Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

July/August 2015 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

Terror in the Night

This article was written by Keith Randolph on May 10, 2002
posted under Psychic Protection

Psychic attacks, inexplicable in terms of twentieth-century scientific knowledge, occur far more frequently than most of us would imagine. A study conducted by Dr. David J. Hufford, a behavioral scientist at the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, has brought to light the unsettling fact that one American in every six has had the following experience at one time or another:

Typically the victim suddenly awakens in the middle of the night, and is shocked to discover that he or she is unable to move. The victim is certain that he or she is awake and not simply suffering an unpleasant dream. As he or she lies there, immobilized and vulnerable, the victim hears footsteps and suddenly sees a hideous, ghostlike form that seems to exude evil. An invisible force presses down on the chest, and the horrified victim thinks he or she is going to die. Then, as abruptly as it arrived, the paralysis leaves. The apparition vanishes and the individual feels normal.

Sometimes poltergeist-like manifestations accompany the attack. Other apparitions may appear, and other strange events may occur. But in most instances these weird night entities attack on their own, leaving the victim shaken, scared—and silent.

As a social scientist, Hufford, who reported his research in a fascinating book entitled The Terror That Comes in the Night (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982), was especially interested in this last aspect of the phenomenon. Like most Americans, Hufford had never heard of such night attacks, until, as a college student, one happened to him. He thought he was suffering some dire illness, or sensing the first signs of mental derangement, until he did some research on the subject.

He learned that while these experiences are so little spoken of in this country we don’t even have a name for them, other cultures recognize the phenomenon and identify it in various ways. In Newfoundland it is known as the "Old Hag," "The Hags," or "Hagging." The terms hark back to an old belief that these are witch attacks, "witches" traditionally depicted as ugly old women or hags. A victim of hagging was thought to be hag- or witch-ridden. In fact, the most common word in English for the experience is "riding."

But the original name, interestingly enough, is one with which we are all familiar: nightmare. The word Nightmare itself comes from the Anglo-Saxon nicht (night) and mara (incubus or succubus). The Anglo-Saxon suffix a denotes an agent, so that mara from the verb merran, literally means a ‘crusher,’ and the connotation of a crushing weight on the breast is common to the corresponding word in allied language (Icelandic mara, Danish mare, Low German moore, Bohemian mara, Swedish mara, Old High German mara) … From the earliest times the oppressing agency experienced during sleep was personified.

In today's modern society, we are trapped by our day-to-day lives. Step by step, and from generation to generation, we are losing our primal intuition. No longer do most of us feel that type of intuition, that which takes over our actions to protect ourselves and what is ours. The comforts of our modern society do nothing to keep our internal,... read this article
13 Hidden Traditions of Mabon
Hoarding to Fill Emptiness: How to Tell if Spiritual Lack is Causing Clutter Accumulation
Amaterasu: The Brilliant Sun Goddess
Why You're Not Good at Tarot
Haunted Plantations of the South

Most recent posts:
The Ghosts of Lincoln
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Adam Selzer, author of Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps, Ghosts of Chicago, and the new Ghosts of...

Creating Spreads
Creating spreads is fun. Even when you don’t have a particular question, but you feel like playing with your cards, you can create a spread inspired...

Tarot Cards as Journal Prompts
Last month I was asked to write about how to use tarot cards as journaling prompts. Five years ago, I wrote an article with some journaling basics...




Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Astrological Calendar
83rd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Woodland Faeries Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Woodland Faeries Calendar
By: Linda Ravenscroft
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Fool Me Once Fool Me Once
By: Steve Hockensmith, Lisa Falco
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN