Wake Up Your Body

This objective of this technique is simply to abort an experience by waking up the sleeping body.

Usually this is done by struggling to move a finger or a toe or, less often, the eyes. An intense, inner struggle is often required. For some experiencers the slightest movement will break the paralysis. For other experiencers there is a progression from moving a finger to moving an arm to snapping the paralysis entirely.

(Note: A related technique, struggling to make a sound audible to a bunkmate who has been trained to awaken the experiencer, is described in the section on obtaining the support of others.)

Experiencer Reports

Online Survey by Trionic Research Institute

TRI-35: Generally, about once a month I will wake up in the morning and not be able to move my body. Sometimes I almost feel as if I can not breathe. A panic spreads over my body as I begin to feel like I am suffocating under my bed covers. I try to focus my will to move the smallest part of my body. Once I get a finger moving I can then move my arms and wake up fully.

TRI-61: sometimes my eyes will move when I tell them to but mostly look straight ahead. If I close them I can feel myself sit up and move around but when I open my eyes I realize I havent moved a muscle. ... I will scream for someone and I can hear my voice but my grandmother in the next room claims later on that she heard nothing. ... My experiences have lasted for 5 to 10 min at least. Eventually if I keep trying to sit up I will get control of a finger or a hand and break free of it.

TRI-137: It seemed like an eternity of looking very rapidly along the wall and nightstand beside my bed before I finally was able to move one finger of my left hand. It seemed that miraculously I was able to control my body. I jerked up to a sitting position, swung my legs over the side and began to cry.

TRI-213: I think I could wiggle my fingers and toes. And if I tried hard I could sort of move my arms and legs. The more I tried the more I began to get out of it until I eventually broke free.

TRI-244: My first experience was frightening, because I didn't understand what was going on. I tried to fight it, and it just stayed, until I figured out moving my fingers and/or toes made it end.

Cases Reported by Ann Druffel

The technique of waking the sleeping body has long been used by ASP experiencers, but Ann Druffel was probably the first researcher to document cases where this technique was also effective in resisting or aborting an alien abduction attempt. Ms Druffel calls this technique 'Mental Struggle' because it:

involves sustained willpower while attempting to move some small part of the body such as a finger or a toe. When the witness succeeds in making that slight movement, the paralysis generally breaks abruptly, and the entities immediately vanish. [1, 23]

Cases reported by Ms Druffel:

Melissa MacLeod

Emily Cronin

Michael Bershad (a.k.a Steve Kilburn)

Advice from Other Researchers

U Montreal Sleep and Dream Lab:

"Although the person may feel that they are completely paralyzed, some areas of the body may actually be moved. These include the eyes, tongue, and sometimes the toes or fingers. When experiencing such an episode, one should try to move his or her eyes and attempt to blink. This can be followed by voluntary movements of the tongue and wiggling of the toes." [http://www-sca.psy.umontreal.ca/dreams/index.html]

Susan J. Blackmore:

The answer, Blackmore says, is to relax. But she wryly admits this is not easy when you see 'horrible monsters coming in the door' The next best thing to do is to move a finger or toe. If that is too difficult then try to imagine you can fly and turn the whole thing into a full-blooded out-of-body experience. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/tw/ba96/rtue58.htm]

A Puzzle

Time and again, experiencers have told me that they spontaneously decided to try to move a finger or a toe; somehow knowing that the slightest movement would break the paralysis or start a process that would break the paralysis. For a long time I was puzzled by this. How did they know to this the first time?

One possible answer: We all know this because we've all done this before, in such situations as:

To Escape from a Nightmare. The technique of choosing to wake up the body is exactly what many of us have learned to do to escape nightmares. When being chased by a monster getting closer and closer it sometimes dawns on us that, "Hey, this is a dream, so I can just wake up. And we do wake up.

To Answer a Call of Nature. Have you ever had a dream in which

Didn't you recognize this sort of dream as a signal that you really needed to wake up and use the bathroom?

To be Sure we Remembered Something

When I began experimenting with lucid dreaming, I would make a considerable effort to incubate a lucid dream. The first few times I succeeded I struggled to awaken so that I would not forget the dream. Other novice experiencers probably do the same.

This is somewhat speculative, of course, but it seems that the consciousness is tacitly aware that its body is sleeping and that there are times when it should be awakened by an act of will.


  1. Druffel, Ann. How to Defend Yourself Against Alien Abduction. 1998. New York: Three Rivers Press.

  2. Druffel, Ann and Rogo, Scott. The Tujunga Canyon Contacts: Updated Edition. 1989. New York: New American Libray/Signet (1980. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall).