Incubus phenomenon

The incubus phenomenon is a paroxysmal sleep-related disorder characterized by compound hallucinations experienced during brief phases of apparent wakefulness. It tends to be accompanied by sleep paralysis, anxiety, vegetative symptoms, and feelings of suffocation.

This is unfortunate, since the incubus phenomenon has a much greater clinical relevance than isolated sleep paralysis. The pooled lifetime prevalence rate of the incubus phenomenon was 0.

In selected samples e. This review and meta-analysis yielded a lifetime prevalence of the incubus phenomenon in the general population of 0.

incubus phenomenon

This is slightly higher than the prevalence rates in previous analyses that included cases of recurrent isolated sleep paralysis without an incubus phenomenon. Recommendations are also made for clinical practice and future research. The incubus phenomenon is a paroxysmal sleep-related disorder, characterized by a feeling of pressure on the chest, while the sleeping individual has the sensation of being awake.

The creature may appear in the shape of a human, animal, or metaphysical being, or be of an indeterminate nature. Attacks may occasionally commence with a scream whereas, for the remainder of the time, persons experiencing an attack tend to be mute. Although they may be able to move their eyes, atonia of the striate muscles prevents them from making any other movements.

Attacks are usually accompanied by the feeling of a sensed presence and by vegetative symptoms such as piloerection, a cold sweat, tachycardia, hypertension, a feeling of suffocation, and sometimes also sexual arousal.

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The duration tends to be in the order of seconds to minutes, culminating in a feeling of severe dread and the conviction that one is about to die. Around that time, the sleep paralysis tends to come to an abrupt ending and the hallucinated creature appears to fall or glide from the bed, leaving its victim behind in a state of anxiety and hyperarousal, being unable to go back to sleep out of fear for repetition 1.

The incubus phenomenon is classified as a type of parasomnia and attributed to a dissociation of sleep phases, i. What is known is that it may lead to insomnia, comorbid anxiety disorder, or comorbid delusional disorder and that it should not be confused with or treated as a schizophrenia spectrum disorder 8.

Somewhat confusingly, epidemiological studies on the incubus phenomenon are often studies on sleep paralysis in disguise, as if the two were interchangeable phenomena. A meta-analysis by Sharpless and Barber 11 yielded prevalence rates for recurrent isolated sleep paralysis of 0.

In a different study, an even higher rate was found in narcolepsy patients, i. In many studies, however, no distinction was made between patients suffering from sleep paralysis with an incubus phenomenon and those without. As a consequence, the prevalence rate of the incubus phenomenon itself remains unknown. The present study aimed to arrive at a reliable estimate of the prevalence rate of the incubus phenomenon in the general population as well as in selected samples, i.

We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of existing epidemiological studies reporting on the prevalence of the incubus phenomenon. Records were considered to be eligible when they were published in peer-reviewed journals including advanced online publications and reported on the lifetime or point prevalence of the incubus phenomenon. Studies had to be written in English, German, Spanish, or Dutch. Case studies were excluded, as were reviews, meta-analyses, and perspectives that did not contain original data.

The present methodology adhered to the guidelines for the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses Search procedures, study selection, quality assessment, and data extraction were performed independently by at least two of the authors.

Discrepancies were resolved during consensus meetings.

[The incubus phenomenon: A sleep-related condition, not to be confused with psychosis]

A systematic search was made for papers that reported on prevalence rates of the incubus phenomenon. The date of the last search was August 3, The incubus and succubus phenomena seems to be related to the "old hag" or sleep paralysis phenomenon. With sleep paralysis, the victim often senses a mysterious presence in the room, which is often interpreted as a person, spirit or even an alien.

The phenomenon Tracy is talking about takes the intrusion to a much more personal -- even abusive -- level, in which the victim feels sexually touched, caressed and even violated to the point of sexual climax. They feel that the spirit a male spirit in the case of an incubus or a female spirit in the case of a succubus activity is quite real since they have a physical reaction to it.


So what's going on here? As is the case for all such phenomena, no one knows for certain. All we can say is that the experience is either real in the sense that the person is truly being attacked by some unseen force or that it is imagined or psychological in nature. Can it possibly be real? If spirits of the dead can return to deliver messages and otherwise affect our physical world in ways that have been documented we hear their footsteps, their voices, they move things, etc.

It is theorized by researchers that spirits reflect the personalities of the persons they were when they were alive. If they were good and kind people, they will be gentle spirits. If they were mean, violent people, their spirits might have the same attributes.

