[Image description: A helmeted motorcyclist on a blue street bike]
The first time I saw him was about four years ago.
I was sitting in the passenger seat of a car next to my sister. We were carpooling to school, driving along a freeway at high speed. The motorcyclist pulled up along my side. He was dressed in military fatigues and he was riding a street bike, white I think with either a red or blue trim. He had on a racing helmet that fully obscured his face. Yet he looked directly at me in the car. I was struck by the feeling he knew me. But it was impossible, I didn’t know anyone in the army, or that owned a street bike. Yet he looked at me for several seconds. I turned away in almost fear, why was he so intently interested in someone he had never met?
When I refused to keep looking at him he pulled away from our car. He move on ahead in his lane and back into my line of sight. As he did so he stood up on his bike. Something I thought was exceptionally dangerous, especially as we were going into a turn. Yet he stood for a few seconds before he sat back down and was lost in the traffic.
I didn’t see him again until about two years later. It was only after that second time I began to wonder if he was a hallucination. I didn’t start to wonder when he reappear again until he did.
I have tried to find an exact term for this sort of delusion, but as far as I have found, there is no current psychiatry term for what seems like a kind of déjà vu, a familiarity you cannot place. The closest I have found is something between Fregoli’s delusion and that of subjective doubles. In my case however I am uncertain if I am mistaking two extraordinary coincidences for the same person, or if he is completely a delusion.
And if he is a delusion, only then is he a double, in the same sense the shadow men of my sleep paralysis are doubles. They’re other selves my psyche creates for whatever reason. I just seem to be able to broadcast internal impulses outside of myself, like all those who facilitate delusions or see hallucinations to a point. I came to this conclusion while researching sleep paralysis and shadow men. I was unsatisfied by the “creepy pasta” that surrounds the creatures and likely those theories are facilitated by those who have never really encountered one.
I wasn’t afraid of my shadow men. I was annoyed by their appearance because I couldn’t make them leave, I also knew they were harbingers of an expanded hypnopompic hallucinations. I was aware from the start they were in some way a part of me as are all of my delusions and hallucinations. I just don’t always hold these things inside myself like others do. I can broadcast my dreams and fears around myself.
When I saw my motorcyclist again I was driving to my internship. It was down an isolated highway that only locals really know. He was in the on-coming lane. He wasn’t dressed in fatigues but some civilian dress of a heavy jacket and pants. He was wearing the racing helmet with its opaque visor. He was driving the street bike. I didn’t know it was him however until he was within fifty feet or so of my car. He put his arms out and proceeded to ride with no hands on the handle-bars the whole time he was in my sight. We made eye contact again as he passed, and I feel like if not for the helmet, I would have seen his smile. I remember looking at him in my side-mirror, his arms extended like he was flying. I remember knowing it was him because who else would do something so dangerous?
I haven’t seen him since. I still drive the places where I saw him with some frequency. I may never see him again. There was no identifiable trigger for his appearances. I am not even sure now if I even ever heard a motor from his bike. Two separate people being stupid on the road? Or the greatest delusion I’ve ever had awake.
I have heard of other sleep paralysis sufferers with severe episodes (like me) having a form of Fregoli’s delusion where they believe they meet figures from their episodes in other bodies while awake. I wish psychologist would re-evaluate the severe form of the disorder as something more than simple nightmares. We’re seeing our psyches in pieces even in waking life. That is not a dream. That is a delusions and/or hallucination. We shouldn’t be dismissed or talked down to about this.
Something is happening. It is real or not to us, to others. But it is happening.