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It has many names, the Scandinavians call it the mare, the Turkish call it Karabasan, from where I come from we call it Abu ghattat; however, I suppose you had probably heard of it under the name the “Sleep paralysis”. First let me define it: Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon in which a person, either falling asleep or awakening, temporarily experiences an inability to move, speak or react. It is a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep characterized by complete muscle atonia (muscle weakness). It is often accompanied by terrifying hallucinations (such as an intruder in the room) to which one is unable to react due to paralysis, and physical experiences (such as strong current running through the upper body). One theory is that it results from disrupted REM sleep, which normally induces complete muscle atonia to prevent the sleeper from acting out his or her dreams. Sleep paralysis has been linked to disorders such as narcolepsy, migraines, anxiety disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea; however, it can also occur in isolation.
Hallucinations? Is that what those who do not believe in paranormality call an unexplainable phenomenon or its effects? There are many people who rely on science to clarify all phenomenons; yet there are mysteries that even science seems to fall in its shades. According to science, you can experience a certain hallucination between the phase of sleep and wakefulness. Still, just how can we all have the same hallucination? How can we all witness the exaxt same terror? To me this is an insult to all of those who have faced it; Abu Ghattat that is, and that is how I will always refer to it, not as a personification to a phenomenon but as the demonic spirit that it is. Most people will clearly change their minds about it if they had the same experience, and live in denial that it was nothing but a dream; even though, in that case it’ll ease their mind. You see, once you encounter Abu Ghattat, you’ll have every right to claim it was a nightmare, because if you realized its truth.. You’ll most certainly never be the same again.
This brings me back to quite a tragic story; the story of a close friend and a neighbor of mine, his name was Adam. I remember him very well, just two years ago back on a Sunday evening, I remember heading back to the neighborhood together, he had that cheerful happy-go-lucky personality, as we used to hang-out every week-end. Adam you were such an amazing person! On that exact evening, I bid him farewell and left him with his usual smile; that was a smile he would never put on his face again for the rest of his life.
The next morning he didn’t show up to school all day. It wasn’t really that much of a surprise because we skipped school all the time, I couldn’t ever visit him because his parents disliked me, for they deemed me as a bad influence on their child. It was all kind of regular, nothing to worry about up until now; but he skipped school the day after as well, and so on. He didn’t answer his phone, he’s never online on any social network, and he’s nowhere to be seen. I became worried sick about him, I just had to know what is going on. So I waited until Friday when both his parents aren’t home and visited him. But much to my surprise, both his parents were there. His dad had that creepy glare which he showed me everytime he saw me, but it was somehow different than before. I sensed that he wasn’t angry.. he was sad. Then he spoke with a sorrowful tone: “Hello there, good thing you came honestly! Adam is in his room, if it’s possible please talk to him for a bit” The situation was awkward enough for me, and I just couldn’t ask what’s wrong. So without further hesitation I went to his room.. The door was open, I stepped inside and saw Adam sitting on the floor. Dear God, the state he was in was indescribable. I greeted him but he didn’t reply and he kept shivering from the moment I showed up, I felt like my presence won’t help him through whatever he’s going through, so I just went out with an optimistic faith that he probably just had too many mushrooms again, but that most certainly wasn’t the cause for this. Anyway I decided not to visit him for a while, at least until he recovers a bit.
One week later, as I had been heading to school, I saw it.. The large tent-like structure that holds funerals in my homecountry, the tradition is to construct it close to the deceased person’s house, and to keep it there for three days to welcome condolences. What shocked me was that it was constructed near Adam’s house, I ran to get there fast as my heart beat even faster. I asked the first person I met shouting: “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? WHO DIED?” He then replied, informing me of Adam’s suicide, he slit his own throat. My God! Adam, how come that you disappeared from our lives? These news almost made my heart stop, it had broken my soul. A dark cloud covered the neighborhood propagating anguish and misery all over it, it was a great loss for everyone. I gave my condolences to Adam’s parents, his tearful dad told me to return tomorrow for a highly important subject.
The following day, I went to see Adam’s dad, only to find that he gathered Adam’s clothes and overall possessions in a big Cardboard box. He told me that since I had used to be a close friend of Adam that I should be the one to take them. This didn’t look right one bit. Adam was his child, and as his father he must keep his possesions in order to remember him. But looking at that face, I realized he already can’t forget the tragedy of his only son, he wants to take out anything that may remind him of that. So I accepted to keep them instead. He later informed me that his wife and him will move out of town, but that didn’t surprise me.
