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Sleep Paralysis, a mother of witches and more

Feature Article Sleep Paralysis, a mother of witches and more
AUG 8, 2022 LISTEN

Socrates is credited with the philosophy "the only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing".I have found this to be true. Indeed knowledge is power but there is also the concept of

"Half-life of knowledge", whereby information or knowledge available at a period could become invalid or irrelevant.

I believe life is designed to teach us to learn and unlearn because the world itself is continually evolving with things changing. It may not be prudent to always take entrenched positions about issues.

A name I heard on the radio this morning brought memories of a friend who I have severed ties with for reasons he may never have known before expiring (R.I.P.).

A bad dream was all it took, and I am full of regrets for this isolated experience.

I was on holidays once more in my village at an age where adventure was a strong urge. We had sneaked out having fun with other teenagers (pub crawling).

We returned at about 2 am and I slumped into my little bed. My friend couldn't go home so he helped himself with the sofa.

I had a very bizarre dream. It was trance-like. I saw someone climb my bed bent over me and I could not move any part of my body. I was apneic and neared suffocation. As a Christian, I tried to mention "Jesus" for an intervention. But I couldn't speak". I struggled to push the person off, but I felt pinned down by so much weight.

Finally, I felt light, the weight and person disappeared. It was a horrifying experience. I shook in the bed and muttered some scriptures as a declaration over my life. I spent the next few minutes praying and couldn't sleep any longer. In the morning, I told my friend about the dream, and he seemed unconcerned.

Days after when I narrated this dream to a Church leader, he convinced me it was a spiritual attack. After being prayed for, I was told the "spirit" says my life was at risk. I was warned to stay away from my friend if I valued my life. Answers from further probing out of my inquisitiveness s, meant that my friend was a wizard.

I may have been gullible, but the circumstances made it so believable. Ever since, I treated my friend with contempt and labelled him a child of the devil and a frenemy. Even as he became terminally ill after some years and passed on, I was still judgmental. My conclusion had been, he was ripping the seeds of his evilness.

Today, with regret, I admit what I experienced as a dream was an episode of "Sleep Paralysis".

What is Sleep Paralysis?

Your brain assists the muscles in your arms and legs to relax when falling asleep or waking up by sending signals. You may be conscious or regain awareness but experience muscle atonia (be unable to move). You remain still during rapid eye movement sleep which is also called REM. YOU are very much aware of your surroundings but cannot move nor speak. The brain makes the muscle in your limbs still, to keep you from acting out your dreams and hurting yourself. There are 2 stages which are hypnagogic state relating to the state immediately before falling asleep and the hypnopompic relating to the state immediately preceding waking up.

It is frightening and can be accompanied with hallucinations. It may be for a few seconds or minutes but long enough to induce a sense of suffocation, hallucinations, fear, panic, helplessness and tightening around the throat. You hang in between sleeping and wakefulness. This is a natural one-time experience for some people, but others have it repeatedly. This is not a sign of an underlying medical condition, and it is not permanent neither. People of all ages are prone to this experience, and it is facilitated by sleep deprivation and altering sleep patterns.

As religious and superstitious people can we take a moment to contemplate on how segregated we have become over experiences like this?

Haven't our work environments, religious settings and society become daily Salem Witch Trials? How long will our superstitions and paranoia make us torture others physically and psychologically in the name of witchcraft/wizardry?

Do you picture the many innocent children, women, men, especially the elderly that have been wrongly fingered as witches, taken to Witch Camps all because of the Sleep Paralysis experienced by someone else?

What about the many families that have been divided over this. May God have mercy on all of us. Long live Mother Ghana.

Dumenu Charles Selorm

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