1The sleepwalking nurse who draws masterpieces in a trance
Meet Lee Hadwin, by day a nurse, at night he's a "sleepwalking artist" who produces strange and fantastical artworks which he has no recollection of drawing when he wakes up the next morning.
Dubbed 'Kipasso', he says he is utterly mystified by his nocturnal talent, while at the daytime he shows no interest or ability in art whatsoever. Major galleries have been asking for examples of his work, which they hope to market on its artistic merit as well as its novelty value.
Hadwin first started sleepwalking when he was four years old, but his parents believed it was a normal childhood phase. When he was in his teens, he began producing artwork while asleep, at first on his bedroom walls. Once, staying over at a friend's house, he covered the kitchen walls with doodles in his sleep, an embarrassing discovery at breakfast time the next day. In his late teens and early 20s, the intensity of his sleepwalking increased and Hadwin would wake to find everything in the vicinity: tableclothes, newspapers, clothes and walls, covered in artwork.
Hoping to harness the strange ability, he started leaving artists' materials out when he went to bed and, sure enough, when he awoke he says he would find full-blown pictures beside him. Now, he leaves his home prepared for nocturnal wanderings, with sketchbooks and charcoal pencils scattered around the house, particularly under the stairs, a favorite venue.
2The sleepwalker who drove 10 miles and killed his in-law
Kenneth Parks, a 23-year-old Toronto man with a wife and infant daughter, was suffering from severe insomnia caused by joblessness and gambling debts. Early in the morning of May 23, 1987 he awoke, got in his car and drove 23 kilometers to his in-laws' home. He stabbed to death his mother-in-law, whom he loved and who had once referred to him as "a gentle giant." Parks also assaulted his father in law, who survived the attack. He then drove to the police and said "I think I have killed some people... my hands," only then realizing he had severely cut his own hands. Under police arrest he was taken to the hospital where he underwent repair of several flexor tendons of both hands.
Because he could not remember anything about the murder and assault, had no motive for the crime whatsoever, and did have a history of sleepwalking, his team of defense experts (psychiatrists, a psychologist, a neurologist and a sleep specialist) concluded Ken Parks was 'asleep' when he committed the crime, and therefore unaware of his actions.
3The sleepwalking woman who had sex with strangers
In 2004, sleep medicine experts have successfully treated a rare case of a woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking.
At night while asleep, the middle-aged sleepwalker from Australia left her house and had sexual intercourse with strangers. The behavior continued for several months and the woman had no memory of her nocturnal activities. Circumstantial evidence, such as condoms found scattered around the house, alerted the couple to the problem. On one occasion, her partner awoke to find her missing, went searching for her and found her engaged in the sex act.
Incredulity is the leading player in cases like this. But a combination of factors convinced the doctors that the case was a real sleepwalking phenomenon, including the distress of the couple, and an in-depth clinical evaluation. She stopped her night-time excursions after psychiatric counselling. Drugs such as benzodiazepines, which are sometimes used to treat sleep walkers, were not necessary.
4The sleepwalking chef who cooks while sleeping
Robert Wood, a 55 year-old chef, gets up four or five times a week while asleep and heads to the kitchen where he prepares omelettes, stir fries and chips. He has been sleepwalking for 40 years but, together with wife Eleanor, is becoming increasingly worried about having an accident while in the kitchen.
The couple from Glenrothes in Fife now cannot sleep for more than around three hours at a time. Mr Wood believes an ulcer in his intestine may be at the root of the problem. Because the condition only allows him to eat very small portions, he thinks his hunger pangs might cause him to head to the kitchen. Once he tried to fill a small bowl with a whole box of cereal and carton of milk. Mr Wood is said to be seeking help from sleep specialists in Edinburgh.
5The sleepwalker who froze to death
In Jan 2009, Timothy Brueggeman, a 51-year-old electrician from Wisconsin, sleepwalked out of his home in Hayward wearing only his underwear and a fleece shirt. His body was found the next morning about 190 yards from his rural home.
With temperatures around -16°F, Brueggeman died of hypothermia.
Investigators found a bottle of Ambien in his bedroom. Ambien is the most-prescribed sleeping pill in the country and has been linked to hundreds of cases of sleepwalking. Sanofi-Aventis, which produces the drug, insists Ambien is safe when taken as directed and not mixed with alcohol or other drugs. But a friend of the victim, Ed Lesniak, admitted that his friend, who was plagued with insomnia, sometimes drank when taking the sleep aid.
This wasn't Brueggeman's first dangerous sleepwalking incident. Last summer, he drove his pickup truck into the side of his own garage. Brueggeman's mother had advised him to stop taking Ambien after the incident.
6The teenager who sleepwalked out her bedroom window
Just recently, in May 2009, a sleepwalking teenager stepped out of the bedroom window at her historic castle home and plunged 25ft to the ground. Rachel Ward had got out of bed and pulled on a jumper before making her dramatic, unconscious exit from the first floor of the 19th century house.
She landed feet first on a narrow strip of grass next to her car, leaving six-inch divots in the ground, before collapsing. Semi-conscious, she screamed for help and her parents took her to hospital. There, to the amazement of doctors, tests revealed she hadn't broken a single bone. It was only the following day that Miss Ward, an 18-year-old A-level student, properly woke up.
7The sleepwalker who molested a child and got absolved
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 year in which this lorry-driving father lost his job and was able to see his five-year-old daughter only during supervised visits, a judge at Preston Crown Court cleared him of sexual assault in 2009, after the 35-year-old claimed he was sleepwalking at the time of the incident and had no memory of the events.
8The sleepwalker who mowed the lawn naked
In 2005, a sleep-walking computer expert was reportedly caught by his wife mowing the lawn naked at 2am. Rebekah Armstrong was woken by a noise coming from the garden. When she realized her husband Ian was not in bed she went downstairs to see what was happening.
Rebekah found Ian was mowing the lawn completely starker. 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 unplugged the mower, went back to bed and let him get on with it. Ian, 34, later got back into bed and didn't believe Rebekah when she told him what he'd been up to.
9The sleepwalker who emailed friends
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, the researchers said.
One read: "Come tomorrow and sort this hell hole out. Dinner and drinks, 4pm,. Bring wine and caviar only." Another said simply, "What the…".
The new variation of sleepwalking has been described as "zzz-mailing". The neurologists said that unlike simple sleep-walking, the activities their patient was involved in required complex behaviour and co-ordinated movements including typing, composing and writing the messages.
She was also able to remember her password and turn the computer on and connect to the internet, although she had no memory of the event. It was thought that the woman's sleep-walking may have been triggered by prescription medication, although the causes of the phenomenon are not fully understood.