I took the Cardboard box home. I found within it a Photo Album, and nostalgically viewed it when something between the pages caught my eyes; it was a letter. It had a date which was the day before the one I visited him at. I started reading it and its contents brought me to tears. It was written as the following:
To anyone who is reading this, I’m writing this because I couldn’t share what happened to me with anybody. Even though, I wanted someone to look in my eyes and tell me it’s alright, I couldn’t bring myself to it. Oh God I just couldn’t!
On Sunday night, that cursed night that will forever be kept inside my memory. I was sleeping normally, traveling the fantastic dreamworld. I can’t recall what my dream was about, all I can remember that I was feeling really delighted, but then I fell into somekind of a pit, which woke me up. Upon waking up, I felt somekind of pressure on my body. I tried to stand up, but I failed to. I couldn’t move a muscle, I couldn’t do anything, neither move nor talk. I was clearly able to see the insides of my room, and was damn sure I’m not having a dream so why? Why couldn’t I move? I thought I’m having that thing my grandmother once told me about. Abu Ghattat, according to the myth she told me it’ll only last for minutes, and the paralysis will perish. But what creeped me out, was the fact she mentioned something about a demon being the one paralysing you. But I knew such thing is impossible, I really wanted to believe that. But then I heard a sound coming from the corner of my room. Since my eyes were the only part of my body that wasn’t paralysed, I tried to force them to focus on the room’s corner, and then I saw it. That sight terrified me to the fullest. The Jinn, the demon Abu Ghattat, the monstrous being sitting there with the most sinister smile on its hideous face, it noticed that I saw it and started crawling slowly until it reached me. I was dying from terror, I wanted to shout, I wanted to scream, I wanted to get off my bed and just run for it, but I couldn’t. Then it sat on my body and I could clearly see its grotesque image now. It wasn’t very big, it resembled a troll or something, only it was uglier and scarier. It then strangled me with its hairy hands while keeping that smile. Oh my God! How terrible that felt, then it started biting my torso and punching it, it got off my body for a couple of seconds to wonder the room laughing, while I could only watch, while I can’t do anything to save myself. It came back to me again and started strangling me all over again. I just wanted to close my eyes, I forced them with all my might to get closed. Then the paralysing feeling disappeared, I opened my eyes screaming as hardly as I can waking up my parents in the process, the demon Abu Ghattat vanished as well.
All what happened later doesn’t matter anymore, and now that night refuse to exit my mind, the same goes for Abu Gattat’s damned face. I don’t know what have I became anymore, I’m afraid to sleep, I’m afraid of the dark, I’m afraid of solitude. I keep feeling its demonic presence near me all the time. It’s like I’m loosing my mind gradually. I know that I should get a grip of myself and be strong but I cannot, I cannot.
The letter ends like that, Oh Adam I should’ve been there for you when you needed me the most, I’m sorry my dear friend, may your soul forgive my idiocy.
It was hard for me, but I had to look more to what he was going through, I made a research on Abu Ghattat or how it is formally known: The Sleep paralysis. As it seems, there are things that provoke it, but the way I see it, those were things that invite Abu Ghattat to your bed. I have discovered that many people had the same experience as Adam. Most of them saw it as well, the grotesque creature Abu Ghattat. All of them aknowledged within themselves that it was a dream, if only you had done the same Adam! Your fear took hold of you and swallowed you completely, it devoured you from the inside, to the point you gave up on your own life to end your suffering. Now I see that you thought it was more mercyful, if only I had realized all of this sooner. May God have mercy on your soul.
Many may disagree, but to me Abu Ghattat is real. I used to be horrified by the fact I could end up its victim anynight, and even though I got over it quite a long time ago; remembering the evil that took away my friend still haunts my mind. After all, unlike the common ghost stories and sightings, it is real. Now I know that all of this had horrified a lot of you people as well, all I can recommend is not to do anything that could invite it in. Do not get yourself into a nightmare you might not wake up from, as you may suffer the same fate as Adam. This is all my dear readers, have a good night. Although, I know you probably won’t.
Credit To – Writer: Faissal Ouard / Definition: Wikipedia