Do vengeful spirits or evil forces cause nightmares, sleep paralysis, or psychic paralysis?
Death from nightmare
During sleep paralysis, the person is unable to move and experiences hypnagogic hallucinations or hears sounds that seem real. When a person wakes up while their body is still in a relaxed state (from sleep), the body’s adjustment to or from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is not in sync with the brain.
Avoid sleeping on your back if you are prone to sleep paralysis. Sleeping on the left side, in my experience, prevents episodes of sleep paralysis. Also, rather than sleeping flat, make sure your head is propped up on a pillow. Wiggle your toes and fingers if you can’t move but want to wake up. Stay calm.
Although sleep paralysis is not life threatening, it can be distressing and causes panic! For this reason, some Filipinos refer to sleep paralysis as “bangungut.”
However, bangungut also known as sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome (SUNDS) is different; and experts think it is caused by acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis or pancreatic inflammation. The fear surrounding bangungut stems from the lack of solid research into what causes it and why it primarily affects young, “healthy” men in their prime age.
Sleep paralysis is most common among adolescents in their 20s and 30s, but it can happen at any age.
Meanwhile, according to Filipino folklore, a vengeful tree-dwelling spirit known as Batibat or Bangungut would sit on the chest of its victim (who is said to have cut down the trees where the Batibat resides) until the victim asphyxiated and died.
Strange marks and bruises
Meanwhile, psychic paralysis, also known as Phantomania, is a term used to describe a type of preternatural or supernatural forces similar to sleep paralysis, which would involve experiences such as being unable to move while half-awake or between waking and sleeping.
But experiencers of phantomania say that they would wake up with unexplainable bruises, scratches, or marks on their body. Some also claim that phantomania is caused by demonic forces. Nonetheless, I have not read of any deaths related to phantomania.
Phantomania, in my opinion , is triggered by an “overactive” or “stimulated” mind, especially if the brain is engaged in activities that it perceives as “threatening,” such as watching thriller or suspense movies, or as energy-intensive, such as Tarot reading, which requires concentration and necessitates a lot of energy.
This is not to say that any spiritual work enables such events, nor am I dismissing Phantomania’s occurrence as the result of demonic activity.
As is often said in Filipino, maraming mga pangyayari sa mundo na hindi kayang ipaliwanag ng agham (There are many things in the world that science cannot explain).
What I mean is that the metaphysical realms we are exposed to through spiritual work or other activities may manifest in our dreams. Think about how these activities can make our adrenaline shoot up or make us feel agitated, anxious, or overly analytical.
Some study says that nightmares, which are known to disrupt REM (deep sleep), can be triggered by horror audiovisuals, resulting in disrupted or poor-quality sleep.
When a person awakens with scratches or marks, it could be due to parasomnia, a condition that causes involuntary actions. Sleep talking, sleepwalking, sleep terrors, or partial awakenings from sleep accompanied by fright and occasional screams are all examples of what is called “undesirable” behaviors.
Another effect of parasomnia is uncontrollable scratching of itchy skin areas. Because of water loss and a decrease in cortisol levels, the skin is said to itch more at night. Because we are asleep, we are unaware if we have scratched the skin.
Despite these medical explanations, there have been numerous reports of people finding scratches and bruises on their bodies and attributing them to paranormal events. These people get these physical signs even when they are awake. They also have visual and auditory manifestations of an entity.
Thus, we should be careful and aware of what we expose our minds to.
Before going to bed, we should relax and let go of any thoughts that are bothering us. As we sleep, we must also let go of our anger, fear, and worry. Avoid using mobile phones or other actively used technologies such as TV or computers close to bedtime so that your brain is not bombarded with information or stimulated. Above all, pray or meditate.