The Old Hag

Kingwell By Kingwell, 22nd Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/ylj16fbl/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Folklore

The real story behind what is now called Sleep Paralysis!

Superstition alive and well.

Superstition was still alive and well in many Newfoundland outports in the 1940’s. Telling ghost stories was popular entertainment, Nosebleed was often treated by tying a green ribbon around the neck and sometimes people, especially children, were thought to have been fairy led. The oft reported sightings of a man with ‘nar’ head was a story told with relish as he was believed to be the ghost of a man beheaded by pirates and left to guard their buried treasurer. Some men were known to have dreamt of where such bounty was buried, but always there were dire consequences for anyone who would dare approach the area with thoughts of digging for it. There were stories of ghost ships and even ghost trains which immediately disappeared when someone got too close.

The better explanation.

In such a climate, anything out of the ordinary had its own ominous explanation. Such was the case with what was commonly known as “the old hag”, something which I had experienced myself on more than one occasion. One would be sleeping soundly and suddenly awaken unable to move, barely able to breathe and with a weight on the chest. Sometimes too there would be the feeling of an evil presence in the room and some even reported seeing an ugly old woman enter the bedroom. The obvious explanation for such an encounter had of course, been revealed to the enlightened, no doubt centuries before. Clearly, a witch (old hag) had entered the bedroom and was sitting on the victim’s chest, making it nearly impossible for him or her to breathe. While this condition rarely lasted for more than a minute or two it could feel much longer to the sufferer.
Today, the witch that we felt had entered the bedroom is gone forever and the medical profession calls the condition “sleep paralysis”. Those of us who grew up in the 1940’s however, still feel that we had a better explanation!

Tags

Ghost Stories, Ghost Trains, Ghosts Ships, Kingwell, Newfoundland, Old Hag, Old Witch, Sleep Paralysis, Superstition

Meet the author

author avatar Kingwell
I am 75 years old and retired.I like writing short stories, poetry as well other articles of interest.

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Comments

author avatar Delicia Powers
22nd Mar 2014 (#)

In this mysterious realm between sleep and wake..how very frightening it would be to have such a disturbing wakeful-dream...!

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author avatar Kingwell
22nd Mar 2014 (#)

Thank you Delicia

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
23rd Mar 2014 (#)

Interesting post!

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author avatar Kingwell
23rd Mar 2014 (#)

Thank you my loyal friend.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
23rd Mar 2014 (#)

I am reminded of how Einstein explained theory of relativity in layman terms - "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity". Interesting tale Kingwell, but I do wish it was a pretty damsel sitting on our chest for a change - siva

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author avatar Kingwell
23rd Mar 2014 (#)

Thank you Siva and a good point.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
25th Mar 2014 (#)

Like Siva, I would prefer the dainty damsel to the heavy hag if I must have my chest sat upon! On cold days, I feel someone has exchanged my blood for lead, and don't want to do anything to remedy the situation!!

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author avatar Kingwell
25th Mar 2014 (#)

Thank you Phil and both you and Siva have the right idea.

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