Ghost Paralysis

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Mexican American
Age: 17
Occupation: Server, Waiter
Residence: Marysville, WA
Date of Performance/Collection: October 26, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

Informant: One night around 9:00 I am talking to my mom at the top of the staircase. There is a door at the bottom of the stairs, and I look down to see a full figure standing in the doorway. I looked back at my mom, and told her that I just saw someone. She asks what I mean, and I tell her that I saw someone looking at me right there, but when I look back and show her it’s gone. 

Later that night in my bedroom, which is right across from the doorway to the stairs. I am in bed, trying to sleep but I can’t, I feel something, like something is watching me. I look around the dark room, and at the corner of the bed you see a shadow standing with its head tilted. I flip over to try to ignore it, and I grab my phone to distract myself from being scared. But then I feel the presence right next to me and in the screen of my phone I see two shiny, bright eyes in the reflection right to the left of me. I then flip over to my back and feel the presence right on the side of my face, and I see the two eyes. Trying to ignore it I close my eyes, and try to fall asleep. But at three in the morning I wake up with sleep paralysis, and I see the same figure standing at the foot of my bed. I can’t move, talk or wake up.

Collector: So what do you think happened? What do you make of this situation?

Informant: After I woke up, I tried to not pay any attention to it to avoid fear. And I told my grandma about it, because I didn’t know what it was. She said that when sleep paralysis happens a dead person is laying on top of you. My grandma told me that if I feel like I am being watched or that there is a shadow in my room, to cuss at it and tell it to go fuck itself, because it scares them away. Ever since that night whenever I feel a presence I tell it to go fuck itself, and they don’t really ever come back. Also the more this stuff happens, the more you get used to it. But since the shape was a tall dark shadow, that means it was an evil spirit, and the fact that it got onto me tells me that it was not a good one. It was a bad spirit that I brought home from somewhere, I went to a cemetery before this and I didn’t wash my clothes, and that’s when I started noticing shit. But definitely since it was a dark shadowy spirit, I think it was trying to harm me. 

Context: The informant, is a Latino male, who was born in Los Angeles, California, and now lives in the Seattle Washington area. 

Analysis: The informant suggests a lot of compelling ideas, and mythologies about ghosts. Ghost belief, and interactions with the dead are much more prevalent within Mexican culture. The informant mentions taking spirits home with you from cemeteries, and washing your clothes after visiting a cemetery. Also what an evil spirit behaves, and looks like, and even how to ward off a spirit that is unwanted. I have never heard of the idea of sleep paralysis relating to a ghost encounter. But sleeping is a very liminal time, especially sleep paralysis. Are you asleep? Are you awake? Are you dreaming?  In regards to warding off spirits if the informant claims that this encounter has not occurred since he has yelled at this spirit, and ignored it, this it may point to evidence that this idea could be effective. An angry ghost wanting to haunt may not bother with someone who is not scared.