Friday, 27 December 2013

Dream 217

This was a lucid dream, but not a very enjoyable one. I was in a house - unfamiliar, but quite normal - standing by the front door which was carved brown wood. The doorbell rang and suddenly I became lucid and aware I was dreaming. I started to feel excited, so to try and control/stabilise my lucidity I began stroking the carved wood with my hand and trying to describe the texture in my mind. I answered the door. There was a middle-aged man and woman on the doorstep. The man was non-descript with brown thinning hair and was wearing an anorak (grey). The woman had a deformed face - it looked like a plucked chicken (ready for roasting) on it's side, and she had no hair or proper facial features - just indentations where her eyes and mouth would be. I was not afraid of her appearance, as I was fully lucid and just fascinated by it. I said to the dream characters: "I'm lucid and you are just dream characters!" The man said: "No, we have come to ask you to help us with our daughter". I was laughing at this couple and also trying to exercise some control over my dream, as it was quite boring. I tried to think of something to do or someone to bring into my dream, but the man on the doorstep said: "AP [a girl from my high school] is having sex with her boyfriend". I said: "This is a boring lucid dream, can you leave me alone so I can do something fun!" The woman grabbed both of my hands in hers and said: "Oh please, it's urgent". I pulled my hands free and went to shut the door. I began to lose my lucidity - instead of the typical feeling of getting closer to wakefulness, this time I felt as if I were falling asleep or back into a normal dream. I began to panic as I felt I had wasted my 'lucid experience' talking to the boring parents. I tried to stroke the wooden texture again, but lost my lucidity and cannot recall any more dreams from this sleep.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Dream 216

I was in a canteen with long tables, where many people were seated on benches. I was turning around on my bench to speak to the people seated on the table behind me. They were boys from my high school, but I cannot recall who they were. Food was being served to us on trays. I got the impression that we were in my old primary school canteen.

The scene changed and I was in my current home in Norwich, watching Masterchef the Professionals (which is what I had been watching online before I fell asleep). One of the chefs competing was a 22 year old male, Oli Boon (it was the 2012 competition). I then was downstairs in my lounge/kitchen with DL. He was standing beside my housemate's desk, with a flipchart, trying to explain something to me. The laptop, playing the Masterchef show was on the work surface behind me. Something drew my attention to the screen. Oli was talking to the camera. He had a full face of clown-like makeup on - pink lipstick and blue eyeshadow and very white powder on his skin. The makeup was badly applied. He was saying cruel, nasty things and frowning at the camera. I felt uneasy. I was then back in my bedroom, and the laptop was also there with me. There was a white screen at the top - with some writing on it, and the lower part of the screen was black. In the black section of the screen, a woman appeared. She looked quite normal - with short brown hair, but her facial expression was odd - she was smiling in what can only be described as an evil, smug way. She was moving from left to right across the bottom of the laptop screen, using her hands to push herself along - the palms of her hands were flat against the screen and she looked like she was sliding or floating - the impression I got was of the movements associated with mime acts. This happened very slowly and put me in ultimate fear, although I do not know why. I heard my doorbell ring loudly.

I then had an episode of sleep paralysis. I thought I was awake - and that it had been the sound of the doorbell that woke me. I was facing the wall of my room, laying in bed. This part of my room looked completely normal - I could see the picture of Marilyn Monroe on my wall, even though the room was dark (however, as I went to bed in the early hours of the morning, perhaps in reality, it would have been lighter). I tried to move, but couldn't. I was struggling against myself and actually realised that this was sleep paralysis, but this recognition did not help me feel less terrified. I heard the doorbell ring again and felt dread. There were then loud footsteps coming up the stairs to my room. I was completely scared and tried to call out - to EB and to DL (neither of whom were present - I usually call EB because I can make him appear in a lucid dream easier than other people - I was hoping to become fully lucid so I could change my situation), but there was no sound - my voice would not come out. I was too scared to try and look at the laptop or anywhere else in my room as I felt a 'presence' of some kind - not that I was physically able to do so at this stage. The fact I knew I was in sleep paralysis made it worse - because I was aware that my mind could conjure anything in my wild imagination and my intense fear made it probable that any experience would be highly horrifying. I felt so awake. The paralysis persisted for around 30 seconds or so after this - all the time I was trying to scream or move to wake myself up.

