Did sleep paralysis start the Salem Witch Trials?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com, or follow me on Twitter.


Sleep paralysis researchers Brian Sharpless and Karl Dograhmji have collected 118 different terms from around the world that describe sleep paralysis-like experiences: Germans have terms for hexendrücken – witch pressing – and alpdrücken – elf pressing. Norwegian folktales include svartalfar – evil elves that shoot people with paralysing arrows before perching on their chests. The Japanese have a term, kanashibari, in reference to being magically bound by invisible metal. In parts of Switzerland people speak of tchutch-muton, an evil nightmare fairy that disguises itself as a black sheep. Kurds refer to mottaka, an evil spirit that suffocates people in the night. The Iranians have a term called bakhtak, which refers to a type of jinn that sits on the sleeper’s chest. Scientists have theorised that sleep paralysis experiences might be result in some modern accounts of alien abductions. So I don’t feel it’s a huge logical leap to include Pokemon assaults.

If it weighs as much as a duck…

For comparison’s sake, consider this account by Jon Loudner, who gave ‘evidence’ during the infamous Salem Witch Trials in 1692:

“… I going well to bed, about the dead of the night felt a great weight upon my breast, and awakening, looked, and it being bright moonlight, did clearly see Bridget Bishop, or her likeness, sitting upon my stomach. And putting my arms off of the bed to free myself from that great oppression, she presently laid hold of my throat and almost choked me. And I had no strength or power in my hands to resist or help myself. And in this condition she held me to almost day.”

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