- Religion and Philosophy
Sleep Paralysis Or Bangungot
What is bangungot or sleep paralysis?
Ever wondered what is bangungot or what happens when having a sleep paralysis or bangungot? Bangungot is the Filipino word for sleep paralysis. As I search and read results online, it is referred to as SUDS or the sudden unexpected death syndrome, the cause of death of mostly young adults, usually young males which was first reported in the year 1917 in the Philippines.
Sleep paralysis could happen right before waking up, and that's when the mind awakens before the body does and that keeps the body immobile. Another one is when the body shuts down for the night, too tired for all the daily activities while the mind was left active. (Maybe still thinking about everything that has to be done for the following morning? Or all the worries and troubles?)
I always hear it from my mom telling my dad to slow down on food as eating too much might give him sleep paralysis as my dad tend to eat heavy meal, and that includes more than 1 bowl of rice for dinner. I also had heard this from the elders as well as the belief goes that too much carbohydrates can cause sleep paralysis or bangungot.
Have you had a sleep paralysis?
What are my sleep paralysis about?
I didn't see any monsters. And I was thankful of that. But when I experienced sleep paralysis or "bangungot," I believed they were ghost or spirits thou they're not scaring me. But whenever I encounter this it scares me somehow knowing that there shouldn't be anyone in my room but me. And that's when I try to wake up. And it would be a long struggle as I lay there gathering all my strength to move my body or speak up. And every time I manage to open my eyes and decide to get up, there's not enough strength to do so until sleep takes me back to square one as I fight back not to fall sleep again as whatever I'm experiencing or seeing just continuous.
At times I wonder if it was just a nightmare or indeed a sleep paralysis, but what is the explanation behind the struggle to wake up or speak and the feeling of being drained of energy not having the strength to get up?
My Bangungot Stories
It wasn't the first one I had but I will start with it. It was way back in the Philippines when I was about 19 years old. I was sleeping one afternoon and the part I could clearly remember was there's this few faces showing on my wall looking at me. They appear elastic and is the same color with my wall, which is brown. The faces would be gone in a few minutes and then they would pop out again. And there was a baby too that was laughing with menace that scared me the most.
Another one I had was when I'm already here on US. I was 20 years old at that time and I still have this habit of trying to take a nap in the afternoon. Now, of all the sleep paralysis I had, I could say this one was the least scary and when I woke up, I kinda smiled thinking of it. Why would a sleep paralysis made me smile? Alright, I can't move my body, eyes closed but my mind is awake or should I say half awake and all of a sudden I hear sounds of furnitures being move. This went on for minutes and then the study table on the foot of my bed was being moved too! I could clearly hear the eeking sound with the furniture being drag on the carpeted floor in my room.
I felt curious on what's making all the sounds and whose moving the furnitures. Then I saw these dwarves that was carrying the study table and moving it around. I even remember thinking their so busy their not even bothering me lying there on the bed! Well, this didn't scare me but then when it came to the part where I can hear the sound of water, like a river and the water is overflowing, that scared me and I wanted to wake up but I can't! And like what I always feel when having sleep paralysis, I feel so weak and too sleepy while I desperately try to wake up but lacking the strength, I couldn't and it took me some time. Thankfully I broke out of it.
And when I woke up, it was probably passed 3 pm or almost 4 pm. I was sweaty as the afternoon sun had gotten through my window. At those times in the afternoon, the sun peeks in my room and it shines on me while sleeping. Sometimes I think if it has something to do with that as well. For what reason? I don't know.
In some provinces in the Philippines, such as those that speaks Ilocano, a folklore goes that the "bangungot" or sleep paralysis is cause by a demon called "batibat" that resides in trees. When the tree is cut down, of course this would enraged the demon as this is its home, it will still be attach to the tree by residing on the post that was now being used as a house support. As the post was its home now, it doesn't like any humans getting close or sleeping near its post. And when a person sleeps near the post, or used the wood for bed, the batibat attacks by sitting on the chest of the sleeping person. The person, being unable to breath because of the heaviness or the feeling of being suffocated dies from his/her sleep.
