Sleep Paralysis, Exploding Head Syndrome, and Anomalous Beliefs

Brian Sharpless

Wednesday, June 10 2015 at 7:00PM

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67 Etruria Old Road,
ST1 5PE.

Brian Sharpless

What's the talk about?

 PLEASE NOTE This will be the second Wednesday of the month.

When we go to sleep, we like to feel safe and secure.  Therefore, strange experiences that happen during sleep can be particularly disconcerting, and even terrifying.  After describing the symptoms and surprisingly high prevalence rates of two relatively unknown sleep disorders (i.e., sleep paralysis and exploding head syndrome), I will discuss their respective relations to anomalous beliefs.

Sleep paralysis has a long history of being a natural explanation for beliefs in ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, and extraterrestrials. It has also resulted in a number of interesting "folk" treatments since the time of ancient Greece up to the present. Exploding head syndrome has sometimes been misinterpreted as a form of government harassment.  Some believe that the jarring auditory effects are caused by directed energy weapons in the hands of evil agents. In general, both disorders are vivid, dramatic experiences, and can be quite frightening to those who experience them. This especially the case for sufferers who are unaware of the fact that they are actually natural events.

Brian Sharpless is an assistant professor of psychology and director of the Psychology Clinic at Washington State University.


£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.