This weird incident happened in San Antonio, Texas in about 1979. I have had a lot of surgeries, and I have found that "sleep paralysis" (or Old Hag Syndrome) occurs more often when you happen to be on some kind of heavy medication, particularly opiates. This awake-but-not-awake state has been described by several articles I've read here today. You are aware that you're asleep or almost asleep, and dreaming and you desperately try to move a finger or moan or something so someone will hear you and wake you up. But try as you might, you can't even wiggle a pinkie.
One night I was talking to a man of about 30, and he was a biker. He had a mean-looking skull and crossbones right in the crook of his arm. We got kind of stranded together and began to talk. The man said that he was a biker now, but at one time he was going to be a priest, and had gone to theology school for almost four years.
We talked for hours on a variety of subjects, and the entire time we were talking the man was working on a pencil drawing of a man-in-the-moon face. The face kept changing according to the way the conversation was going. The man would erase some part and change it, so that the man in the moon seemed to be commenting on our conversation.
For instance, at one point I said something apparently far-fetched, and the man in the moon raised one eyebrow in a sardonic, questioning gesture. Like it was saying, "Oh really now?"
At some point the conversation turned to sleep paralysis. I had had several fairly serious surgeries and it seemed to happen while I was medicated in the hospital more than any other time. The biker-priest said he was familiar with this paralyzed feeling. He said that when I'm on heavy medication, or even sick or really really tired, that I was falling into a fugue state between this world and the demon world, and that feeling of panic and paralysis are the demons trying to hold you and bring you to their world.
Then he said the weirdest thing of all. He said next time that happens, and you're lying there trying to make contact with someone who can wake you up and release you from the paralysis, say to yourself the one word, "Jesus".
This time I must have looked more doubtful than the man-in-the-moon drawing, but the man said, "I know it sounds crazy, but the next time it happens, just give it a try. What have you got to lose?"
Well, I never saw that man again and at one point I began to wonder if I had imagined the whole surreal incident. But the next time this weird phenomenon manifested itself, I remembered the strange biker-priest's advice, and I tried saying the name "Jesus" to myself, and I immediately snapped out of the paralysis, woke up for a moment, and then fell back to sleep comfortably.
I was 23 then and I am 54 now and this method of snapping out of the sleep paralysis has worked each and every time, without exception. The power of suggestion? Faith in God? Or just a real good way to deal with demons when they're trying to play football with your head... and maybe your soul.