We all know Freddy Kruger isn’t real, but the true inspiration behind the character is just as scary – maybe even more so.
In 1977, Southeast Asian men began to pass away in their sleep in record numbers. They had all been completely healthy, strong men usually aged 30-40 who, for whatever reason, were going to sleep and simply never waking up again.
It’s believed that these men were having nightmares which caused them to have a heart attack. A few of the men were heard breathing heavily and in more than one case, screams before death were reported. Many were discovered with terrifying expressions on their faces – as if they had been frightened to death.
Researchers called this unknown condition SUNDS – Sudden Unidentified Nocturnal Death Syndrome; the first reported case occurred in 1917. Though researchers have tried to find a reasonable explanation, no other cause of death for these men can be pinpointed.
Hmong refugees from Laos seemed to be affected the worst. At the peak of the epidemic in 1981, more Hmong immigrants were dying from SUNDS than the top 5 leading causes of death for other men in America combined.
The Hmong people are sure that they know what happened to these men; they are certain that the Dab Tsog was coming for them. This is an evil spirit who comes in the form of a nightmare for the victim as they lay fast asleep. The victim becomes paralysed and is unable to defend themself against this spirit; they are unable to move as they are crushed to death.
Between 1990 and 1999, there were 231 cases of SUNDS. And from 2001 to 2013, there were 893 cases. Women are not immune to this, though they do not perish in record numbers as their male counterparts.
Researchers claim it is most likely that these men believe this monster was coming for them so it did. If you believe something with all your heart, it can become a self fulfilled prophecy. This is the same reason scientists believe that voodoo works – because people believe it so desperately.