I WROTE last week in this column about pandemic dreaming, the phenomenon a lot of us have experienced over the last wee while giving us very vivid dreams.

Over the last week, this has turned, for me, from something I looked forward to each night into something more sinister. I experienced, only for the second time in my life, a bout of sleep paralysis.

The first time it happened was on a trip to London a few years ago.

I was stressed out of mind having tried and failed to navigate the tube system and ending up lost several times after wrongly assuming “Bank” was just a nickname or something for “Embankment”.

Finally, I stumbled bleary-eyed into the hotel and collapsed onto the bed. A few hours into a very deep sleep, I awoke to find I couldn’t move. My first experience wasn’t so much terrifying but it was bizarre.

As I tried my very best to move and found myself totally paralysed, something lifted the covers up and a middle-aged bald man was looking at me. “Just wiggle yer toes, pal,” he said to me, “an you’ll wake up.” I did as my strange bedfellow suggested and then jolted awake. I googled the words “in bed can’t move man under covers” to see if this was a common occurrence.

I was directed to a forum about sleep paralysis and read that most people see either a sort of demonic presence who sits on their chest or they see an old hag, lurking at the end of their bed. I considered myself lucky I was only faced with a helpful wee man.

I became obsessed with the idea of sleep paralysis, looking up as many articles and videos about it as I could, hoping that someone else had had a visit from bald friend.

I even wrote a short story about a guy who becomes pals with his sleep paralysis demon only for the wee guy to try and ruin his life.

My most recent experience of it was much more in line with the classic, scary experience. I thought I had woken up from a dream, which turned out to be a dream within a dream, Inception style, and I was lying on my back and found once again that I couldn’t move.

I felt like I was being tickled which was bad enough, but then I saw sort of tentacles whipping across my field of vision which then tightened round about me and I was finding it hard to breathe.

Whatever the thing was then moved me bolt upright and I was being shaken about. I remember shouting out to my girlfriend for help.

In the dream I was screaming, but girlfriend said it came out as if I was asking for help bringing in the messages.

It slammed me hard down on the bed and I woke up scared out of my mind and afraid to go back to sleep.

Apparently, sleep paralysis can affect anyone but generally occurs during extremely stressful periods of time or after you’ve partaken in certain illegal substances.

I am not out my nut, so it must be due to stress. I have, at the time of writing this, just finished a truly monumental flitting. Something I thought I was handling relatively well but evidently not. I will never move to a top floor flat ever again.

Another thing I read recently was that the people you see in dreams are nearly always people you have seen during the day or even only once or twice in the past.

This means that the guy I saw in my bed that night in London is actually out there somewhere. He could be a taxi driver. He could be someone I served in work upon a time. He could even be reading this very column. Or maybe he’s something else. I’d love one day to come across him.

I imagine I’d do a double take and run after him if he passed me in the street. “Here, mate!” I’d shout. “Here! Remember me?” He’d try and avoid me, perhaps walking faster to get away from me. “You were in ma bed wan night!” He’d turn round, exasperated. “Look, pal. Gonnae leave me alane?”

I’d plead with him to listen. “Ye ever heard ae sleep paralysis, mate? Well maist people see a demon but I saw you! That’s class int it? Ye even helped me tae wake up.” He’d look around to make sure no-one was listening and say, “Aye, I know. I came tae help ye and ye didnae even say ta. See how ye saw that mad octopus hing the other night that had a hawd ae ye? That’s yer punishment fur that.”

My face would fall and he’d walk away. As he walks away he’d look back and do that “am watching you” thing with his eyes.

If you ever have sleep paralysis and you see my baldy mate, make sure and thank him. Or else…