Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 12:52:28 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ben Porter
Subject: old hags and other weird occurences

Dear Krickette:

I found my way to your web site today and was reading the section on shadow people. One of the people who was sharing their story made a reference to the "old hag" phenomenon, otherwise known as a hypnogogic trance. I wanted to share some of my experiences, as well as my theories on apparition related phenomena.

My journey into the realm of the unusual began a few months ago when I took a reiki class. If you're unfamiliar with it, it is a form of energy healing that is widely practiced these days. The instructor did an exercise where she opened up our chakras, and informed us that it may increase our psychic sensitivity. I thought nothing of it at the time. Then a few nights later, I awoke to incoherent babbling seemingly right next to my ear and what felt like a 40 pound weight resting on my chest. I shot up and gasped for breath. It seemed as if I hadn't taken a breath for maybe 20 or 30 seconds. As I looked to the left of my bed I saw a brownish-black amorphous apparition moving away, which then went through the wall and disappeared. I was very shaken, and didn't sleep for most of the night.

A psychiatrist would say that what I experienced was a dream induced hallucination along with regaining consciousness while sleep paralysis was still in effect. I disagree. I've experienced awareness during paralysis before, and I was perfectly capable of breathing, and there were never any hallucinations. There was also a very distinct feeling of another being in the room when this last incident happened. In my opinion, the hypnogogic trance is a scientist's way of describing a potentially real phenomena that doesn't fit into their belief system.

Since that first incident, things are not the same for me anymore. I frequently have the feeling that something is in the room with me when alone in my house. I also frequently (almost nightly) find myself suddenly wide awake with the feeling that something is watching me from the opening of my closet. I know that sounds like something a toddler would tell his mother, but the fact is I haven't been afraid of the dark since I was 6 or 7 years old. Thinking back, I had similar experiences when I was a young child, but now they're not so much frightening as just plain strange (with the exception of my apparition experience). It can even be a little annoying sometimes. It's bad enough when someone is staring at you at all, but much worse when you can't even see them! I often wonder these days if young children can actually see things that adults can't, their perception uninfluenced by societal ideas of what is and isn't real. Perhaps that monster in the closet was always there, and at some point we all just chose to stop seeing him.

Ben Porter