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11 February 2010

Audio hallucinations so, I'm betting a few of you here are familiar with sleep paralysis / hypnagogic hallucinations. I gots'em. The weird thing is, in my daughters room it's always a young males voice. (cue twilight zone music)[More:] Lately I've been sleeping in my daughters bed as she happily hogs my spot in my bed next to dad (and I haven't slept much so I didn't bother moving her, opting to take her bed instead).

I've avoided much of those weird noises, crashing cymbals, trains screeching into my room and other oddness that I get by sleeping on my side in my bed. It helps, so if you have it, try that.

My daughters bed is wee, so I sleep on my back as I prefer, and presto, I'll get the audio hallucinations, the odd thing is though, it's always a young mans voice.
It began with just a word, but later it was whole sentences. First it was a name. The next night, the name and "come here!", the next night, the name and "where are you?"

Had any good sleep paralysis episodes lately?
If I was a little more of a believer in ghosts, I'd think there was one in her room. Looking for someone.
Wow, dabitch.
posted by rainbaby 11 February | 19:46
Hahaha, ossom, I just found that the noises are called exploding head syndrome.

Rainbaby, you don't have it? It can be really terrifying but I haven't been superscared in a while. The audio is just startling.
posted by dabitch 11 February | 19:50
No, dabitch, that's one thing I don't freaking have, it sounds intense.
posted by rainbaby 11 February | 19:56
Yeah, I get a bit of this, though it appears to be decreasing with age. Or perhaps I'm just getting blasť about it.

You're not alone in finding that particular imaginary voices occur in particular spaces; I've had that happen, too. I always imagined it was something about the naturally occurring sounds in the space itself and how my brain ingeniously adopts and adapts them into voices.

Or, you know, monsters. Whichever. But probably the first.
posted by Elsa 11 February | 20:11
Reading these mefi-threads, I began to think it was common: sleep paralysis, sleep of reason - I was feeling so 'normal' when I heard others had it too. ;)

Haha, "Or you know, monsters", Elsa that's hilarious.
posted by dabitch 11 February | 20:13
Weird though that one room=one voice. Someone should research that.
posted by dabitch 11 February | 20:13
I'd read that hypothetical study. I'd be interested to hear whether that's common, to have one "voice" associated with one space, or if we're anomalies.

I very rarely hear night voices any more, except for the occasional phantom calling of my name. That's a bit spooky, to be honest, though I know it's all very well explained.

The sounds I hear now fall pretty tidily into two categories: not remotely like a voice, or quite like a voice that is too low or too distant to resolve into words. So, that leaves occasional impossibly loud noises as well as insidiously small, insistent noises: buzzing, beeping, hums, murmuring.

Every so often, I sit bolt upright in the night and gasp, looking around for the source of the horrible explosion. The Fella doesn't even notice it anymore.
posted by Elsa 11 February | 20:23
It began with just a word, but later it was whole sentences. First it was a name. The next night, the name and "come here!", the next night, the name and "where are you?"

Wait, do you hear your name, or just a name? Someone else's name? I've heard both, though neither happens often anymore. Either way, it's eerie in the night.

My favorite story of this nature is about a full-on sleep paralysis night hallucination. It's retold in the Carl Sagan book Candle in the Dark, about a person who, night after night, saw a figure appear in his (I think) room, loom over him, and announce (as Sagan notes, somewhat anti-climactically) "This... is... the linoleum!"
posted by Elsa 11 February | 20:28
Wasn't my name, a female name (Laura? Louise?)

"This... is... the linoleum!"
posted by dabitch 11 February | 20:37
Gonna try and catch my sleeptrain now (if I miss it, I'm screwed for the next two hours). Night all, tell scary stories!
posted by dabitch 11 February | 20:38
I get this too! I just assumed my hypnic jerk came with sound effects. Weird.
posted by jrossi4r 11 February | 21:23
My mom has some incredibly weird experiences with this. We both think it's caused by some of her medications. The ones she's had have terrified her and I'm happy that they seem to have stopped since she changed a few of her medications recently.

She had a dwarf displaying jazz hands RIGHT IN HER FACE when she woke up. She had a guy in green pants standing just inside her bathroom doorway who stepped back into the shadows when she saw him- that was her first, and she lay motionless and terrified until dawn thinking he was really there. (Which is how I know about this, from the early morning phone call. She knew it was a dream by then, but she was panicked.) And she had several others for awhile that were keeping her from getting any sleep for awhile, but she didn't detail those for me. Apparently they were all sharp, bright, and loud, kind of like what you describe. She said the dwarf showed up more than once.

