Sleep Paralysis


I had been working almost non stop for 3 months up until a few weeks ago. About a month ago I had decided to spend the night at work which is in an office of an old Air Force Hanger. I live an hour a way form work and had to be back at work 9 hours later. At some point in the night I woke up from a dead sleep. It felt like electricity going through my whole body and I could not move. I also felt an evil presence. The next morning after I left this place I examined what happened to me and concluded I had a episode of sleep paralasis. Along with this conclusion I have doubs to wheather every single thing having to do with the supernatural including the existance of God to be a figment of our own imagination or halucination.I want to believe but after this I have skeptacism about everything.

Has anyonre out there had a experience like this and later had a seroius faith crisis?


The evil presence you thought you felt may have just been extreme fear, seeing as how that’s a scary situation.

Along with this conclusion I have doubs to wheather every single thing having to do with the supernatural including the existance of God to be a figment of our own imagination or halucination.I want to believe but after this I have skeptacism about everything.

Why the sudden change? Was it due to the evil presence?


I have been a sleep patient (I’m narcoleptic) for many years. My doctor describes sleep paralysis, which is common in narcolepsy, to be a state where both your conscious and subconscious mind are active at the same time. It usually happens at a point just before falling into REM sleep. Especially if you are prone to fall into REM sleep immediately without going through normal stage II and III sleep. Therefore, dream characters and hallucinations can be realized by your conscious mind which is also perceiving reality and mixing them together. It can be frightening until you get used to it.


I used to experience this frequently when I was younger and at a period of my life where I was under a great deal of stress and severely depressed. I was awake and aware of my surroundings, yet I could not move a muscle, and would experience a variety of auditory and tactile sensations. One time I felt the presence of evil and felt it choking me, other times I would hear my husband or my children when they weren’t home, or hear footsteps in the house, etc. This was very frightening. However, after I was treated for the depression and had undergone counseling, etc. for the stress and anxiety this stopped. I might also add that at the time I was not sleeping much at night and was very sleep-deprived. I haven’t had an episode of sleep paralysis in over 20 years, thank God.

I also have developed a theory, although unprovable, and I haven’t found anything to back it up. I think that some of the old stories and legends about the incubus and succubus (demons who have sexual intercourse with humans) may have originated with episodes of sleep paralysis. Some of the stories are very similar–it happens when the person is asleep, a demon enters the person’s bedchamber, the person feels the weight of the demon and sexual sensations, and is unable to resist. Not all of the stories are like this, but many follow this pattern, and it makes me wonder if these aren’t instances of sleep paralysis. If one has never experienced sleep paralysis, it might be very difficult to understand how very real these hallucinations seem. I just though I’d put my theory in as a sidenote.

I see no reason for this to cause a crisis of faith. Most true supernatural experiences happen when the person is awake, not asleep. In the lives of many of the Saints, when we read about supernatural experiences, they are at prayer. The approved Marian apparitions have occured when the seers were awake, living their ordinary lives. Padre Pio did battle with the devil while he was awake. Those who have received the Stigmata are usually awake when it happens, often at prayer, and Eucharistic miracles occur while people are awake. These are all instances of supernatural experiences that had nothing to do with the sleep paralysis state.

I think that once the stress of working so many hours is relieved, the OP may not experience this again.


You are right I do suffer from sleap apnea but the thing that bothers me is that for a little bit I was convinced that I had been attacked by an evil presence and wasn’t. Many people are convinced they have seen things that are not really there like being abducted by aliens and such. What makes those experiences differ from those in the bible? Its not like I wan’t to be a sceptic just because I wan’t to live my own life my way.


I had a similar “choking, evil” experience. It happened three consecutive nights and subsided each time after I called upon the name of Jesus. I haven’t had such an experience since – it happened over 30 years ago. It could have been sleep paralysis, but these occurences happened right around the time I had finished a “Life in the Spirit” seminar and decided to seriously follow Jesus. I spoke of my experiences to other people in the prayer group and they said that this was not uncommon.

Did these incidents stem from my subconscious working on the decision to turn to Jesus or did the evil one take advantage of a physical phenomenon – sleep paralysis – to try to scare and discourage me from my decision? I don’t know, but, from other incidents, I know there is evil and, more importantly, I know there is a living, loving God. Don’t let the sleep paralysis incident affect your faith.

God bless,


Sleep paralysis is a time in fact, that is often chosen for people to be spiritually attacked, precisely because one is paralyzed and more conducive to being afraid.

The half-way state between sleep and wakefulness is a particularly easy to manipulate state. Our habits are on, our willpower is nearly turned off.

One who is regularly attacked at this time needs to spend more quality time in prayer before bed, and thanksgiving on awaking.


What makes you think it wasn’t an attack by the Evil One? What makes you disbelieve in God? I would call on Jesus to save you from another attack.


First of all, people being abducted by aliens might be having real supernatural experiences with demons. The devil can come under many guises, and UFO encounters are just about always harmful in some way and lead to the spread of cults.

Second, how many of those experiences in the Bible have you read? Or the supernatural experiences in the lives of the saints? Almost all of these take place when the person is wide awake, in full control of their senses. And there are LOADS of them. Don’t let a case of sleep paralysis shake your faith. Research your faith a bit more, and you’ll find it’s rock solid :).

Get a couple books on apologetics if you like.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit