(Illustrated by Édouard de Beaumont, 1871)

"One, two, Freddy's coming for you.
Three, four, better lock your door.
Five, six, grab a crucifix.
Seven, eight, gonna stay up late.
Nine, ten, never sleep again."

—A Nightmare on Elmstreet, Wes Craven

The Gathering of One Hundred Supernatural Tales. Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (百物語怪談会). During the Edo period of Japan (1603-1868) this was a game that pertained to the sharing of ghostly tales (played only during a particularly dark night). At the start of the game you would light 100 lanterns (or candles) and in the center of the room you lay a mirror flat on a table, reflecting upward. One by one, a story is told and someone is sent to extinguish a lantern, then look into the mirror. Slowly but surely, with each tale ending a lantern is blown out and the room grows darker and darker. Superstitiously alleged that by the loss of the last lantern, a connection with the spirit world would be at a point where an individual would see something unworldly in the reflection of the mirror. Some believing it would result in the summoning of some malevolent spirit.

Chances are, like most people and especially if you happen to be reading this text, you are more than likely fond of a good “Ghost Story”. The exchange of haunting stories has been referred to as a “pleasant fear” by many throughout the ages. They intrigue and entertain, but more importantly they propose the question, “what if?” which leaves many wondering at the end of a gruesome tale, could this/does this really happen?

There is of course, another possible reason behind why people tell/told frightening stories and that was getting people to do or not do certain things, out of fear. From the Middle English word ‘bogge’, came the word bogey which meant “something frightening” or “scarecrow” (alternatively, some believe the word’s origin goes back much further linking to a myriad of dark and monstrous creatures). The word “bogus” is believed by some to have possible ties to this word origin also, in that bogus means something counterfeit or false.

Stories of monstrous creatures the likes of the Boogeyman, Sack Man (El Hombre Del Saco), the child eating Lamia, were/are very useful in deterring otherwise overly confident or curious children from going off on their own and exposing themselves to isolated situations, where real dangers may have found them. A sort of psychological, unseen “scarecrow” to keep them in check.

However, the fear of having your child abducted by some dark and ethereal force is by no means a rare or new concept. In several cultures around the world it is a superstitious tradition to call babies “ugly” or even pretend (or actually) spit at them to create the illusion that the infant is disliked, unloved and unappealing. Because it’s said that either the Devil or various dark spirits/entities will claim your child if it’s perceived to be particularly charming. This custom is most prevalent in Bulgaria and Thailand.

Many cultures have stories surrounding abduction, most of which specifically describe the abduction of children. Some Judeo-Christian sects have superstitions involving Lilith (succubus) abducting newborn babies (some sources suggest only male) during the night. Suggesting she either raises them as her own, or more commonly, eats the children or drinks their blood to absorb their life-force. This superstition led to the use of silver pendants given to newborns to ward off the demon/succubus from abducting them.

Throughout most world mythology, you will find stories/legends surrounding mortals being taken against their will, by monstrous or “divine” beings. Qalupalik, of Inuit mythology, the sea-dwelling humanoid creature that abducts lone children. Even throughout the Greek Mythos the gods often abducted mortals when are where they chose. For various (often nefarious) purposes. Ganymedes abducted by Zeus (in the form of an eagle) to serve as cup-bearer in Olympus. Persephone abducted by Hades, dragged to the underworld where he made her his wife.

The mythological abduction trope is so prevalent it led to the short book titled, ‘Supernatural Abductions in Japanese Folklore’, by Carmen Blacker, 1967. It was a relatively common belief that unforeseen entities or gods wanted to abduct lone individuals, again, particularly young boys.

Stepping aside from the stories and superstitions however, are the experiences of paranormal abduction. One particularly interesting account outlined in ‘Alien Abductions: A Return to the Medieval’, written by Anthony Enns, 1999:

“In 1645 a Cornish teenager named Anne Jeffries was found unconscious. When she was revived, she said that she had been assaulted by “little men.” She had been unable to move as they took her up to their “castle in the air,” where they molested her and then sent her home. She referred to these men as “fairies,” and they continued to assault her regularly for a year until she was arrested for witchcraft.”

This story, like the many others scattered throughout history and virtually all cultures isn’t unique. Contrary to what many believe, the abduction story didn’t begin in the United States after or during the Roswell era. But before you take that as evidence that something unworldly has long interfered with mankind, you should know that ‘abduction’, being taken against your will, is an extremely common theme in nightmares. Particularly, in the spectrum of Sleep Paralysis Disorder (Old Hag Syndrome). This type of dreaming can be associated with Lucid Dreaming, a form of dreaming during a state of deep sleep where a dreamer attains an unusual level of mental consciousness. Argued by some to be a state where the dream can be perceived as reality.

Excerpt from a book I wrote about dream interpretation called ENCYCLOPÆDIA SOMNIUM, The Book of Dreams:

“This type of nightmare [Abduction] is extremely common, especially among children (being lost/taken from the safety of their parental guardians). Like most nightmares it occurs during a time of psychological vulnerability. The details of the abduction however, can be extremely varied from dreamer to dreamer. There are many reoccurring tropes, such as alien abductions, the more commonly depicted in film/television the more likely to assist in the creation of the dream scenario. An abduction in itself is a situation where the victim experiences a total lack of control.