So such a spirit might abuse a person sexually. Religiously minded people might simply blame such attacks on demons. We must consider, however, that such experiences could be entirely imaginary or psychological.

The human subconscious is a deep and mysterious thing about which we know so very little. But we do know that it can be quite powerful. The subconscious can affect our health and therefore can result in physical changes or manifestations on our bodies. Parapsychological researchers suspect that the subconscious is responsible for much poltergeist activity.

So to get back to the question: Are some people more susceptible to this than others? The answer, of course, would have to be yes since not everyone has these experiences.

If it is caused by real spirits, the victims might be more sensitive to that world.

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If it is psychological, there could be many reasons why their subconscious would manifest the experience. By Stephen Wagner. Are some people more susceptible to incubus and succubus attacks?Because an incubus demon can become fixated on a particular victim, some women have died from exhaustion after being visited by the same incubus demon over and over.

The incubus demon is mentioned in the earliest work of fiction we still have today, The Epic of Gilgamesh. In some traditions, an incubus demon will put its victim in a trance so that they are unable to move or call for help. One study found that as many as 11 percent of people will have an experience in their lifetime that may be described similarly to an attack by an incubus demon, though the study characterized the phenomena as a form of sleep paralysis. The female version of an incubus is a succubus.

They are female demons that visit men at night and can become pregnant by them.

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Some people believe incubus demons and succubus demons are the same entities — possessing the ability to switch between male and female forms. Stories of the incubus demon and succubus demon are told in many different cultures around the world. German folklore: The Alp is a vampire-like creature who visits its victims at night.

It wears a cape called a Tarnkappe which is imbued with magical powers. African folklore: The Popobawa is a shape-shifting evil spirit who stalks victims at night from the shadows. Chilean folklore: The Trauco is a small, ugly, humanoid creature who attracts and attacks women. It can have the body of a human, but leaves the footsteps of a horse.

Vampires and incubus demons are similar enough that some people think the legend of one has originated from the legend of the other. The difference between an incubus demon and a vampire is that a vampire is essentially a zombie-like human — not a demonic entity.

A vampire is a dead human, an incubus is non-human. These strategies come from the Malleus Maleficarum translation: Hammer of Witchesa German treatise on witchcraft from the 16th century. Getting a priest to perform an exorcism is historically how someone would overcome being attacked by an incubus demon. Regular Confession. Attending confession with a priest regularly can prevent you from being a victim of any kind of spiritual warfare, including an incubus demon.

Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Switching locations. Simply leaving a place where an incubus demon has previously visited you could be helpful.Although he left a very impressive oeuvre, only two works of the dark romantic painter Henry Fuseli have really become famous among the general public.

The Nightmare or Incubusboth the and the version, have travelled the world, and there is a third version of unknown date. Not only via exhibitions or art magazines, but even as a frequently appearing illustration in the journals of Freudian psychoanalysts.

Perhaps these works became such durable eye-catchers because they depict a situation that many people experiences once or sometimes even several times in their life: a nightmare, accompanied by a suffocating heavy chest pressure and the feeling of not being able to move the limbs. The work was immediately copied by other artists and even by cartoonists of the time, who used the work to create a caricature of their political nightmares.

Before going to bed, Fuseli would eat raw pork to evoke fierce dreams in himself. Eating raw or abundant amounts of meat before going to bed seems to have been a short rage among creatives who had read the Public Adviser, but Fuseli himself probably never sinned in it. His father introduces him to the neoclassical ideas of Winckelmann and Anton Raphael Mengs.

He reads Milton, Dante, das Nibelungenlied, Rabbelais and Shakespeare, becomes the bosom friend of William Blake and gets acquainted with the writer of Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft. When he publishes a wrong political pamphlet together with his friend Johann Lavater in his student years, the two consider it wise to leave Switzerland. After a year in Berlin, they end up in England. There, Fuseli definitively exchanges his theology studies and poetry ambitions for painting.

His works often consist of ghostly spaces with clair obscure-dramas full of vehemently derailed emotions. All of this is accompanied by a rather rough brushstroke that reminds us of the eight years Fuseli spent in Rome making drawing studies of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This echo by Michellangelo also makes his sketches and drawings immediately recognizable.

He also falls in love with Anna Landolt, the niece of his friend Lavater, but is rejected by her, probably because she is already engaged to someone else and Fuseli was a very small man. The first version from even shows her portrait on the back of the canvas invisible to visitors to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the current exhibition space for the work. Henri Fuseli third Nightmare-version. Data unknown.

