Monday, November 14, 2005

Weird Dreams

As any regular reader of this blog is already well aware, I have some rather weird dreams. Always have. We could include here some really weird dreams, such as the dream when I was seven or eight which consisted of nothing but the sound of a fire siren (when I woke up, there was no fire siren). Or the dream when I was nine which consisted of nothing but a vision of plaidlike burgundy fabric. I mean, it was just this plaid pattern, motionless, burgundy with metallic gold threads woven through it— that was the entire dream.

I remember one very early dream, back around age three, where the Speedy Alka-Seltzer Man, only about six inches tall, came out of a hole in the wall. And he was threatening to take my toys away.

From age four up to about age seven, I also had recurrent nightmares about the Ide-Dide Clown. Pronounced "idee-didee." Usually in these dreams, I would be sitting on my bed in my bedroom, and I would hear footsteps coming down the upstairs hallway. Then the Ide-Dide Clown would come into view, walking down the hallway toward my bedroom, and he would go, "I am the Ide-Dide Clown. Ide-Dide!!!" I would wake up terrified, in a panic.

These dreams for years gave me a bad case of clownophobia. I remember one clown nightmare— non-Ide-Dide— where a clown came out of the closet in my bedroom, and his eyes looked like little disks, one black and one white. Or there was another nightmare about a parade going down the street outside our house, and there was this gigantic clown on stilts, and he reached out toward me with a white-gloved hand, and I tried to punch the hand, only it was all soft and sticky like roasted marshmallows.

Actually, the odd thing is, in my dreams the Ide-Dide Clown didn't look like a clown at all. He looked like a robot built out of blue cardboard boxes, with a pressure gauge in the middle of his chest, and jelly beans on wires sticking out of the top of his head. I managed to end these dreams quite abruptly at age seven: the nightmare began as usual, with the sound of the footsteps coming down the hallway. Only this time I went out into the hall to meet the Ide-Dide Clown, and I punched him in the chest, and he exploded in shreds of blue cardboard flying all over the place. That was the last time I ever had a clown nightmare.

I've also had some really, really weird dreams. This is where we get into hypnagogic and hypnopompic dreams— dreams where you experience visual or auditory hallucinations while falling asleep (hypnagogia) or waking up (hypnopompia). I think my first dreams of this sort date back to around age eight or nine (the furry ball with a hundred legs spinning around on top of my dresser when I woke up). They extended up into my mid-thirties. Probably the most intense period of such dreams for me was in my early twenties, when my brother and I were sharing an apartment on Langdon Street in Madison, Wisconsin.

I went through a real phase of hearing music playing in the room when I was drifting off, halfway asleep. This is not the sort of distant music you may sometimes hear in the buzz of a fan motor, or the thrumming of a car engine. No, this was like a stereo playing right there in the room at medium volume; though the music was often muffled and distorted.

I remember one particularly terrifying hypnagogic experience I had in that apartment. I was partway asleep, still quite aware of lying there on my bed. Then the music came, and it was like muffled Beatles music. Then, from off on the far side of the room, I heard a voice, like someone speaking, only it was muffled and garbled. Then suddenly the speaking voice approached rapidly across the apartment, until it was coming from just off to the side of the foot of my bed. Muffled music playing loudly in the apartment, this muffled but loud voice speaking angrily next to the bed... and I couldn't move! I was lying there, as much awake as asleep. And I couldn't move!

This is, of course, the well-known phenomenon of sleep paralysis, which is sometimes known to accompany hypnagogia or hypnopompia. I know this sounds quite weird to someone who's never experienced it, but psychologists tell us it's not uncommon— something like 30% to 40% of people experience hypnagogic or hypnopompic dreams at least once in their life. For me, things soon trailed off from that stretch in my early twenties, and I haven't had a dream of that sort in a good 15 years now.

Though I still do tend sometimes to have, shall we say, rather colorful dreams. As anyone who follows this blog is well aware.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Lucy said...

Last week I dreamed an entire movie of the confrontation between the characters from "Pirates of the Caribean" and "Lord of The Rings". All the characters were portrayed as muppets from Sesame Street. Ernie was Captain Jack Sparrow.

Then I dreamed my nose was clogged with yellow butterflies.

Monday, November 14, 2005 10:36:00 PM  

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