I think I've finally scrounged up enough courage to put this account to the jury of readers here on YGS. These experiences have confused and befuddled me for years. Being somewhat logical in searching for answers to events, I'm torn between what my logical mind is stating and what my senses have defined as truly paranormal. There are several members here who can identify with the ability to "see" spirits with the mind's eye, and it's this ability that has me questioning my logic.
We all know about "sleep paralysis" and the dreamlike hallucinations one can have upon waking (because of a continuation of a dream) and finding one's self without the ability to move or speak, but what about when it occurs prior to falling asleep? Perhaps I should elaborate.
There have been times when soon after I lay down to sleep (sometimes only seconds after) I can visualize/sense a presence. Normally, he is standing close beside me, although many times I've "seen" him standing in a doorway to the room I'm in. He is who most of us call "the Hat Man" and he gives off a very spooky vibe. He is pitch black, wears a wide brimmed hat and a trench coat. He never moves, neither closer nor further away. Sometimes, I lie awake trying not to close my eyes because I KNOW what's coming next. Soon after the visualization, my ears begin to ring, my head starts to "buzz" (vibrating brain? LOL), and from there the buzz takes over my body and sends me into paralysis. I feel like he's trying to gain access to my innermost thoughts and emotions. Not possession, mind you, but more like being "read". I should mention that one of my biggest fears is being smothered or drowned and the feeling I get during an episode is that of being buried alive. Not the physical sensation of pressure but that I'm running out of air.
I've had these episodes most of my life, way before I knew what a "shadow person" or who the "Hat Man" was (and WAY before Reverend Kane). Words can't express the fear that overtakes me when I can hear the activities of others (real, live people) in the area and am powerless to alert them. There have been times when the ringing in my ears begins, then the vision. The only time I can control the progress of the paralysis is during the ear ringing. Once the buzz comes, it's too late. I haven't had an episode in quite a while, but I feel it's because of my discovery on how to gain control of the situation. Once I learned how to snap myself out during the ear ringing the occurrences became fewer and fewer, and eventually stopped altogether.
There you have it, guys. I've been a member of this site for a few years but was hesitant to submit an account on this subject due to my confusion about whether these occurrences are paranormal or not. I'm still confused LOL, but after hearing and reading about others' experiences with this phenomenon, I'm leaning toward paranormal. Something else I should note is that I have had "normal" episodes of sleep paralysis, sans the ear ringing, buzzing and Hat Man. Any insight and opinions are welcome.