Horrifying new documentary about sleep paralysis from the director of Room 237


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I find the topic of sleep paralysis very interesting - the long, documented history of these experiences, the potential explanation of various “alien abduction” experiences, the ability of researchers to induce similar experiences through exposure to magnetic fields - it’s all very interesting. I started doing a little research in the topic when I experienced an episode myself, though I have never experienced another. I’m interested in this movie though.

I experienced sleep paralysis a few times when I was younger. It was a very strange sensation.

Each time it occurred when I was napping mid-day, lying on my back. I woke up and could hear everything going on around me, but I couldn’t move any part of my body, including even opening my eyes or making any kind of sound. I don’t remember if I was still sleep-groggy or what, but after a short while I fell back asleep, and later woke up normally.

Haven’t had it happen in decades.

Having been through it personally I think I’d find this fascinating but also difficult to watch. After all a film–admittedly a horror film, not a documentary–was incorporated into the most horrifying sleep paralysis experiences of my childhood.

I had this a few times when I was about 10-12. It was never quite “aliens”, but just something non-specific and horrifying. For a long time after, the notion of alien abduction was particularly frightening to me, probably as late as about 15 or 16 and had always bothered me a bit. Eventually, though, it wore off and when I finally heard the sleep paralysis-as-alien abduction theory, that nagging but irrational fear finally washed away.

I find this sad, because I suffer(ed) from SP, and i loathed Room 237. I love Kubrick’s movies and enjoy conspiracy ranting, but like my first exposure to David Icke videos, the reality is sadder and duller than my fantasy awesome universe run by lizard people.

I don’t know if I’d give the filmmaker another shot.


That’s odd, the few times i’ve experianced it was also during midday naps. I had the distinct feeling someone was sitting next to me on the bed. It was quite unnerving, to the point that i gave up napping during the day. I’ m still hesitant about that even though it has not happened in a few years.

I did experience sleep paralysis a least once (that is, I had one episode that I clearly remember), but to this day it’s hard for me to know that it actually is what it seems to be: awake but paralyzed. Thinking about it over and over the next few days (and even now) it seemed it could just be a particular type of dreaming.

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This condition happens to me, and has since my freshman year in college, whenever I become greatly fatigued over a several day period. The first couple of times were quite alarming, but now it’s just another “thing”. I discovered that I was able to, with great effort, make slight gurgling/grunting noises and if someone touched me in this state the paralysis ended immediately just as if a “spell” were broken.

Right there with you. Some of the coolest moments of my life have been when I’ve been in long term relationships and told the other person “If you ever hear me breathing rapidly and forcefully in my sleep, just nudge me”.
I don’t breathe rapidly due to struggling from being “locked in”… quite the opposite.
Since I’ve dealt with this for over 40 years I’ve experimented and played with it quite a bit.
So now, if I know someone is next to me who is aware of the condition… I’ll start breathing this way intentionally, totally aware of what I’m doing, as a way of getting her attention. She nudges me and I wake up, sparing me the effort (always takes 3 attempts If I have to do it) of waking myself.
So why is this so cool? Because I realized after the first time I did it that I was actively communicating with someone who was on the other side of the “sleep wall” from me. Since I can’t speak or move, breathing was the one thing under my control and I have been able, many times, to use it request assistance from an awake person. :slight_smile:


Agreed. My feelings about Kubrick and Room 237 are identical to yours.
And, as someone with extensive experience with this phenomena for decades, I spoke with the director a few times via FB messaging. It was fairly clear that he wasn’t as interested in people who have figured out for themselves the dynamics of the condition/experience, but rather those who are steeped in the “terror” of it… especially those with little experience or isolated episodes.

I was afraid from around 7-16, but once I realized I wasn’t suffocating, no one else was in the room, the sounds were all in my head and all I had to do was get my body to move the slightest bit to wake up… it became a platform for experimentation and understanding. Now it isn’t scary, it’s just daunting… because it tends to happen when I’m the most exhausted and requires an incredible effort to snap myself out of.

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Oh, I was afraid of just this. Many people did enjoy the presentation of Room 237, and doubtless that they’ll appreciate this “documentary” as well. Sounds like it has little to offer me as well.

I also had it happen a few times when I was younger, but it’s been at least 15 years since the last one. Fortunately, I already had some experience with psychedelics, so my first reaction, even before I found out what it was, was to think it was a brain glitch, not an alien abduction.