I re-entered a normal dream state. I was in my nan's living-room with her. The lights were on in the room and I was sitting in my normal chair in the corner. My nan was in the kitchen, talking to me from there. She was explaining how she had been in contact with some UK hip hop artists and had developed a friendship with them via phone and letter. I was surprised at this. She came into the living-room and stood beside my chair, showing me a letter she had received from the musicians. I wondered why some young urban men were interested in socialising with my nan, but felt pleased she had made some new friends.
Oli Boon from Masterchef the Professionals (2012)
A mime

Dream 215

I was with my nan - the details of this dream are very hazy and I cannot recall where we were, simply that we were sitting at a table. My nan was reading me a letter. It was from/about EB. She told me that EB no longer wanted any contact with me. I felt sad about this - as he is my best friend - but was accepting of it. I do not remember anything else about this dream.

* The day after this dream, EB and I had a discussion about our friendship, which became heated. We decided it was best for us to not speak/see each other for a while until we sorted out our differences. I did not feel as upset as I normally would, largely because I took this dream and Dream 214 as a sign that something was going wrong with our close friendship and that these issues could not be easily resolved except by cutting him out of my life, whether temporarily or permanently (only time can tell).

Dream 214

Dream date: 19th December 2013

I was walking with EB and another person who I cannot recognise. We were entering a large well-lit house, via a hallway which led to an open plan kitchen/lounge area which was filled with people I did not know. EB was acting very strangely - quite nasty. His actions were erratic and he was making horrible comments towards me and leering with a malicious looking smile on his face. He seemed either intoxicated or under the influence of some substance which was changing his behaviour. He seemed taller than usual - at least 6 foot, although in reality he is about 5 foot 5 or 5 foot 6. The third, unfamiliar person said, by way of explanation for EB's weird actions: "RB [a hip hop artist known personally to both EB and I] fed him onions". I looked at EB's face and noticed that it was distorted - an unusual shade of bright pink and puffy/swollen with deformed features. It appeared that the kitchen area of the house was actually part of a restaurant. There was a small, young, South East Asian woman (she had dark skin, but Oriental features and long straight black hair). She came up to my shoulder in height. She was preparing some food. EB and I wandered into the kitchen and stood near some counters. Suddenly, he started kissing the small Asian woman very passionately. I could see their tongues in each others' mouths. I started to argue with the Asian woman, who was leaning against a wall, telling her to leave EB alone. EB was standing beside me to the right side, against another wall/window, saying nothing. I said: "I don't want him anyway, you can keep him", then punched her straight in the face. I left the house and as I was exiting through the front door, saw RB and other 'urban' males entering. One of the males said to me: "You can't hang around with RB now, we are going to watch a fight". I walked away, into the night.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Dream 213

I was in the 'back bedroom' (the one that used to be my aunty VF's room, in which I now store my belongings) at my nan's house in Sheringham. The light was quite dim. I was with PS. I looked around the room at my possession, which were in the room - much the same as they are in real-life. I was re-packing them into different suitcases. Some of the clothes were different to the ones I actually possess - in particular I noticed a black and white checked shirt (which I do not actually own). I was trying to decide which items to keep and which ones to discard. This scene continued for some time and PS and I were talking, although I do not remember exactly what we were talking about.

The scene changed and I was with PS in his car. He was sitting in the driver's seat and I was sitting in the back seat behind him. He put a song on the car stereo which was about "donkey noses". I didn't like this song and was trying to convince him to change it, but he said it was his favourite. It was perhaps daylight or twilight - outside the car the light was very dim. PS and I drove off. We were in a suburban residential area. We drove past rows of houses, and in particular, a road, which lead down to a cul-de-sac. Standing on the pavement, but the side of the road (and a road sign with the name of this road, which I could not read) was a small group of people. I think my old school friends, CW and VW were there. They were also with a male - who was very effeminate, camp and had puffy, bouffant grey hair and a spray tan - middle-aged. This group of people waved at me as we drove past. I then became aware that I knew this male - I had written a 'review' of his looks. I had described his hair and makeup and manicure (he wore nail polish). I was standing in a telephone box when I became aware that another female (not seen) had commented on my review of this man. Regarding his manicure, she had written/said (not clear which - I did not 'see' her comments, I was just aware she had made them: "But is it too much? Is it too much?" This made me burst out laughing manically. I woke myself up, laughing really hard and feeling very happy.
Dale Winton - Quiz show host and television personality
David Dickinson - Antiques expert and television personality
Gerard Kelly aka 'Ian "Bunny" Bunton" in Ricky Gervais' Extras

