I had a similar experience with a fan.
We had a pedestal fan about 4 1/2 foot tall setting about 3 feet from the foot of the bed.
I woke one night for some unknown reason and saw that fan when my eyes first opened.
I finally awoke fully to a strange thumping sound and my wife yelling "HONEY DON'T KILL IT"
I had tackled the fan and was in the closet floor choking it to death.
The strange thumping sound was my fingers pushed through the wire cage and the plastic blade still turning.