Corporeal Nightmare

Corporeal Nightmare

A Story by Richard Longbow

Most of you will experience this in your lifetime.


            Imagine being paralyzed. Imagine trying to speak but only wheezing. Imagine feeling panic and vulnerability. Imagine being unable to differentiate fantasy from reality. Imagine seeing people, demonic entities, aliens, an old hag, or strange shadow figures. Imagine being verbally or physically assaulted by these beings, all the while being unable to fight back or call for help. Imagine the sense of terror and impending death you would experience during this traumatic moment.

            And, most importantly, imagine all of this happening in your bedroom.

            You’ve just awakened, it’s three in the morning and you don’t know why you’re awake. You have things to do tomorrow, you think. Suddenly, you hear a shriek, then a whistle, then a loud and steady hum. It begins to take over the room. You try to get up to investigate and you realize something.

            You can’t move.

            You fight and fight. You may imagine you’re moving an arm or leg, but you soon realize this movement is all in your head. You’re stuck like this, a prisoner in your own bed.

            The sounds are getting louder. In the corner of your room, you can see a shadow growing on the wall. It’s moving up towards the ceiling. It’s slowly taking over the room. The sounds get even louder. You don’t even feel like you know where you are anymore. All you feel is an intense sense of terror. You are certain someone or something is in the room with you.

You try calling out for help. It’s to no avail; all you can let out is a weak wheeze through your throat. It isn’t even enough for your dog in the hallway to hear.

The humming, whistling, and shrieking is intense. Your room feels surreal. It’s so dark, yet so chaotic. The shadow is growing taller still.

That’s when you see it.

A dark silhouette walking out of the shadow. It seems to trail ghostly remnants of itself behind as it moves. It’s moving with grace, almost hovering.

It slowly moves across your field of vision. As it approaches the edge of your periphery, it makes a sudden move. It darts towards the side of your bed with astonishing speed. You can feel its breath. You can hear the gargled, strange tongues it is screaming into your ear. It means you harm.

You can see its eyes. They’re the size of your hand and completely black. It’s three feet tall. It’s hair is dark, mangled, oily. It’s now right next to your ear, almost close enough to touch it. It’s shouting in a language you’ve never heard before. You want to fight, you want to run, but you can do neither. The shouting in your ear is so intense that you almost want to cry.

Then it stops.

You try to get up to get a grip on the situation, but you realize you still can’t move. That’s when the figure reappears and jumps on your chest. It’s screaming and shouting through jagged, crooked teeth. The screaming is louder than the angriest person you’ve ever heard. The humming, whistling, and shrieking hasn’t stopped in the background. You feel the surprising weight of its body crushing down on your lungs. Your chest can barely expand.  You wonder how and why this is happening.

It lowers its arms. It begins to strangle you. You can no longer breathe at all. The room around you begins to transform. Things that once looked familiar now look foreign. You think this is the end. Confusion and fear are the only emotions you know anymore. As you begin to lose consciousness, all you can hear are the muffled sounds of the creature’s voice.

Now you can move.  Everything is normal. You get up out of bed and run to turn a light on. You get a glass of water. You turn the TV on. You know that you won’t be going back to sleep tonight. Not after that.

What just happened to you is a phenomenon called sleep paralysis. There is no need to appeal to the supernatural with this; it’s all in your head. It’s a very real phenomenon.

It happens when you wake up during R.E.M. sleep. Your spinal cord is “shut off” so that you can’t act out your dreams, but you’re conscious and still dreaming. I experience it once a month. Sometimes I hallucinate, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I hallucinate sounds, sometimes images. Sometimes I get dragged across the floor and through walls to places I haven’t been in years. If they could make a pill to trigger it, nobody would spend money to see horror movies anymore. Swiss artist, Henry Fuseli, even made a painting portraying it.

Most people will experience this once in their lives. A small minority, including myself, will experience it regularly. It’s completely natural but completely terrifying.

Oh, and I almost forgot one thing, sometimes I get it just by thinking about it before I go to sleep. Perhaps you’re the same.

Have a nice night.

© 2009 Richard Longbow

Author's Note

Richard Longbow
Are you going to think about this before you go to sleep tonight?

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What makes this really scary is that it is real and can happen to anyone. I like the way it was written, felt like some sinister voice was reading it for me... I've never experienced this, or at least don't remember having experienced it, and as weird as it may sound I would like to experience it, just to now in the flesh how it is like...
Very good, keep it up!

Posted 10 Years Ago

Omg thats nice. But i think i might have it. So im not completley crazy. I dont just hear things just because. Hmmm. Im happy you wrote this. Im not crazy. Im like some other people to. And now its all different...

Posted 10 Years Ago

The last line isn't that cool for me at this moment, because I am going to bed soon. And yes, I'm thinking about it already =.=" haha, but anyway, of what you've mentioned in this article, I did experience it before. But it's quite vague in my memory that I have been waking up in the middle of the night for no particular reason. For not being able to move is one of the 'common' situations happen to quite a number of people here and there. For what I know it's just the person is being pressed down by the spirit or whatever the unseen you want to name. Yes, corporeal nightmare is scarier than the nightmare in dreams itself.

Nicely written, by the way. I'm glad I stopped by for a 'bed time story' read before bed. lol.

Posted 10 Years Ago

I have also heard this called "lucid dreaming," and I have experienced it several times. The difference between you and I, though, is that, with a great deal of effort, I have usually been able to mumble "wake me up!" well enough to get my wife or someone to do just that. The first time it happened, I was asleep in a Navy barracks, and I called to my roomate "Heimy, wake me up!" Eventually, he got out of bed, came over and shook me.
A very well-written piece, Richard.

Posted 10 Years Ago

This is really scary. I adore the way you use short sentenced to build suspense. Really amazing.

Posted 10 Years Ago

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Added on November 4, 2009
Last Updated on November 4, 2009


Richard Longbow
Richard Longbow


I'm an Economics major that likes to write. I was told by one professor that majoring in Economics was a waste of a creative mind. However, I'm also good at math and research and I can't just ignore t.. more..


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