Do you believe in ghosts?

| 9 Comments

While reading Chapter 5, I came across the term "sleep paralysis", in which the person is unable to move after just falling asleep or have just woken up. I have never heard of this term prior to reading this text book, but I knew exactly what it was describing.

sleep-paralysis-nightmare.jpg

Like examples in the book, different cultures have different explanations for this experience. In the Hmong culture, we call it "dab tsog", literally translating to "crushing ghost/demon." Sometimes the people sleeping even see the "ghost/demon" sitting on their chests. Because I had previously believed that sleep paralysis was caused to ghosts, I questioned the books explanations of why and how the phenomenon occurs. Did psychologist, scientists, or health care professionals run tests on individuals and abruptly wake them up? Did they hook machines up to individuals to test their anxiety levels? Because the book did not give such information, all of these questions ran through my head and I found myself being placed in the category of belief perseverance.

It's not that I don't believe in sleep paralysis, or agree with why/how it happens; it's just that I was previously believed it to be caused by something else. What do you believe? Is there an explanation of this phenomenon in your culture or country?

9 Comments

I do not believe in ghost. But I was told by my girl friend who is Vietnamese that if you sleep straight on your back at night, your spirit can leave your body because it might think that you're dead and won't reenter your body. I found an interesting correlation to your story about Hmong beliefs about spirits and I also question the validity of how these tests were conducted and what variables played a part in the studies.

I do not believe in ghost. But I was told by my girl friend who is Vietnamese that if you sleep straight on your back at night, your spirit can leave your body because it might think that you're dead and won't reenter your body. I found an interesting correlation to your story about Hmong beliefs about spirits and I also question the validity of how these tests were conducted and what variables played a part in the studies.

This is a really interesting topic. I think I have experienced "sleep paralysis" because it fits the description you gave. It sounds terrifying that it might have been a ghost. It is interesting how different cultures believe in different things and a lot of cultures believe in similar things.

I think you brought up an interesting topic. I do believe in ghosts and that could very well be a cause of "sleep paralysis." I don't think I have experienced it before, but I feel like you brought up some very important questions. Thinking that it could be caused by ghosts or your spirit can leave your body it has intrigued me to look more into this.

I think you chose a very interesting topic. I personally do not believe in ghosts, but the many different cultural descriptions of phenomena, such as sleep paralysis, may be due to the fact that they felt they needed to create an explanation to these abnormal symptoms. It would be interesting to look into what kinds of scientific tests they have done to explain why sleep paralysis occurs.

One thing that we do know scientifically is that sleep paralysis occurs while your brain is still technically in REM sleep. During REM, there is basically a switch that shuts off your body's ability to move (otherwise, imagine how everyone would flail about during dreams; this does happen in some disorders)

So, sleep paralysis happens when you become conscious, but the switch in you spinal cord is still in the "off" position. Why it happens when it does? That's still a mystery.

What if the person is really still dreaming, or simply not fully awake. I'm not denying the existence of the supernatural and whatnot, but would think that possibly deep sleep to the point of paralysis would probably have some notable effects on ones brain and possibly even create the hallucination. Just an idea though. Nice post.

I would love to know how exactly they have tested sleep paralysis as well! The fact that the idea of ghosts is spread among many cultures as the reason for sleep paralysis makes me wonder about the validity of all of the explanations for the potential causes of this phenomenon. As a caucasian american, I have not really heard very many stories of explanations of sleep paralysis one way or another... I have also never experienced sleep paralysis or encountered anyone who has experienced it! I wonder about how you could become conscious while your body is still paralyzed... Is there a trigger that causes it? Or is it completely random?

I kind of believe there is ghost existing around the world, however, I never have a chance to see them (Actually i don't want to see them). Therefore, the ghost is a very ambiguous stuff which need us to explain by using scientific thinking.

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This page contains a single entry by mouax351 published on February 18, 2012 5:53 PM.

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