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Lucid Dream Experiments and Paralysis

Posted on March 15, 2010

Persecuted in Dreams?

Quite some time ago, over twenty years, I had graduated from college and was spending some time at my parents’ house in Washington, D.C. I was in that place of “so I graduated, now what?” (To tell the truth I’m pretty much still in that place twenty years later, that’s another story though!) Anyway, it was at this time that, over a period of a couple of weeks, I had a series of experiences which disturbed me greatly at the time, and which I still often remember and wonder about.

It was one of those “spiritual awakening” type periods which many people experience. I started reading a variety of religious and/or occult materials, from Zen Buddhism to Hinduism, esoteric Christianity to Carlos Castaneda. I should mention here that I’ve always had a tendency to have vivid dreams, sometimes startlingly so. Sometimes I would have dreams that were like very intense but bizarre blockbuster movies. Sometimes I would have dreams that were multilayered, like dreams within dreams, and I would wake up feeling as if I had been away somewhere experiencing long adventures, much too long to fit into a single night. I had begun a dream journal to help me remember my dreams more clearly.

So when I ran across Carlos Castaneda’s discussion of lucid dreams (don’t recall which book) it was very appealing to me. I decided I wanted to start having lucid dreams. If anyone is unfamiliar with the concept, a lucid dream is a dream in which you “wake up” within the dream, become aware that you are dreaming, and (possibly) are able to take control over the dream and have power in the dream-world. Castaneda suggests an exercise to help you wake up in your dreams. (I won’t mention the exercise and I suggest not to try it.)

After trying it for awhile I seemed to be having some success and I would occasionally “wake up” inside my dreams. I remember the first time it happened, all I was dreaming about was walking down the sidewalk when I woke up in the dream and felt something like power and serenity. It seemed like a positive thing. I had a couple more dreams of this sort, but then the experience began to take on a darker cast.

Sometimes, after I had woken up in the dream, the dream would start to “change,” in a way which I couldn’t control, and which definitely didn’t seem positive. For example, one time my body started to mutate into something horrible. My hands were tiny round things and the fingers became extremely long, like I had a couple of giant daddy longlegs attached to the end of my arms. And it seemed like I would start waking up in the dream whether I “tried” to or not.

I dropped the dream-experiment idea and tried to focus on other stuff. I would still have occasional disturbing dreams of that sort but they were less frequent and less intense and seemed to be fading. It was not long after that – maybe a week or two – that I began to have other dreams of a very different sort. I call them “dreams” because I’m not sure what else to call them, but when they were happening, I always seemed to be entirely awake. (I can remember several times doing that thing of “checking” to see if you’re really awake, and I always thought: YES, I am awake.) The basic experience was that I was lying in bed, somehow completely unable to move and something would be happening in the room which would range from merely physical impossible to straight-up terrifying. Of course since then I’ve seen many stories similar to this but at the time I had no idea this was a semi-common human experience.

One time I was lying in bed paralyzed and a pile of clothes on my dresser began to “climb” up the wall by folding and unfolding themselves. Sometimes I would hear a voice in the room. I heard a strange guttural voice which said something incomprehensible. I heard my mother’s voice but somehow I knew it wasn’t my mother but something “using” her voice. Sometimes I would see bright shapes and colors in patterns in the room, like strange forces of energy going through unknown permutations. This wasn’t always explicitly scary, sometimes just extremely weird, even beautiful in a way, though there was always an undercurrent of fear due to the loss of control. The most vivid of these was the time I saw giant luminous fishes swimming in the air over my bed. The fishes seemed quite harmless, kind of cool actually.

Mostly though the experiences had a very negative feeling. The basic feeling was that I was powerless and something was happening that COULD NOT be happening, something just inherently wrong. Something was violating the rules of Nature and was doing it deliberately to cause fear in me. It definitely had the feeling of being somehow “calculated” for effect, which was the most disturbing thing about it. This negative feeling came to dominate more and more as the “dreams” continued. Once, while I was lying there paralyzed I felt small hands coming up through my mattress, poking and prodding me in the back in various places.

