Peter Tosh and the Sleep Paralysis Phenomenon – Part 3/3

By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness

(Continued from part 2)

One of Chrissy’s readers has had three interesting and unsettling paralysis experiences in his/her life. During the first one they saw a ‘cat-sized’ shadow at the foot of their bed, which slowly crawled up to their chest (4).

During the second one they witnessed a ‘shadow man’ walking around their room before disappearing (4). This was the scariest out of all of them. The last one wasn’t scary, but amusing: they witnessed penguin-like creatures walking around their room (4).

Tosh, Sleep Paralysis and Bumbo Klaat

Now, we’ll learn about one of Peter Tosh’s paralysis experiences and how it led to his constant use of his favorite phrase.

As I mentioned, Tosh had numerous experiences with sleep paralysis which makes it likely he suffered from RISP. Interestingly enough, despite this likelihood, Tosh witnessed the demonic entities common in ISP cases. He called them ‘vampires’.

Linton Hines Jr. theorizes that the stress caused from being underprivileged in Jamaica, a colonial country where escaping poverty is nearly impossible, could’ve been responsible for Tosh’s ‘vicious bouts’ of sleep paralysis and paranoia (5).

He also theorizes Tosh’s continuous cannabis use could’ve been to blame (5).

I disagree, but admittedly, more research needs done in the area of cannabis and mental health.

My personal opinion is that cannabis can be helpful for certain conditions that cause severe stress or trauma, and Tosh reportedly attributed his sleep paralysis to Satan or, again, vampire minions that wanted to kill him.

Being a devoted Rasta, he was highly religious and somewhat superstitious.


According to Dr. M.G. Smith, the stress involved with opportunities to increase social status is a cause of sleep paralysis (5).

This theory could be correct because Tosh’s worst paralysis experiences happened during the Waliers’ attempts to get a record deal with Coxsone Dodd at Studio One in Kingston (5).

In his song Bumbo Klaat, Tosh describes an SP experience where he was held down by an ‘evil spirit’ and saved by Jah (the Rasta term for God) with the word ‘bumbo klaat’:

One night, an evil spirit held me down

I could not make one single sound

Jah told me, ‘Son, use the word’

And now I’m as free as a bird

Oh bumbo klaat, oh ras klaat

Oh bumbo klaat, oh ras klaat (6)

He would go on to use the word constantly, even during interviews.

Death in 1987

Tosh’s life was tragically ended on September 11, 1987 during a ‘robbery’ at his home in Kingston.

Some people don’t believe the official story surrounding his death because he was an outspoken revolutionary in 70s and 80s Kingston, where tension was already high.

Like Bob Marley who died six years earlier of skin cancer, his life and work were cut short and the world was rid of yet another reggae pioneer without whom the genre wouldn’t be what it is today.

Peter Tosh was rough, rude and refused to tolerate a corrupt system that kept his people down through poverty, inconceivable police corruption and a host of other nearly inescapable circumstances.

He used his rage at the system and his passion for justice to show the world what true rebellion looks like. He did it all from a deeply religious point of view, and I’m sure he attributed his success to his devotion to Jah.

It’s unfortunate that he experienced sleep paralysis and tragic that he was taken from the world so soon, but if you experience sleep paralysis, it doesn’t mean you’ll suffer the same fate.

Keep in mind that Tosh was an internationally famous musician who remained in Jamaica long after Marley had left for London.

Marley left on a self-imposed exile in 1976 to live and work in London after an attempt on his life was made two days ahead of a free concert in Jamaica he was set to headline. This by itself shows you that the island was a dangerous place at the time.

Tosh’s death wasn’t inevitable, but like Marley’s, it could’ve been avoided had he perhaps been in a different place. However, he may have felt that to leave Jamaica would be to betray his people or the movement he helped create.

He may have felt a sense of pride for remaining in Jamaica after Marley went to London. He may not have wanted to leave, and in my opinion his death had less to do with his experiences with sleep paralysis and more with the environment in which he lived.


I’ve never experienced sleep paralysis, but from what we’ve learned and what my wife has told me about her experiences it sounds like something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Hopefully you’ve never gone through it, but if you have, feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

Like other unexplainable phenomena, we have a lot to learn about sleep paralysis and much of it will require an open mind.


Our current knowledge of it doesn’t paint a decent enough picture of what it is, why people experience it or how RISP can be treated or avoided, and the countless anecdotal reports available on the internet are our most valuable sources of insight into what this experience is like.

Hopefully we can one day find a solution to the problem, but for now, remember that everyone, including celebrities, is prone to conditions that may make you feel like an outcast.

No matter what you suffer from, there’s always someone out there who’s experienced it too. We just need to get rid of the taboo surrounding these issues so we can discuss them openly and help each other through them.


(1)    “Sleep Paralysis – Overview & Facts”,, n.d.

(2)    “What is Sleep Paralysis?” Sleep Paralysis World, n.d. –

(3)    Joe from Minnesota, “Very Interesting Sleep Paralysis Experience”, End Your Sleep Deprivation, n.d. –

(4)    Stories compiled by Chrissy Stockton, “15 People On Their Experience With The ‘Sleep Paralysis Demon’”, Thought Catalog, January 3, 2014 –

(5)    Linton Hines Jr., “Peter Tosh A Revolutionary: 12 Fascinating Facts About The ‘Stepping Razor’”,, November 10, 2015 –

(6)    Peter Tosh, “Oh Bumbo Klaat Lyrics”, Lyrics Mode, n.d. –

(Other sources embedded in report)


Inspiring a Revolution of Love, Compassion, and Wisdom

%d bloggers like this: