Do you ever suddenly wake up at 3 a.m. for no known reason? Could there be something creeping around your room that you can’t see? The answer might surprise you. Three o’clock a.m. is sometimes called the devil’s hour or the witching hour.
The phrase “witching hour” was first recorded in 1793. However, this seems to have begun around 1535 when the Catholic Church forbade activities taking place during 3-4 a.m. This was base on religious texts that stated the belief that Jesus was crucified at 3 p.m., the reverse of that would be 3 a.m., making this time for demonic activity. The number 3 is also a mockery of the Holy Trinity.
Further, it was considered shameful if a woman was seen out between the hours of midnight to 4 a.m which ultimately led priests to tie the hour to witches.
According to folklore, this time of night is when witches, demons, and ghosts are thought to appear and be at their most powerful. The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary identifies midnight as the time when witches are supposedly active. This time of night is also said to be when the veil between life and death is thinnest, allowing spirits to travel between worlds. Some believe the witching hour to be between 12and 1 AM., stating more supernatural activity happens during that time.
Is all this just our minds playing tricks on us? Or does this all have to do with our sleep cycles? Science tells us that during the hours of 2 and 4 a.m., we see a peak in our REM sleep and a peak of melatonin in the body. Could it be that when we wake in the middle of the night, we only think we are seeing strange things happen when it’s simply excess melatonin? Or does this all go back to the 1700s and is there really something paranormal to this witching hour?