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Why Is The Time 3 AM Significant?

Most Hollywood exorcism movies have one thing in common -- the time 3 am. The spirits possessing the body are said to be proactive during the third hour of morning. The time 3 am has often been described as the 'Devil's hour' or the 'witching hour'. It is believed that 3 am is the time when the evil spirits and the demons are strongest.

The Christian belief says that the hour, three in the morning, is apparently the mockery hour of Jesus's death. As Christ died at 3 pm, the Devil chose 3 am to unleash his demons and spirits. Since most Western civilisations follow Christianity, the dead hour of 3 am has become a phenomenon.

People dread looking at their clock during this time of the morning. They don't really seem to acknowledge that the time zones differ throughout the world. Therefore, whenever 3 am rolls around for the person in question, it is two hours later in another city or it is lunch time at another corner of the world.


Though many believe in the 3 am theory to be true, yet we cannot simply ignore the loopholes. First and foremost, if 3am is the mockery of Jesus's time of death, then why nothing ever happened before Jesus's death? Were the demons non-existent before Jesus died?

Other faiths also talk about demons but none of them ever mentions a specific time at which the demons or spirits awake. The time 3am seems to be the exclusive part of Christianity that was flared up with stories and superstitions. Let us have a look at why the time 3 am is so significant?

Many odd instances are reported between the time 3 am and 4 am. People have reported feeling weird sensations in the body or odd experiences. Some have found the door ajar, while some have felt a presence of someone while being alone. However, none of these has anything to do with possession.

It should be noted that the time 3 am is the hour when you are in the deepest sleep level. This is psychologically termed as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep stage. This is the stage when we dream. People who have the habit of staying up till such late hours are actually depriving their body of sleep. But your body will automatically succumb to the sleep. This explains how we leave the windows open or shower running because we reach the threshold of our sleep.

At that time, the brain begins to process the surroundings somewhat differently. This can lead to a number of sensations in the body. Sometimes, during this deep stage of sleep, people encounter what is known as the ‘Hag Phenomenon‘ or Sleep Paralysis. The phenomenon results in becoming alert mentally but finding an inability to move or vocalise after being asleep.

The body shuts down certain motor signals during REM sleep to prevent us from acting out our dreams. However, occasionally as our brain moves through the stages of sleep and comes back to the lightest phase of sleep, there is a brief moment when the mind gets to an awareness stage before the body does.

At this stage, the body can feel a number of sensations like inability to move hands or legs, inability to speak, pressure on chest, the reactions of terror or panic, auditory or visual hallucinations and the feeling of being afloat.

Clearly, these sensations get mixed up with all the superstitious beliefs and stories which makes us believe that we are possessed by demons or spirits. The folklores or stories are a way to find explanations for these sensations and hallucinations. By giving them a concept, we give them belief and therefore power to act while attributing them to external forces and thus dividing ourselves from the whole. So, it is the power of our minds that create the demons and evil spirits, nothing else.

Story first published: Friday, November 14, 2014, 5:00 [IST]
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