The above men are examples of the type of male who appeared in the dream, although I could not find an image which illustrated him perfectly.

Dream 212

It was night and I was in an outside location which I did not recognise. There were a lot of low, leafy bushes. I was a skateboarder again and had my board with me. ET was also there (a boy from my high school, who was a skateboarder - and AP's cousin from Dream 209). We were getting on quite well, chatting, although I do not recall the conversation. ET waved a small piece of white paper in my face while we were sitting by one of the bushes, on the grass. I am not sure what this piece of paper was. I was aware someone/some other persons were also present, but I cannot recall who. ET got up and started skating on some concrete nearby. There was a scene involving EB, but I cannot recall what happened at all. 

Dream 211

Dream date: 10th December 2013

I was with my cousin HM, in a large, but unfamiliar pub. HM looked the way she did when she was a teenager, before she got married and had a son, but I was aware that she was actually an adult. She was telling me that she would meet me again after she had gone to see her dad who was taking her to Toys R Us. I did not want her to leave as I was happy to stay in the pub drinking with her. We stood at the bar. A male was serving - I assumed it was DW (a guy I used to know from Sheringham, but an acquaintance, rather than a friend). However, this male did not look particularly like DW - he was heavyset with similarly black hair in a different style. I asked HM who this male was and she said: "Nathan" (I do not know who Nathan is). I tried to be friendly and make small talk with Nathan, but he was bending down to get clean glasses from the shelf and pouring drinks - and largely ignoring HM and I. I thought he was being rude. HM and I sat down at a table near the bar. Another male came over - also dark-haired and quite fat. He was holding a stack of brightly-coloured flyers advertising an event. He got really close to me and started flirting - I cannot recall the dialogue of this dream. I was uncomfortable with him being in my face and told him to leave us alone. HM said she had better go and meet her dad.

Dream 210

Dream date: 9th December 2013

I was at my nan's house, which appeared to be almost identical to her real home in Sheringham. My aunty, VF was also present, but her hair was short and ginger (as it was when she was younger). My nan was telling me that I had to go with her to see a solicitor as she wanted to change her married name (she had been divorced from my late granddad since my early childhood, but retained the name Mrs C). She wanted to revert to her maiden name of 'Miss Cheeseman' (I think this was her maiden name - it was certainly an old family name - I will have to ask her which relative of hers had this name, but I think it was her father). I did not want to go to see the solicitor with her, and I thought that my financial situation was quite bad, prohibiting me from catching the bus. I said to my nan: "Did my mum give you some money for me?" My nan didn't answer. VF then got angry and pointed into the hallway - which seemed a little bigger than in real-life. There was a pile of Christmas presents stacked on the floor. VF said: "I bought you a television for Christmas!" I then found myself and my nan walking to the bus. We were no longer in Sheringham, but in the passageway which leads to my home in Norwich. It was night and raining. My nan said: "Your mum gave me £100 for you". The scene changed and I found I was on a bus - now on the road just outside my nan's home in Sheringham - where we would normally catch the bus from in real-life. It was now daytime. I looked out of the window and some distance away, saw my nan, with a brown dog. I wondered if she would be bringing the dog with her to visit the solicitor (my nan does not own a dog). I then thought that my nan might miss the bus and was annoyed that I was on my way to the solicitor without her, when it was her who wanted the appointment. I looked towards the driver and noticed my nan was now getting on the bus and showing her bus pass. She came and sat down next to me and we discussed her change of name.

Dream 209

Dream date: 8th December 2013

I was in a big, sunlit room with nice furniture in it - floral sofas and plush carpets. It was not a house I was familiar with and it seemed as though there was some kind of daytime party occurring. I did not know all the guests, but I saw that AP (a girl I went to school with) was present. She was telling me that she wanted to have sex with her cousin. I was then aware that my 'cousin' was also present - not an actual cousin, but a dream character. He looked a lot like ED2. He knelt by the armchair I was seated in and started trying to do sexual acts with me, but I thought this was wrong. I am not sure if he continued or whether I stopped him. The party was continuing. I saw AP walking away - she was wearing a bikini with a thong on the bottom-half. She went into the kitchen area, which adjoined the lounge (where I was sitting, and the other guests were socialising). I then went into a small alcove area, just off the lounge. There was a drinks vending machine in this room, and another person, who I cannot recall. I decided to record the sexual incident with my cousin/ED2 on small cassette tapes, with the intention that the 'story' would be broadcast on radio. I started dictating the incident. When I finished, I removed the cassette tapes from the handheld sound recorder I had been holding. The cassette tapes were cookies, which I ate. I left the alcove, and returned to the party in the lounge.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Dream 208

Dream during afternoon nap

I was in EB's house. I was there to help him learn a course entitled "Law in Development" and had brought round some textbooks to assist me. Some action happened - which I cannot recall. I then went to find the textbooks in his house. I went into his kitchen, where the lights were on. There were lots of white drapes and other strange, non-distinguishable objects hanging from the ceiling which were getting in my face. The door (there is no door in reality) opened to the kitchen and his mum enters (I have never met his mum in real-life). She had short black hair and was shorter and thinner than me (I am 5 foot 3 inches, so she was tiny). She introduced herself to me and asked if I was teaching EB about Development Law (whatever that may be - I have never come across the phrase in my own legal studies!)  I told her that I was, then was able to see my books on the kitchen worktop.

The scene changed and I was with EB in my room at my nan's house. We were in the dark, sitting on my bed. The room was very dark. We started kissing and EB removed his clothes. He then went into the bathroom. From the bathroom he shouted back to me: "Don't remove the labels from my underwear or it will get mixed up with TB's [his brother]". I shouted back: "OK" but wondered why it mattered so much. I could feel the label on my own underwear irritating the base of my spine where the waistband was sitting. I took my knickers off - they were navy with stars printed on them, like the night sky. I removed the white laundry label and thought to myself that EB should let me do the same with his. 

Interpretation of TB's Dream - Recurrent Dog Attack

These are two very similar dreams I have interpreted for TB, my best friend's elder brother who is a trainee solicitor living in my local area.

The dreamer is in an outside location, but the details were vague. It was daytime and bright outside. A dog (a black Labrador type breed suddenly attacks him by jumping on his back. He manages to force the dog off him.
The following night, he dreams he is in a pub in a nice metropolitan area, which he assumes is a high-class part of London. He is in a pub which is decorated in a classy way, with a green border and pink flowers in hanging baskets outside. It is daytime again. He is enjoying drinks and socialising in the pub when he is again attacked from behind by a dog - this time a white bull breed, which he describes as a vicious-looking Staffordshire Bull Terrier type breed. He manages to force the dog off his back once again, but this time fights it, forcing it to the ground and punching it many times.

To dream of daylight or daytime symbolises clarity and that the dreamer is seeing something clearly. It may also mean the dreamer has a clear conscience. 

To dream of being in a city represents community and social environment - if the city is large and very urban it may symbolise a need to make closer ties and relationships with others, suggesting a sense of alienation. As TB indicated a sense of happiness and enjoyment of his location, the negative aspects of a city symbol can possibly be rejected. 

Public House/Bar
Dreaming of being inside a pub or bar refers to a wish for deliverance from daily anxiety and a need to move towards more enjoyable, pleasurable activities. It may also mean the dreamer is seeking approval/acceptance for something. Some interpretations suggest it may be a pun on being 'barred' from something or being held back/excluded by circumstances outside of their control. 

