When Nightmares Become Reality: A Terrifying Visit from "The Three Men"

When Nightmares Become Reality: A Terrifying Visit from “The Three Men”


Week In Weird gets lots of reader mail, and the experience in this missive stands out as you’ll discover.

Night terrors happen when someone awakens, finding themselves paralyzed in a state of heightened anxiety. They usually happen in kids, but some adults experience them too.

I recall a doozy of a nightmare I had when I was a kid. I was pretty young at the time, young enough to still slept with a night light. Time has made the details hazy, but I do remember that there were three men. Two of them were good, decent gents, but the third guy was pure evil, evil enough that I still remember him to this day. Anyway, as I said, details are hazy, but I do remember that the evil one was awful and terrible and scared me badly enough that I woke up, only to see the bad guy sitting at the foot of my bed. I. Was. Terrified! And paralyzed! I couldn’t move! I could only stare wide-eyed as he stretched out a hand for me, only to fade away before he could reach me. -SF


As Johnny Carson was fond of saying, “Wild, crazy stuff. Ya-ha!” Even though I never experienced a night terror, the prospect of awakening to a nightmare nemesis in the real world is chilling.

Jump on the terror train, share your night terror experiences with us at Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.


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  1. HellFish

    01/15/2014 at 8:58 PM

    Sleep paralysis can be terrifying, especially if you’re not aware of it prior to the experience. The only vivid experiences I’ve had were during waking (hypnopompic) after several days of little-to-no sleep.

  2. Purrlie

    01/19/2014 at 8:55 PM

    I sometimes had sleep paralysis as a child, but I don’t remember anything more terrifying about it than the actual paralysis itself. Being awake and unable to move was very scary.

  3. Jim

    01/19/2014 at 9:54 PM

    Reading that gave me chills. I had an experience very similar to that about 12 years ago. I was having a nightmare in which I could feel an evil presence in the bedroom. It stood over me and I couldn’t move; a case of sleep paralysis which I had experienced before. I struggled to wake up and when I did there was a man leaning at the side of my bed staring at me. He had large eyes with tiny pupils and a terrible maleficent grin. The only way to describe it was that he emanated the darkest of evil. Then I actually really woke up and he/it was gone. I’ll never forget it.

  4. Dream Worshiper

    02/07/2014 at 1:31 AM

    A night terror can be a motherf#@&er! I’ve had issue with parasomnia events most of my life and the trait runs in my family as well. In addition to garden variety sleepwalking, I’ve had two occasions of full on sleep paralysis where I woke, was unable to move, and aware of a dark figure in my room. I knew what was going on and kept repeating to myself “it’s a sleep paralysis, it will pass.” But even then it was one of the scariest experiences I’ve been through. My father told me about a recurring dream of a guy coming into his room and standing over him he had as a kid.

    Far and away, the most traumatic sleep disturbance I had was a night terror in high school. This one wasn’t the only one, but it was the most horrifying and outright dangerous: I dreamt I was being chased through my neighborhood by some sort of werewolf/big vicious dog type creature. It had me cornered in my neighbor’s backyard, and I tried to break down the neighbor’s backdoor to escape. I had broken the door open and was almost through the door when the creature caught me. I woke up to find that I had, in a screaming panic, broken out my bedroom window and was in the process of trying to climb out as my father was pulling me back into the room.

    The parasomina has calmed and now I just seem to have weird, non-sensical conversations with my roommate that I don’t remember, or do strange but harmless things like take kitchen cooking utensils and put them in the bathtub.

  5. Verklagekasper

    03/18/2014 at 9:29 AM

    I had occasional night terrors for over twenty years. I usually wasn’t paralyzed, though. Instead, the terrors came along with episodes of sleep walking. My last night terror has been about two years ago, but I can remember it well:
    I was in my bed when I noticed that right next to me, there was a creepy girl lying, almost touching me. There was little light only, but I could see that she was all grey and weird, with black hair like a ghost from a Japanese horror movie. After I jumped up in terror, I watched her crawl under my bed! Then I found the main light switch and turned the light on, and I woke up. I realized that I had been dreaming and sleep walking. Still, I looked under the bed to make sure nobody was there 😛

  6. Mmmargot

    03/20/2014 at 12:31 AM

    I’ve had two episodes of sleep paralysis in my young life (I’m 23). The first one was when I was 21 and on a long road trip with my dad; we had been driving for around five hours at this point and I was asleep in the passenger’s seat. We stopped at a gas station, and as my dad closed his door to get some food inside, I woke up but realized I couldn’t move. At this moment I hallucinated a darkly-dressed man coming up to the driver’s side door and I panicked, trying to move to make sure the doors were locked. I didn’t realize that I was having sleep paralysis because I was still in a dream-like haze. I tried my hardest to move and it felt like I was pulling myself off of Velcro – my arms and hands were moving heavily like they weighed 50 pounds, but my back, neck and head were still firmly “stuck” to the reclined car seat. The man was now angrily pulling on the car door handle, trying to get it open, and my focus shifted on trying to reach for my phone to call 911. It felt like forever, but eventually I snapped out of it and woke up for real, and realized I had just had my first episode of sleep paralysis.

