cooling. I also have found that nights with geomagnetic storms cause some of the funkiest sleep issues and dreams of all time. Word verification freaks me out when it spells out something weird. Just the other day, I got "prick." I kid you not!

    That makes it really hard if you have hallucinations and then phenomenon but just because someone takes meds or has hallucinations doesn't negate that they could be experiencing the paranormal and, as you said, if others verify it--then that's a real help to figuring it out. If it's nothing that seems threatening, let it go. If it doesn't feel comfortable I would advise you to clear out any junk, keep the place light and move furnishings around until things settle down. There is something to be said for the feng shui layout of a place making less issues with energy getting caught in dark and cluttered places and able to move along and leave.

  11. your you skard when that happen to you


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