Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Landon Olsen is a twenty three year old white male who lives here Logan, Utah. He grew up in a tiny town west of Logan called Tremonton. He is the youngest of five children, and often describes himself being an awkward reserved young man. He is a psychology major and hopes to be a forensic psychologist. He lives in an all-male apartment with four other roommates, his dog Oscar and his lizard, J-Quon.
Landon had told be this story previously a few weeks before on Halloween night, we had all been talking about supernatural occurrences, scary stories, legends, and strange dreams we had had, and we got on the subject of sleep paralysis. I shared that a lot of people describing sleep paralysis as feeling like one was being possessed by an unseen entity, and Landon automatically started to identify with what I was explaining. I remembered the episode he described, and decided to collect it, since I have heard a lot of other similar beliefs and feelings and sensations. I asked Landon if I could collect his story, and he agreed to have an interview with me.
Me: “Give me some context, of like when it started and what was going on in your life during that amount of time.”
Landon: “It all started when I was sixteen year old, at least I think I was sixteen, yeah I was sixteen, umm I don’t think I had heard of it before, I didn’t know what sleep paralysis was but I had heard stories, like I heard a story of someone feeling like they were getting pushed down at night and couldn’t sleep…so…yeah and then it happened to me like I couldn’t sleep that night for some weird reason and then, when I finally did get to sleep it wasn’t like I was asleep, I was awake…like I was awake mentally, but my body…like it felt like every part of it was getting pushed down to the bed especially my chest though, umm I didn’t feel like I saw anything the first time that it happened.
Me: ”Had you like…like when most people describe it they describe being like fully asleep and then coming out of sleep and realizing it was happening, was it like that?”
Landon: “I don’t remember sleeping, but I was like- but what I do remember is having an imaginary phone call during this time, it was weird cause, I like…was laying there and I couldn’t move and I felt like my chest was being pulled down so like I felt like I needed help so in my dream or whatever I like reached over, like I was trying real hard to reach my arm over to get my phone and then like I thought I picked my phone and called someone and then when I woke up I looked down at my phone and it hadn’t been touched like I didn’t call anybody.” [Starts to laugh.]
Me: “Ok [laughs] sorry I was looking at your lizard! [Continues to laugh.]
Landon: “its ok everybody does.” [Laughs too]
Me: ‘Anyways, let the record show that he has a lizard in his hands!”
Landon: “A real lizard.” [Laughs]
Me: “A real one! J-Quon….anyways.”
Landon: “So then that was the first one and then I woke up and I like, I literally thought I…I had been like tryin… like something was trying to possess me, then I learned about sleep paralysis and then it happened again…actually I think it happened before my mission once, but I was able to get out of it because I learned about the moving thing, where like, I think I tried to move my finger and it like woke me up, but then it happened on my mission and I remember I got woken up because some people called us and they were like ‘we need you tell us find someone that’s missing’,… so then like some members woke us up for some weird thing and then umm it was like midnight and I went back to sleep but then I couldn’t sleep for some reason again,…it’s always when I can’t sleep and then… I like…my mind was awake and I thought I couldn’t- I-I felt like my eyes were open, I don’t know if they were but I could see the room and this time I saw like it seemed like I saw shadows floating around like just like everywhere in the room and they were like taunting me.”
Me: “Did they have like definite forms? Or like no?”
Landon: “I don’t remember. Well I I think they were like human like forms, like it wasn’t like, just a blob and they were saying things to me. I don’t remember what they were saying though but like, it could have just been, like I felt like I imagined them saying mean things but nothing in particular.
Me” But they were definitely there to like,…emotionally harm you?”
Landon: “Being A-holes yeah, and like so, in my dream I like felt myself-,…like I felt like I was crawling across the floor to my companions bed, but I was still in my bed. And then I realized I was still in my bed…but I was still in sleep paralysis [starts to laugh because he realized how crazy it was] so like I was laying there and like I was trying to focus on casting them out.”
Me: “explain that, like pretend I don’t know what that is.”
