You decide. In this article, a man describes being awake during surgery. The anesthesia didn’t quite knock him out. “I remember wanting to push away but you’re paralyzed. You can’t move, you can’t open your eyes …” Had he looked up, he would have seen strange beings with no mouths and covers on their heads:
A classic abduction experience, no? The article goes on to describe how being anesthetized is very similar to being in a coma, and not very similar to being asleep. But getting back to abductions, I suspect that sleep paralysis is the royal road to alien examination. It usually arrives in the hypnagogic or hypnopompic state, and boy is it fun to throw big words like that around.
There were a couple times when I was a kid that I slipped into this paralysis state very briefly. I was aware that I was in bed and it was morning but I could … not … move. I concentrated on moving my legs. I don’t know if that helped, but I came out of it soon. That was it. No strange beings and no weight on the chest that other people sometimes experience. Pretty boring. It never came back again after a few times and that’s just as well.
Out of body experiences are another kettle of fishes. Or they are other kettles of fish. However you want to say it, they are fishy. Many people who have OBEs report knowing things that went on around them when they were “out.” As we know from the guy in the first paragraph, that’s not so mysterious. When you know that the out-of-body experience has been reproduced in a lab, some fish fall out of the kettle. And when you know it’s been repeatedly produced by brain stimulation, your fish kettle is pretty much empty. Or, like in this picture, the poor fish have been overheated:
Personally, I think these experiences and the explanations for them are fascinating. The brain functions aren’t completely understood. There’s still plenty of mystery to go around. The fact that they aren’t the cartoon-like alien or spirit kind of mysteries makes them all the more tantalizing.