Cultural Explanations of Sleep Paralysis in Italy: The Pandafeche Attack and Associated Supernatural Beliefs

  title={Cultural Explanations of Sleep Paralysis in Italy: The Pandafeche Attack and Associated Supernatural Beliefs},
  author={Baland Jalal and Andrea Romanelli and Devon E. Hinton},
  journal={Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry},
The current study examines cultural explanations regarding sleep paralysis (SP) in Italy. The study explores (1) whether the phenomenology of SP generates culturally specific interpretations and causal explanations and (2) what are the beliefs and local traditions associated with such cultural explanations. The participants were Italian nationals from the general population (n = 68) recruited in the region of Abruzzo, Italy. All participants had experienced at least one lifetime episode of SP… 

Beliefs about sleep paralysis in Turkey: Karabasan attack

The Karabasan constitutes a culturally specific, supernatural interpretation of the phenomenology of SP in Turkey that is rooted in Turkish folk tradition and applied various supernatural and religious methods to prevent future SP attacks.

Sleep paralysis in Italy: Frequency, hallucinatory experiences, and other features

It is found that Italians from the general population reported high lifetime rates of SP, prolonged duration of immobility during the event, and great fear of the experience, all of which were particularly elevated as compared to cultures where there are no such elaborate traditions of SP.

Sleep Paralysis and Extraordinary Experiences1

We investigated sleep paralysis (SP) with an online questionnaire. Our sample consisted of 380 participants who experienced at least one SP. In this paper, we present the relation of SP to

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This review aims to medically describe sleep paralysis and how it is interpreted and managed among various cultural groups and medical professionals.

Prevalence and Clinical Picture of Sleep Paralysis in a Polish Student Sample

It is shown that a significant proportion of students experience recurrent SP and that this phenomenon is associated with fear and physical discomfort, and the scale of the phenomenon requires a deeper analysis.

What do we know about sleep paralysis?

The aim of this work is to present the most important information about the disorder known as sleep paralysis - its history, cultural context, pathophysiology, prevalence, symptomatology, coexistence with other somatic and mental disorders as well as diagnostics and available forms of prevention and treatment.

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As hypothesized, relative to non-SP experiencers, participants who had SP reported higher symptoms of PTSD, trait anxiety, and pathological worry, and the experiencing of hypnogogic/hypnopompic hallucinations during SP, even after controlling for negative affect, was highly correlated with Symptoms of PTSD and trait anxiety.

Culture Sleep and Its Vicissitudes in the Perinatal Period and During Early Childhood

This chapter examines the process of sleep in the pregnant woman, the newborn, and throughout early childhood as a social phenomenon, exploring cultural beliefs that surround the very complex physiologic nature of this process (sleep paralysis, dreams, among others).

"It Started After Trauma": The Effects of Traumatic Grief on Sleep Paralysis.

Adverse life events are associated with the often-terrifying REM sleep parasomnia of sleep paralysis (SP), but the impact of bereavement on SP has not been specifically examined. This exploratory,

Meditation-Relaxation (MR Therapy) for Sleep Paralysis: A Pilot Study in Patients With Narcolepsy

Evaluated with a small-scale pilot study, the efficacy of MR therapy for SP in patients with narcolepsy resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of days SP occurred; and the total number of SP episodes in the last month of the study (demonstrated by large within-group effect sizes); unlike the control intervention.



Explanations of sleep paralysis among Egyptian college students and the general population in Egypt and Denmark

It was found that nearly half of the participants from the general Egyptian population believed their SP to be caused by the Jinn, a spirit-like creature with roots in Islamic tradition, which constitutes a culturally bound interpretation of the phenomenology of SP in this region of the world.

Sleep Paralysis as Spiritual Experience

The article examines the way that conventional modern views of spiritual experience, combined with medical ideas that labeled ‘direct’ spiritual experiences as psychopathological, and mainstream religious views of such experiences as heretical if not pathological, suppressed the report and discussion of these experiences in modern society.

Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Hallucinations during Sleep Paralysis: Neurological and Cultural Construction of the Night-Mare

A three-factor structural model of HHEs based on their relations both to cultural narratives and REM neurophysiology is developed and tested with several large samples and central features of the model developed here are consistent with recent work on hallucinations associated with hypnosis and schizophrenia.

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The articles in this special issue of Transcultural Psychiatry examine cultural variations in sleep paralysis – a phenomenon that is both little known and remarkably common.

Prevalence and Illness Beliefs of Sleep Paralysis among Chinese Psychiatric Patients in China and the United States

The prevalence of sleep paralysis among Chinese patients in a psychiatric out-patient clinic in Boston and Shanghai was found to be 26.2% and 23.3%, respectively, and the endorsement of supernatural explanations for SP is rare among contemporary Chinese patients.

‘The Ghost Pushes You Down’: Sleep Paralysis-Type Panic Attacks in a Khmer Refugee Population

The Cambodian panic response to SP seems to be greatly heightened by elaborate cultural ideas - with SP generating concerns about physical status, ‘good luck’ status,‘bad luck' status, sorcery assault, and ghost assault - and by trauma associations to the figure seen in SP.

Sleep Paralysis, Sexual Abuse, and Space Alien Abduction

Sleep paralysis accompanied by hypnopompic (‘upon awakening’) hallucinations is an often-frightening manifestation of discordance between the cognitive/perceptual and motor aspects of rapid eye

The old hag phenomenon as sleep paralysis: A biocultural interpretation

  • R. Ness
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Culture, medicine and psychiatry
  • 1978
Folk theories of cause and treatment based on 13 months of field research in a community on the northeast coast of Newfoundland suggest a syndrome of psychological and physical symptoms involving body paralysis and hallucinations traditionally interpreted in Newfoundland as an attack of ‘Old Hag’.

Sleep paralysis in Chinese: ghost oppression phenomenon in Hong Kong.

There was no sex difference in the prevalence, and the peak age of onset was at the range of 17-19 for both sexes; a strong familial association was found and 20% of subjects reported a positive family history.

The Assessment of the Phenomenology of Sleep Paralysis: The Unusual Sleep Experiences Questionnaire (USEQ)

A pilot study with the brief assessment instrument, the Unusual Sleep Experiences Questionnaire (USEQ), found that it was easily understood by the participants and was associated with anxiety, with one quarter reporting at least one lifetime episode of SP.