Category Archives: Sleep Disorders

SUNDS: Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome

There were a disproportionate number of Hmong in America who reported night visitations by the dab tsog demon and over half of the Hmong immigrants also reported having episodes of sleep paralysis.

I have suffered from sleep paralysis several times in my life but my episodes increased after spending four days and three nights in the infamous Sallie House in Atchison Kansas. It is one of the most disturbing and terrifying feelings in the world. These experiences peaked my curiosity to find out more about the similarities between sleep paralysis and sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome.

During my research on this subject, I found that most Anthropologists identified the Hmong immigrant deaths attributed to the tsog tsuam demon, as sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome.

So where does sleep paralysis come into play in regards to SUNDS? According to some medical experts, one probably triggered the other and it is believed that the Hmong immigrants were scaring themselves to death in their sleep. They also believe that sleep paralysis reinforced the Hmong immigrants’ belief that they deserved to die. So in other words,  the negative thinking in relation to the mind-body connection creates a phenomena in which your health gets worse by focusing and thinking negatively. A self-fulfilling prophecy if you will.

We also know that beliefs are powerful. Believing in evil spirits makes them real to the believer. Those who died of SUNDS were immigrants with religious backgrounds. Interestingly enough, studies show that it did not afflict those who did not believe in spirits. Medical experts also believe that severe and ongoing stress, along with intense feelings of powerlessness could have contributed to the phenomena. Especially among people whose culture and belief system reinforces the notion that evil spirits have the power to kill men who do not fulfill their religious obligations.

I will be researching more on this subject in the near future.

By:

Cindie Harper

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Dab Tsog Demon and Tsog Tsuam Spell

Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS) was identified as an epidemic in the early 1980’s after many healthy male Hmong immigrants fled Communist Laos and began mysteriously dying in their sleep. These odd nocturnal deaths became that leading cause of death among healthy male Hmong immigrants who fled to the United States.

The Hmong people believed that the deaths were being caused by an ancient demon named dab tsog. The dab tsog was known to dwell in caves but would leave the caves at night to steal people’s souls by sitting on their chests and suffocating them while they sleep. This frightening experience is known as the tsog tsuam. The Hmong community believed that the only way to stop this horrible experience was through a ritual conducted by a shaman.

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There is a similar experience known to Southeast Asia. In the Phillipines, this evil demon experience is known as Bangungut. While I was living in Hawaii, I learned of this epidemic from a Fillipino family whom reportedly lost a male relative to the experience. They believed that SUNDS was responsible for killing thousands of lives since it was identified in the Phillipines in 1917. I am told that the term Bangungut means “nightmare” or “rise up loudly”. The Hawaiians refer to this phenomenon as a “Dream Disease” and it is believed to attack those of Fillipino ancestry. I found several common themes among the different cultures. Each person I spoke with reported that the experience involved sleep paralysis, a heavy weight sensation on the chest from an evil presence. It is believed that if the person is not woken during the experience, then they would die.

These occurrences seem to have many similar characteristics to the phenomena known as sleep paralysis. Unfortunately, I have experienced sleep paralysis on several occasions. It is not a pleasant experience.

Written by:

Cindie Harper