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The words nightmare and nightmare have nothing to do with a horse and find their origin in the Northern German Moar male Moare femaleMoartMahrt or Mare and possibly, but that is speculative, Mare is again linked to the Mares of the Romans.

The Murraue also had a male and a female form, just like the male incubus and the female succubus or succuba. The general term for the creature that causes nightmares, however, is Alp. Although not always obvious, the sexual association with nightmares is as old as the Mesopotamian mythology and the Jewish legend of Lilith. Originally an important Middle Eastern goddess and often fused with Inanna, Lilith became the archetype of sexual primal force that has a pariah status within the conservative Jewish culture.

Legend has it that the incubi and succubi came from the community between Lilith and Samael. They were responsible for erotic fantasies, drives and desires and were particularly fond of lonely travellers and men, who had been away from their wives for a longer period of time.

They caused wet dreams and thus the loss of precious life energy and from this wasted seed new incubi or succubi were born.

incubus phenomenon

This belief is not limited to Jewish culture, but we also find it in the Taoists tradition in China. However, unlike Judaism, where masturbation is strictly taboo, the Taoist masters advised men who had to do without a woman for a long time to occasionally masturbate to get rid of their pai-ching seed without vitality.

As for the involuntary nocturnal ejaculations, the Taoist physicians were as concerned as the Jews, because they would be caused by ghosts. Succubus or Succuba, the female shape of the creature that has the incubus-shape as its male appearance. A term that should be used with caution here, because there were periods in which every woman in a region was bombarded and persecuted as a witch by the inquisitors without exception.

In his book The Discovery of Witchcraft fromReginald Scot gives a number of examples of the role that incubi and succubi played in sexual satisfaction.An incubus is a demon in male form who, according to mythological and legendary traditions, lies upon sleeping women in order to engage in sexual activity with them.

Salacious tales of incubi and succubi have been told for many centuries in traditional societies. Some traditions hold that repeated sexual activity with an incubus or succubus may result in the deterioration of health, mental state, or even death. The word incubus is derived from Late Latin incubo "a nightmare induced by such a demon" from incubare "to lie upon". These demons were originally storm demons, but they eventually became regarded as night demons because of mistaken etymology.

incubus phenomenon

Incubi were thought to be demons who had sexual relations with women, sometimes producing a child by the woman. Succubi, by contrast, were demons thought to have intercourse with men. Debate about these demons began early in the Christian tradition. Augustine touched on the topic in De Civitate Dei "The City of God" ; there were too many alleged attacks by incubi to deny them.

He stated "There is also a very general rumor. Many have verified it by their own experience and trustworthy persons have corroborated the experience others told, that sylvans and fauns, commonly called incubi, have often made wicked assaults upon women.

Eight hundred years later, Thomas Aquinas argued against the possibility of children being conceived by intercourse with demons: "Still, if some are occasionally begotten from demons, it is not from the seed of such demons, nor from their assumed bodies, but from the seed of men, taken for the purpose; as when the demon assumes first the form of a woman, and afterwards of a man; just so they take the seed of other things for other generating purposes".

If a demon could extract the semen quickly, the transportation of the substance could not be instantly transported to a female host, causing it to go cold. This explains his view that Succubae and Incubi were the same demonic entity only to be described differently based on the sexes being conversed with. Being abused in such a way caused women at nunneries to be burned if they were found pregnant.

The second method was the idea that a dead body could be possessed by a devil, causing it to rise and have sexual relations with others. This is similar to depictions of revenants or vampires and a spirit taking deceased corpse to cause some mischief.

Even though sperm and egg came from humans originally, the spirits' offspring were often thought of as supernatural. Some sources indicate that it may be identified by its unnaturally large or cold penis.

Incubi are sometimes said to be able to conceive children. The half-human offspring of such a union is sometimes referred to as a cambion. An incubus may pursue sexual relations with a woman in order to father a child, as in the legend of Merlin.

According to the Malleus Maleficarumexorcism is one of the five ways to overcome the attacks of incubi, the others being Sacramental Confessionthe Sign of the Cross or recital of the Angelic Salutationmoving the afflicted to another location, and by excommunication of the attacking entity, "which is perhaps the same as exorcism".

There are a number of variations on the incubus theme around the world. The alp of Teutonic or German folklore is one of the better known.This article fixes that by revealing everything you need to know about the incubus demon. Tighten your belts now because what you are about to read will shock you in no small way. Incubus Demon s is the name used to refer to a group of very ancient supernatural creatures that have been on earth for millions of years. They arrived sometime after the creation of the Earth and its first destruction by the great floods.

