Tuesday 10 May 2011

Visions of Sleep Paralysis and Old Hag Syndrome : various artists

Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin (1809 – 1864)


Fritz Schwimbeck  (1889 -1972)

Ferdinand Hodler (1853 - 1918)

Nikolaj Abraham Abildgaard ( 1743 – 1809)

Henry Fuseli ( Johann Heinrich Füssli) (1741 – 1825)

William Raddon and ? : Engravings after Fuseli

1) Thomas Rowlandson 2) Dennis Culver 3) J. Cazzote

Andy Paciorek

"Night Hags - Also known as: Night-Mares, Mara, Mera, Mares, Crushers, Drudes, Mare-Demons, Hagges, Haints, Entities, Mallt y Nos, Night-Fiends, Cauchemar, Night-Elves. (many other names internationally)
Sometimes people who suffered from wasting diseases such as Tuberculosis Consumption were said to look ‘Haggard’ or ‘Hag-Ridden’. This refers to the belief that, as they slept, a Night-Hag had entered their bedchambers and either sat upon their chests crushing them (but not to the point of fatality) and perhaps sucked away at their breath, or their vitality, or alternatively had actually ridden their victims entirely into the air and sometimes over distance. Either way, their human victims were left exhausted and often diseased. The alternative name of Mara and its similar derivatives is said to have meant Crusher in Old-English, and it is from this word that the term Night-Mare originated - initially meaning not a bad dream but an actual external terror. The term Hag-Riding has also been applied when horses who had been left resting have been found to be exhausted and covered in sweat in the morning. Again it was considered that the Night-Hags had been riding the horses around in circles to the point of collapse during the hours of darkness. In some locations it was thought that these fiends on horseback delivered bad dreams to households, thus giving an additional meaning to Night-Mare. An alternatively used term to Hag-Riding is to be Owl-Blasted, which refers to the belief that Night-hags would sometimes take the form of these nocturnal birds."

text abridged from the book 'Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld' by Andy Paciorek http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1957828

Further reading on Old Hag Syndrome, Hypnagogia and Sleep Paralysis






1 comment:

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