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Posted by phil benz on June 26, 1999 at 14:31:54:

In Reply to: sleep paralysis posted by Meredith on April 29, 1999 at 20:44:02:

I have suffered from sleep paralysis for 32 years. In 1991 I took part in a research project at the Maudsley Hospital in London conducted By Dr Meryl Dahlitz. I asked her to define sleep paralysis at that time and she said "sleep paralysis is the paroxsmal incapicity of active movement of all skeletal muscles in connection with sleep." This is slightly better than Black's Medical Dictionary which can only manage,"Pertaining to sleep".

It depends on where you are in the oweld and from which culture you come from as to whether you feel that sleep paralysis is a medical condition or a spiritual intervention.

In one entire community in the North US its called the old hag. In Japan its known as kanashibari in St Lucia its called Kokma - believed to be the spirit of a dead unbaptized child that comes to crush the life from its victim.

After suffreing for fourteen years I finally found a neurologist in Scotland who came up with the diagnosis of ~Sleep Paralysis. He quoted to me a simple analogy: We are all creatures of habit and follow a set routine at night in reparation for bed.i.e. we turn off the t.v. in a certain way, washes up the last few dishes, kick the cat out the front door and then turn of lights one by one. In sleep paralysis its as though we get bored with the same old routine and instead of turning off lights one by one, we go to the cupboard under the stairs and flip the circuit breaker, plunging the house into darkness. After a while we realise this is pretty stupid because we are now trapped in the dark in a cupboard and can' find our way out. So we flip the breaker back on and continue then to turn off the lights one by one.

In sleep paralysis the brain forgets for a short period how to shut the body down for sleep and tries to take a short cut and in so doing creates temporary total motor paralysis. After a while the brain gets the message that it's goofed, re-boots itself and we can move again.

I'm not a medic but I have taken part in t.v. and radio documentaries on the subject and would be happy to discuss the matter further. Also I am looking for sufferes in excess of two years to tell me their stories (identities disguised) for a book that I have planned on the subject.

Best wishes.

Phil Benz

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