Sleep Paralysis and Extraordinary Experiences
Keywords:sleep paralysis, paranormal beliefs, absorption, paranormal experiences, hallucinations, REM sleep, anomalous experience
We investigated sleep paralysis (SP) with an online questionnaire. Our sample consisted of 380 participants who experienced at least one SP. In this paper, we present the relation of SP to extraordinary experiences, paranormal beliefs, and absorption. We used a German questionnaire, Fragebogen zur Phänomenologie außergewöhnlicher Erfahrungen (PAGE-R-II), to assess the extent to which people with SP have had other extraordinary experiences, a German translation of the Belief in the Supernatural Scale (BitSS), and a German version of the Tellegen Absorption Scale (TAS). Our hypotheses regarding a positive correlation between the frequency of SP and certain forms of extraordinary experiences, paranomal/ supernatural beliefs, and absorption were only partially confirmed. We found an expected significant correlation between the frequency of SP and the expression on the PAGE dimensions “Dissociation” and “External,” but not between SP frequency and the other scales. The group (55%) reporting paranormal experiences during SP had highly significant higher mean scores on the PAGE, BitSS, and TAS. There were also significant correlations between the applied scales and specific hallucinatory perceptions and emotions, which leads us to believe that two main types of experiencing SP may exist: one mainly connected with typical negative emotions and a more external focus of experience, and another characterized by positive emotions and more internally experienced perceptions. This hypothesis requires further investigations.
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