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Waking Apparition Or Hypnopompic Hallucination?


On the evening of Tuesday 11th September 2007, whilst living in a brand new 3rd floor flat, at Stockton-upon-Tees in the UK, I awoke in the dark in the middle of the night, to see a full colour, moving image of an unknown 45-55 y/o black male from the shoulders up.

He wore a broad brimmed green hat made of a shiny, almost wet looking green material, the same material covered his shoulders, and was fitted around his kneck a little like a cape. The image was in absolutely exquisite detail and incredible brilliant colour, as if the sun was shining on him (rather like an actor picked out by a spotlight on a darkened stage). More real than real, I could see every hair on the back of his head.

The image lasted for more than a few seconds, and started with the back of the males head towards me, then slowly he turned his head round towards me, until he was staring right at me.

I kept looking away from him, in the hope he would just disappear! Moving my eyes left, away from the spot where the full colour 'moving' image had formed, I clearly retained a faded after-image on my retina, which was the same shape as the original image I had seen (similar to the after-image you see when you look away from a bright TV screen in a darkened room). What is strange, is that I could also see some type of 'fixed' area in my peripheral vision, this was in the position of the original full colour image, and did not move about, when I moved my eyes left.

When I moved my focus back to the 'fixed' area, effectively overlapping it with the faded image, the original image jumped back into brilliant full colour. I was able to move my eyes left and right several times, to verify this effect, before the image finally faded away.

I initially dismissed the idea of it being an apparition/ghost, because the building was brand new, and at the time I was a complete skeptic on ghosts. However my partner did some research and discovered, that our building had been designed and positioned to mimic the exact appearance of a much older original listed building on the site, a tannery, on the corner of Norton Green. I was able to find an original photograph of the tannery at the local library, complete with crane hoist doors on each level, which have been recreated in the new building.

We both did some further investigation to find old photo's of tannery workers, to see if we could match the garb of the guy in my vision. We were able to find one photograph of a tannery worker who had leather gear right up to his neck, perhaps used to protect him whilst carrying wet hides over his shoulder? So we believe the green shiny material was probably leather.

We were also able to find a record of the baptism of an adult black male in the local Church at Norton during the 1600's, which proved that there were black males living and presumably working in the area when the tannery was established. Ironically this particular guy had chosen the name of 'John Green'.

I remain open minded as to whether my experience was just a hypnopompic hallucination, or whether it was an apparition. However, despite the 'hallucination' label these experiences have been given, I've seen no particularly satisfying explanation as to why the fully formed, full colour, type hypnopompic experience, is also overwhelmingly of people or animals, and very very rarely of inanimate everyday objects.

I'm also unconvinced by the traditional explanation that this was a 'spirit'. I prefer to think that I was picking-up, what somebody else was seeing in the past. That I was in effect, seeing through the viewer/broadcasters eyes.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Max_b, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Max_b (1 stories) (5 posts)
11 years ago (2012-07-11)
Thanks feathers84, I don't have a great deal of experience of hypnopompic hallucinations, so its valuable for someone who does, to confirm that my experience doesn't remind them of their own experience.

On a side note, when I was younger I had a number of sleep paralysis events... Eventually I forced myself to remain within them despite the initial fear, the buzzing sound and sensation I experienced was very weird, but ultimately it was no longer frightening.
Feathers84 (1 posts)
11 years ago (2012-07-08)
Hi Max B,

I've had some ghost/spirit experiences and LOTS of sleep paralysis or hypnopompic hallucinations experiences. The first handful of times sleep paralysis happened I was convinced it was a supernatural experience. What usually happened to me was I would wake up with a start/panic, I would be completely paralyzed, couldn't talk when I tried, have a sense of intense fear or doom and this would be accompanied with some hallucinations. I then started to connect what my dreams were like just before I 'woke up' (sleep paralysis is often an in between state, half conscious and subconscious - hence this is where the hallucinations come from). Anyways my dreams were extremely weird and scary before the these strange experiences would occur, for a time I always knew during my dreams if I was going to have these terrifying experiences - weird. After awhile and a lot of research I realized that I was experiencing sleep paralysis. Since then I've tried resisting the experience, to embracing the experience... To try and figure out more about this odd happening. Now I've become so 'good' at having these experiences, as I said above I can tell when they are going to happen by paying attention to my dreams... Also I get a very odd sensation in my head and neck and this let's me know that something is up as well:). So now I can actually stop the sleep paralysis before it happens... But it's hard. Even though I know what's happening to me, it terrified me so much that I'd rather not experience it anymore. So, Anways long story short... What I wanted to tell you about your story was that: Based on your description I don't think you had a hypnopompic hallucination. You didn't describe any of the tell tale symptoms of sleep paralysis and also the type of spirit you saw so closely relates to the history of your home. I hope this helps. I also hope this helps anyone that has experienced sleep paralysis as well. Take care.
Max_b (1 stories) (5 posts)
11 years ago (2012-07-06)
Thanks for the interesting replies so far. I need to correct the dates as the second half of the 1700's, not the 1600's as I wrote.

Mitchore, I have seen some reports from people who claim that the spiritual world is very 'vivid' in sensory experience, but I have little knowledge of this area.

Shellzy, my best guess is that it was 'residual' in some way... At least that's how we experience it, due to our limited understanding of the nature of time. I also think I was seeing what somebody else was seeing, it's the best way I currently have of explaining obscured body parts, as the apparition passes behind objects that obscure the view of the original viewer (broadcaster), this seems to be a common feature in similar types of experience. In this case the apparition was obscured from the shoulders down, he was stood in front of the top set of south facing crane hoist doors, and if the hoist doors had been open at the time, the shadows cast from his hat across his face would have put him in an identical position to the sun at around 11:00am on a morning. I can imagine that this area of the building would have been filled with bales of leather, or raw hides, that would have obscured the lower part of his body.

I also think that the brilliance of the imagery, might be indicative of a very close match of my position, to the original broadcasters position, particularly as the apparition actually turned and stared at me for some time, as if they were staring at the original viewer?

Youngbee, for various reasons I'm not convinced by the traditional spirit explanations given for these types of experience.
YoungBee (2 stories) (13 posts)
11 years ago (2012-07-06)
Since you stated that the new building was a recreation of the previous building then the "spirit" thinks its their work place still. And if it was a "spirit" and you did not feel threatened or scared in such ways, than it means no harm and should not be something to worry about.
shellzy (8 stories) (218 posts)
11 years ago (2012-07-05)
Max b

I think what you witnessed was definately residual in nature. The way you described this seems like a replay in time and presented itself almost like watching a tv show. Perhaps the fact the new building was a recreation of the previous building had something to do with this as well.

Thanks for sharing
Michore (30 posts)
11 years ago (2012-07-05)
Hi very interesting! I may have some puzzle parts for you. I think what you experianced was a kind of a "outer spiritually obsirved" visoin. Not sure of the real names, but I can explain it to you. An inner vision is a image you get inside your minds-eye kind of like when you imagine someting but it is really vivid! An outer vision is the same very vivid experiance its just that your actualy seing it. What your describing is a lot like what people describe the spiritual world is like, for example, what you see, hear, tast, smell feel is three times stronger and clearer than reality, the sense that you basecly understand everything you experiance, you know that you know that you know, and that all extreams are perceptable, for example looking at someone shining like a thousend suns with clarity and with no problem.
Why you saw someone like that for instance? I don't know. But don't overlook it, you'll defnatly know when the right time comes.

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