They are overpowered and then taken/abducted from a place they consider safe and transported to somewhere unknown/negative. Many dreamers have said that their experience of abduction in dreams highlights the struggle, the fear of being taken, but very few dream as far as seeing the destination or learn the purpose behind this abduction. This is usually because it’s common that unpleasant dreams or nightmares can cause the dreamer to resist earlier on and regain consciousness than a more pleasing dream (unless during Sleep Paralysis Disorder).

This act of being overpowered and controlled can be a direct manifestation of those feelings in the dreamer’s day to day life. It can represent a feeling of a total lack of control over the dreamer’s life, or a specific element of his/her life. It can also be a manifestation of repressed sexual desires. By that same logic, witnessing someone else being abducted can represent a feeling of being incapable/unable to help someone else with seemingly overwhelming problems.

Unfortunately, sleep paralysis disorder, along with nightmares in general are believed to more commonly afflict people who are stressed, anxious or suffer from various mental illnesses. The concept of unworldly abduction and “interference” could be something that has existed psychologically with mankind for thousands of years. The ancient interpretation of Succubi and Incubi, demons that forced themselves (sexually) on sleeping mortals could be correlated with today’s alien abductions (especially those involving “probing”).

One of the earliest recorded mentions of a succubus appears in a text titled the ‘Sumerian King List’, from Ancient Mesopotamia, dated around 2400 BC.

In regards to something as bizarre as paranormal abduction, especially if you were taken from your bed, possibly even during your sleep, would you believe your own senses and immediately assume what you were experiencing was reality? Or the product of some dream-state? How would you feel about it a day or a week, a year later? Would you tell people or keep it to yourself?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information: “Aggregating across studies (total N = 36533), 7.6% of the general population, 28.3% of students, and 31.9% of psychiatric patients experienced at least one episode of sleep paralysis. Of the psychiatric patients with panic disorder, 34.6% reported lifetime sleep paralysis. Results also suggested that minorities experience lifetime sleep paralysis at higher rates than Caucasians.”

Whatever you personally define paranormal abduction as, myth, hallucination or reality, those that do experience it, explain it to be nothing short of absolutely terrifying. Some women have said that the pain experienced during sleep paralysis disorder makes childbirth pale in comparison. Individuals have cracked teeth gritting their jaws during sleep paralysis, fingernails have punctured palms as fists have been clenched. People have awoken with muscle pain from the straining of their body during experiences of this phenomenon. Not to mention cases where individuals have been found with unusual markings on their body and even in rare cases, particles (some claimed to be unknown metals, no substantial proof of this) discovered inside body-parts.

In closing, the question is not “is this real?” because to you or I, if (or when) it happens to us, the experience is essentially real. During that moment, despite your better judgement you may completely succumb to the belief that what you are experiencing is real. Something strange and terrifying is happening. Afterwards you may rationalize it in various different ways. The question is, what is the source of this strange and terrifying experience? Is it a merely a common defect we’re all capable of producing/experiencing in our brains in a state of sleep and some do? Or could there actually be mysterious “beings” that have been preying on our species (and others) since the dawn of time? Thus the constant reflection of it in art, stories, myths, legends, folklore and even today in the most refined concept of the technologically advanced extraterrestrial.

5 thoughts on “ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴀʀᴋ HISTORY ᴏғ PARANORMAL ABDUCTION

  1. I have only had one experience of the “Old Hag” syndrome, so I fit the statistics of your post. My dreams are somewhat odd in which my brain telling me to get up when I’m asleep, almost like I’m half awake most of the time. I never really had any bad nightmares. But as to why this happens to people, or who is at work here? That I can’t answer. I honestly think when our brains are resting it makes up a bunch of crap to make our sleep enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there is some truth to the concept of our dreams being a window into our subconscious. I don’t dream consistently, I’ve also experienced sleep paralysis disorder. When I awoke from the experience, I was convinced someone had just tried to murder me in my sleep. I searched the house for an assailant, that’s how real the experience was “in the moment”. It’s easy for me to trivialize it now, years later, but it was definitely a horrific terrifying experience at the time. Makes you wonder how sure you can be of anything, if your own brain is capable of deceiving you so well. Maybe it’s as simple as waking during the deep sleep state, unable to move so your brain creates a story to explain the paralysis, which is someone/something restraining you against your will. Or maybe there’s much more to it than that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is a really good theory. I think if your brain didn’t have a reason for why your body is stuck in that situation, it would create a paradox where something Holy Unbelievable would happen because we are just naturally logical thinkers and we have to have an explanation for everything. What you described in your experience, seems absolutely terrifying, I do hope you are having good dreams now and it’s not an ongoing thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It could be a lot like pareidolia, the tendency to interpret the vaguest of configurations into faces and recognizable constructs. You spend enough time looking at a cloud, you start to make something out of it. Even someone that isn’t familiar with this : D representing a sideways wide-mouthed smiling face, could come to seeing it that way on their own. Another outside influence that effects many dreams/nightmares and bouts of sleep paralysis is an ominous red light. Which could be an actual visual influence of the common red standby light on most TV’s people have, usually somewhere clearly displayed in the bedrooms. Maybe it leaves a mental image due to it being the last thing seen, or even during sleep the eyes open slightly to interpret the surroundings. My experience with sleep paralysis came at a very strange time, I was experiencing a string of bizarre events. Luckily, I haven’t experienced anything like it since, touch wood.


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