Friday, April 8, 2011

On Nightmares...

Last night I had nightmares. We all get them, so that in and of itself is nothing worthy of note. I don’t get them that often though. When one does rear its ugly head, I deal with it using techniques I read in Omni Magazine back in the 80’s. That article dealt with something called “Lucid Dreaming” . The thesis of the article was that you can ‘wake up’ in your dream and take control of your environment. Picture the Holodeck from Star Trek. Now imagine that room responding to your thoughts. That article helped arm me against nightmares so that I can usually diffuse them before they get out of hand.
Lastnight, however, the nightmares were different. Or maybe they were the same and I’m just realizing something unique about the nature of nightmares. They came in bunches. Were it not for the storm that was raging outside and waking me up about every 45 minutes to an hour, there is a good chance I sleep through them all and remember nothing.
But remember them I did. I won’t repeat them here. My Demons are well documented. How I deal with them is for me and me alone.

I sensed something going on in my head that night. There was a feeling that came over me when the dream turned the nightmare corner. There was a sensation of ooze. Of a fog that coated the ground. It crept into the dream and carried in its wake the nightmare. It was a peculiar sensation, like theme music marking the entrance of the hero. This signal harbored dark intent. It wanted to scare me. I wanted to scare me.
I have studied just enough about dreams to understand that they are my inner mind’s way of dealing with the issues in my life. In so much as they seek to prepare me mentally to deal with emotions like love, hate and fear. Akin to dipping a toe in the water. But the takeaway from this night was the feeling that some outside force was intruding. I looked down in my dreams as an oily film flowed in from the outside edges, creeping across the floor and recognized it from the previous dreams I had awoken in the middle of. It felt Alien. It felt like it had bad intentions.
The ancient Greeks had a name for the creator of nightmares, EPIALES. They associated his intrusion into the dream as a “feverish chill”. I got the impression that this was an orchestrated assault, and that it wanted a pound of flesh…or the dreamland equivalent of that.
The feeling was as real and familiar as that of any other dream. When I saw this murky crust seeping in, it was telling me to prepare myself. To be on my guard. It was after this introduction that the fun started. Every time.

Enter the fog, cue the guilt nightmare.
Enter the fog, cue the poverty nightmare.
Enter the fog, cue the nightmare I get murdered in.
Enter the fog, cue my dead mother.

It was clockwork. By the end of the night in my dreams, I would see this fog and cue myself to wake up in t he dream. This didn’t prevent the horrible images that were coming my way from being any less graphic, but it did prepare me for them mentally and emotionally.

I feel like I have come face to face with the enemy here. He has tipped his hand.

He picked a stormy night to spill his ooze across my mindscape hoping to frighten me but I don’t frighten much these days. I startle…just like normal people, but I don’t tremble in fear.


  1. You know, Roger. There is something to the idea that this was an assault. Have been practing lucid dreaming for years, so I recognize some of the things you describe. Some dreams are indeed "sent" in the sense that they are not projections from your mind. Glad you shielded.

  2. My favorite all time moment in fighting a nightmare was when I was being pulled over by a dozen police cars all with their lights flashing like mad. I turned them all into banannas and kept on driving. Tried that in real life with near disastrous results.

  3. I've experienced lucid dreams a few times when I was younger, but that hasn't happened again in many years. I would love to do it again.

  4. You have to practice them. I'll see if I can find that article. It was in Omni Magazine sometime between 1986 and 1988.


  6. I never planned it. It just happened. I'd be dreaming and suddenly realize "Wait...this is just a dream!" And then I'd usually start flying until I involuntarily woke up.

  7. That's the first step and the biggest by far. Now alls you need to do is recognize the setting. This night was odd because the storm kept waking me from my dream in the middle...making me remember them. That was how I started to see the pattern the nightmares were taking.
    I usually have one lucid dream a week nowadays. I used to have them every night. It is a matter pf practice. Buddhist monks see lucid dreaming as a sign of enlightenment...but I don't think they have my rudimentary version as that.