As I began writing this night terrors essay (both researching other phenomenon, talking to friends who have experienced it, and recalling my own experiences), I started thinking about how, like my Bygone Eras: Do We Have It (At Least Partially) Wrong series, the topic of night terrors covers a broad spectrum of many experiences. Therefore, I decided to make this yet another essay series in which I will cover one topic at a time. This will help my thoughts stay focused instead of scattered in all directions, and I will be able to give each phenomenon special attention. Since experiencing night terrors are also a huge part of the Birthrite Series, this will also aid in my research for those books.
I first got the idea to talk about this on my blog when a good friend of mine posted an essay he wrote about a very creepy night terror he experienced a few years ago to my facebook page (maybe with his permission I'll post it here). His experience was CREEPY, and while I may not go into specifics of what I experienced (as I am using some of those as inspiration material for the Birthrite Series...can't give away all my secrets :P ), I will discuss some phenomenon that often accompanies a night terror.
So with that said, I will begin with the basics.
In many cases, night terrors typically start out with a condition referred to as Sleep Paralysis. Yes, many characters in the Birthrite Series do experience this, particularly Nicolae and Dorothy (in Book 1). In later books, the character Everett experiences it as well.
Sleep Paralysis is typically identified as being in a state between being awake and being asleep. Your mind has awakened, but your body has not, and this is sometimes referred to as being Disrupted REM (Rapid Eye Movement). One experiencing sleep paralysis can find themselves rendered immobile and unable to move any limbs. The individual may even feel panicked. The sensation of being sat on or choked may also be present. One may also experience a feeling of floating or dissociating from the body.
According to some who experience sleep paralysis, it is normally a precursor to other phenomenon that can accompany it, including those of Shadow Man, Mares, and Hags. Or a malevolent presence may be felt but not seen. Of course in centuries passed, sleep paralysis was thought to be something supernatural, and to many it still is.
There are also those who look to a more scientific cause behind it, often linking it to migraines, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy. Some (like myself at the time I was experiencing it) experience it during or soon after distressing times in their lives. Some seek medication to control it while others like myself simply make ourselves get over it, usually by tackling the issue that may have been causing the distress in the first place.
I will get into more of the sleep paralysis experience as I continue with this series of essays. If you have had such experiences (or are having them), feel free to leave a comment as I would love to hear them.
Til next time...pleasant dreams...
My short story, "The Cemetery by the Lake" is now available at Smashwords as a FREE download. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
Tiffany Apan at Smashwords
The Cemetery by the Lake at Smashwords
and Barnes and Noble NOOK
My music is also available at CDBaby
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The Birthrite Series Website