I have been awake but paralysed. It was very disconcerting. It used to upset me until I understood it. I always felt a strong internal struggle, of trying to move, to speak, anything. It should be an interesting film to watch. I still sleep with my eyes open, or half-lidded, but the waking paralysis is rare.

Oh man, I submited my accounts of sleep paralysis to Ascher when he first started working on this. Sleep paralysis is bonkers. I haven’t had an episode in a long while, which is a little disappointing. I’ve been aware of details of it since I was about 12 or 13 thanks to an awesome skeptical teacher. So for a long time I’ve found them more interesting/entertaining than frightening. In hindsight anyway. In the moment its the most completely terrifying experience I’ve ever had. I’ve actually pissed myself in terror during one, no exaggeration. As embarrassing as that is. I’ve definitely experience the vague shadow guy (or people more often) the people in the trailer see. But I’ve also experience far more vivid hallucinations including hot winds or breath. Hot enough that I thought my hair was being singed. I experienced my friends hair cut murdering me (while my friend as a separate entity stood by and laughed). I’ve seen giant faces press down from the ceiling, shrieking threats and demands. Crazy shit. But mostly I tend to see something that’s a bit of a variation of the shadow man. But thinner, narrower and more hunched over. With spikes or projections that follow its joints and curves, so you can only really see it as it moves and breaths. Gettin all spikey and weird as it hides in dark corners. Slight bits of light coming through gaps in its creepy spiky bits. I remember seeing The Ghost of a Flea for the first time and freaking out just a little bit. I’ve seen that thing. It hangs out with the black spiky thing. And its a little too interested in me.

One of my favorite things about sleep paralysis/waking dreams is that you can induce them in others. Actually cause another person to experience it. If you get a person in a position of authority (like say a documentary film maker, documentary subject, or last time I experienced this a University professor at a lecture). That person describes the experience of sleep paralysis in minute detail. Using visceral, emotionally affecting language. Its icing on the cake if they actually point out that your more likely (even better if they say certain) to experience it after listening to them. Boom a certain percentage of the audience group will have a sleep paralysis episode withing a given time frame. Usually a week or so. I’ve known a few psych professors, high school teachers, and one UFO researchers who get a kick out of this and have actually tracked it. IIRC there are some studies that at least toy with it. Sleep Paralysis seems to have some connection to suggestibility.

SO if you watched this trailer. And especially if you read the comments after. You will. With one hundred percent certainty. Have an episode of sleep paralysis within the next ten days. Even if you’ve never experienced it before. Its unavoidable.

No need to worry then, that’s just old Slenderman. He’s a sweetheart.

We’ll see…

Nah Slenderman just reminds me of that one episode of Dr. Who. The spiky dude looks a bit more like an early 90’s witness illustration of the Chupacabra. But 6 foot tall and faceless. And less Hydro-cephalic. Its times like these I wish I could draw worth a damn. I think the best I can come up with is maybe the Alien from the first Alien movie. Except its head is humanoid. And its covered in spikes. But you can only see those spikes when it bends. And it doesn’t flex, or move, or mechanically operate around joints. It fucking bends. Its freaky.

In terms of the rest: With any luck. It really is much more frightening, fascinating, and just plain crazy; than any horror movie, roller coaster, or haunted house you can imagine. I’ve managed to time a few of them. It seems like it takes hours. And your rational mind sort of cuts in and out. So you’ll “wake up” stuck to the bed. Looking around. Grow increasingly terrified. Then suddenly get just enough perspective to think “hey I’m getting that sweet, sweet, sleep paralysis. If I can move my left hand I’ll wake up and be cool”. So you focus on that left hand. And you’ll get lost in it for just a bit.

And that’s when you look to your right. And all your friends are there. But they’re just a little blurry, you can’t quite make out their faces. But those faces you can’t quite make out are kind of sinister. Like at first you were pretty glad to see those guys. But after you look for a while you’re not so sure. But you remember there was some thing to your left.

And holy shit this is sleep paralysis. You’re sweating, and your heart is beating. But if you breath a bit you can just focus enough to wiggle your big toe. And success you done wiggled your big toe. You shake it off wake up totally. Get up, shaken but fine and have a drink. Water, maybe scotch if it was bad. Take a seat. Read a bit of Boing Boing Maybe. Your heart is racing and you just need to calm down so you can sleep.

Guess what?! All a dream. Your actually still in bed. And the realization is just that quick. Snap of the fingers = still immobile in bed. Weren’t you about to look to your left.

Listen this is all very confusing and you’re very frightened. And you can’t quite move anything but your eyes. But can you move your eyes? Not really! But maybe. You don’t know. One minute you are absolutely sure they’re open. And the next they’ve been closed this whole time. Weren’t you thinking about looking left.