    My second episode was much longer and way detailed so I won’t put it on here…all I’ll say is that it involved aliens and was absolutely terrifying. I still felt weird for the entire day after I woke up. It’s interesting to note that I never sleep on my back, and both of these occurrences happened while I was uncharacteristically sleeping on my back for whatever reason…

  7. Mitch

    04/15/2014 at 1:42 PM

    I have had numerous episodes of sleep paralysis during my lifetime, all of them as an adult. The experiences are extremely disturbing! A couple of the instances of sleep paralysis included what I can only call out of body experiences. Mostly however when they occur they are “text-book” cases of SP. I will awaken and be completely paralyzed. While in this state I will feel hyper-aware and will experience extreme anxiety and a feeling of danger. I feel as if though someone is in the room and my family and I are under threat. I do everything I can to move and vocalize but I am unable to do so. During this state I have heard footsteps coming up our staircase and just know someone is about to come through the door. The sounds and footsteps have seemed so real that after recovery I have armed myself and went through the entire house looking for the intruder. However there has never been an intruder found. I have seen strange things that are not there but nothing appearing to be humanoid. The OBE’s are the strangest occurrences linked to this SP but they may be a completely separate experience. I cannot be sure but they occur together or separated by a short amount of time. I have awakened to find my self wrapped in a blanket floating down the hallway. All the while I am aware that I am lying in the bed but I am 15 ft away from my physical body. I do not want to sound like a complete nut but these things have occurred. I could get more detailed about the experiences but I do not want to waste everyone’s time. Just letting you know it does happen and it is very disturbing…

  8. Joshua Morgan

    06/30/2014 at 2:06 PM

    I have night terrors often but one was quite terrifying… at least I hope this was night terrors. I was still living at home and my bed was placed just across from my closet. One night I passed out asleep and when I woke up the next morning I noticed my closet door was open a teeny bit so I scooted off the bed to shut it and felt massive resistance then it swung open hard. I jumped back and stumbled onto my bed again and curled up in a fetal position unable to move from fear. Then I woke up (AGAIN?) but I was curled up in a fetal position at the bottom of my bed where I never sleep and the closet was wide open. Still wonder what happened that morning.

  9. Not even wrong

    12/19/2014 at 12:36 PM

    I have the same nightmare almost every night. I dream that there is a hideous beast lying in the bed next to me with piercing eyes and horrendous facial features. Then in a raspy voice that sounds like it is coming from the bowels of hell itself says the same thing every night. “Stop snoring!” Then I realize it is just my wife and cry myself back to sleep.

  10. Victoria

    02/06/2015 at 10:35 PM

    I experience sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations on a regular basis, unfortunately. It is a hallmark symptom of narcolepsy, and there really isn’t much that one can do about it. After many, many years of this I have developed an ability to tell myself to turn on the lights; if I am able to get out of the paralysis, then I do turn on the lights and wake up. If I am not able to do that, I tell myself I am dreaming and usually I drift off to a dreamless sleep.

    It’s exhausting.

  11. Barbie

    06/14/2016 at 9:17 PM

    Ok, so, I’m hoping someone can tell me this can be explained by sleep paralysis or was a side effect of the new meds I had just started taking, but here’s something unusual that happened to me. I was AWAKE and was going to bed, as I started to fall asleep next to my husband, I started to feel an evil presence and, for the life of me, it felt like it was trying to take over my body! I don’t know how I knew, but it felt like it was going to use me to do my husband harm. I was unable to move my body, but never at any point fell asleep. Through sheer force of will, I made my arm move and broke the feeling that had come over me. I thought it was over, but when I settled back in, it happened all over again. I got up for a while, and was eventually able to go to sleep without an issue. It has never happened before or since. I would welcome any thoughts on this one.

    • Reachoel

      06/24/2016 at 10:06 AM

      Hi Barbie, sleep paralysis does manifest in a ton of different ways. And it doesn’t always happen right when you’re waking up. If you were in the half-awake state, it’s possible for it to happen, and that feeling of being unable to move your body with the indication that something evil is happening is the telltale mark of it

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