Out of the blue.

#1
Has anyone had weird experiences ( like sleep paralysis and such ) while being an atheist/materialist or not believing in ghosts, reincarnation, reading spiritual books, ect?
Because a long time ago, I believed in an afterlife, due to what my parents told me ( I still do, due to some of the evidence now ), but I didn't believe in ghosts, read spiritual books, reincarnation, and other 'supernatural' things at all.
And I'm asking because someone on the Internet said something like "If you believe in angels, ghosts, demons, read spiritual books or things like that, you're more likely to have SPs ( short for sleep paralysis )".
I started having rounds SPs out of the blue.
 
#2
I think I understand the reason why "someone on the internet said" - it's partly due to the debunking spin put out by some groups, in effect implying that most of what is considered paranormal is little more than wishful thinking. I don't think that's the case. What seems a fairer assessment is that people with no preconceived ideas do indeed have unusual and challenging experiences quite spontaneously. It is only in an attempt to understand them that various labels such as ghosts and so on are applied. One might say this is as much a matter of convenience as anything. If someone has an unusual experience, rather than describe it in great detail every time, it can be a useful shorthand to simply say "I saw a ghost" - or whatever is the appropriate term.

You are correct that sleep paralysis is one such example of an occurrence which takes place regardless of one's preconceptions. The problem really is that the conventional explanations tend to describe physically what takes place but offer little or nothing useful in explaining why it is perceived or experienced in the particular way that it is.
 
#3
Has anyone had weird experiences ( like sleep paralysis and such ) while being an atheist/materialist or not believing in ghosts, reincarnation, reading spiritual books, ect?
I feel I should answer this directly. At a stage in my life when I was an atheist with no interest in any of those those things outside the scientific mainstream, I experienced my first clearly-remembered sleep paralysis. So I can confirm that it is not dependent upon prior belief.

I don't have SP regularly, however I recall one such occurrence a number of years after the first. By that time I'd probably read all sorts of wide-ranging material. Nevertheless when I found myself paralysed I actually thought I was physically ill with some serious medical condition, but was unable to summon help. So my first thought was again a mainstream medical diagnosis. On that occasion there was also a somewhat commonly-reported 'dark shadow', a feeling of another presence in the room.
 
#4
I feel I should answer this directly. At a stage in my life when I was an atheist with no interest in any of those those things outside the scientific mainstream, I experienced my first clearly-remembered sleep paralysis. So I can confirm that it is not dependent upon prior belief.

I don't have SP regularly, however I recall one such occurrence a number of years after the first. By that time I'd probably read all sorts of wide-ranging material. Nevertheless when I found myself paralysed I actually thought I was physically ill with some serious medical condition, but was unable to summon help. So my first thought was again a mainstream medical diagnosis. On that occasion there was also a somewhat commonly-reported 'dark shadow', a feeling of another presence in the room.
Wow okay. Interesting. And yeah, I thought I was seriously ill too. Unable to call for help and move and such.
 
#5
I've had that horrible sensation of paralysis during sleep (and being somehow aware) and feeling that there was someone sitting on top of me, a most unpleasant experience, historically known as an incubus, I think. There is another word for it which escapes me....on the tip of my tongue

Do I think there was really an entity sitting on me ? I don't know but it felt quite real and it's happened twice. I certainly believe that spirits are present sometimes for whatever reason but I've never seen one, a clear image that is. I did see a "ghost" a few weeks ago, my wife also witnessed it

I was hall side of the kitchen and she was in the kitchen. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadow move across the hallway and go up the stairs. I went into the kitchen and said, so and so is back (our son) and she said "no he isn't he isn't coming back tonight"

I then opened the knife drawer (bit silly really) and took out a self defence weapon and went upstairs. I was as sure as I could be that someone was there, a burglar possibly but there was nobody. My wife heard someone going up the stairs and she was rather scared by it. It's never happened before. I wasn't drunk either but I know this happened. I know by my statement to my wife "our son is back" that I saw something but of course the sensible sceptics, Malf and Paul and Linda and her husband would have a mundane explanation.
 