The worst one: I was lying in bed, paralyzed again and scared of whatever was going on in the room when I suddenly I felt that my sister was standing by my bed. She took my hand and said soothing things, apparently to try to help me through my experience. I lay there for awhile, grateful for this aid, though it seemed strange that it would have come from my sister. She was five years older than me and we were never close, we somehow never really connected emotionally somehow. How odd that my sister of all people would be the one to come to my aid at a time like this! Then I realized: It COULDN’T be my sister because she wasn’t even in town, in fact she was on the opposite side of the continent. Then I realized: I never even looked at who was holding my hand, what made me assume it was my sister? I made a great effort to move my head and look. What I saw was more or less literally the most horrible thing I could possibly see. It was a hideously shriveled, almost mummy-like creature with a totally inhuman face and cold reflective orbs instead of eyes. (If anyone has seen that old Star Trek episode, The Man Trap, it looked almost exactly like the monster in that episode, which just happened to scare the wits out of me when I was a kid.) When I saw the creature that had hold of my hand I was paralyzed again with fear: at that moment it raised my hand to its mouth, and bit off two of my fingers. (Then I woke up.)

Gradually these experiences became less frequent and intense. I really can’t remember if there was any pivotal event that made it start to lessen in intensity. It just became less and less frequent until I basically felt I was past it, although I would still, very occasionally, have the experience again, but never as intense as during that initial time. Eventually it seemed to stop altogether, although nowadays I actually rarely remember my dreams, so it’s hard to say for sure. Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this account.

Sent in by Byron_O, Copyright 2010 TrueGhostTales.com

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Tags: Dreams, Sleep Paralysis

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22 Responses to “Lucid Dream Experiments and Paralysis”
  1. Amber says:

    wow i have never read anything on wakeing up in your dreams but i do it alot actully

    alot of which most if not all i can’t move but i feel like i’m in the same pose that i fell asleep in and i try to move my arms

    most of the time if i try hard enough i can i haven’t ever had good dreams i ahve dreams inside dreams like you tho sometimes they get anoying tho cus….they seem like you woke up but you didn’t your asleep and it seems real the bed room looks like it would if i were awake but something is ALWAYS out of place then i wake up and end up in another one

    have had them where i have sat up in bed and got attacked by something i have had many of demons attacking me when i was living in my house…. now i’m livin at my grandmas that really bad demon attack dreams have stoped but i still have rape dreams and others…

    but i am very interested in these types of storys it feels abit better knowing i’m not the only person dealing with these dreams

  2. anna says:

    i dont think Ive had dreams like that,i know i havent .thats weird of your dreams.the only dreams i have had were about micheal myers from halloween i have had so many of those ones they dont scare me.were im trying to get away from bad guys .i can fly,some dream that are soooo very upsetting that when i wake up I cry so hard that my eyes hurt.but nothin like your.thanks for the story.if you have anymore let us know.

    • Sophie says:

      :o omg! You know when you mentioned that “sad dreams”, it reminded me of something…once I’ve had some weird sad dream (but I cant remember what was so sad) and i burst out crying while I’m asleep O_O and i remember that because i actually HEARD it…its extremely weird and it only happened once (THANK GOD!!)

  3. Christina says:

    Geez, that is pretty freaky! The freakiest, to me, is your fingers being bitten of by that thing. I will have to look for that episode of Star Trek.

    Dreams are a mystery to begin with and I can honestly say that I’ve had some that had me wondering if it were real or an actual dream. Thankfully, I have never experienced any type of paralysis and can’t imagine feeling that helpless. But, I have had my share of slam bang five star dreams that had me fighting off evil, aliens, vampires, etc. Waking up somewhat scared, but always being able to go back to sleep.

    Glad to hear you’ve turned that corner on the entire situation and you know what? Maybe it’s best we don’t remember some of our dreams. Maybe just maybe, that’s just a way of protecting ourselves, too.

    Take care!


  4. Believer says:

    Good story! I would totally freak out If that had to happen to me. This makes me think of those movies called “Hellraiser” where theses people wake-up In a dream and then again wake-up, It’s such confusing movies.

