“Have you been half-asleep? And have you heard voices? I heard them calling my name” -Kermit the Frog
The other night I posted the above quote from the Paul William’s penned song which was featured prominently in the original “The Muppet Movie” as well as the new movie “The Muppets”. I left the last part off and ended it with “And have you heard voices?”
The replies to the post ranged from people who got the reference to those who assumed I was being mysterious, or had mental issues. Others assumed I was talking about a very real phenomenon that some see as paranormal in nature.
When discussing this at work this morning, several people shared stories with me about them being jolted awake by the sound of someone calling their name.
It has happened to me, I freely admit. In fact, the phenomenon is so real and so convincing, that when it does happen I often bolt upright in bed and yell out, “WHAT?!” much to the chagrin of any one who would happen to be next to me.
The event occurred frequently in my late teen years and subsided as I got older. Still, every now and then it returns.
Additionally, in my case at least, it is not always just hearing someone scream my name, but I can actually hear conversations, like someone talking, not necessarily to me, but carrying on the most mundane of conversations with someone. Sometimes it is clear as day, other times it is muted, but still rather unsettling.
For those that experience this phenomenon, it is off-putting but fascinating at the same time. It can be scary, disorienting, and downright confusing. But is it truly paranormal in nature?
Science has a way of trying to explain away the paranormal and the paranormal field is often at odds with such explanations. In true science/medical fashion, scientists and doctors believe that the experience is a very real thing and in fact is so common that it is considered abnormal to NOT experience it.
The scientific name given to the phenomenon is Hypnagogia. The term is rather broad and in actuality describes the stage of transitioning between somnolence and sleep and vice-versa. During this transitional phase, it is common to experience a wide array of sleep-related phenomena, such as “Old Hag Syndrome” and “Out of Body Experiences”
The actual term and subsequent explanations is fairly recent. It was coined and classified in 1983 by Dr. Andreas Mavromatis as a collective noun…so the auditory disturbances we are experiencing falls under the category of Hypnagogia but is more akin to “Sensory Phenomena”. Included in “Sensory Phenomena” is seeing bursts of light from behind closed eyes, odd geometric patterns when staring into the darkness, and even audible disturbances such as hearing odd or nonsensical conversations, bangs or loud explosions (Exploding head syndrome).
Such scientific explanations are mostly based on theory and not fact. Sleep studies continue to be conducted to find out what happens when we enter a different state of consciousness. The human brain is a fascinating maze of untapped regions, synapses, and electrical impulses. Perhaps in all the functions it controls day in and day out…just maybe…it also acts as a receptor to messages from those who have stayed behind long after shuffling off their mortal coil.
Or, the voices and visions we encounter during the transition between the world of sleep and awake can simply be explained away as a misfire in the central processing unit of our very being.
So the question remains…have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
Share your stories with us in the comments section below.
See also: Old Hag aka Sleep Paralysis