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Old Hag Syndrome


Have you heard of the old hag syndrome? Some professionals call it sleep paralysis, and perhaps it is. The old myth is that a traveling spirit in the shape of the old hag will pass through your house on some given night and sit on your chest and keep you from moving or breathing.

This happened to me before I even knew about any of this.

I was around twenty years of age and had to move back to my folk's house for a while as I broke up with the girl I was living with in the year of 1980. It was spring of the year and I was stressed out, but went to bed and enjoyed listening to my mystery theater on the radio, when I went to bed. I had my old bedroom back; across the hall was my other bedroom for a time. My folk's bedroom was around the corner, and they were in bed as well for they had to get up for work. I was laid off of my job, so I could sleep in.

I fell asleep listening to my radio show and staring at my Right Guard deodorant can in the street light coming in through the window. My shades were pulled, yet there was some light that still filtered in.

I fell asleep at some point and my radio went off after the hour timer. That is when I got my visitor. I woke up around three in the morning and noticed a red light flashing out the window, and to this day I am not sure what that was.

But now awake I sat up and saw my door open enough to see into my other bedroom. What I saw was evil and scary. There was just enough light to slightly lighten up the room, but in the middle was a deep black swirling cloud. To me that is what it appeared. Just swirling in a circle, it felt real and had a consciousness. Then I saw two small red eyes peering out form the middle of it.

I just stared, and when it felt the fear in me it rushed so fast in my direction it took me by surprise. It knocked me back in bed and I felt this heavy weight on my chest, like something was sitting on my holding me down. I could not breath, scream or move anything.

It had me completely paralyzed, what seemed for along tome. I tried to wrestle with it, but got no where. When I screamed for my dad, it just came out like a soft muffle that no one could hear. I could turn my head slightly and see my clock and saw time slipping away during my battle with the old hag.

Suddenly it was gone. I could breathe. I sat up and felt myself breathing heavy and I was dripping with sweat. This was for real, I thought. What was it? I did not see it on me; just felt the pressure and its presents.

Then I looked at the door again and saw the swirling list, back in the other bedroom. Then round two happened. It rushed at me again and I went through the same scary event. This went on again for awhile, and then it let off. Before I could get out of bed, I was dead tired, but I knew I was awake.

The third time happened as well and most of the night had passed. I did manage to turn the radio on again for an hour between events, and when the last one occurred it left for good. Soon after I just stared into space, trying to calm down and get a grasp at just what happened.

My dad soon got up to get ready for work and the sun was just coming up. I felt it was safe to get some sleep. I noticed the can of deodorant was on the floor, something was in my room. The radio was just tuning off and I could still feel the dampness of my sweat on the sheets.

I went to sleep and when I got up around noon, I told my mom of this and said I would never sleep in that room again. She though I was being silly and just had a bad dream. I do not have nor ever had a dream like that. That was real.

It was years later when I read the book Communion about alien intervention. The authors experience told of aliens coming into his house and could not move, much like my experience. But with the alien encounter you usually don't remember what they do to you when they take you. I had to wonder if that happened to me. It was explained so closely to my experience.

I was considering hypnosis, but never did. Then a couple years later I heard of professionals calling it sleep paralysis. You are caught in-between sleeping and awake stage. You are awake and yet you can't move, and it feels like the old hag syndrome.

This may be, but I believe mine was real. I do believe in entities and they do roam, they just passed my way that night. Some people have reoccurrences over their life time. I have never experienced it since and God willing, I never will. It was my worst nightmare. I thought I was going to die that night.

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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, mulder81, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Lucid (1 posts)
13 years ago (2009-09-09)
I had one of these experiences, only where mine differed from most were that: I was wide awake when it happened, I was not paralyzed, I was able to move freely, I didn't feel any weight on my chest and had no difficulty breathing.

I did experience the exact same visual and auditory phenomena though. I heard footsteps coming down my stairs first. It made all the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I just felt like I wasn't alone. I looked in that direction, and saw a dark form, it just looked like a glob without and general shape. I guess a "cloud" or "wisp", which I have heard it described as would fit. It was so dark that it even stood out in a pretty dark room. This thing was orbing it's way toward me, not moving. It went from the middle of the stairs, to the bottom, then was in front of a coat rack in the corner of the room, and then at my feet. I'm still not completely terrified because I think it could just be my eyes playing tricks on me combined with some creaking stairs. That was, until "it" happened.

