The Demon of the Night

It all started for myself when I had a traumatic experience working for the local Police Department. My local PD made Andy Griffith look like the big city, we only really dealt with drunks, speeders and the occasional domestic violence call. I had crisis training, but it was never put into action until one fateful night.

Our officer brought in a woman to be held in our jail for a traffic violation, being the dispatcher and the jailer it was my responsibility to fingerprint, photo and attend to the prisoner. I did my job that night and was finishing the paperwork for her to be released to another agency. She was afforded privacy to use the restroom, so I would knock when I needed to speak with her. My officer went to the back to take her to another precinct when I heard him scream, I met him in the cellblock to be told she had hanged herself.

Immediately the officer and myself put our training into action, we swiftly cut her down and she was administered to. Unfortunately, that troubled soul passed a few days later. Though I had received all the training you can imagine, it doesn’t prepare you to deal with such a sudden event. The countless meetings with attorneys and the court depositions took their toll on me. I couldn’t sleep, I was obsessing over the suicide, wishing I could have seen any warning sign about what she was preparing. It was during this time that it happened, the first of many instances of sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a medical condition where the person awakes during REM sleep, while you are technically awake, you can’t move and many people hallucinate during it. With this first attack, I saw her hanging there in my living room, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t scream. SP has been written about for centuries across many cultures, with the prevailing myth that it was the devil sitting on your chest. How many of my readers is a fellow sufferer?

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About TheOddPast by Matthew A. Perry

Writer, teacher, broadcaster, and podcaster from West Virginia. I write about and discuss the wacky and weird side of history on my website www.theoddpast.com and my podcast "The Odd Past Podcast" available everywhere