Hearing Voices (Hypnagogic Hallucination)

“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

20 thoughts on “Hearing Voices (Hypnagogic Hallucination)

  1. Mohib Alam

    Hi
    Today about 50 minutes back…when i was about to sleep, all of sudden i started hearing like somebody is screaming very badly and then went into a dream where i was on stairs and saw somekind of spirit ..which pushed me very hard…very very hard…! then i started praying and then i was able to open my eyes…but was not able to move my body and was not able to speak anything…i tried to reach my wife on the left side on my bed but couldn’t do that…at last after about 45 seconds…i could move my body and speak as well…but my body was very cold….even now after an hour, i still feel very cold …i guess going to take a hot shower…..but this thing was very creepy…scared the shit out of me.

    Reply
  2. obiwan

    Mohib, thank you for sharing your story. Your experience is very typical of sleep paralysis, which is often accompanied by sounds. Although terrifying, it’s not supernatural, so try not to worry. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Rachel

    I have suffered from sleep paralysis for as long as I can remember. I understand that most in the scientific field would not consider it to be a paranormal experience; however, they can be very frightening. My experiences have ranged from hearing people crashing through my bedroom door and stomping around in my room to hearing my children and even feeling them close to me asking me why I will not wake up or answer them. Of course they never came to my room to begin with yet the experience felt so real that I while it was happening I could not have known I was in a state of sleep paralysis. The only thing that I find odd and for a time I felt that it was paranormal in nature was when I would hear voices. In particular I would hear many voices both male and female talking loudly; some whispering at the same time. Some of the voices would sound very angry and menacing. Some nights when I would hear these voices; some of them would say my name and address me directly. They got very scary because I could hear them telling me horrible things about myself and telling me that I should kill myself. Shortly before I got married; I became a Christian and during one of these episodes when the voices were very angry and saying filthy things to me, I told them to shut up in the name of Jesus! The hearing of these angry voices stopped and I have never heard them again or the angry stomping in my room. On occasion though I still hear my children’s soft footsteps in my room during sleep paralysis or feel them kiss my cheek and tell me that they love me. This sleep paralysis does not bother me at all and I love it.

    Reply
  4. Berta

    I found this by chance upon putting hearing voices on google to see what came. Early this morning I heard a faint voice, but it wasn’t calling my name, I couldn’t identify the words or don’t remember it, cuz indeed I was trapped between sleeping-awaking mode. I remember the voice sounding like “computerized”, I though maybe the answering machine was getting a new message but nothing was recorded there when I woke up and I didn’t hear the phone ringing. It bugs me tho.

    Reply
  5. Vivian

    Oh man, I LOVE these things. I have them all the time, perhaps because I usually have a hard time falling asleep and take quite a while about it. The conversations aren’t always about boring things, but yes, mostly. But it’s such a weird phenomenon that even that is incredibly entertaining to me. I don’t remember them ever having disconcerted me. The first time I remember it happening was when I was 14, trying (and failing) to sleep on a train. I thought that time that it was in some way real, and it does still rather feel like when a telephone signal gets mixed up and you can hear someone else’s conversations. But I can only assume it is not.

    The patterns of light in darkness are also pretty awesome. I haven’t had those for years, probably because I keep my eyes closed when trying to sleep these days. But when I was a child and was put to bed way before I wanted to be there, I did not. I stared ahead of me, and it would start with patterns of light, like pixels. If I didn’t fall asleep, they would eventually coalesce into strange creatures doing strange things. I kind of miss that.

    Reply
  6. Jean

    The other night I was laying in bed almost asleep and I heard a female voice plain as day just like she was sitting next to me say “excuse me” I jumped and said “do what?” She was gone. I want to know who she was. It’s been bugging me ever since.

    Reply
  7. Jamie

    I have not experienced this while sleepy but I admit in my younger days I used to drink occasionally. On one of these occasions I was sitting up with a relative in their basement, it was very quiet and I suddenly heard a voice clearly say my name. It seemed so real that it actually sobered me up although I couldn’t tell many details about it, even if it were male or female. Just a neutral voice saying my name at a loud whisper. I think the effects of the alcohol would be somewhat comparable to the effects of sleepiness and since reading this I pretty much have no doubt that it was a hallucination.

    On a more interesting note however, I should mention that two weeks later an electrical fire started at the house (in the basement) and gutted it. I typically spent a lot of time at this home, including staying the night in the basement, but was so completely freaked out that I stayed away. Hallucination or not, I think it might have saved my life.

    Reply
  8. Nicole

    I experienced voices during bedtime all through my teens. A lot of these voices seemed to be speaking French. I’m not fluent in french but the words I could pick up were something about a circus and certain animals. I would also hear women calling my name. Some voices sounding familiar and some not. I also remember a man’s voice whispering loudly “I killed Watson!” I will never forget that evil gravely voice. I slept on my parents floor for a week or so after experiencing that hallucination. That was one of the last times as a teen that I remember having these voices. Paranormal or not it was awful.

