A couple of nights ago I experienced what is commonly known as sleep paralysis. I've had a minor occurrence of it before, but on this occasion I found myself overcome with a feeling of intense terror. This coupled with what looked like a tall dark figure that appeared to be breaking into reality through one of the corners of my room next to the door. The figure was gaunt and somewhat Nospheratu-like in stature with what looked like a wide-brimmed had on it's head. I couldn't make out its features but my ears were filled with a pulsating sound and my body seemed to be vibrating as though I was somehow being phased out of reality, beamed up, or probed by some kind of scanner.
The terror that I felt wasn't so much due to the feeling of an evil presence in the room, but I got the impression that this thing was highly intelligent, had an agenda and that it regarded me as little more than an insect that stood in its way. All the while I couldn't move a single muscle.
"As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods" as Shakespeare put it, and eventually after several minutes my girlfriend shook me out of it because I was "howling like a terrified animal," she said.
It happened twice more that night but on the last two occasions I managed to get myself out of it by realising that this was merely sleep paralysis. After each occasion my waking perceptions were filled with mild hallucinations and the experience instantly made me think that these symptoms could be synonymous with the alien abduction experience.
Now, I don't for one minute think that this was anything other than an exceptional case of sleep paralysis as defined by modern psychology, however, the archetypes of the Shadow People and, in particular, "The Hat Man" intrigues me considerably.
Here's an interesting ten part interview with Professor David J. Hufford, author of the provocative study The Terror That Comes In The Night. (YouTube video stream).