“There was an Airbnb, short term rental house, in Hengchun where a grad student went there, and geology grad students frequently lived in this house to do their field study, and a few of them where they had feelings of pressure from ghosts. Some felt like there were bodies laying on them, and they couldn’t move. And it wasn’t just one.”
“And I had that experience before, where I couldn’t move but I was awake. I figured it was something in my brain that my body hadn’t woken up yet but couldn’t move. But it wasn’t the same experience. It was rumors and stories from fellow grad students. In Taiwan it was called gui ya shen (ghost press body).”
According to my father, this was a common urban legend among the geology grad students. This legend was told to him by upper classmen who also explained there was no known reason why the house was haunted. “Gui ya shen” is the term in Chinese culture that means sleep paralysis. While my father has had his experience of sleep paralysis before, it seemed the case with the Airbnb, witnesses had felt like it was body pressure on them rather than not being able to move after falling asleep.
I thought the story was intriguing, because the experiences that had taken place were not explained easily with scientific knowledge. While sleep paralysis requires that the victim was sleeping before it occurred, some reports of these events occurred for students while they were doing everyday tasks. While the term “gui ya shen” does apply for sleep paralysis in Chinese culture, the symptoms that are listed do not match with the witness accounts from this Airbnb.