    Now nearing 30 the voices are back again. Not as clear but I can hear faint conversations and laughter. Not just people but sometimes big bangs on the side of my bedroom walls and even the feeling of my body pulsating or vibrating. It’s disturbing but is fascinating. Often times my eyes seem to be wide open while I hear these things but nothing visual thank goodness. As interesting as this is, I would like it to GO AWAY! Any tips?

    Reply
  9. Denise Zamora

    This phenomena has been happening to me for several years. I often will hear my name being called by an unfamiliar voice, hear my husband call my name or hear him coughing, even though he is not home.

    It is quite unsettling and lately, I’ve been hearing other noises at night. It is great to know that there is a scientific name for what I have been experiencing all these years!

    Reply
  10. rogsmith

    Scientific terms are always a veneer to console humans when it comes to spirits. In truth, its really the supernatural… Can’t be telling lies your whole life denying these things. They’re everywhere making voices, not just in you. Sleep paralysis, its really spirit force on top of you… I’ve whacked it with my forearm even though my whole body was stuck. Theres really something on top. Don’t sugarcoat these spirits, it makes them bolder because humans don’t recognise them. EXPOSE THEIR EXISTENCE AND YOUR PROBLEMS GO AWAY.

    Some have low intensity (can cure), others have absolute intensity (maybe can cure). Some have super scary intensity of bipolar (cannot cure) that will scare your balls out to the death.

    In truth, bipolar? No that much, in fact one are inflicted with much invisible forces from the other side. Some know, some do not know. Some know and keep mum. All of us have the duty to speak up about the voice. Deep down only oneself will know……Too much occult activities in the past? New age jumbo mambo, palmistry? astrology? iching, rune? tarot perhaps????? Even religion.

    Having done some bad things in life can also be one reason… Nobody will admit this though. DON’T DENY ANYMORE THESE SPIRITS… THEY’RE COMING FOR PAYBACK ON HUMANS,,,, LOOK AT THE WORLD…. SATAN DEVIL ETC…….

    Reply
  11. Shirley

    In the past month or so I have experienced the following while falling asleep: hearing voices, especially my husband’s (he is alive); then a wolf starring into my face; shadows on the wall. I am almost asleep and then suddenly have a sensation of some entity being in the room or the voices. I told my doctor about what was happening and he proscribed a medication for me to take at bedtime. Does not seem to be doing anything. And when I go to sleep I have weird nightmares. When I was younger, I used to wake up screaming. Now I just ignore the dreams, but the wide awake stuff is too strange. I made a pet out of the wolf and petted him, he smiles and leaves. One shadow on the wall, I warned to stay out of my art studio and get lost. I won’t allow this to control my life.

    Reply
  12. Ghost Guy

    I’ve had similar sleep paralysis experiences as Mohib, can be really spooky stuff even though I know it isn’t anything supernatural. Most of the time any hearing of voices or conversation is our brains being jerks, haha. Still, its fun to still think about supernatural elements or related “ghost stories” that some people have come up with, real or fake.

    Reply
  13. Russ Montgomery

    About 8 years ago, when my wife and I, were living in our new home, I had this happen twice.We didn’t have the money to have our lot landscaped,so I was doing the work myself.The lot is large,with a lot of rocks and boulders,scattered around.Anyway, one evening I was laying on my back,in a rear bedroom,when someone screamed my name very loudly from nearby.It startled me,and I sat straight up, but no one was around.A few days later,I was really worn out again,and was laying on the same bed,to take a nap.This time,I felt something touch my shoulder,and say my name loudly,right in my face.This time, it shook me up,and I never went to that room to rest,anymore.I don’t recall that ever happening before,and haven’t since.

    Reply
  14. Sara Kaplan

    Sometimes, upon just waking up, I would feel what would be a light tap on the center of my forehead. I have wondered if it is perhaps a spirit trying to get me out of bed. This hasn’t happened in a long time however. Personally, I think that scientific explanations like “Sleep Paralysis” and “Hypnagogic Hallucinations” do have some standing….but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always the case, and that we should all keep an open mind! (Of course, it’s always good to question the general validity of the ways of the world…though there is still so much that we as humans probably won’t ever fully understand—just consider how many aquatic animals are still being discovered in the ocean, to this day!) Thank you for such an interesting article, well written and thought-provoking!

    Reply
  15. rvrmtn

    Little bit late with comments… i was camping by myself up in mountains 5 miles from road going over a pass. All night there was a snowstorm, and all night heard voices, men just talking. I assumed they had come in after dark, and had set up their tent near me. In the morning there was 12 inches of snow, and no old men camping near me. I was snowed in for a couple of days until i could hike out; so i was not scared (at least of the supernatural voices). Happened on Swift Run Gap, Virginia.