Landon: “It’s like saying ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to leave.’ And like I was trying to say it and I like wanted to say it louder and louder and I felt myself actually saying it and then all of the sudden I woke up to my companion standing over me. [Starts to laugh] and it was TERRIFYING! I was like [makes a weird face and makes a deep inhale] ‘UUUUHHHHHHUUHH!!!’
Me: “Because he was just like there all of a sudden?” [Laughs]
Landon: “Yeah haha and he was ‘like are you ok?’ And I was like ‘Uhhh yeah’ and then he’s like I didn’t see anything or feel anything bad like I didn’t so I was like yeah I think it was just like sleep paralysis that’s what happens.”
Me: “Were you moving or talking in your sleep? Did he say?”
Landon: “He heard me cast it out that’s why he said he didn’t hear anything or feel anything….so it was weird.”
Me: “Has it happened since then?”
Landon: “………..no…that’s weird huh?”
Me: “A little bit.”
Landon: “It’s weird to me that like…cause...I’ve heard you and other people say like if you focus on moving your body like one part of your body it will help you wake up…but when it happened to me and I thought I had a phone conversation I was focusing on moving my arm to get the phone and call and I thought I had actually called someone and had a conversation but I didn’t like in my dream I moved my arm but it didn’t move so it was weird like I actually thought I moved it and I didn’t and then happened again when I like crawled over to my companions bed….it’s weird..”
Me: “So like the first time it happened did you…you didn’t feel like it was like for a specific reason but the second did you feel like it was?”
Landon: “Yeah well I told my brother…I I actually thought I was getting…like trying...I thought something was trying to possess me the first time like I didn’t see anything but felt I literally felt like something was on my chest trying like felt to me they were trying to get in just cause like that’s what...I don’t know like just like ‘Oh there’s a demon trying to get on me like.’ [Starts to laugh and I start to laugh because we are dirty minded weirdos. ]
Me: “It’s just so nonchalant!?”
Landon: “GET ON MEHH.”
Me: “Get on me…..hehheh…silly demon…”
Landon: “NOT FOR YOU!!!” [laughter dies down]…and then like at that point I like…I don’t know…never prayed before so I was like ah crap like [laughs nervously]…what am I gonna do [laughs some more]…I had prayed but like I didn’t think about that at the time…so like I thought I was getting possessed and I was just like ‘I gotta call someone I gotta get help like [laughs].”
Me: “And did you?”
Landon: “Well…after I woke up?....No…wait I think I did talk to my brother Alex because he was awake and I was like something just happened and I think he explained to me it was sleep paralysis actually.”
Me: “Ok so it was like immediate that you knew what it was.”
Landon: “yeah but I was still kind of like….wondering…. Like is this…?”
Me: “…yeah….well k like cool…cool…thanks for your STORAYYY.”
Landon: [extends pinkie finger and pretends to be a British Lord.] “That tis the story.”
Me: “That’s an amazing story thank you very muccchhh.”
Landon: “yeah” [laughs]
Me: “that’s the end of this interview thank youuuu.”
Landon and I are usually super open and tease each other a lot, so I expected this interview to be pretty loose, but I actually felt really awkward. When I first entered the apartment he was laying down on his couch with his lizard J-Quon, and his roommate and his roommate’s girlfriend were present. I suggested to move into a more isolated room, so that we wouldn’t pick up back ground noise from his roommate and his girlfriend and I think that might have made him more uncomfortable, but I don’t know. We moved back into his bedroom and had the interview there. It was weird to me that he had his lizard out actually. It felt like to me he almost needed him there for emotional support or a distraction from being the center of attention. When he told me there story I got the feeling that it had been a traumatic experience, and that now he just felt almost ashamed about how he reacted to both experiences because he now knows it wasn’t real. It was very real to him and I don’t think he should be ashamed. I also got the feeling of how extremely important his religion is to him. Both times he felt like he needed god and it shows how much faith he has in him.
Lynne S. McNeill
Semester and year
G7: Appearances or Manifestations of Supernatural Beings or Revenants
Mackelprang, Sierra, "Sleep Paralysis Demons" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 418.