Flowers typically symbolise beauty, success, compassion, pleasure and gain - especially if they are colourful as in TB's dream. They may also represent the dreamer's latent talents or potential, particularly if they are in bloom. The dreamer's efforts are likely to be rewarded. Pink refers to happiness, joy, affection and kindness. However, if the dreamer dislikes the colour pink, it is said to symbolise dependence and issues with parents.

The symbol of the dog represents a talent or gift the dreamer has neglected in some way. Dogs typically refer to notions of loyalty, protection, faithfulness, intuition  and security. Strong values and good intentions will bring success to the dreamer. A dog symbol in a dream is also said to refer to natural instincts - the dreamer may be well socialised and able to tame these drives, but it is easy to revert back to a state of spontaneity and wildness very easily. Thus, the dog may symbolise aggression or sexuality and generally, energy. In some interpretations, the dog is symbolic of the line drawn between the conscious and the unconscious, the real /perceived and the hidden.

Jungian dream interpretation suggests that dreaming of a dog shines the spotlight on the dreamer himself - the subconscious state or psyche of the dreamer. Meanwhile, Freudian theory tends to point to vicious animals as representing the masculine - in particular the father figure. They also symbolise the rampant libido (or id) which is feared by the ego, and combated through repression. Thus, a dream of a dog attacking would be a resurfacing of these elements of the dreamer's subconscious. 

If the dog is fierce or angry, the dreamer may be suffering from internal turmoil or stress. The dog may also relate to an individual in the dreamer's waking life - typically a masculine character - and if angry, this is likely to be the person putting the dreamer under pressure or manipulating the dreamer in some way. Note what traits the dog is exhibiting - this is a clue to whom the symbol represents. The dreamer may be taken advantage of by this person if the dog is unfriendly or vicious and also, may relate to the dreamer's own habit of controlling others around them and making demands on people. An attack from a dog is likely to be a sign that the dreamer must elevate their current efforts in order to succeed at a certain goal and is also a symbol of some form of internal conflict within the dreamer. It can represent feelings of betrayal or untrustworthiness. The dreamer may feel they are being unfairly persecuted and an attack from behind would typify the fact that the dreamer's attacker is being underhand or snide in some way - take for example, the pun 'back-biting'. Being bitten by a dog would symbolise the dreamer's frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed. If the dog represents a person in the dreamer's life then this indicates feelings that the dreamer has been wronged in some way; alternatively, the dreamer may lack balance in their life. To dream about killing a mad dog is a sign that you will succeed at your chosen goal and achieve fortune and status. The dreamer will also overcome the negative opinions others hold of him. 

A black dog symbolises the shadow aspect of a friend. The dark side of someone is being revealed to the dreamer, who is able to see their true intentions. Additionally, a black dog is also thought to be symbolic of depression. A white dog is representative of good, clear intentions. A bull-breed dog symbolises protective forces which are helping the dreamer progress in their waking life. 

TB is in the process of leaving one job and starting a new one - in London, where he will have to find a new place of residence in a short space of time. He is also preparing for his final law school exams. This dream seems to point to the fact that his goals seem to be within reach - the location being a pleasant area of London which made him feel content at the start of both dreams indicate a sense of aspiration of achievement. However, he also has been under stress and pressure, academically and in his current workplace, where he feels his boss has been burdening him and causing him some grief. The cumulation of these strains on him may have been combined in his subconscious mind, forming the dream symbol of a ferocious dog, which is trying to bring him to the ground and overcome him. I perceive the dog in the dream to be representative of either his current mental state; or his boss - who is on his back, burdening and 'attacking him'. The second dream tends to be more positive than the first, as TB was able to describe the dream location/scenario more clearly than in the first dream, which was hazier and difficult to recollect. He is able to assert his own strength and triumph over the attacking dog. I suggest the second dream, which appeared to be more threatening to TB than the first (also because he told me he was surprised and shocked by the recurrent dream theme appearing on two consecutive nights), is a more positive dream, as TB is able to recognise the stresses he is under and has maintained some degree of perspective and insight on how to resolve them. This is symbolised by the fact he is able to remove the dog forcibly from his back and bring it to the front of him, where he is able to see it clearly on the ground at his feet. He did not recall any specific injuries caused by the dog during the attack, but was able to maim it by his punches. By fighting the dog in the second dream, he is not letting these burdens bring him down, but will 'attack' the negative or troublesome aspects of his current waking-life with energy and vigour. 

