What I am about to tell you is a true story of my first experience with sleep paralysis. For those of you who may not know, sleep paralysis is a phenomenon in which one wakes up, but their body is still paralyzed as it would be during sleep. During this time many people suffer from frightening hallucinations or the feeling that someone is in the room with them.

This happened to me at the beginning of my first year of college. Moving into the dorms (with a private room), was my first real experience with living- relatively- on my own, and I was understandably under quite a bit of stress because of it. I had been having a lot of trouble sleeping those first few weeks, some nights unable to sleep at all and some only able to sleep in one hour or so intervals before waking back up again. Though I had had my own room most of my life, I was still not used to sleeping without the rest of the family in nearby rooms, and I'll admit, I got more then a little scared at night. That being said, it wasn't surprising that this would be the time that it would happen, and if I had known what it was then perhaps I would not have been so frightened by it. Though still there is one thing about it I cannot explain and unnerves me a bit to think about even now.

The way my room was set up, the bed was facing the door to the hallway, with a window that was behind and to the left of the bed in a little cranny that could not be fully seen by someone in the bed.

When I awoke that night, I was unable to move, my eyes immovably fixed on the door. As I started to panic, wondering what was happening to me, I heard a low growl coming from outside in the hall, accompanied by a scuffling dragging sound. It was faint at first, but grew louder as if it was coming closer. I tried my hardest to move, but couldn't so much as twitch a finger.

I heard the thing, whatever it was, get closer and closer, unable to do anything but listen and watch the door as a shadow appeared beneath it.

I only had time to think that the door was locked and it wouldn't be able to get in, when my eyes involuntarily shut... and I heard the knob turn and my door creak open.

For the next few moments my mind was in pure panic mode, trying to force my eyes back open or will movement back into my limbs so I could get away from whatever this intruder was. After what was likely only a minute or two, but felt like a lot longer, my freedom was abruptly given back to me.

My eyes shot open and I bolted upright in bed, heart racing and adrenaline pumping. My eyes immediately scanned the room, searching for whatever had entered, but finding nothing, and seeing that the door was still shut and locked as it had been when I had fallen asleep.

But before I could fully relax at this, I heard a loud sound behind me, as if something had fallen off the windowsill onto the floor. I nearly jumped out of my skin, already on edge as I was, but was able to reassure myself that it was fine. None of it had been real, and it was likely just my brush or one of the other many bits of clutter I keep precariously stacked on the sill. After a few moments of calming myself back down, I was able to go back to sleep and get in a few hours before class the next day.

The part that I mentioned before that disturbs me however, is that when I went to pick up the item that had fallen the next day I found nothing there, however when I looked to the window, I saw that the latch had been opened.

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