Sleep Paralysis at Pierce Pond
Imagine pitching your tent in a spot that faces a peaceful view: a shimmering blue pond, luscious green trees that trace the horizon, and the beaming sun setting behind it.
Now imagine waking up to that same view, but in a different light — an eerie, moonlit light. You see a demonic creature on water, crawling towards you, but you can’t make out what it is. It looks like a shadow with hollow eye sockets and contorted limbs. It makes its way into your tent and sits directly on top of your chest. Your instinct tells you to run away, but you can’t move a muscle. You scream for help and feel your vocal chords straining, but you don’t make a sound. Your mind is awake, but your body is asleep — a glitch in the neural pathways known as sleep paralysis.
I struggle with sleep paralysis at home, but I’ve learned to calm myself down as I go through it. The creature appears, it comes towards me, and sits heavy on my chest. I actively remind myself that this isn’t real, I’m safe at home, and the hallucination will pass.
I experienced sleep paralysis at Pierce Pond in Maine. Going through it on trail in the woods is a terrifying feeling and finding ways to calm myself down seemed impossible in a place that was unfamiliar. I tried to scream, I wanted to run, but even if I could, where would I go? I was helpless. It eventually passed, but continues to haunt.
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