Dream 208

I was sitting in the armchair in the corner of my former childhood home in Pine Grove, Sheringham. My mum was sitting on one sofa, and my nan was sitting opposite on the other. The room appeared (from memory) exactly as it had in real-life. I was looking through an art book, but also talking to my mum. I noticed that she was smoking (she gave up smoking nearly 15 years ago). I became alarmed and angry at this, even though I do smoke myself - mainly because she had abstained for so long up until this point. I said to her: "why are you smoking?" and she said she "felt like it". I told her that if this was the case, I should be allowed to smoke in the house also, but my main concern was that she had taken up the habit again. My mum left the room and I went over to the corner where she was sitting. There was a full ashtray and many many packs of cigarettes - all of different brands - some of them were the larger packs that are available from Duty Free shops. I destroyed the packets of cigarettes. My nan asked me what I was doing and seemed to be worried that I was acting inappropriately. I told her: "she hasn't smoked for 15 years so she shouldn't start again now!" The atmosphere was hazy blue - as if there was a heavy smoke in the the air.

I was then in a car with my mum and stepdad - I was in the back of the car and my stepdad was driving. The weather was quite grey and overcast. I am not sure of the location - it seemed as if we were in a normal suburban residential area. The car stopped. One of my parents told me that they were going to become foster-parents to two people (they did not say children). A man in a grey suit approached our parked car. He was obviously  the social worker dealing with the fostering procedure. He said he had the two people who were to be fostered with him, and I could only see one of them - it was a strange, grungy looking man - short and with a twisted, bent posture. He seemed to be around the age of 40 years or so. He had scruffy clothes and a ragged black beard. Everything about him made him look insane or homeless. I could not see the other person who was to receive foster care. The social worker said: "Both these people are paedophiles who need help from new parents". I started to become hysterical, screaming at my parents that they could not allow paedophiles to live in our home, but my mum said it was too late and everything had been organised. I felt furious and frustrated and also anxious that my voice was not being heard.

I then had a false awakening, although I did not realise it at the time. I 'woke up' in my own university bedroom and saw it was daylight. EB's jeans (with a brown leather belt) were draped on my desk. I wondered how they got there and then 'remembered' he had changed his clothes at mine earlier in the day (I had actually spent the day with EB in real-life, but he had not changed his clothes or left jeans on my desk - although there are a pair of his jeans under my bed from when he did get changed on a previous occasion and forgot to take them with him).

I then went back to my dream. I was in a pub with my mum, stepdad and the fostered paedophiles. The pub was not one I recall from real-life, but it seemed really familiar - I think it is the same pub that appeared in an earlier dream and I will investigate this by reading some of my previous posts when I have an opportunity. The pub had one area where there was just a bar and some stools for drinkers to sit on at the bar. Then there was a narrow hallway/walkway area which led to another bigger bar area where tables and chairs were set out for customers to dine at. The pub was a friendly, bright environment and decorated in a traditional British style. My family were eating sandwiches at one of the tables in the dining area of the pub, which was crowded. The only person in the pub, other than my family, who I was able to recognise was 'Max Branning' from Eastenders (earlier that day I had been teasing my best friend, EB that he looks like Max Branning - not that this is a bad thing - and it is a running joke between us, I even cut out pictures of Max from newspapers and magazines to give to him). Max was seated at one of the nearby tables. I saw the paedophiles (again, I was only able to really 'see' one of them - the male described before) were seated at a table where some children were sat with their family. I started screaming again and found that I was under one of the tables. My mum said: "You've got to stop this! They are entitled to a home!" But I could not accept my parents were going to foster paedophiles in our home. I got out from under the table in a rage and sat down opposite Max. I started to tell him about the situation, but I was shouting and frantic, so my words were confused and he did not seem to be able to understand what I was saying. I was shouting: "These men are perverts! Get them out of here!" across the bar/dining area. I started pulling on the arm of the visible paedophile with the black beard, as if I was trying to get him to stand up and leave the bar, but he was sat firm in his seat. My mum said: "You better go home!"