As I said, these seem to have been caused by her medications, because she recently had to change all of her medications and the night horrors quit as soon as they'd shown up. She's only on heart and blood pressure type meds, no psychotic type drugs.
posted by BoringPostcards 11 February | 21:47
I haz asploding head syndrome too, and most of the stuff you have described sounds similar. Mine always manifests as "OMG A CAR JUST CRASHED THROUGH THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE" or some other impact event.

The voice thing is new too me. Weird that it is the same voice each night. I chose to believe it's ghosts ;)
posted by evilcupcakes 11 February | 22:06
I'm hearing impaired and wear hearing aids. I take them out to sleep, and every single night I have to put them back in for a minute to reassure myself that I didn't leave a radio or TV on. My doctor told me that in the absence of normal background noise, the brain just makes stuff up.

I normally don't hear specific voices, though, except when I'm really anxious. I don't believe in ghosts but I'm simultaneously terrified of them if I'm wrong. (I know, I know.)
posted by desjardins 11 February | 22:18
BoringPostcards, I remember taking a survey on sleep paralysis and related syndromes some time ago, and they were verrrrrrry interested in respondents' medications and underlying conditions, which suggests to me that you're right: that some medications or combinations thereof affect the occurrences of sleep disorders.

My own history of sleep paralysis and night hag syndrome doesn't appear to be related to medications or medical conditions; I've experienced these things to pretty regularly for as long as I can remember, no matter what my health or medication regime.
posted by Elsa 11 February | 22:29
I don't believe in ghosts but I'm simultaneously terrified of them if I'm wrong.

When I was little, I was absolutely certain that the figures I saw (looming in the doorway, floating outside the window, creeping at the end of the bed, astride my chest keeping me from breathing) were really there, that they lived in the closet or under the bed and came out when I drifted off... and stood there watching.

Very sensibly, my parents told me they were just nightmares... but I knew these weren't like nightmares at all. They had a markedly different quality than nightmares. I created a a complex regime of rituals and superstitions designed to keep me safe at night in this dark room full of creatures.

At some point in my youth, I figured out that this must be something akin to a nightmare; years later, when I learned about all the various sleep syndromes, I was giddy with delight: hey, this is a real thing! Other people get it too! It's perfectly normal!

And now when it happens, I can roll with it easily. When I wake up paralyzed, my body still goes into panic response, but I can snap out pretty fast and calm down quickly. After a particularly bad episode, I just repeat to myself "THIS! is the linoleum!" and start giggling.
posted by Elsa 11 February | 22:31
I wear hearing aids also and all I hear without them is the tinnitus, which is the brain filling in for the silence.
posted by danf 11 February | 23:02
danf, ugh, I get that too, but it is not a constant thing. I've actually been advised to take them out as much as possible to get used to silence (also, less gunk build-up).
posted by desjardins 11 February | 23:31
Yeah desjardins, I used to go through Murine but now just use warm water and one of those sucking syringes.

Beats not hearing, though.
posted by danf 11 February | 23:44
This thread is the top search result for "this is the linoleum"

(I was curious about the original source)
posted by desjardins 11 February | 23:47
When I have extreme insomnia (which, btw, I have had for months now), I begin to hear voices (far off, incomprehensible) just before I finally fall asleep.

I had an incident of exploding head syndrome a couple weeks ago. It had nothing to do with the dream, just a bright flash accompanied by an amazingly loud, sharp bang.
posted by Ardiril 12 February | 00:16
I get "Wake up!", and my name, and sometimes a loud clap, though at one point I got "[Your friend] is gay!", which was spooky but also a bit funny (especially since this particular friend is, as far as I know, straight; seemed a little random).

I haven't had those for a while, though, and now that you mention place-specific hallucinations, I think I had all of those in the same apartment.

Now I often get the garbled background noise that convinces me that I left the radio on or the neighbors have the tv on. Usually it sounds like indistinct 40s or 60s pop. We run an air purifier in the bedroom, so I thought it was that for a while, but it's actually worse when the purifier is off.
posted by occhiblu 12 February | 01:29
Oh, and I meant to include that the loud commands and sentences were always a male voice, probably middle-aged.
posted by occhiblu 12 February | 01:30
Oops and a-doy: the original phrase is "That is the linoleum." [Google books preview of page 125, where the story concludes]
posted by Elsa 12 February | 02:38
I hear stuff too. Mostly groups of people talking or, sometimes, singing. And the tinnitus, oy, it just keeps getting worse.
posted by deborah 12 February | 15:22
Yikes, going to bed last night was unpleasant: I had spent the hours before bed cataloging all the (perfectly explicable but holycowscary) apparitions and phenomena I experience during sleep. I also filled out a university sleep paralysis research survey (I got to it through one of the MeFi links), and just reading over the questions triggered some really terrifying memories.

And then I fell asleep immediately and woke without incident. The end.
posted by Elsa 12 February | 15:25
Feline recursion || Who is your favorite screen actor, male or female, living or dead?