#6
I've had that horrible sensation of paralysis during sleep (and being somehow aware) and feeling that there was someone sitting on top of me, a most unpleasant experience, historically known as an incubus, I think. There is another word for it which escapes me....on the tip of my tongue

Do I think there was really an entity sitting on me ? I don't know but it felt quite real and it's happened twice. I certainly believe that spirits are present sometimes for whatever reason but I've never seen one, a clear image that is. I did see a "ghost" a few weeks ago, my wife also witnessed it

I was hall side of the kitchen and she was in the kitchen. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadow move across the hallway and go up the stairs. I went into the kitchen and said, so and so is back (our son) and she said "no he isn't he isn't coming back tonight"

I then opened the knife drawer (bit silly really) and took out a self defence weapon and went upstairs. I was as sure as I could be that someone was there, a burglar possibly but there was nobody. My wife heard someone going up the stairs and she was rather scared by it. It's never happened before. I wasn't drunk either but I know this happened. I know by my statement to my wife "our son is back" that I saw something but of course the sensible sceptics, Malf and Paul and Linda and her husband would have a mundane explanation.
Oh my! That's REALLY interesting. And I agree, Malf, Paul, and the others would have a mundane explanation. And don't forget Kai.
 
#9
I just wanted to address again some thoughts raised by the OP. There's a hint that unusual experiences are often explained away as delusions of the "feeble minded", those dreamers who read fairy tales and live in a world of make believe themselves, almost. At least that's my paraphasing of what seems a view I come across in sceptic comments across the internet.

Currently I've been reading 'The Third Man Factor' by John Geiger which details examples of "sensed presences", a sense that there is an unseen being or person present, often in a helpful or supportive role. The context of these are important. Many of the examples in the book come from cases where people are in isolated or monotonous environments, such as polar or mountain regions. But also, the people who go to these environments are explorers, climbers, mountaineers, resilient and practical people. A quote from the book:

None of the reports involved schizophrenics or people with another psychosis. To the contrary, all came from “otherwise mentally normal, physically healthy individuals, many of them adventurous and of outstanding achievement.”

It's an interesting read as the author does not attempt to present any single explanation but considers many ideas from across a range of fields. Also some of the accounts of endurance and survival under extreme conditions make for gripping reading in their own right.
 
#10
I just wanted to address again some thoughts raised by the OP. There's a hint that unusual experiences are often explained away as delusions of the "feeble minded", those dreamers who read fairy tales and live in a world of make believe themselves, almost. At least that's my paraphasing of what seems a view I come across in sceptic comments across the internet.

Currently I've been reading 'The Third Man Factor' by John Geiger which details examples of "sensed presences", a sense that there is an unseen being or person present, often in a helpful or supportive role. The context of these are important. Many of the examples in the book come from cases where people are in isolated or monotonous environments, such as polar or mountain regions. But also, the people who go to these environments are explorers, climbers, mountaineers, resilient and practical people. A quote from the book:




"It's an interesting read as the author does not attempt to present any single explanation but considers many ideas from across a range of fields. Also some of the accounts of endurance and survival under extreme conditions make for gripping reading in their own right.
"

It is, Typoz and there is another similar book (by a woman) which I also have in my attic (the book not the woman unfortunately)

The early morning was perfectly still and silent. James Sevigny, a twenty-eight-year-old university student originally from Hanover, New Hampshire, and his friend Richard Whitmire set out to climb Deltaform, a mountain in the Canadian Rockies near Lake Louise, Alberta. They ascended an ice gully, or couloir, in bright late-winter light on April 1, 1983, roped together and using ice screws in their climb. Whitmire, a thirty-three-year-old from Bellingham, Washington, was in the lead and at one point cut some ice loose. He yelled a warning"Falling ice!"to Sevigny below. The ice catapulted safely past Sevigny, but was suddenly followed by the collapse of a snowfield above the couloir on the north face. A tremendous roar broke the silence, and the bright light was consumed by instant darkness. An avalanche swept the two men nearly two thousand feet to the base of Deltaform. Sevigny was unconscious almost from the moment the avalanche hit. Whitmire might have escaped had the pair not been roped together.