I had another false awakening - exactly the same as the first - I saw EB's jeans draped over my desk in the same position they had been in earlier. As I was not yet aware the first occasion had been a false awakening and I had experienced no lucidity throughout this entire dream, I accepted that the jeans were there the whole time - and 'remembered' that EB had left them there. 
Jake Wood aka 'Max Branning' in Eastenders

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Dream 207

I am not sure if I was myself (watching third person perspective) or actually the character 'Janine Butcher' from Eastenders. In line with the current plot of the soap opera, Janine was in a new relationship with 'Joey Branning'. The scene was a dimly lit room where Janine and Joey were together, with Janine's baby daughter, 'Scarlett Moon'. I am not sure what else was happening other than it was a fairly ordinary domestic scene.

I was then in my nan's house, during the evening. The main light in the living-room was on and my nan was sat in her usual place on the sofa. I was sat on the floor beside her. The TV was on, showing a documentary about the 1963 assassination of John F Kennedy. I recall a real-life memory from childhood, in which I got out of bed while my mum was working a night-shift and came downstairs to sit with my nan, who was watching a JFK documentary - I had been disturbed by a graphic reconstruction of his head wound and details of how his skull/brain was damaged. In this dream scene, someone else was present, but I cannot recall who, or what they were doing. My nan was looking through fashion magazines. She showed me a picture of a model wearing a navy and white Breton-striped jumper, a black waistcoat and trousers and tan leather boots. She asked me what I thought about this outfit. I said I liked the boots, but not the rest of the outfit. I said I hated waistcoats. My nan then went on to tell me that she found sex toys ridiculous. I put my hand on the floor behind the sofa, and found that my vibrator was lying there. I closed my hand around it, hoping to move it without being noticed, but it switched itself on and started making a loud buzzing noise. I found it very difficult to switch off.

The scene then changed and I was with a middle-aged woman with fluffy black hair - but I cannot recall any more detail than that, everything was very vague.
Charlie Brooks aka 'Janine Butcher' in Eastenders
David Witts aka 'Joey Branning' in Eastenders

Amelie aka 'Scarlett Moon' in Eastenders

John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963), 35th President of the United States of America, pictured with his wife, Jackie Kennedy in Dallas motorcade on day of his assassination, 22 November 1963

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Dream 206

I was laying outside on a gravel path at night. Next to me was a huge mansion house, with bright lights visible through the windows. This was obviously the home of a wealthy person/family, but I was not sure who lived here. A male character - he seemed to be a composite of ED and someone else at the same time. This male was attempting to have sexual intercourse with me, but I was resisting. However, when I touched myself I felt an orgasmic rush come over me (this could have been a 'wet dream' if the dream action had not distracted me). I felt really amazing and said: "This feels so good!" This annoyed the male, as clearly I was enjoying myself without him. He removed a condom that he had been using in anticipation of having sex with me and said in an angry voice, while getting up off the gravel: "This is the first time I have stopped having sex before it even started!" I got up too, feeling guilty about leading him on and making him annoyed. I started to leave the estate which the mansion was situated in. Then, as I was leaving, I realised this was the site of a huge party/festival and I was already inside. I started walking down many dirt tracks - to my sides were the typical sights you would associate with a music festival - all lit with fairy lights. It looked really magical. I kept walking around, trying to decide which direction to go, what to see and what to do. I got to a turnstile which was the entry point to a part of the festival where live music was being performed. It was now daylight. In front of me in the queue was RRD and her cousins - who went to my school. LW and DS were pulling faces at me. I said to them: "You can't fuck with me now, I'm beyond your bullshit!" and pushed past them. The sun was shining.

The scene changed and I was on a seafront - the sun was still shining. I was carrying a plate of fish and chips. I entered a big white building on the promenade of this unfamiliar seaside town - it was a posh restaurant. I wondered if it was inappropriate that I had brought my own food into the restaurant, but decided that it was fine, and walked around for a bit, carrying the plate. I cannot recall any other details of my surroundings or the action taking place in this scene. 