  5. Jennifer Mills-Young says:

    I’d have to say from experience that you weren’t actually having lucid dreams by definition, which are a specific set of brain waves, in the situation where you found the dream evolving in ways you didn’t like.
    The inherent component of the lucid dream is you are in total control of the dream environment and can manipulate it at will – hence your inability to control your body changing shape would indicate you had already slipped back into the ‘ regular’ dreaming state and were no longer in a lucid state.
    When I was in a lucid state – I would regularly slip between a lucid and ‘ regular’ dream state and in fact – proposterous things like my body mutating would be the first reminder to me – I was back in a ‘ regular’ dream state because when you are conscious you know such a thing is impossible and hence the conscious logic ‘ oh I must be having a dream ‘ and then have to change back into the lucid state.
    It takes some training.
    Unfortunately, you were starting to have a bad dream and your inability to stay lucid and in control meant the ‘ regular ‘ dream degenerated into a nightmare.
    This was nothing to do with the lucid state – everyone has nightmares on occasion.
    It is also telling that many of the other experiences sound like sleep paralysis which is as scary as hell!
    You literally go through the motions of being asleep and in a dream state condition and achieve REM brain waves ( hence the strange dream like imagery you could see ) but you are at the threshold of sleep only, when the brain paralyises the body so you dont thrash around the bed literally when you run from the monster in your dream or run into the cupboard! That little jolt sometimes of almost electricity which can sometimes wake you up again with a jump just as you are falling asleep is the paralysis threshold when all the muscles discharge their electrical current in one go and enter the paralysis state.
    Of course if you start to wake up and your brain hasn’t thrown the ‘on’ switch for your muscles yet, it can be terrifying as you can’t move, particularly if you havent come abck to conscious brain waves quite yet and can still SEE dream like events.
    It was telling that the mummy like monster reminded you so of a childhood terror – which is what the subconscious does when it seeks out ” fears ” for your bad dreams.
    Its a shame you have attached such fear to the lucid experience because as the book suggests, it can be quite enlightening……………remember what ever state of consciousness you are in YOU are always the one in control.

    • Byron_O says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment (and thanks to everyone who has commented!) … I guess I’m agnostic enough I can go with a naturalistic or supernatural explanation for these sorts of thing, though recently I admit I’m tending more on the supernatural side myself. The vivid sense of the presence of an actual intelligence outside myself, a malicious mind deliberately trying to induce fear, has stayed with me strongly from these experiences. (Of course, a psychological explanation involving projection could also account for this.)

      As for lucid dreaming, I did try to some extent to reassert control when it would start to turn “dark,” but it seemed like the whole thing was just getting way too strange and I should stop. I actually remembered one other episode I forgot to mention earlier. In one of the earlier lucid dreams I was in a room with some friends when I woke up in the dream, and basically I wondered if I can control the dream, can I control my friends in the dream? I tried to make them walk around and do things, like I was controlling people with ESP or whatever, and I could sort of do it but they stopped seeming like my friends and became these sort of… things… kind of zombie-ish I guess, so the whole thing just ended up feeling creepy. Sometimes I wonder if it was this sort of thing that made the experience turn bad. I wasn’t just experimenting, but to some extent I was trying to have “power” – and I’ve come to believe that if you’re trying to obtain power, most likely you’re giving something else power over YOU!

      • Jennifer Mills-Young says:

        Byron, you are correct in seeing the conenction between the subconscious and projections of fears that appeared in your dream states – again you have made the connection your friends became ” zombie like ” and thats not a friendly imagery – almost on the edge of turning into another nightmare!
        In the (true) lucid state you can manipulate your dream environment and people in the dreams……….I used to have Tom Cruise pop into mine and he would do what ever I wanted ( give me a break, it was the 80′s ) LOL. But I could also go to the Eifel Tower – climb Mt Everest – fly – absolutely anything! and it my case, I actually started to manage astral travel! ( another story )
        But it takes training because of that ability to switch back into the ‘ regular’ dream state where the subconscious is back at the helm.
        When my kids and friend’s children had nightmares and I would counsel them on how to handle bad dreams – at the end of the day subconsciously even the dream is your own creation. Thinking you have no control over that can make the idea of going to sleep and having a bad dream a scary thing for a child ( & some adults! ) as you believe you have no control over whats going to happen as soon as you fall asleep.
        Its a bit harder for adults to entertain the concept but kids grab it hands on ; where does the dream happen? In your mind. Who’s mind is it? Yours. Who controls what you think? You do. So in a dream you are ‘ king of the world ‘ & even your mum has to do what you say! LOL
        One boy had a monster that would come after him with a ray gun and try to shoot him – I suggested as he was king of his dreams not turn the gun into an ice cream and laugh at the monster when it starts to melt.
        Of course once he did that – the monster had no power over him anymore as he realised he had power over the monster and the dreams stopped.
        So your comment about power is a very telling idea, in that all your dream experiences you always seem to end up almost ‘ powerless ‘ and frightened – more suggestive of a regular dream state than a lucid dream.
        The fact you get scared in the experience, shows a loss of control already.
        Fear even in a paranormal/ normal situation robs you of the power to act.
        I deal with ghosts quite often and dealing with any fear is always the first step – you can’t be ‘ afraid ‘ of them to deal with them effectively.
        So I think you are down the right path in realising the application of ‘power is related to the experiences. Power needs to be a positive and empowering experience – and there is no place for any fear in that state. Sounds like your experiences have been interesting!