    Reply
  16. drB

    Have been having this type of thing happening to me since I was a child. Remember waking up (dreaming) getting out of bed and seeing my grandfather rocking in his rocking chair. He had died several years earlier and he told me that you keep coming back until you get it right. I can actually pretty much control it now. I realize that I’m dreaming about voices or where I am and can make myself block out the voice (sounds like the best choice to me) or to get out of bed float out a window and take a walk or fly through the garden. Not total control but some. I also will meet people that I don’t know. It used to frighten me but now it is kind of fun. I can tell I’m waking up when I start losing control of the dream…and just let it happen.

    Reply
  17. Dee

    Hi
    When I was about 11 I experienced sleep paralysis i was asleep and all of a sudden somebody was suffocating me with a pillow literally holding a pillow down on my face my mind became conciouse but I couldn’t move I was panicking thinking I was going to die when I finally could move I shot up out of bed and saw a black shadow figure on the wall which was in the form of a man with a coat and a hat on it dissapeard but for a whole year I couldn’t sleep I was so young and very scared I deprived my self of sleep so much that I had a nightmare every time I slept.
    Anyway getting older I started having sleep paralysis more frequently I learnt to be able to get out of it quiet fast and I lucid dream quiet a lot but some times I enter a state of sleep where I’m conscious and I can hear voices in my head it’s not the people around me it’s something else it sounds like when your under water and you can hear things when I was in Japan it happend and I could hear a group of people speaking in Japanese it was so loud I almost thought I had super sonic hearing and could hear people from far away but when I forced myself to wake up it was completely silent. The other night I went into that state I knew it was going to be scary because my body automatically gets anxious if I’m about to have a nightmare or something and the voices I heard were screaming like a roar i can always heart things but I can never open my eyes to see them it’s not always scary but one time it happens and I could hear a lady saying “wait she’s too scared” I also had an experience were my body had a massive overcome of pins and needles and it started at my legs then moved up my body something pulled my leg and it was like my body was leaving my body the pins and needles was so overcoming that once it got to my heart I forced myself awake. I’ve also had a dream within a dream i have no idea what’s going on with me my sleep states vary and I dream I know it’s a dream but it’s not a lucid dream it’s a set dream that I’m aware of and just have to explore it. I don’t want to tell my friends because they might think I’m crazy. I used to dream about dead people to. When I was younger I dreamt my grandmother was going to die the next day she died. My mother died of cancer wen I was 10 but she never told us she was before she died I dream she was going to die in hospital of this thing called cancer and I saw her in the hospital with a scarf around her head and she had no hair at the time I had no clue what cancer was also at the time she still had hair and we were not aware of cancer or that she was dying so after my dream I woke up to ask my mum where she was going to be buried she was confused why I asked her I wish I had have told her about the dream.

    Reply
  18. Michelle

    About 8 years ago, while lying in bed I was hearing all sorts of strange things. Things not easy to describe here. I went out to the living room to try to lay down on the sofa when all of a sudden I had a sudden shock to the top of my head. (crown chakra) After this I kept hearing my name called and felt myself being smacked all over my body, from my head to the bottom of my feet.
    After this, for the past 8 years I\’ve been hearing voices. All they do is play games with me. Knowing I\’m a very spiritual person they come to me with storied that they are someone of the holy heavens speaking to me ( only to find out this is not true) Or they make up these big elaborate about holiness being with me , again for them to say later these aren\’t true. I have read about how to rid ghostly haunting (which I believe they are ghosts) in your home but not how to get rid of them when they are only in your head ! Any suggestions ? Anybody ? Its, after 8 years starting to make me reach the edge !!!

    Reply
  19. Michelle

    I hear voices all day long. These have admitted to me that they are ghosts, although they are unaware of who they are. I have done my best o rid myself of these and have prayed constantly to the heavens to have them removed from me. To no avail. Is there a suggestion for ghosts that are not seen but only heard. No I am strong mentally with no history of madness. I have been able o find thins when there are apparitions when it comes to ghosts, but never ones that are just hearing them in ones mind. Please help me with any suggestions.

    Reply
  20. Mason

    first i was laying down about to fall asleep and it felt like my eyes got heavy and my body felt dead and i jolted out of sleep. I tried going back to sleep a couple times and I heard a voice say my name. I just started tripping out. Tried one more time same thing. Started calling out to the voice and a couple minutes laying with my eyes shut i heard a voice say a phrase that tripped me out. I have had this problem for a year or so. Not with the voice everytime but jolting out of sleep right as i was falling into sleep. One time I panicked and called 911. Please help need good advice

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *