Much has been written about the very bizarre experience known as "Old Hag Syndrome." Under the spell of this phenomenon, the experiencer awakes to find that they are unable to move. Sometimes it feels as though there is a great weight on the chest, making breathing difficult. (Folklore gave rise to the idea that an invisible old hag, or witch, was sitting on the victims chest hence the name.) The phenomenon is also often accompanied by the feeling that there is strange or alien presence in the room.
In scientific circles, the phenomenon is considered "sleep paralysis" and is nothing paranormal. It's interesting to note, however, how many aspects of the syndrome are similar to reports of close encounters with aliens and certain ghost phenomena.
What is not widely known is that one of the victims of this frightening experience was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and an enthusiastic researcher of psychic phenomena and other areas of the unknown.
Doyle wrote about his experience in his book, The Edge of the Unknown, published in 1930. He wrote:
"It was in my bedroom in Crowborough. I awakened in the night with the clear consciousness that there was someone in the room and that the presence was not of this world.
"I was lying with my back to the room, acutely awake, but utterly unable to move. It was physically impossible for me to turn my body and face this visitor. I heard measured footsteps across the room. I was conscious (without seeing it) that someone was bending over me, and then I heard a voice saying in a loud whisper, 'Doyle, I come to tell you that I am sorry.'
"A minute later my disability disappeared, and I was able to turn, but all was black darkness and perfectly still. My wife had not awakened, and knew nothing of what had passed."
Story 4 > The Pilot's Promise