Dominic Kelly: MARA – Dream, Forest & Folklore #39

In the middle of the night, you find yourself caught between dream and wakefulness, unable to move, unable to scream, with the feeling that someone’s sitting on your chest.

There are many names for this condition. Sleep paralysis. The Old Hag. The Nightmare. Mara. With returning guest, performance storyteller Dominic Kelly, we delve into this fascinating phenomenon that is deeply entrenched in the borderlands of folklore and belief.

Dominic Kelly’s website

See MARA at
Stealing Thunder storytelling festival in England on 3rd june 2023
Helgøya Fortellerfestival in Norway on 5th august 2023

Bird sounds recorded by
Ulf Elman
Jelmer Poelstra


Sleep paralysis
“Sleep Paralysis” by Shelley R Adler (book)
Hmong people
The Old Hag of Newfoundland
The Nightmare (film)
“The Terror That Comes in the Night” by David J. Hufford (book)
“Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker (book)
“Granskogsfolk” by David Thurfjell (book)
The Dreaming
West Kennet Long Barrow
Hallucinations” by Oliver Sachs (book)
“The Spell of the Sensuous” by David Abram (book)
The Encounter” by Simon McBurney/Complicité (performance)
“Reservoir 13” by John McGregor (book)
“Ravens in Winter” by Bernd Heinrich (book)

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