From that early period on, even until today, their primary objective has been to have sex with humans. Hence, they are commonly referred to as sex demons. Based on their activities, this group of sex demons appears to have both male and female versions.

The male version remains known as an Incubus demon while the female version is better known as a Succubus demon. An Incubus is a male demon or spirit that preys on women, particularly while they are asleep.

They attack, rape and impregnate their victims. The women may awaken while being raped, or may not even know anything has occurred until her health suddenly begins to deteriorate as she hosts the growing parasitic baby of the Incubus demon.

A succubus is a female Incubus demon spirit that preys on men, especially while they are asleep. A Succubus demon will often get pregnant for a man and the result is a spiritual child. The difference between the Incubus and Succubus demons lie solely in gender, which defines their mode of operation. The Succubus demon attacks men only while the Incubus demon preys solely on women. People have recognized the existence of the Incubus and succubus demons since as far back as the ancient Mesopotamian civilization in BCE, the earliest civilization on earth, which is mentioned several times in the Holy Bible.

The incubus demon also appears in the earliest work of fiction in existence today, The Epic of Gilgamesh. The Incubus and Succubus demons have been known by so many names over the ages and top on that list are, spirit husband and Spirit wife, Incubi and Succubi LatinIncubo and Succubo old LatinLilu and Lilitudemons of lust, and finally, sex demons.

The incubus or succubus – nightmare or astral sex date?

In ancient Mesopotamia, these sex demons were known as Lilu and Lilitu. With time, Latin became the official language of the civilized world and the name changed. Since these sex demons often become fixated on a particular victim bondingsome women have been known to die from exhaustion after repeated visits by the same incubus demon.If you've ever woken up in the middle of the night feeling as though you're being crushed by a demonic being, you may have just experienced what's called the incubus phenomenon: an "attack" by a male demon.

Its female counterpart, the succubus, usually attacks men. The phenomenon is, in many ways, the quintessential nightmare. For centuries, the incubus demon has been said to haunt sleepers, inspiring tales in traditional folklore as well as works of art.

Now, a new meta-analysis from the Netherlands suggests that this frightening phenomenon may be more common than previously thought — and that it should be taken more seriously by psychiatrists and psychologists who hear such accounts from their patients.

The so-called attack usually occurs during an episode of sleep paralysis, a condition that's even more common than the incubus phenomenon, according to the meta-analysis.

Sleep paralysis is a result of the dissociation of sleep phases, said senior author Dr. Jan Dirk Blom,a professor of clinical psychopathology at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. The condition happens when a person is falling asleep or waking up. During sleep paralysis, two aspects of REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep, occur when a person is conscious.

During REM sleepwhich is the period when a person typically dreams, the body's muscles are relaxed to the level of paralysis, presumably to prevent the sleeper from acting out his or her dreams, Blom said. But when sleep paralysis takes place, the person's mind wakes up — however, the person is still dreaming, and the body is still paralyzed. What the afflicted person sees is a combination of their actual surroundings and a nightmare, which is projected onto the real world.

The experience feels exceptionally real, Blom said. In the meta-analysis, which was published in November in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatrythe researchers looked at 13 studies of the incubus phenomenon that included nearly 1, people.

The researchers found that over 1 in 10 people, or 11 percent of the general population, will experience the incubus phenomenon in their lifetimes, Blom said. But in certain groups, the odds of "encountering" an incubus are higher.

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Among people with psychiatric disorders, as well as among refugees and — somewhat surprisingly — students, the odds of experiencing the incubus phenomenon are as high as 41 percent, Blom said. The analysis also found that people sleeping on their backs are more likely to experience the phenomenon.

Alcohol consumption and irregular sleeping patterns also make an incubus visit more probable, Blom said. Though the frightening experience gets frequently dismissed as "just a bad dream," Blom noted that the incubus phenomenon can lead to additional problems, including anxiety, difficulty sleeping due to fear and even delusional disorder, a mental illness akin to schizophrenia.

In the paper, the researchers speculated about a possible link between the incubus phenomenon and sudden unexpected death syndrome, a situation in which a healthy person inexplicably dies in his or her sleep. Whether that ever happens is unknown, even though for a person experiencing it, it is not hard to imagine this [happening]. The analysis also found that the form of the incubus figure and how people react to it can vary based on the person's cultural background. For example, "patients with Muslim background often tell me that they see the incubus phenomenon as a proof that they are being haunted by a jinnan invisible spirit created by Allah out of smokeless fire," Blom said.

Originally published on Live Science. Live Science.

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