The Incubus in Film, Experience, and Folklore

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily D. Edwards, Professor (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: The incubus motif, prevalent in American horror movies, displays a victim, usually female, subjected to sexual attack by an unnatural entity during sleep or a sleep-like state.1 This study tests a hypothesis derived from the theory that media images govern the incidence and content of such anomalous accounts. It compares cinematic incubus motifs with memorates—stories told as personal experiences and believed by the tellers to be true. Since many of our findings fail to support the media images/cultural source hypothesis, we present an alternate model. Many incubus experiences coincide with patterns related to sleep paralysis. We suggest that sleep paralysis coupled with sexual arousal spawns memorates which provide a basis for incubus folklore.

Additional Information

Publication
Southern Folklore
Language: English
Date: 1996
Keywords
Media Studies, Folklore, American Folklore, Incubus, Cinema