Why I study...anomalistic psychology

Christopher C. French
A FEW months ago I received an e-mail from a mature student wondering if I could explain various terrifying experiences that she had endured repeatedly for almost 20 years. On exchanging a few e-mails, it became apparent to me that she was suffering from occasional bouts of sleep paralysis. This is a temporary state where an individual who is either drifting off to sleep or emerging from sleep suddenly realises that their muscles are totally paralysed. This is frightening enough, but the state is sometimes associated with bizarre and terrifying imagery of demons, monsters, hags or aliens, and a strong sense of a malign presence.

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