        • Byron_O says:

          Well it certainly sounds you were a way more successful lucid dreamer, I never managed to summon any movie stars to do my bidding, LOL… that’s a good one! Sounds like your advice would be good for anyone doing dream work, I don’t think I’m in that place anymore though… Thanks though for the detailed advice!

  6. E.Bero/author says:

    I’ve had sleep paralysis before and it is very horrific. You can’t move or speak. You try to force yourself to sit up but it feels like something is holding you down. I think sometimes, whatever spirit is in contact with you, wants you to see something or feel something.
    Well at least it’s over. Those are some scary vivid dreams. I don’t remember any of my dreams anymore. I don’t even think I dream anymore.

    • anna says:

      just curious how can ppl not dream?you want to know something funny,when i was younger someone had told me if you dont dream you die.ya i know how silly.i never believed her.

      • Caretaker says:

        People who say they never dream just dont recall them. Almost everyone dreams every time they sleep but the majority of people do not remember them or they recall only a few of them occasionally.

  7. zainab says:

    it’s, i must say a very scary discriptin of the mummy like creature in your dream.hope u don’t have any more.

  8. Ellen says:

    I went through the same religious searching reading up on all religions. Being raised a catholic, I wanted to learn about other religions and beliefs starting when I was 16 years old .I read Carlos Castaneda religiously when I was in my teens to early 20′s. I also became adept at lucid dreaming. It was quite amazing… then wierd things began to occur around me and in my parent’s house. Shadows would be seen zipping around my bedroom floor. And, like your experience the lucid dreams became increasingly dementing. I stopped practicing when I had a visit from my Dad this one evening when I was 19. He sat on the edge of my bed and just blurted out calmly to stop what I was doing. I had allowed things to come into our home. He looked scared. Never explained more. It was very unusual coming from him. I never discussed what my interests were to him. But he must have witnessed something?

  9. Carlos says:

    Wow that mummy like creature biting your two fingers off was scary.I think I remember what Star Trek episode you are referring to but I have to see it again to be sure.It’s been awhile.

  10. Takaiko~ says:

    This Actually disturbed me a little bit, because i constantly wake up in my dreams, and I’ve been able to do it since i was quite little.I’ve also had tonnes of dreams inside dreams…… I remember doing it once because i was having a nightmare, and i wanted to change the dream so i wouldnt be scared. ( for those interested, my dream was about this horrible fmaily who were like witches and monsters and stuff, and the witch was coming after me, so i woke up in my dream, and changed it, I took out my pokeball ~ I was a fan then~ so I whipped out my evee and i killed the witch.) Since then, I’ve been able to control what happens in my dream if I’m displeased with it. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before, though. I had another dream, where i got stuck in the school library, and by the time i got out, it was like 8 pm, and my grandmother, who religiously picked me up from school everyday was still waiting there. I felt really bad. So i decided that it was a dream. I got home from school the next day ( in the dream) And i asked my mum oculd i have someone over, and she said yes, so i was like~ This must be a dream, inside a dream, inside a dream. Twas one of the weirdest dreams I’ve ever had.
    I found your story really interesting, and very creepy.
    Lots of Love,
    ` Takaiko :0

  11. ClaireyCanary says:

    Tha same thing is happening to me right now!

    The voices, it using someone elses appearence, being paralyzed to move, the lights, the face, only its teeth, were they jagged and pointy, almost rotten? its the same feeling, the feeling that whatever it is, its bad and that its playing with me, it amuses itself with my fear.

    Did you ever have things when you were awake too?

    The only reason i knew i was awake is because i was staying at a friends and she saw what i say aswell, unless we were bought caught in our sleep, but once we felt we could move again we both sat up looked at each other realising we had both seen it.

    Please write back to me when you can?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hey I suffer from paralysis but I like it and when this happens I just relax and it seems like I can take over my dreams but every so ofton I wake up, think I’m awake but am still dreaming, for example I think I wake up, make a phone call on fone drift into another dream which I can seem to sort of control then wake up again, when I wake up for real I check phone and no calls made is wierd but cool any one experianced simalar things? Made any sense lol

  13. nina says:

    is this really true? because if it is then i can do the lucid dreams thing i do it almost all the time i dream but i never had problem minus one bad dream and i am only 14

  14. Anonymous says:

    I thought I Was the only one,The way You describe the feeling is Incredible Because its exactly what I Feel and think .. These ‘Experiences’ during My sleep come ever so often Maybe like 1 or 2 times a Month , &It Scares the Hell out of ne & Bothers me that it cant Just be a 1 Time thing, And Whyyy do ‘I’ Get them ?
    Thanks alot for sharing this It Really helped .
    And Im Onlyy 15 by the way This is Crazy;

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