Reality Sandwich is running an excerpt from Ryan Hurd‘s new e-book on sleep paralysis Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer’s Guide (disclosure: that’s an affiliate link, but I haven’t read this book, only the excerpt):
Psychologist Jorge Conesa-Sevilla has put forward an ecopsychological hypothesis about SP/HH. Ecopsychology is the study of the mind in association with the natural environment. Conesa-Sevilla suggests the uncanny state of mind may be triggered by geological anomalies, and points out that cultures living in the “Ring of Fire,” the geomagnetically unstable areas of Central America, the Pacific Coast of the US, Southern Alaska, Hawaii, and Indonesia, have a much more developed vocabulary for sleep paralysis and its accompanying hallucinations than anywhere else in the world.  Many of the indigenous peoples of these territories are dreaming cultures that pay attention to, and actively invite, the “dreaming arts” such as lucid dreaming, reverie and trance states.  Given that geomagnetic effects have been shown to alter consciousness, Conesa-Sevilla’s hypothesis is not so unlikely. Similarly, archaeologist Paul Devereux has noted that SP is one state of consciousness among many that “transgress” the normal boundaries of mental imagery (without straying into psychosis), and may be responsible for some mental events interpreted as hauntings.  In both of these theories, then, the Stranger can be seen as emerging from local environmental conditions, as well as from the dreamer’s own mind and cultural upbringing.
I’ve experienced sleep paralysis twice in my life. I was familiar with the phenomena of sleep paralysis and both of my experiences had heavy “occult” undertones since that was what I was into at the time. They were still scary, but not in the way that they would have been if I hadn’t been aware of sleep paralysis and didn’t have a positive framework for encounters with strange entities in mind when it happened.
I haven’t had an experience like this in many years.