In this week's episode, we discuss shadow people and its links to sleep paralysis, we ask is this phenomenon supernatural or medical? and why are there so many links between shadowy figures and this nightmare condition?
Could these shadow people exist? and are they visiting us during the night? We look at some of the stories connected to this phenomenon as well as take a look at what the scientific community believes this could have links too. Join Gaz and Taylor for this paranormal mystery plus much more on another thrilling episode of Never a straight answer!
History and folklore
A number of religions, legends, and belief systems describe shadowy spiritual beings or supernatural entities such as shades of the underworld, and various shadowy creatures have long been a staple of folklore and ghost stories.
The Coast to Coast AM late-night radio talk show helped popularize modern beliefs in shadow people. The first time the topic of shadow people was discussed at length on the show was April 12, 2001, host Art Bell interviewed Native American elder Thunder Strikes, who is also known as Harley "SwiftDeer" Reagan. During the show, listeners were encouraged to submit drawings of shadow people that they had seen and a large number of these drawings were immediately shared publicly on the website.
In October that year, Heidi Hollis published her first book on the topic of shadow people and later became a regular guest on Coast to Coast. Hollis describes shadow people as dark silhouettes with human shapes and profiles that flicker in and out of peripheral vision, and claims that people have reported the figures attempting to "jump on their chest and choke them". She believes the figures to be negative, alien beings that can be repelled by various means, including invoking "the Name of Jesus".
Although participants in online discussion forums devoted to paranormal and supernatural topics describe them as menacing, other believers and paranormal authors do not agree whether shadow people are either evil, helpful, or neutral, and some even speculate that shadow people may be the extra-dimensional inhabitants of another universe. Some paranormal investigators and authors such as Chad Stambaugh claim to have recorded images of shadow people on video. Shadow people feature in two episodes of ITV paranormal documentary series Extreme Ghost Stories, where the phenomenon is described as a "black mass"
Old Hag Syndrome, Hatman, Shadow people, sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis is when, during waking up or falling asleep, a person is aware but unable to move or speak. During an episode, one may hallucinate (hear, feel, or see things that are not there), which often results in fear. Episodes generally last less than a couple of minutes. It may occur as a single episode or be recurrent.
The condition may occur in those who are otherwise healthy or those with narcolepsy, or it may run in families as a result of specific genetic changes. The condition can be triggered by sleep deprivation, psychological stress, or abnormal sleep cycles. The underlying mechanism is believed to involve a dysfunction in REM sleep. The diagnosis is based on a person's description. Other conditions that can present similarly include narcolepsy, atonic seizure, and hypokalemic periodic paralysis.
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