I saw a very old person (couldn't tell if it was male or female) hovering over me, with long, scraggly hair, and long sharp fingernails on it's hands, which were extended toward me. All I could see was a head and hands, nothing else. It had a REALLY mean look on it's face that haunts me until this day. It wasn't a solid figure, it looked more like what a mirage is described as, or perhaps a hologram. I pulled the covers up over my head and prayed, making a cross with my fingers across my chest. When I looked again, it was gone. When I reached to turn a light on I was afraid of what I might find, but there was nothing there. I've never seen it since. This was several years ago now.

I'd never even heard of this phenomena until looking on the net to see if others have had this experience, and when I saw all these other (nearly identical) accounts, it was creepy, and convinces me there is more to it than a sleeping disorder. I believe these "things", whatever they are, are very real. The fact that I was neither asleep, nor paralyzed also rules out sleep paralysis as a viable explanation in my case.
missycaro (1 posts)
13 years ago (2009-03-07)
I have had these type experiences a little here and there. My scariest ones involved a spinning steak knife above my ankle. My neck being twisted. Also a black smoke or cloud going in and out of my body. All the while my daughter slept right next to me. I was afraid it was going to go through her and I wanted to cover her with the blanket. Still I couldn't move and it hurt me to watch it glide around me so close to her. I don't know why this happens, but I know that when it does. It can be very frightening. Sometimes I am not so scared and able to just pass out. Even sleeping through it, kinda... I haven't actually seen an "old hag". I have seen a man in a military uniform choking me. A dark haired woman in white. Who although scary was still beautiful. She had her hand on my arm and I could not scream or move. As soon as I could I ran down stairs to my boyfriend. I miscarried our baby after that. Which I associated to "it" being an angel coming to take the baby. I was 4mths pregnant at the time: (I think the angel thought made me feel better about it. Still I have not seen an "old hag". I hope I never do cause that sounds so scary.
bevega1984 (1 stories) (6 posts)
13 years ago (2009-01-09)
This was much similar to the experience that I had. But there was a major difference. The first time it happened I was 5. There wasn't much stress level at that age to say I was only stressed out. The second time it happened I was able to flutter my eyes open and it's amazing that you saw this black cloud or mist also. I thought that may have been my imagination, but when I was paralyzed I was able to open my eyes in fluttering motion and I could see a swirl of blackness spinning above me in the air. But, I also saw a white mist and felt the impression that there was two separate elements. As if one was trying to do harm while the other was trying to protect. Another time as I was paralyzed I also got flashes of images of my college dorm hallway and then a young teenage boy in front of my mirror staring towards the mirror with no reflection. I don't believe in the sleep paralysis theory or stress. It is paranormal.
Wolverine76 (1 posts)
14 years ago (2008-11-09)
So you call it "the old hag syndrom"? This has happened to me many times about 7 years ago but not as violent as mulder81. Sleep paralysis. From my experience I don't think it's supernatural. Maybe some people will experience this thing when they are very stressed because I noticed that's what I was when I experienced this thing. I felt that I couldn't move, my chest felt heavy and a strong fear or panic overwhelm me. I felt something maybe spirit was flying around in my room but I never saw it just the feeling even if I could see my room. I tried to pray but I couldn't. Suddenly I can move my fingers and the rest of the body. From my experience with my own theory I think your brain is playing trick on you when you get very stressed before you go to bed. I noticed this experience thing will get over fast when you don't panic. Keep calm and it will be over very very soon 😉
ghostseer (41 stories) (408 posts)
14 years ago (2008-11-07)
Hmmm...I have had something similar happen, I was a child, but one of my Guardians removed it almost the second it touched me. I encourage you to build your spiritual side up. This is the power of Prayer. It truly works, but you have to do it regularly. I doubt you will experience it again, but you might as well become prepared, and armed with knowledge what to do, instead of giving in to fear. When you give in to fear-they/it...wins. Blessings, Ghostseer
Nexus997 (2 stories) (8 posts)
14 years ago (2008-11-06)
this has happened to me as well but not as violent as yours so I know exactly how you feel

It is definetly not sleep paralysis as far as I can tell

God bless you 😊

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