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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Amuku Pishsasi or Pei (Crushing Ghost)


Image Courtesy : Google

Few months back in the late afternoon I get a frantic call from my wife saying that she had just come out of the clutches of dark forces and she begged me to come back to home immediately. I rushed back from office and reached home in record 45 minutes weaving through the rush hour traffic from Kathipara Junction (at Chennai). On reaching home I saw my wife sitting forlorn on the sofa and on enquiry she told me that she had gone for afternoon siesta and when she wanted to get up she was unable to do so and she felt paralyzed by an immense weight pressing her down. She said she was a victim of amuku pishsasi ..a term in Tamil which means a pressing or crushing ghost and for a long time she was wide awake but then was not able to move any part of her body or limbs. I rubbished her thoughts of ghost and told her not to worry but then she was not willing to accept my explanation and she kept telling of similar episodes her grandmother had encountered and recounted about the ghostly experience to her and her siblings and warning them of such attacks. I tried my best to calm her down and to remove her fears did a Google research and I found out about “Sleep Paralysis” and the Wikipedia’s explanation is as under

Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon in which people, either when falling asleep or wakening, temporarily experience a sense of inability to move, similar to when an arm or leg goes to sleep, but not associated with numbness. More formally, it is a transition state between wakefulness and rest characterized by complete muscle atonia (muscle weakness). It can occur at sleep onset or when awakening. It is believed a result of disrupted REM sleep, which is normally characterized by complete muscle atonia that prevents individuals from acting out their 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.

I was surprised to note that such incidents of sleep paralysis were in folk lore of many countries around the world and was considered to be the work of a demon. British and some parts of America called it “Old Hag”, in Finland and Sweden as “Mare”, in Turkey as “Karabasan”, in Thailand as “Phi Am”, in Hungary as “Boszorkany”,in Nepal as “Khyaak”, in Tamilnadu, India as “Amuku Pei” and the list goes on and on and I can fill the entire page with the names of the demon. Only after reading this article did my wife relax much to the relief of my daughters and me.

Have any of you had this experience ???