And there it is. On the left. Its tucked into a little pocket by the closet door. You can’t tell what it is. But its dark. And blurry. It’s kind of shifting and moving,

And it wants you. Not that way. No. Its a sinister kind of want. It wants to hurt you. But its just standing there and watching. Its going to kind of sit there and undulate. Maybe its standing tall, and marching out with purpose. Violent purpose. But you can’t really tell. It might just be lingering in the corner. Thinking. Intending. Just about to do something. You don’t know what. Its just justing. And its got some sort of intention. Its got a goal. And you’re involved. Its over there. Black. Blury. Pulsating. And its got a goal for you.

And this keeps going. Like I said for hours. Over and over. You get it together just enough to wake up, move around, read a bit. Maybe have a sandwich. Only to realize you’re actually still in bed. And there’s that thing. Always the thing. Once you realize you’re trapped it starts to seem like that thing there. The nasty black, blurry thing. It was watching you while you thought you were up and around. This whole time. Maybe it was there before you went to sleep. Maybe you never went to sleep. Maybe its always been there. And just when you feel at your worst. You can barely breath your so terrified of this thing. That black, twitchy, watching thing. At a certain point you aren’t concerned with all the shadowy figures standing around you. Or you look up and see an angry screaming face pressing down from the ceiling, and take it in stride. Some one is yelling. Shouting. Screaming. And it all doesn’t matter. Cause there is still that little, or not so little, and did it ever seem that little. Spiky, black, writhing thing. Standing there. Over by the closet. Or in the corner. Or was it on the ceiling? You’re not sure but you don’t like the look of it and its right there.

AND THEN GOD COCK SHIT BALLS. You are actually, really, really, actually wake up. With a fucking scream and a deep breath. Maybe a couple more screams. Pinch yourself. Your awake. Really. You check all those corners. Breath deep. Breath deep.

Personally I’ve never been so relieved and shaken in my life. I’m shaking just a little bit every time I try to recount, or convey what its like. And when I finish out my timing its like 4 minutes. Seriously. I ran a stop watch a few times. Start when I go to sleep. Stop when I stop having heart palpitations.

So now. If you read this you are 100% certain to experience sleep paralysis withing 10 days! Money back guarantee!

Personally I’m in the middle (I guess, don’t think its ending soon) of one of the worst Insomnia bouts I’ve had in years. I’ve got various sleep disturbances. Insomnia is at the root. And a bad no sleep jag like this plus watching this trailer, and all the discussion of the subject here? That means I’'m 100% certain I’ll be getting my first sleep paralysis episode in years within a month or two. I can smell it.

And it doesn’t really matter if I tell you that at least some of this account is designed to try and induce a sleep paralysis episode in anyone who reads it. It doesn’t really matter that I’ve tried this here before. Or at other forums. The idea is in your head now. I don’t even need to have be grammatically correct.

So whatever exaggerations you may suspect I’ve made (few at best). Know this. I’ve at best slept 4 hours a night over the past 3 nights. I’ll definitely be seeing that spiky black thing some time soon. And I’m a little excited. And certainly afraid. I know he’s got something he wants. Something he’s got to do. And that thing is not good for me. But I’ve not seen him for a while. It’s better to see him than not sleep at all.

A good lot of you won’t see him tonight. Fewer won’t see him in the next few weeks. And so on. And while its entirely possible that you yourself sir will never see him, more of the people around you will than you ever expected.

And its all down to that idea of sleep paralysis. As your drifting off to sleep. You’ll think of that thing. And things will get weird. And pulsate a bit. And next thing you know you won’t be able to move. Or will you. Or can you. You’re eyes are going but are they actually open. Its right up in there. While you’re drifting off the idea of it. That it can happen. And it can bring all sorts of things round while your not looking.

And there will be some sort of shadowy black thing. And you’ll forget that you were warned.

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“UFO researchers” have a strong correlation to suggestibility?!! Pull the other one.

I have suffered from sleep paralysis and other parasomnias my entire life. I am 52. Sometimes my paralysis hallucinations include giant leeches and bat children. Thank God this documentary was made.

I get this all the time. I suspect that it’s some chemical trigger of the brain’s “fear center,” rather than anything psychological, because none of the things that terrify me in SP bother me at all in waking life. Not that I’m exposed to a lot of nebulous extradimensional entities when I’m awake (as far as I know,) but the irrationality and primality of the fear suggests deep down lizard-brain business.