Sunday, June 21, 2009

The End of the Terror

15468393I just finished the book "The Terror That Comes in the Night" and must say that it was a very good read. I wanted to post something from in the book that I found important to the sleep paralysis community. These are the conclusions of the study done by David J. Hufford and are posted at the end of his book.

  • The phenomena associated with what I have been calling the Old Hag constitute an experience with a complex and stable pattern, which is recognizable and is distinct from other experiences.

  • This experience is found in a variety of cultural settings.

  • The pattern of the experience and its distribution appear independent of the presence of explicit cultural models.
    The experience itself has played a significant, though no exclusive, role in the development of numerous traditions of supernatural assault.

  • Cultural factors heavily determine the ways in which the experience is described (or withheld) and interpreted.
    The distribution of traditions about the experience, such as those involving the Old Hag or Eskimo augumangia, has frequently been confounded with the distribution of the experience itself.

  • The frequency with which the experience occurs is surprisingly high, with those who have had at least one recognizable attack representing 15 percent or more of the general population.

  • The state in which this experience occurs is probably best described as sleep paralysis with a particular kind of hypnagogic hallucination.

  • Although there may be some connection between the etiology of this experience and narcolepsy, and although certain illnesses could be confused with the experience, the Old Hag experience itself does not indicate the presence of any serious pathology.

  • The contents of this experience cannot be satisfactorily explained on the basis of current knowledge.

After reading his book and the evidence that was presented, I must also agree with Hufford in his explanation for the event. It is truly unknown why people experience the things they do. Its however impossible to say that these experiences are religious based as those who experience it seldom refer the experience to be anything based on their religion. Many people that experience it have little or no knowledge of the Old Hag, and most the time report being confused about the whole thing. One important aspect that is talked about much in the book, is the activation of movement seems to end the event. Maybe this is some type of trigger in the brain releasing it from its accidental sleep paralysis. Either way, there needs to be a lot more research done on the subject as even today there are really no good hypothesis of why this is happening to good normal individuals (15 percent of the population)

I hope all of you who are interested in night terrors, sleep paralysis, or the Old Hag, take some time out of your day and read this book, as it will give you a larger understanding of the world we live in. Maybe now that I am done reading it, I can sleep better.

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