Sevigny regained consciousness, he guessed, an hour later. He was severely injured. His back was broken in two places. One arm was fractured, the other had severed nerves from a broken scapula and was hanging limply at his side. He had cracked ribs, torn ligaments on both knees, suffered internal bleeding, and his face, broken nose, broken teeth, and open wounds was a mess. He had no idea where he was and what had happened to him. At first he thought he might be in Nepal, where he had spent six months trekking a few years earlier. Sevigny had finished his master's degree and at the time of the accident was basically a "climbing bum," living out of his Volkswagen. It took a while for him to recognize the mountain, but gradually Sevigny remembered the climb, and struggled to his feet to look for his friend. Whitmire lay nearby, and from his misshapen body, it was clear he was dead. Sevigny lay down beside him, certain he would soon follow. "I figured that if I fell asleep, it would be the easiest way to go." He lay there for about twenty minutes. Shivers were gradually replaced by the sensation of warmth brought about by shock and hypothermia, and he began to doze off. He realized there was no vast gulf separating life and death, but rather a fine line, and at that moment, Sevigny thought it would be easier to cross that line than to struggle on.

He then felt a sudden, strange sensation of an invisible being very close at hand. "It was something I couldn't see but it was a physical presence." The presence communicated mentally, and its message was clear: "You can't give up, you have to try." It told me what to do. The only decision I had made at that point in time was to lie down next to Rick and to fall asleep and to accept death. That's the only decision I made. All decisions made subsequent to that were made by the presence. I was merely taking instructions. . . . I understood what it wanted me to do. It wanted me to live. The presence urged Sevigny to get up. It dispensed practical advice. It told him, for example, to follow the blood dripping from the tip of his nose as if it were an arrow pointing the way. As he walked, he kept breaking through the crust of the deep snow, and was almost unable to pull his feet back up because of his injuries. Part of the time he crawled. The presence, which stood behind his right shoulder, implored him to continue even when the struggle to survive seemed untenable. And when it fell silent, Sevigny still knew his companion was close at hand. Because of its enormous empathy, he thought of the presence as a woman. She accompanied Sevigny across the Valley of the Ten Peaks, to the camp he and Whitmire had started from earlier that day, a point where he hoped he could find food and warmth, and perhaps help. Such were his injuries that it took all day to make the crossing of about a mile, and his companion was with him every step of the way.


When he reached the camp, Sevigny could not crawl into his sleeping bag because his injuries were too severe, and he could not eat because his teeth were broken and his face was swollen. He could not even light the stove. He sat down and, from the position of the sun, realized it was late afternoon. He believed that in a couple of hours he would be dead, after all. "I recall knowing I was about to die, pathetically, in a fetal position in the snow." He had always felt that he might die while climbing, so it came as no real surprise, but he thought about how devastated his mother would be. Then, at once, he thought he heard some other voices, and called out for help. There was no response. It was at that moment that he felt the presence leave. "It was gone, there was nothing there, there was no presence. There was no one telling me to do anything and I could tell that it had left." For the first time since the avalanche, he was overwhelmed by a sense of loneliness:
What I thought then was I'm hallucinating, the presence knows I'm dead, and it has just given up on me. But as it turns out, those were people, and they did come up. One of them skied out and they flew me out that night in a helicopter. In fact, the presence had left because it knew I was safe.
..................................................................................................................................................................................

Malf gave me a like ! Thanks, Malf, I'll treasure it along with the other one you gave me last year :)

 
#12
"

It is, Typoz and there is another similar book (by a woman) which I also have in my attic (the book not the woman unfortunately)

The early morning was perfectly still and silent. James Sevigny, a twenty-eight-year-old university student originally from Hanover, New Hampshire, and his friend Richard Whitmire set out to climb Deltaform, a mountain in the Canadian Rockies near Lake Louise, Alberta. They ascended an ice gully, or couloir, in bright late-winter light on April 1, 1983, roped together and using ice screws in their climb. Whitmire, a thirty-three-year-old from Bellingham, Washington, was in the lead and at one point cut some ice loose. He yelled a warning"Falling ice!"to Sevigny below. The ice catapulted safely past Sevigny, but was suddenly followed by the collapse of a snowfield above the couloir on the north face. A tremendous roar broke the silence, and the bright light was consumed by instant darkness. An avalanche swept the two men nearly two thousand feet to the base of Deltaform. Sevigny was unconscious almost from the moment the avalanche hit. Whitmire might have escaped had the pair not been roped together.

