Four years ago, I started my university education and for the first time I was living away from my family. The university is about 650 kilometers from my hometown and I was living at one of the oldest residences on the campus. It was called Sunnyside and was a female only residence.
I made many friends at Res and we stayed up until odd hours of the morning laughing and having fun. Because of this during the day I would often come back to my room and have a nap in-between lectures. On one such afternoon I went back to my room, set my alarm to wake me up before my next lecture and promptly fell asleep.
At some point I felt like I was floating above my body, I could see myself lying in my bed. Suddenly I was back in my body and I heard someone open the door. I could hear my little cousin calling my name. My first thought was that it couldn't be my cousin because she was in my hometown and she was like 5 years olds she wouldn't be at my university by herself. Then I felt hands around my throat trying to choke the life out of me, my eyes were squeezed tightly shut as I kept thinking this is not my little cousin. I could scream or move my hands to stop whatever was choking me.
I opened my eyes but I was turned on my side and all I could see was the wall. I needed to turn my head so that I could see my attacker. I thought to myself "I am not afraid and I am going to look this thing in the eye" but as I turned my head I didn't have the guts to keep my eyes open. I started to chant (I am hindu and it was a prayer I learned when I was little) and after a few seconds the strangling stopped. I opened my eyes and sat bolt upright in bed.
To this day I get chills when I think of it. I have read about REM but the thing is that I was finally able to turn my head. The strange thing was at the same time when I experienced this, both my mother and brother were having strange and frightening nightmares.
If someone could explain / had a similar experience I would appreciate if you would respond.