Artist Nicolas Bruno represents 8 percent of the population who is all too familiar with this. He’s a 22-year-old photographer in New York who has been terrorized by sleep paralysis since he was 15. It occurs during the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep. Bruno says he wakes up with his eyes wide open while his body remains in a state of paralysis.
“For people who haven’t experienced it, and say they want to – they really don’t,” he told CNN. “You’ve never woken up being choked out by shadow hands. You’ve never had a looming figure floating above your bed, screaming into your ear.”
Those who share Bruno’s condition have also reported difficulty breathing due to a perceived invisible force sitting on their chest. Some have even said that they’ve felt the presence of wicked human beings present during the ordeal.
An exceptional teacher of Bruno’s suggested that he channel his experiences into drawings as a form of therapy. This concept then turned into photography.
“I’ve always been into photography, and it became my way of battering through my terrorizing sleep paralysis experiences and expressing my creative conscience in ways that I never thought I could,” he told io9.
“I became fascinated with the endless possibilities of conceptual photography and photo manipulation and developed my skills accordingly.”
Bruno’s nightly terror photo series is recreating using various props like bowler hats, gas masks, lanterns, bird cages, suitcases, arrow, and bath tubs.