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.

Whenever I conduct a workshop on mind reading, my students are pleasantly surprised to find that they're already good at reading minds. In fact, they began doing it when they were babies. As a baby, you would have recognized the expressions on people's faces, and knew if someone was likely to be friendly or not. As you grew, these skills continued... read this article
Two Energy Exercises to Empower Yourself
Theurgic Meditation
Ghost Hunting vs. Paranormal Investigation
Turn Your Dreams Into Reality Every Day
Craft: Wish Bracelet

Most recent posts:
Tarot: Art or Science?
My friend Fordrena Griffith recently asked my opinion: Is tarot reading an art or a science? If science why are not all equal? If an art, what...

Energy Healing for Women
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Keith Sherwood and Sabine Wittmann, authors of the new Energy Healing for Women. Since 2001 there...

New Decks and Conflicting Information
Not long ago, my friend Joanne Matthew asked me how I would advise people to choose a first deck and what we should do with conflicting information...




Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
The Firebug of Balrog County The Firebug of Balrog County
By: David Oppegaard
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac
Holidays & Lore, Spells, Rituals & Meditations

By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
The Child Garden The Child Garden
A Novel

By: Catriona McPherson
Price: $24.99 US,  $28.95 CAN