I have a fear of heights.
I have since I was a kid.
I can't stand too close to the edge of anything higher than an easy jump.
I can't even comfortably look out the window of a tall building without getting a bit unnerved.
Standing on a ladder makes me quiver.
My mother once went to a psychic and showed her a picture of me. She said that in a previous life, I was a fighter pilot, shot down in World War 2.
That makes total sense.
When people ask me what I am afraid of, heights is what I tell them.
What I am about to divulge might destroy any shred of credibility I have built for myself over the years. It may seem far fetched and extravagant but it is simply the truth as it relates to my experiences.
I am afraid of sleep.
This may seem odd to those who know me well.
Jason you love sleep. You adore it. You embrace the opportunity to lay back, cuddle up under the warmth of a freshly washed quilt, rest your weary keppie on a cool pillow and gay shluffen.
Yes. This is true. I love sleep but I fear for the times when sleep takes me to a place that makes me feel vulnerable and unsafe. I fear the loss of control.
I fear the aliens.
*Needle of record player scratching vinyl.*
What are you, a fucking wackadoo?
No. I am no wackadoo and I know what I know.
It doesn't happen much but every few months, maybe once a year, I experience a terrifying out of body experience during sleep. I have heard the term "sleep paralysis" used to describe this but I am not sure that this is a diagnosis as much as it is a simple description of the symptoms.
This is what happens...
During the deepest part of my slumber, I become aware of my state of being. It is almost as if I am watching my self from above my bed. I can see myself. I can see my wife and through the darkness I can make out bits and pieces of my bedroom. The only thing is...
I can't move.
I can't move a muscle.
I am completely and utterly trapped inside my own dead shell.
I am dreaming but I am awake.
It is a helpless and terrifying feeling.
It is as if I were on a cold, sterile metal cart in the morgue, about to be sliced open by the mortician.
I try to scream.
I try to lift my arms.
I try with every ounce of strength to nudge my sleeping wife so she can jar me awake.
I count to three in my head and try to lunge my arm upward in a desperate but futile attempt to escape.
I hear my own cries; a flutter of crackling noise, barely audible.
I panic until the fear becomes unbearable. It seems hopeless, as if I will never be free from the grips of my nightmare.
Then my wife. My sweet wife rescues me. She knows I am struggling. She knows I am trapped. She's been here before with me. She knows what it takes to bring me back.
This has happened so many times during our years together that she is fully aware of my level of discomfort.
We have talked at length about the experience I have. We have even gone so far as to talk about what she needs to do if she becomes aware of this situation developing.
She knows first to firmly nudge me. She knows to then talk to me in a loud voice in order to startle me. If this doesn't work, she knows that she must forcefully slap me in the face, repeatedly if I don't respond to the previous tactics.
This must happen quickly. Every second is important.
I know this seems bizarre but it is true and it is serious to me. As serious as a heart attack.
When I finally awaken, I ask her if I was moving and she says yes.
I ask her if I was saying anything and she tells me that it was as if I was crying for help.
This is exactly what I feel. It is exactly what I see.
About 12 years ago, before my wife and I had our first child, I had experienced one of these episodes of sleep paralysis. We were living in an apartment at the time. This particular episode was different.
During my paralysis, I became aware of another presence.
I was not alone.
As I lay in bed, watching my nightmare unfold, there appeared a long, thin, deformed, black figure in the doorway to my bedroom. It slowly approached the foot of my bed. I tried furiously to shock myself awake but to no avail. Frozen in terror I felt my will turn over to the darkness.
I stared at the black figure and tried to make out the details of its face. They seemed blurry and unrecognizable.
The figure reached toward me and placed its hand on my leg. I felt the pressure of its grip. It did not hurt but it made me feel powerless.
Then without any noticeable passage of time, it was gone.
Like so many times before, my wife finally succeeded in waking me up.
I paused for a moment to gather my thoughts.
The picture of the faceless being that had just violated my home was burned into my brain. The experience left me rattled and shaken.
The next day, I approached a co-worker about the experience and told him what had happened. He told me that he had gone through a similar experience. He explained to me that he had read a book that told of numerous first hand accounts involving alien contact and even abduction. He mentioned that there was a passage in the book that explained one particular circumstance that abductees had in common. The so called, "sleep paralysis".
Instead of giving me a sense of relief that others shared in my experience, it made me even more frightened.
Why is this happening to me?
How did they find me?
What have they taken from me?
Will it happen again?
Over the years, I have had several other episodes of sleep paralysis.
I have not seen the dark, alien figure since that night.
I do not know if the two things were related or if they were even real.
But I am afraid to go to sleep.
I believe we are not alone.
I pray to God that the aliens do not read my blog...