In 2004, sleep medicine experts treated a rare case of a woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking – that was her excuse anyway. At night while asleep, the middle-aged sleepwalker from Australia left her house and had sexual intercourse with strangers. Her secret came out one night, when her partner awoke to find her missing, went searching for her and found her engaged in a sex act.
Robert Wood, a 55-year-old chef, apparently gets up four or five times a week and heads to the kitchen where he prepares omelettes, stir fries and chips – while asleep. Once he tried to fill a small bowl with a whole box of cereal and a carton of milk.
Out in the cold
In January 2009, Timothy Brueggeman, a 51-year-old electrician from Wisconsin, sleepwalked out of his home wearing only his underwear and a fleece shirt. His body was found the next morning about 150 metres from his rural home. With temperatures around -27°C, Brueggeman had died of hypothermia.
Taking the plunge
In May 2009, a sleepwalking teenager stepped out of the bedroom window and plunged eight metres to the ground. Rachel Ward, 18, had got out of bed and pulled on a jumper before making her dramatic, unconscious exit. She landed feet first on a narrow strip of grass next to her car, leaving six-inch divots in the ground, before collapsing. Amazingly, she wasn’t injured and didn’t wake up properly until the next day.
In 2007, Alan Ball went to a New Year’s Eve house party, drank heavily and fell asleep on a sofa. At some point during the night, he got up, went upstairs and climbed into bed with an under-age girl, whom he kissed on the lips. After a lengthy court case, he was acquitted of any wrongdoing because he was asleep at the time.
The constant gardener
In 2005, a sleep-walking computer expert was reportedly caught by his wife mowing the lawn stark naked at 2am. She was afraid to wake him up because she had always been told it can be dangerous to disturb someone who is sleepwalking. She just turned off the mower, went back to bed and let him get on with it.
In 2005, a 44-year-old woman went to bed about 10pm but got up two hours later and walked to her computer in the next room. She turned it on, connected to the internet, and logged on before composing and sending three emails. Each was in a random mix of upper and lower cases, not well formatted and written in strange language.
A London girl climbed the counterweight of a crane at a construction project, some 40 metres in the air. A fireman climbed the crane to try to talk her down, only to find her sleeping. Not wanting to alarm her and make her fall, the fireman did what any responsible public servant would and went through her personal belongings, found her phone and got her parents to call and wake her up.
On a frigid Denver night in 2003, a quiet and unassuming nurse took a sleeping pill and went to bed. While still asleep, she got up, slugged down half a bottle of wine and got into her car. Not surprisingly, she crashed, but as two fully awake police officers watched on, the nurse got out of the vehicle and urinated in the road. When the officers went to arrest her, she assaulted them. Prosecutors let her plead guilty to a reckless driving charge alone.
When Anna Ryan inexplicably gained 60 pounds, she sought medical help. But to the surprise of both Anna and her doctor, it was discovered she was eating while asleep, literally devouring boxes of bakery goods without her conscious mind realising it.
On the record
Dion McGregor wanted to be a songwriter. He also had the habit of talking in his sleep, clearly and succinctly narrating his dreams in a conversational tone. His roommate decided to record the darkest parts of McGregor’s psyche, and then released it on an album. The audio, however, is not for those at work or for more sensitive souls – McGregor detailed the finer points of shoving fruit up one’s anus (or other orifices depending on one’s gender) and swinging from boobs like Tarzan.
On May 23, 1987, 23-year-old Kenneth Parks got up, got in his car and drove 23 kilometres to his in-laws’ home. He stabbed to death his mother-in-law and assaulted his father in law. All while asleep – apparently. The man was not only acquitted of the crimes, but reportedly ran, years later, for election to his local school board.