By: Noah Ankney
Imagine lying there alone in your bed. Your mind is finally calming down after a hectic day at work and all you can think about is sleep. You start to drift off when all a sudden you hear a door slam. You pick your head up and look around. You see nothing. You grab whatever you can to protect yourself and venture to find whatever may be intruding. Again, you find nothing. You check the windows and think, “maybe it was a breeze.” Whatever the case may be, you are too tired to care. You head back to the only place on your mind, a nice soft bed with cold pillows. You start drifting off to sleep when yet again you hear something strange. This time, it appears to be people talking. You shoot your head up and as quickly as it started the voices vanished. You are now rattled thinking you cannot be imagining this. You search high and low and even make a call to the local police department to come investigate as you fear for your own safety. After the entire property is searched, there are no evident signs of intrusion or individuals on the property. You are left speechless and even more worried. If it is not an intruder, what can it be? You know deep down that you were not imagining the sounds you heard, especially the voices! Your mind starts racing with the possibilities and what once was longed for; sleep was no longer a concern. If no physical persons were found on the property, yet you heard a door slam and heard voices, maybe it’s…”no, it couldn’t be” you tell yourself. Ghosts do not exist, at least not here anyway! This is a brand new home built on a once vacant cornfield. It just isn’t possible!
The above is fairly common in the paranormal field. A lot of times, individuals who are already in bed experience such phenomena that they simply cannot explain. They often see, hear, and even smell things they know cannot be there. With the fear building with the uncertainty of what it could be, they contact someone who may be able to explain their situation, a paranormal research team.
More often than not, a paranormal team is not the answer. A possible sleep disorder can be the culprit behind the experiences. Hypnagogic hallucinations occur during the onset of sleep, between waking and sleeping, either during the day or night. Yes, you can even experience these types of hallucinations during daydreams. These types of hallucinations can be frightening to the individual who experiences them. Imagine your reality becoming your dream state but without you knowing as everything from the voices and commotion to the people walking down the hallway seem real as if it’s really occurring.
There are several causes to hypnagogic hallucinations. The main factor is stress. We all have stress to some degree in our lives. Stress can impede thought processes and trigger hallucinations. Sleep deprivation and exhaustion is another major factor. Physical and emotional tiredness can cause hallucinations by blurring the lines between sleep and being awake. A hallucinatory sensation, usually involving touch called an aura, often appears before, and gives warning of, a migraine. Also, auras involving smell and touch (tactile) are known to warn of the onset of an epileptic attack. Brain lesions or injuries to the brain can cause hallucinations. Last but not least, mental illness. It is noted that 75% of schizophrenic patients have admitted these types of hallucinations.
Hypnopompic hallucinations are virtually the same thing as hypnagogic hallucinations except with hypnopompic, the hallucinations are experienced during waking up from sleep, not falling asleep as with hypnagogic hallucinations.
In conclusion, our tagline says it all. “Everything is normal, until proven paranormal.” It is important we research and ask as much questions as we can during all cases, especially when they are experiencing activity when in bed. Hypnagogic hallucinations are very common as we all have experienced them to some degree in our lives. It’s best to explore all options and give an alternative possibility to the client rather than them believing that they are being haunted.