I was baptized and raised in the Catholic church. If you, my dearest reader, can momentarily put aside your own thoughts on organized religion and its merits/detractions, then I hope you can at least recognize that reenactments of the crucifixion are graphic and potentially disturbing for a young child. I don’t even remember going a Good Friday event in the Philippines, but my family has photos to prove we attended at least one of them. I have never been able to shake the scene depicted on one of those photos: a man, shirtless and ragged, his face hooded and covered in muslin, carrying a large and heavy cross, doubled over, blood streaming from the growing welts on his back that were self-inflicted by flagellation.
In one way, I get the lasting power seeing these moments can have on one’s faith: the suffering you see in front of you is real, it’s apparent, and is meant to remind you of Christ’s suffering and sacrifice.
It’s also SCARY AS FUCK. It’s a visceral and highly graphic reminder of the effect that our sins have on the self and on others. And provided you have a conscience, the concept of sin is fully impressed upon you forever, regardless of your spiritual path. My deeply personal beliefs on spirituality have changed over the decades, but sin has always found a place to hide in the corner of my mind. Just out of reach, but close enough that it can intrude the fuzzy grey area between sleep and wakefulness. Enough to keep me fully aware of the possibility of dark and evil things I could not even begin to understand awake, let alone while dreaming.
Anyway, what does all this have to do with hypnagogic hallucinations or narcolepsy?
Hypnagogic hallucinations have a wonderful talent of rooting out your most deep-seated fears, mine usually involve a demon of sorts or the angry gaze from a Jesus statue (more on this in a future post). Not only are these fears put on full display for you without your consent, but you’re also likely to literally be paralyzed and unable to shake yourself into full wakefulness during the event.
So, it’s easy to say I’ve never not been terrified of demons or ghosts or evil entities. I am interested in what other PWN see when they have these episodes.