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Karabasan is a phenomenon that has been part of Turkish folklore for centuries. It is a term used to describe the experience of sleep paralysis, a condition where the person is unable to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up. The word “karabasan” literally translates to “black press” or “black weight” in Turkish, which describes the feeling of a heavy weight pressing down on the chest during an episode of sleep paralysis.

According to Turkish folklore, karabasan is caused by a supernatural creature known as the “basty” or “karabas.” The basty is said to sit on the chest of a sleeping person, making it difficult for them to breathe and move. The experience is often accompanied by vivid hallucinations, which can be terrifying for the person experiencing them. While there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of the basty, the folklore surrounding karabasan has persisted in Turkish culture for generations.

Origins and Mythology

Cultural Roots

Karabasan is a nocturnal jinn that causes paralysis in Turkish folklore. The term Karabasan is derived from the words “kara” meaning black and “basan” meaning presser. The name implies that the creature is a black presser, which is an accurate description of its behavior. The mythology of Karabasan is rooted in ancient Turkish beliefs and has been passed down through generations.

Historical References

According to some assumptions, the origin of Karabasan is associated with a strangling spirit from the mythology of Moab and Assyria. In local Turkish beliefs, Karakura is the name of a disembodied evil spirit that is quiet and silent and attacks the lungs of women in labor. It is believed that Karabasan is a variation of Karakura and that the two creatures share many characteristics.

Historically, Karabasan has been mentioned in various Turkish literary works such as “Divan-ı Lügat-ı Türk” by Mahmud al-Kashgari. The creature is also referenced in the works of famous Turkish poets such as Yunus Emre and Pir Sultan Abdal. In these works, Karabasan is portrayed as a malevolent spirit that preys on humans while they sleep.

In conclusion, Karabasan is a fascinating creature that has been a part of Turkish mythology for centuries. Its origins can be traced back to ancient beliefs and it has been mentioned in various literary works throughout history. The mythology of Karabasan continues to be a source of fascination for people around the world.

Characteristics of Karabasan

Karabasan is a creature in Turkish folklore that is believed to cause sleep paralysis. It is said to sit on the chest of its victim, making it difficult for them to breathe or move. The experience of Karabasan is often accompanied by lucid dreams, which can make the experience even more terrifying for the victim.

Physical Appearance

Karabasan is often depicted as a dark, shadowy figure with glowing eyes. It is said to have long, sharp claws and teeth, and a menacing presence. Some people believe that Karabasan is a jinn, a supernatural creature from Islamic mythology.

Supernatural Abilities

Karabasan is believed to have supernatural abilities that allow it to cause sleep paralysis. It is said to be able to enter a person’s room through windows or doors, and to hover over them as they sleep. Some people believe that Karabasan can also cause nightmares and feed on a person’s fears.

Despite the terrifying nature of Karabasan, it is important to remember that sleep paralysis is a natural phenomenon that affects many people. While the experience can be frightening, it is not usually harmful and can be managed with proper sleep hygiene and stress reduction techniques.

Karabasan in Popular Culture


Karabasan has been a popular theme in Turkish literature for many years. Many authors have written stories and novels based on the concept of Karabasan. Some of the most notable works include “Karabasan” by Ahmet Altan and “Karabasan” by Ahmet Ümit. These works explore the theme of Karabasan in depth, providing readers with a unique perspective on this supernatural phenomenon.

Film and Television

Karabasan has also been a popular theme in Turkish film and television. Many movies and TV shows have been made based on the concept of Karabasan. Some of the most popular movies include “Karabasan” (1985) directed by Ömer Kavur and “Karabasan” (2005) directed by Özgür Bakar. These movies explore the theme of Karabasan in a visual medium, providing viewers with a unique experience.

In addition to movies, Karabasan has also been a popular theme in Turkish TV shows. Many TV shows have been made based on the concept of Karabasan. Some of the most popular TV shows include “Karabasan” (1999) and “Karabasan” (2013). These TV shows explore the theme of Karabasan in a serialized format, providing viewers with a long-term experience.

Overall, Karabasan has been a popular theme in Turkish popular culture for many years. It has been explored in many different mediums, including literature, film, and television. The popularity of Karabasan is a testament to its enduring appeal and the fascination that people have with supernatural phenomena.

Interpretations and Symbolism

Psychological Perspectives

Karabasan, a creature in Turkish folklore, is often associated with sleep paralysis and the feeling of being trapped in a suffocating darkness. From a psychological perspective, it can be interpreted as a manifestation of anxiety and fear. The experience of sleep paralysis can be terrifying, and the belief in Karabasan may serve as a way for individuals to make sense of their experiences.

Furthermore, the symbolism of Karabasan can also represent the weight of one’s own negative thoughts and emotions. The creature’s presence can be seen as a metaphor for the burden that anxiety and depression can place on an individual’s mind.

Cultural Significance

Karabasan has a significant cultural significance in Turkish folklore. It is believed that the creature is a type of jinn that can cause paralysis upon falling asleep or awakening. The creature is said to hover over a person while they sleep, causing nightmares and feeding on their fears.

Moreover, the cultural significance of Karabasan is also evident in its association with lucid dreams. A Basty attack, which is called Karabasan, can include lucid dreams where the individual is aware of their surroundings but unable to move.

In summary, Karabasan has both psychological and cultural significance in Turkish folklore. It can be interpreted as a manifestation of anxiety and fear, as well as a representation of the weight of one’s negative thoughts and emotions. Its association with sleep paralysis and lucid dreams also adds to its cultural significance.

Protection and Countermeasures

Traditional Practices

Karabasan is a terrifying creature that has been haunting people for centuries. In Turkey, there are traditional practices that are believed to protect individuals from the Karabasan’s attacks. One of these practices is to recite verses from the Quran before going to bed. It is believed that the Karabasan cannot harm those who recite these verses.

Another traditional practice is to place a pair of scissors or a knife under the pillow. It is believed that the Karabasan fears sharp objects and will not attack if it senses one nearby. Additionally, some people believe that burning incense or sage can protect them from the Karabasan.

Modern Interpretations

In modern times, people have developed new ways to protect themselves from the Karabasan. One of the most common methods is to use sleep aids. By taking sleeping pills, individuals can ensure that they will not wake up during an attack. However, it is important to note that this method is not foolproof and can have negative side effects.

Another modern method is to use security measures such as locks and alarms. By securing the doors and windows, individuals can prevent the Karabasan from entering their homes. Additionally, some people use cameras and motion sensors to detect any intruders.

It is important to note that while these methods can provide some protection, they are not guaranteed to work. The Karabasan is a powerful creature that can overcome many obstacles. Therefore, it is important to remain vigilant and seek help if necessary.