Sleep Paralysis

Skeptics often cite sleep paralysis as the cause of out-of-body experiences and alien abduction experiences. Sleep paralysis, in which the body becomes paralyzed at certain points in the sleep cycle, is a normal part of sleep. Some people, however, suffer from a disorder related to sleep paralysis that causes them to remain paralyzed for one or two minutes after fully awakening (though the person might experience this period of time as seeming much longer). In other words, the person is awake but unable to move. Moreover, people suffering from this disorder often experience certain types of hallucinations during their awake-but-paralyzed state. The most common of these hallucinations are related to the sense that someone is in the room; for example, the person might sense that someone is approaching, hear footsteps or muffled voices, or see shadows, figures, or even clearly see what appear to be people nearby. Less commonly, sleep-paralyzed people might feel someone grabbing them or moving them about, feel as though they are falling, or feel as though they are floating out of their bodies. Scientists do not yet know why sleep paralysis occurs.


  • alien abduction experiences;
  • outof-body experiences


The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning