Bangungot – A Filipino sleepers demon.

“Bangungot” from the Tagalog word “to rise and moan in sleep.”

When I done research on sleep paralysis over a decade ago, I just thought to myself what I had is mainly a scientific thing; no harm into what 6% of the general population undergoes. At least one time in their life.

Sleep Paralysis Awakeness or ASP is usually something medical. A scientific theory, not actual fact, that a person goes to sleep, a neurotransmitter releases hormones called acetylcholine that are released from that small portion of the brain, called the pon, and what it does, it flows from your brain and into the receptors  that keep us essentially paralyzed-REM paralysis. This keeps us from acting out our dreams or we would unintentionally sleep walk(and yes, there is cases of sleep walking) and harm ourselves during nocturnal sleep.

Rather in cases of ASP, a person awakes during sleep cycle before the neurotransmitter wears off. The mind is awake, the body is still asleep. That is called hypnopompic sleep paralysis, accompanied by hallucinations of seeing dark shadows on the wall and that feeling of being hagged by somebody or something.

Upon further research I stumbled upon some material that would manifest into a sleepers demon in cultural folklore/myth in various parts of the world.

The hag as what is known is interpreted in various cultures.  In Newfoundland up in Canada, it is often referred as The Old Hag Syndrome.

In Arabic, it is named a djinn, or evil spirits.

Japan, the kanashibari. Laos, da cho.  Greece, the mora. Typically, it is a nightmare in the SP form such as in Spain, the pesadilla.

In the ilocano section of the Philippines, the Bangungot or the batibat.

The Bangungot is thought to be in the form of sleep paralysis, but  is a mixture of both medical and folklore. In medical aspect, the victim died of a poor diet, which is the Filipino culture, many people, roughly men consume highly fatty foods consumed with lots of pork and drink a lot of alcohol beverage and worth mentioning of a salty diet; it’s a Filipino custom. I believe what is presented is the brugada syndrome, a serious heart condition or a bad case of acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis.

In folklore, the batibat is a female demon or a spirit taking the form of a tree. The trees is cut down for the purpose of making a bed post or a house. In short, taking revenge on the men who cut down the trees; and what the demon does, it sits on the face or chest of its victim, who experiences paralysis.  He gasps for air until he dies from asphyxiation. Both cases: it is usually the male in that region of the world is the victim.

No known victim ever survived this bangungot syndrome.

And it is certainly not to be a form of sleep paralysis as those inflicted with it, do not die from ASP.  Bangungot is more a rather serious condition to that compared to sleep apnea and the dreaded SUDS – Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome and SUNDS -Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome.

Read on this link about the Bangungot Syndrome in Manila

Bangungot happens when sleeping in the supine position just as it happens during ASP. In Filipino cultures, the older recommend wiggling the big toes of people experiencing this to encourage their heart to snap back to a normal.  Mind you, sleep paralysis is a scientific theory and does not mean the paranormal, yet we have a great place to start. Such as in this site:

The Boogie Men of the Philippines

Philippine Urban Legend: Bangungot, real? or myth?

Legend from Irregular Times.

And this one on both folklore and science





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