Is there room in the Para/Crypto/Fortean world for a gun-toting, paranoid, bipolar, opinionated bastard? A lonely romantic in search of his lost soul? A knight, Samurai, gunslinger, born in the wrong century? A self-destructive, doom-driven survivor seeking redemption? A heavy drinking gonzo outlaw cryptozoologist whose ego is exceeded only by his libido?
No, there isn't. That's why I'm here...

24 February 2010

Belief, Banes, and Bumps In The Night

I've mentioned before that I have quite a history of sleep paralysis or night terrors, or "The Old Hag" if you prefer. Long ago I learned to recognize such events for what they are, however, that doesn't make them any more comfortable. In addition to learning how to recognize them when they are occurring, I've also learned to determine when I'm liable to be prone to an event. A disruption of my normal sleep cycle (such as it is), stress, certain other factors. I've read about some of the folkloric "remedies" for haggings. Supposedly, a knife under the pillow will ward them off. Folklore is full of accounts of sharp, pointy, metal objects being the bane of many a supernatural or magical entity, from fairies to vampires to ghosts and spirits. During most of my SP episodes, the "thing" typically stands at my bedroom door. Maybe my rack of swords and knives keeps it out of the room?
I have found that, not surprisingly to some, garlic works. If I feel I'm "prime" for an episode, I'll put some garlic on my bedside table and sleep peacefully. Does the garlic "keep the Hag away"? Or, does the ritualistic act of placing it beside my bed put me in a different psychological state, one in which my normal sleep pattern is undisturbed? All I know is that thus far, it's worked for me. Makes no difference why, all that matters to me is that I get to sleep.
And just what are those things that go bump in the night? The occasional knock or bang? Those noises the source of which can't be identified? After checking the house by the light of the tac-light mounted to my G3 assault rifle a few times, I've given up on identifying it. Today, thanks to the popularity of Ghost Hunting shows, they would be explained as poltergeist activity. The remedy can be as simple as "taking back the house" or may involve a ritual cleansing ceremony. Regardless, such measures reportedly enjoy a pretty good success rate.
A century or so ago, especially in Serbic or Slavic countries, bumps and bangs would be a sure sign of a vampire. While today's cinematic and literary vampire lore doesn't mention it, the folkloric vampire was more akin to what we would label poltergeist phenomena today. Again, garlic was supposed to work, as well as placing a bowl of vinegar in the house and allowing it to evaporate.
But, one must be careful when employing natural banes to ward off a perceived supernatural being. The Scots, Irish, and a few other Europeans would attribute those same noises to a house fay. Little fairies who share the dwelling with the humans. To keep house fays in line, one must placate them and win their favor. The recommendation was to sit them out some food, a bowl of milk, or some other useful offering at night. I doubt a clove of garlic or a bowl of vinegar would be apprpriate. That would probably just tick them off and make matters worse. It's important to know just what you're dealing with in these matters. Remember the words of Burt Gummer from "Tremors 2":
"I feel I was denied critical, need-to-know information!"

1 comment:

Autumnforest said...

I'm one of those folks too. In fact, I just today finished a short story based on sleep paralysis because it's so freaking horrifying. There can be a few things at fault. It almost always happens when you're on your back, so try and use a tall pillow so you tend to sleep on your side. It can also be aggravated by sleep apnea where you stop breathing while you sleep. Try Breathe-Right strips. If you've been told you snore, that can be a sign you might be prone to it. Now that you've got a ritual, you've made yourself cognitively aware of it which might be creating a lucid dream state that silently reminds you of this protective device. I find if I sleep when overly tired or I take a Benadryl during allergy season and wait too long to go to sleep after taking it, I tend to get that. Good luck! I really hate that, especially if I awaken with no limb use and seeing things crawling on the ceiling!