Within a few days of moving in, Elaine and her older daughter began to experience the sensation of being watched. Then came scratching noises and weird smells, followed by voices whispering, maniacal laughter, shadowy figures scurrying along baseboards, and small balls of light bouncing along the ceilings.
From the beginning of the haunting, “suffocating dreams” were experienced by everyone except the younger daughter. These eventually accelerated to physical aggression directed at Elaine and both the girls.
Don’t Fall Asleep
During this period, I began having sleeping problems, experiencing what I termed “suffocating dreams.” I would go to sleep, not especially bothered by anything, and I would awaken moments later, paralyzed in my bed. I was aware of the phenomenon called “sleep paralysis,” and I had experienced this from time to time in my life. It’s a sort of wake/dream state where someone feels momentarily unable to move. It is quite a common experience. It is also referred to as a night terror. This sensation, however, was very different.
I would fully awaken, already in a paralyzed state, frightened beyond all reason. Fully awake, fully conscious. There was no fuzziness in my thinking, no debate about whether or not I was dreaming. I was not dreaming. I would try to move, but to no avail. I couldn’t turn. I could barely breathe. I couldn’t speak. There was a pressure on my chest—an all-encompassing, revolting pressure—that would eventually spread over my whole body. It would press me into the bed to the point that I could feel, and see, the mattress indenting. I was terrified and confused.
Along with this immobilization would come the feeling that there was a presence in the room with me—someone or something doing this to me. I also had the sense that I was supposed to know something that I, in fact, did not know. I would try to extricate myself from the pressure, struggling as hard as I could, but it was never hard enough.
It would take as long as it would take. I could never seem to have any control over the length of time these suffocating dreams lasted. Sometimes they were very brief, perhaps lasting a few seconds or longer. Other times, minutes that felt like hours would go by.
The worst part of this experience was that sometimes the pressure was accompanied by invisible strokes directed toward my breasts or inner thighs. This would scare me so much that I would feel a scream well up inside my throat, only to be squelched by the paralyzing pressure.
All I could do was wait for it to be over. It invariably left me feeling drained, violated, and dazed. Many times I contemplated the thought that I must be losing my mind. I told no one. I didn’t know how to explain what was happening.
These suffocating dreams occurred three or four nights a week, and then, for no apparent reason, would disappear for months at a time. Just when I was sure there was something intolerably strange going on, I would get relief and start to rationalize these occurrences as nothing more than nightmares. But I knew there was something more to this, I just didn’t know what it could be.
Whenever I had experienced sleep paralysis before, it never had the connotation of such fear, such terror. I would simply, at some point during the night, wake up in a paralyzed state for a few moments and then be OK. There were no sensations of being touched or having difficulty breathing. No feelings of being pushed into my bed. No sensations of horror. No comparison whatsoever to what I was experiencing during one of these episodes.