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Folk Remedies for Sleep Paralysis 

Folk Remedies for Sleep Paralysis
Chapter:
Folk Remedies for Sleep Paralysis
Author(s):

Brian A. Sharpless

and Karl Doghramji

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199313808.003.0014
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date: 18 October 2019

Throughout history the symptoms of sleep paralysis have been viewed as terrifying and sometimes dangerous. They have also often been misinterpreted as actual assaults by malevolent beings. In response, individuals formulated a number of techniques to prevent and disrupt these episodes. Several are remarkably consistent across time and place, with some found in contemporary alien abduction literatures. Regarding preventative measures, sleep paralysis sufferers recited prayers, situated important objects around the bedroom, used foul-smelling substances as deterrents, and encouraged compulsive behaviors in certain attackers (e.g., placing grains of millet outside one’s door so that vampires could not enter before they were all counted). As for disruptive techniques, attempts at movement were advocated, as were several ways of engaging the “attacker” (e.g., attempts to touch/attack the malevolent supernatural being). Although some of these techniques appear strange to contemporary readers, several may actually be effective and are consistent with current data.

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