Sleep Paralysis On Our Current House
So far I had only two in our current home, I didn't remember which one came first but here they are:
My brother was on deployment and like always, he would ask us to sleep in his room so it won't be empty. Dad usually sleep there at night while I spend some time napping there once in a while. And since his room was cool and the sun doesn't peek in there in the afternoon, I spent an afternoon sleeping there. He has a curtain too which makes the room a little darker which I like.
And so I was sleeping, the door was open of maybe about 8 inches wide and my brother was standing there! He spoke to me, I just can't remember what he said that got my attention, that's why I look at the door and saw him standing there. I was surprised to see him there by the door looking inside the room (or at me) and he spoke. I remember asking him what was he doing here being at home? I am aware he isn't supposed to be home as he was on deployment. He didn't answer me. The thought that this couldn't be him as he should have been out there on his deployment scared me and I said," You're not him! Leave."
I wanted to wake up so bad before this person or entity get any closer to me or get inside the room but I can't. I can't move my big toe or any of my fingers. I wanted so bad to break free that in my head I was thinking, " Please God I wanna wake up!" And in a snap of a finger I got a sudden strength, I was awake. Thankful enough that I remembered to call up to Him for help.
I felt so weak, (way to sleepy) as always. I always feel like this every time I broke free from a sleep paralysis, feels like a drum is beating so hard in my chest but I just can't lie there, or else I would fall back to sleep. And I'm afraid it will continue if that happens. Groggily I force myself and walked out of the room and went to the living room.
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And yeah, my most scary one? I told you it would be the last story so here it is.
This was probably my first one, or I believed it was as I don't recall any other episode of sleep paralysis that came before this one. (Unless I had forgotten it.)
First, how did my day went? I didn't know if there's any connection on why I experienced that frightening night, but my whole day was spent on the road, about maybe almost 6 hours back and forth on the road riding the jeepney as my bestfriend and I went to a city with her family as we want to inquire for a computer school we want to attend to in that city. I love riding and looking out the window of buses or jeepneys and it didn't tire me at all. I enjoyed it. But it was already dark when we came home. Oh and I feel light I just wanted to go to bed. And I did.
And so that's the night when I woke up (or I believed I was physically awake but it was my mind which is awake,) I glanced at my right side and there she was! She's standing just right at the stairs of my double-deck bed wearing a white dress, a young girl. I can't even see her face as it was dark. And she was reaching her hand to me. I asked her how did she got inside my room but she won't answer me. I know my door was locked. Instead she said," come with me. ___ is waiting for you." I keep on wondering how did she got in, and I started feeling scared when it hits on me that she wasn't a human! I remember calling my dad, yelling, but no answer as no words came out of my mouth. Either I was really calling out for him but no words came out, or I was all calling for him in my head (telepathically.) (Well, I didn't even really speak to the girl, the talking was all in my mind but she was responding.)
I asked her again how did she got in. But still she won't tell me but repeatedly says,"come with me. She's waiting for you. It would be quick," still reaching for my hand. What she said was waiting for me was a lady, I just can't remember the name. I should have written it down.
Then what scares me was when my hand started lifting off my bed, slowly reaching for her hand. I used every will I have to stop my hand but looks like my hand has a mind of its own. In my head I keep saying no. And when my finger was about to touch her hand, so close, maybe 2 inches or so, all of a sudden I had uttered a prayer, or "God help me." And my hand drops back to the bed. I snapped out of it, turned on my left side facing the wall. And I thought "was she still in there?" I turned to look back and she's gone.
Just writing this last one gives me ghost bump. I was still thinking until now if it was real, I mean like was it a real spirit or was it sleep paralysis? I'm thankful I hadn't had anymore of it so far. Maybe because I rarely takes naps now or maybe my room was darker now. As one thing I noticed, most of these happened in the afternoon when the sun has gotten through in the window while I was lying there in the middle of my sleep.