Makuragaeshi anatomical illustration from Shigeru Mizuki's Yokai Daizukai --
The Makura-gaeshi (”pillow-mover”) is a soul-stealing prankster known for moving pillows around while people sleep. The creature is invisible to adults and can only be seen by children. Anatomical features include an organ for storing souls stolen from children, another for converting the souls to energy and supplying it to the rest of the body, and a pouch containing magical sand that puts people to sleep when it gets in the eyes. In addition, the monster has two brains — one for devising pranks, and one for creating rainbow-colored light that it emits through its eyes.

More 'Anatomy of Japanese Monsters' at above link!
In Greek mythology, Hypnos (Ὕπνος) was the personification of sleep; the Roman equivalent was known as Somnus. His twin was Thánatos ("death"); their mother was the goddess Nyx ("night"). His palace was a dark cave where the sun never shines. At the entrance were a number of poppies and other hypnogogic plants.



"Sleep... Oh! how I loathe those little slices of death."
~Author unknown, various wordings commonly attributed to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, and Journey to the Center of the Earth....


-BACKGROUND: The Norwegian Mare is a shapeshifting demon, predominantly female, who haunts people while they sleep. Creeping like smoke, the Mare can sneak through keyholes or under doorways, as well as slither through locked windows or cracks in the floorboard. She can appear as beautiful or ugly, as a dwarf or a giant, but most commonly comes in the guise of a horse. Once in her victim’s bedroom, she mounts their chest and steals their breath, causing great heart pains, troubled breathing, and horrible dreams. In Germany she is known as the ‘Mahr’, in Danish, ‘Mare’, and in the Western world she took on the title of ‘Nightmare’. While the Norwegian version is considered one of the oldest versions of this lore, the Anglo Saxon and Old Norse ‘Mara’ probably predates her counterpart by a few centuries. In Germany, the demon directly associated with bad dreams is known as an ‘Alp’, a direct cousin to the popular ‘Elf’.

-MYTHS FROM THE VAULT- continued at my LJ page.
In Ojibwa (Chippewa) culture, a dreamcatcher (or dream catcher; Ojibwa asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form of the word for "spider" or bawaajige nagwaagan meaning "dream snare" is a handmade object based on a willow hoop, on which is woven a loose net or web. The dreamcatcher is then decorated with personal and sacred items such as feathers and beads.


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