South Carolina’s Boo Hag
It has been an exhausting day, and you are ready for a good night’s sleep. Your tired body sinks into the soft mattress, and you drift into dreamland. However, something wakes you up out of a sound sleep. You jerk upwards. Well, you try to, but you cannot move.
You cannot scream or move, and it’s terrifying. Healthline says Sleep Paralysis is normal—that between 5 and 40 percent of people have experienced Sleep Paralysis.
What Healthline doesn’t discuss is that many of these people sense a menacing presence. Even worse, when they open their eyes, that presence is sitting on their chest. Sometimes this entity is an invisible spirit trying to suffocate them. Sometimes, it appears as an old hag with claws. To others, the demon takes on the appearance of a beloved relative. These creatures are called Sleep Paralysis demons.
Native Americans in Canada attribute these sleep demons as spells cast by evil shamans. Japanese folklore says they are vengeful spirits exacting their revenge. In Brazilian legend, it is the “She who steps or Pisadeira.” She is an evil hag-like woman with razor-sharp nails. The hag lurks in the shadows of the night on rooftops, waiting. When a person sleeps on their back is when they attack. Their victims usually have full stomachs too.
So, is the hag real?
The article I read says no, that the sleep demon is a hypnopompic hallucination. In other words, your mind is making up the sleep demons.
I have a slight problem with this. There are a lot of people who have had the same hallucination. What are the odds in so many different people seeing the same hag lady?
The Gullah people of South Carolina talk about the Boo Hag. Generations of the Gullah have heard stories of this creepy woman.
Who are the Gullah people?
They are African American people who live in the Lowcountry region. This region makes up the coastal plain and the Sea Islands of the south. The Gullah created a Creole-style language and a culture influenced by Africa. A part of this culture is the Hag Myth, which parallels the Sleep Paralysis demon.
The Gullah’s urban myth is similar to the archetypal myth of the hag. The hag is an ancient English folktale involving a wizened woman. An aspect of this tale is that she rides people at night. Witnesses claim that she sits on their chest creating, a smothering sensation. Like she is trying to suffocate them between the sleeping and waking cycles. The person is unable to move or breathe, trapped in a waking nightmare.
It fits the same description provided by victims suffering Sleep Paralysis.
At night, the South Carolina Boo Hag terrorizes her victims like the hag. Except, the Boo Hag is a skinless spirit that creeps into people’s homes at night. She climbs on their chest and, while they are innocently sleeping, sucks their life force. Worse, they rip the skin off their victims to stay warm. The Boo Hag wears their skin like a coat.
Boo Hags are like Vampires, but instead of blood, they suck a victim’s energy. Skinless and bright red with bulging blue veins, Boo Hags look creepy. Another aspect of the story is when they tear off their victim’s skin. They drink the blood of their unsuspecting victim.
Doesn’t that sound like a vampire?
Almost every culture has its version of the hag or Boo hag. How can so many people experience the same symptoms and sensations?
The hag myth is an American and Britain urban legend. In Persia, the hag is called a Bakhtak, which means nightmare. There are also many stories about the nursery Boogeyman. The medical community calls the mysterious death of children, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Babies were dying before their first year while sleeping. Don’t their deaths sound similar to the reports about the hag?
So, how did the Gullah culture inherit the hag?
The Gullah state a victim can become a hag with their souls never reaching heaven. Once they do evil things to people, heaven is closed to them. The Boo Hag is so much a part of Gullah culture. They end the night with, “don’t let de hag ride ya!”
These poor people never get enough sleep because the Boo Hag won’t let them. They wake up tired and exhausted with no energy. Their life force sucked from their body during the night.
Can the Boo Hag be defeated?
Like a vampire, if the sunlight bathes a Boo Hag without her skin, she will die. It seems they also don’t like the smell of gunpowder or sulfur. So, if you have a shotgun, placing it across your bed is known to thwart them.
Not sure how effective this is, but placing a fork under your pillow is supposed to work. A straw broom or colander under the bed works too. Why? The hag has to count every straw or hole, keeping her distracted until the sun comes up. You can even put the straw broom against the door. She would still have to count every straw before entering.
Some folktales tell of people finding the hag’s skin hanging in the closet. They filled it with salt so it would burn the hag when she put it on. In Gullah culture, the color blue represents the supernatural. Blue protects against ghosts and spirits. To others, it means black magic and witchcraft.
If you paint the door and window frames an indigo blue, you protect your home. The Boo Hag cannot enter a home that’s been painted blue. This belief in color-protecting them is why they put a smudge on their forehead. A little bit of the blue on their body will keep the Boo Hag from entering them. A tattoo done in blue would also work, stopping the Boo Hag.
You have to wear the tattoo in plain sight for it to be effective. Even touching the tattoo is painful for the Boo Hag.
So, if you are in South Carolina, you might want to be wearing something blue. Especially when you are sleeping at night, in case the Boo Hag visits you.