Frozen nightmares

The Devil in the Room is a fantastic short film about the experience of hallucinatory sleep paralysis – a common experience that has been widely mythologised around the world.

Sleep paralysis is the experience of being unable to move during the process of waking – when you have regained consciousness but you’re brain has not re-engaged your ability to control your muscles.

The reason the experience has been widely associated with mythological creatures is because in some people it can lead to intense emotions and hallucinations.

The name ‘sleep paralysis’ is a bit confusing because this also refers to normal sleep paralysis – where your brain disengages control of your muscles during REM sleep to stop you ‘acting out’ your dreams.

The film is part of the Sleep Paralysis Project, which has much more about the experience on their website.

Link to ‘Devil in the Room’ on vimeo.


  1. Posted March 18, 2014 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    I have had sleep paralysis for many many years. It’s terrifying waking up and seeing people who aren’t there, or seeing phenomena that isn’t real.

  2. Chris
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    I have been having this happen to me since I was 15 I am now 52. No doctor I ever went to has known about sleep paralysis as in what we experience. To hear of other people experience this via the internet was incredible. They called it Exploding Head Syndrome. So to read about it on the Sleep Paralysis Project site was (I can’t actually think of a word to describe my feelings), it was just very emotional for me. To actually read that there has been case studies and there actually is people who are interested in finding out the reason why it happens is incredible. I have learned to live with it and I don’t let it bother me too much. It is definitely related to sleep disruption. I don’t get feelings of being crushed, weighed down, breathing problems or external demons as such. Mine is more of a hallucination in the form of a dream and sometimes nightmare and then a lot, I mean a lot of very loud white noise when I wake from the hallucination…but I am paralysed. The noise is unbearable. Trying to relax and go with it is impossible so therefore the only option for me is to try and make a noise to wake my husband so he can shake me. I can usually get out the words ” help me” (huge effort though, and very stressful at the time). That is one thing I have noticed is not mentioned on the Sleep Paralysis Project site, that is the noise that I and a lot of other people experience.

  3. Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    This is wonderful. The first time I experienced sleep paralysis I was absolutely terrified and convinced that I might very well be insane. I was so scared that I did not share my experiences with anyone for almost 20 years. Finally, whilst surfing the net one day, I read about the phenomenon. The relief in knowing that this was an actual “thing” and that I was not CRAZY was palpable. Knowledge truly is power.

  4. Posted April 6, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I wonder what the mechanism is that causes some people to experience the more hallucinatory and emotional effects from sleep paralysis. I’ve experienced sleep paralysis before but for me it was just about 10 seconds after waking that I couldn’t move, after which it wore off, I’d never heard of the hallucinatory version before. Interesting stuff :)

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 22,515 other followers