Old Hag Syndrome has been reported for centuries and is experienced by at least fifteen percent of all humans at some point in their lifetime. The experience usually occurs during the night, but can happen anytime or anywhere.
A person is awakened, unable to move with the feeling of a heavy weight bearing down on their chest. A feeling of terror and panic set in, as shadows move around the room and seem to hover over the victim. Sometimes voices can be heard and glowing eyes peer at the victim from different areas within the room. The sound of feet shuffling around the room can be heard. As a matter of fact lots of things can be heard. The senses are fully awake. But the body is unable to move and no matter how terrified, the victim is unable to scream. The entire experience is usually accompanied by an overwhelming feeling that there is an evil presence in the room.
The term “Old Hag Syndrome” is derived from an age old belief that a witch would creep into someone’s room at night and sit on their chest, rendering them helpless and unable to breathe. Cats (being closely associated with witches) were also thought to crawl onto the chest during sleep and “steal” the breath from it’s victims.
So is Old Hag Syndrome normal..Or Paranormal? The syndrome is often referred to in modern times as sleep paralysis. Sleep Paralysis has been used as the explanation for tales of ghosts, and even alien abductions by skeptics. The tall, dark figures with glowing eyes, surrounding your bed and filling your senses with terror sounds eerily similar to stories of alien abduction. The person will often lose consciousness and awaken to find their room just as it was before, with no trace of the demonic or alien beings that they could have sworn were there just moments before. For centuries, ghosts and demons were blamed for the phenomenon. Even today, ones who have experienced sleep paralysis strongly believe that the experience is real. Some are so frightened that they fear falling asleep at night.
So does this mysterious syndrome answer any questions? Or does it create even more? Are the ones reporting visions of ghosts and alien abductions during the night, simply suffering from this mysterious condition? Or is sleep paralysis (Old Hag Syndrome) a scientific attempt at explaining a paranormal event? Many elements of the bizarre experience have yet to be fully explained by science. Either way, Old Hag Syndrome will continue to be experienced by people across the world and inject terror into the hearts of those who experience the phenomenon.