The phenomenon happens when your body is transitioning between being awake and being asleep and leaves you unable to move or talk. Usually the strange feeling only lasts for a few seconds but it can still be utterly terrifying. And making it more so, Quartz News has an intriguing and horrifying new report on one of the recurring experiences that sufferers from around the world share: visions of The Hat Man.
According to these reports, the shadowy figure has appeared before many sleep paralysis sufferers around the world, and his legend has spread. Most people see him as a dark outline wearing a large hat, either pointed or flat, and as they’re momentarily paralyzed, there’s nothing they can do about it.
Hat Man and other sleep paralysis figures, like The Demon or The Crone, have been the focus of documentaries and horror films, and fans of The Haunting of Hill House might even find a similarity to one of the scariest ghosts for the hit Netflix series.
Quartz news’ video aims to explain the weird happening, speaking to the University of London’s Chris French, a psychologist who focuses on the supernatural. It also offers up a brief but interesting history of sleep paralysis figures throughout history and their connection to folklore from around the world. There’s even a cool Freddy Krueger connection in there for horror fans.
Basically, whatever your relationship with sleep paralysis is, from curiosity about this odd phenomenon to personally being affected by it, this is an interesting and quick introduction and exploration of one of the very weird things that our body is capable of.
Beware, though! Hat Man is clearly a social monster passed through our conversations about him, so maybe don’t watch if you’re prone to nightmares!