Sevigny regained consciousness, he guessed, an hour later. He was severely injured. His back was broken in two places. One arm was fractured, the other had severed nerves from a broken scapula and was hanging limply at his side. He had cracked ribs, torn ligaments on both knees, suffered internal bleeding, and his face, broken nose, broken teeth, and open wounds was a mess. He had no idea where he was and what had happened to him. At first he thought he might be in Nepal, where he had spent six months trekking a few years earlier. Sevigny had finished his master's degree and at the time of the accident was basically a "climbing bum," living out of his Volkswagen. It took a while for him to recognize the mountain, but gradually Sevigny remembered the climb, and struggled to his feet to look for his friend. Whitmire lay nearby, and from his misshapen body, it was clear he was dead. Sevigny lay down beside him, certain he would soon follow. "I figured that if I fell asleep, it would be the easiest way to go." He lay there for about twenty minutes. Shivers were gradually replaced by the sensation of warmth brought about by shock and hypothermia, and he began to doze off. He realized there was no vast gulf separating life and death, but rather a fine line, and at that moment, Sevigny thought it would be easier to cross that line than to struggle on.

He then felt a sudden, strange sensation of an invisible being very close at hand. "It was something I couldn't see but it was a physical presence." The presence communicated mentally, and its message was clear: "You can't give up, you have to try." It told me what to do. The only decision I had made at that point in time was to lie down next to Rick and to fall asleep and to accept death. That's the only decision I made. All decisions made subsequent to that were made by the presence. I was merely taking instructions. . . . I understood what it wanted me to do. It wanted me to live. The presence urged Sevigny to get up. It dispensed practical advice. It told him, for example, to follow the blood dripping from the tip of his nose as if it were an arrow pointing the way. As he walked, he kept breaking through the crust of the deep snow, and was almost unable to pull his feet back up because of his injuries. Part of the time he crawled. The presence, which stood behind his right shoulder, implored him to continue even when the struggle to survive seemed untenable. And when it fell silent, Sevigny still knew his companion was close at hand. Because of its enormous empathy, he thought of the presence as a woman. She accompanied Sevigny across the Valley of the Ten Peaks, to the camp he and Whitmire had started from earlier that day, a point where he hoped he could find food and warmth, and perhaps help. Such were his injuries that it took all day to make the crossing of about a mile, and his companion was with him every step of the way.


When he reached the camp, Sevigny could not crawl into his sleeping bag because his injuries were too severe, and he could not eat because his teeth were broken and his face was swollen. He could not even light the stove. He sat down and, from the position of the sun, realized it was late afternoon. He believed that in a couple of hours he would be dead, after all. "I recall knowing I was about to die, pathetically, in a fetal position in the snow." He had always felt that he might die while climbing, so it came as no real surprise, but he thought about how devastated his mother would be. Then, at once, he thought he heard some other voices, and called out for help. There was no response. It was at that moment that he felt the presence leave. "It was gone, there was nothing there, there was no presence. There was no one telling me to do anything and I could tell that it had left." For the first time since the avalanche, he was overwhelmed by a sense of loneliness:
What I thought then was I'm hallucinating, the presence knows I'm dead, and it has just given up on me. But as it turns out, those were people, and they did come up. One of them skied out and they flew me out that night in a helicopter. In fact, the presence had left because it knew I was safe.
..................................................................................................................................................................................

Malf gave me a like ! Thanks, Malf, I'll treasure it along with the other one you gave me last year :)

That's a good one. BUT I do think when Sevigny was laying in the snow and the presence was 'urging him to get up', I think that was just his brain/body doing whatever it takes to stay alive.
 
#14
That's a good one. BUT I do think when Sevigny was laying in the snow and the presence was 'urging him to get up', I think that was just his brain/body doing whatever it takes to stay alive.
Well I suppose that's our natural tendency to doubt, to refuse to believe (believe/belief being something of a dirty word or a foolish position)

To try to reduce this to some unknown/unproven brain process, you have to be very creative with the data. I would expect to see the phenomenon of end of life experiences panning out differently. As they got nearer to death in the hospice, I would expect "the brain" to urge them to keep on living etc...but that is not what happens. The patients are quite willing to go (into death) with their bedside visitors.

My take on it is that in times of great danger and stress, we get help from deceased "people" who are connected to us. I believe in the spirit world but I don't like the word spirit, I just think it's a dimension of creation that hasn't been discovered yet.
 
#15
As John Geiger puts it, towards the end of this video:

I think that that's ultimately the most important message here, is that this experience is real.
At the end of the day it really doesn't matter how you analyse what happened. I mean, it's ok if you think it's a scientific neurological response to stress - that's ok. And it's ok if you think its an angel. What matters is - it happened. It's profoundly powerful. It did save your life. And that's enough.
 
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