Friday, August 26, 2005

Succubus: The Reference Interview 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comA perfectly ordinary looking man and woman approached the desk.

The man said, “I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately. I need some books or something to help me with that.”

“Maybe some books on curing insomnia and sleep disorders?”

“No! The problem is not with sleeping, Well, I can’t sleep, but not from insomnia. I’ve been having a lot of stress.”

“Would you like some books and tapes on relaxation?”

“No! It’s not like that! I’ve been having these visitations in the middle of the night and I’m so worried about them that I can’t fall asleep.”


“Like, from a demon or something. Someone or someTHING has been coming in my bedroom at night and nibbling - nibbling on my private parts. You know, my sex organs? I’m so scared of whatever this thing is that I can’t sleep. I need some books on how to get rid of it.”

I glanced at the woman with him. She nodded her head in full agreement and murmured, “Yeah, he’s got to get rid of this awful thing.”

I cleared my throat. “Well, the books on insomnia and sleep disorders might have the answers for you. Perhaps go to the chapter on night terrors? If you don't find help there, you might want to see a doctor.”

“Night terrors! That sounds right. Is that what they call the creatures that come in the night to bite on your private parts?”

“Kind of. Sir, here is that call number. Good luck to you.”

Actually, I looked into it and it appears like he is describing a textbook case of night terrors, specifically hypnogogic sleep paralysis (HSP), a condition which can cause these bizarre hallucinations. Like the paranoid delusions of schizophrenics, these hallucinations are culturally specific. From Nightterrors.org:

HSPs are usually a vision of a small creature that sits on the victim's chest. The creature then either compresses the chest or attempts to strangulate the victim. Almost all attacks have been reported by people sleeping on their backs.

Ancestral ghosts - Southeast Asians
Hag - Irish and Scottish
Cats - Chinese
Spectral foxes - Japanese
Djinn - Arabs
Guilt - Romans and the Egyptians
Witchcraft - Mexicans
Vampires - Europeans
Demons - Medieval Europe

It is even theorized that people who believe they were abducted by aliens merely suffered from a sleep paralysis induced hallucination.

Whew! I'm glad I sleep on my side! Less chance of choking on my vomit that way, too.

Whoa. These are the things that you miss when you work in a specialized library, as I do. Although I would pay cash money to see one of the staff members at my organization come into my library and say the words "nibbling on my private parts." That would be a welcome and wholly amusing break from routine.
I suffer from sleep paralysis whenever I miss a nights sleep. The majority of people who get it report a sensation of someone pressing down on their chest or not being able to breathe... and it's interesting that it's generally the same 'figure' or 'dark presence' that visits each person - ie most people wouldn't experience a 'dark presence' one night then a vampire the next.

Anyway, my scenario is not that I feel that I am unable to breathe... my dark presence comes and drags me quickly around the room by a leg - sounds a bit silly but my God it's bloody scary.
There is a psychologist who claims that hypnogogic sleep paralysis is the answer for all of those people who claim that they have been abducted by aliens. It's an interesting theory.
Hey Zydeco, did you read the whole blog entry? Foxy mentions that theory and even includes a link to an article.
ahaha, wow. you should defiantly write a book. that is the oddest thing i have ever heard.
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