What lies behind ghosts, demons and aliens – based on sleep researchers

What lies behind ghosts, demons and aliens – based on sleep researchers
26 March 2024 J.W.H

If you suspect within the paranormal, you might not be surprised to listen to stories of deceased family members appearing at night, huge explosions when someone drifts away for no apparent reason, and other strange occurrences. But what when you don't?

My interest within the paranormal began with an impromptu coffee with a friend, Chris French, who investigates reports of paranormal experiences. He told me the stories of countless individuals who reported such events. These experiences often began while lying in bed. Then something unusual would occur – perhaps a demon would seem, the environment would appear strange, or a presence can be felt. An individual having this experience might also report feeling stuck to the mattress, stuck to the bed with asphalt, and completely unable to maneuver.

It's no wonder that individuals who experience such things may interpret them as paranormal. But certain phenomena similar to a sleep paralysis provide an alternative choice to paranormal explanations of such phenomena. Hence my interest on this topic as a sleep researcher.

A sleep paralysis

When we sleep, we undergo different stages. We start the night with non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, which step by step deepens. Then we return until we fall into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During REM sleep, we’re more than likely to have vivid dreams. At this stage we’re also paralyzed, perhaps a security mechanism that stops us from realizing our dreams in order that we don't attempt to fly.

But during sleep paralysis, the characteristics of REM sleep proceed into waking life. Those who experience it will feel awake, but may experience dream-like hallucinations and have difficulty moving. This experience is kind of common, occurring in about 8% of individuals (though estimates vary greatly depending on who you ask). It's even possible cause sleep paralysis in some people, disturbing their sleep in certain ways.

Some researchers, including the French, consider this explains the vast variety of reports of paranormal phenomena. We are finally hearing about sleep paralysis awarenessbut now we’d like to higher understand this common grievance.

Our preliminary work, which I mention in my recent book Nodding Off: The science of sleep from the cradle to the gravehints about possibilities genetic and environmental explanations why some people experience sleep paralysis more often than others. This now must be repeated using much larger samples. While reviewing the literature, we also noticed many others variables related to this common experienceincluding stress, trauma, mental problems and physical illness.

Worst dreams.
Images Creativa/Shutterstock.com

Exploding head syndrome

Sleep paralysis aside, how else do sleep researchers help explain paranormal phenomena? People sometimes describe experiencing huge explosions at night that simply can’t be explained. There aren’t any signs that the shelf fell or the automotive burned. There isn’t any one playing an electrical guitar next to their head.

Once again this will be linked to our sleep – this time explained by “exploding head syndrome“, condition was created relatively recently by neurologist JMS Pearce. When we fall asleep, the brain stem reticularis (the part of our brain involved in consciousness) usually begins to inhibit our ability to move, see and hear. When we experience a “buzz” while sleeping, it might be because of: delays on this process. Instead of the auditory neurons being turned off by the reticular formation, they will fire immediately.

As with sleep paralysis, this phenomenon can be understudied. That's why in 2017, my colleagues and I joined forces with BBC Focus AND Brian Sharplessa number one expert on this phenomenon to gather data on this topic.

Imps and ghouls

Finally, what can scientists make of prophetic dreams? We may dream a couple of friend we haven't seen for years who calls us the following day. French believes that science can even provide an evidence for this phenomenon. Referring to the work of John Allen Paulos, which focuses on probabilities, he translates how such an event will be surprising on any single day, but over time quite more likely to occur.

While researching my book, I spoke to Mrs. Sinclair, who’s 70 years old and lives alone. She told me about what she thought was a ghost living in her house, a pixie choking her at night, and other things that paralyzed her. Having scientific explanations has given her great comfort and he or she not believes in paranormal explanations for what she experienced.

We hope that scientific explanations of paranormal phenomena will help others by reducing anxiety. A discount in anxiety was also found hypothetically as a possible method to cut back sleep paralysis. So perhaps providing more details about these unusual experiences may even mean that you just're less more likely to experience problems at night.

Image Source: Pixabay.com

  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”