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June 25, 2018

The Terror that Comes in the Night
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David Hufford's work exploring the experiential basis for belief in the supernatural, focusing here on the so-called Old Hag experience, a psychologically disturbing event in which a victim claims to have encountered some form of malign entity while dreaming (or awake). Sufferers report feeling suffocated, held down by some "force,"paralyzed, and extremely afraid.

The experience is surprisingly common: the author estimates that approximately 15 percent of people undergo this event at some point in their lives. Various cultures have their own name for the phenomenon and have constructed their own mythology around it; the supernatural tenor of many Old Hag stories is unavoidable. Hufford, as a folklorist, is well-placed to investigate this puzzling occurrence.
Episode Segments:
 
NDE Radio: Dr. David Huffman
Lee and Dr. Huffman discuss the phenomenon known as sleep paralysis.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
David Hufford
David Hufford, Ph.D., retired in 2007, from his position as University Professor and Chair of Humanities, and Professor of Neural & Behavioral Science, and Family & Community Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine. He is now University Professor Emeritus at Penn State, Senior Fellow in the Brain, Mind and Healing Division of the Samueli Institute in Alexandria, Virginia, and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Hufford has served regularly on NIH scientific review panels, and he has published and lectured widely on spiritual experience and on spirituality and health. In 2012 Hufford chaired a panel and presented a paper on Natural Histories of Spirituality and Therapeutics at the 3rd World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry in London. He is currently carrying out a funded study of the relationship of extraordinary spiritual experiences to trauma and recovery.

Learn More About Dr. Hufford