I was then a male - I could see myself in the third person and knew it was me as I 'felt' and 'thought' the feelings and thoughts of this male character - who I cannot really describe, as he/I was quite normal and non-descript. I was with two other males. One of them was quite normal and I cannot recall any specific details about him, other than he was my friend and reminds me a little of my best friend EB - it may have been him or a composite of him and another. The other male was tall and skinny and I knew he was a drug dealer. He also seemed to be both human and the cartoon character 'Wile E. Coyote' from the Road Runner show. I will refer to him as 'Wiley' to make it clear who I am talking about. Wiley had three plates - all white and clean. My friend and I were trying to trick him into giving us the plates. I am not sure how this happened, but somehow my friend I managed to get possession of these plates and we ran away - on all fours, like animals. Wiley tried to chase us, but quickly gave up. He shouted after us: "When I catch you, you're dead meat!" The environment was mainly green - grass, bushes and trees, but I cannot recall much about this scene at all. 

The scene changed again and I was in an office with dim lights. I was using a toilet which was in the middle of the room, in plain view of those around me. However, I did not feel embarrassed or ashamed about this. People were walking around, not taking any notice of what I was doing. A man in a suit started chatting to me, standing at a table which was positioned next to the toilet. Then, a mature woman - tall with ginger hair, wearing a deep blue top and white pencil skirt - came round the back of the toilet, where there was a counter, separating one side of the office from the other. She started talking to me, and I had to turn around to converse with her. She said: "We have considered your application and we will be offering you the job". I am not sure what the job was - but I was pleased to be informed of this. The woman then came round to the side of the office where I was using the toilet and the man with the business suit was standing at the table. I then noticed the table was laid out with lots of buffet food. The man and woman picked up plates and started eating the food. I realised I needed to find some toilet paper to wipe my butt, but I could not see where it was. I wondered if I could use my own hand, but realised this was disgusting and inappropriate. I also wondered if I could pull up my underwear (black knickers - odd because I rarely ever wear underwear in reality unless I am wearing a super short skirt/dress) and leave the room to find toilet paper elsewhere, but again, thought this would be unclean and wrong. I then looked and saw there was a tissue dispenser to my right, but it was a little too far for me to reach while seated on the toilet. I thought about how I could get some tissue discreetly without standing up and revealing my naked butt to the people in the room. I realised I could not do so. I stood up really quickly and slammed the toilet seat down before the people could look inside, then grabbed some tissue. The woman said: "Oh, don't worry, everyone has to do that in here".

I was then in a sort of tent-like structure, or an alcove in a vague outside location, looking through boxes of my old belongings. ED2 was with me. I was rifling through cardboard boxes of my possessions, finding skateboard videos which I thought he might be interested in (he is a skateboarder). Some of my books were also in boxes. One of the boxes had many sepia/beige coloured books in it. I saw some of them were Marilyn Monroe books. For a moment I thought these were books which I did not currently have in my own collection (I have a vast collection of Marilyn Monroe books). As I examined the covers, I realised all the books in the box were my own. The scene changed and I was walking into a bookshop - I think it was a second-hand bookshop. Through the window, I saw a display which had a copy of Stephen King's IT (a book I love). Then I went into the shop, looking around me at all the books on the shelves. The entire collection of books, except those displayed in the window, were Marilyn Monroe books - many of which I did not already own. There was a spinning stand in the centre of the shop - displaying books which seemed to be aimed at children. I saw the cover of one, which was entitled "Marilyn and her Children" - it was a small hardback book with a white shiny cover illustrated with Marilyn seated and a number of children crouched at her feet. The books on this part of the stand were priced at 44 pence. I left the store with the desire to return with money to buy as many new books as I could.

The scene changed once more and I was in an outside location, standing beside what might have been a basketball court or some other type of hangout. There was a grassy bank and a chain-link fence. The light was dim - as if it was twilight. I was sitting with some friends. Some distance away, I saw my friend DJ and some other males. I said to my friends: "DJ is a great person!" I shouted over to him and he waved at me. I told him to come and join us. He came with one other male - although I recall little about this person, except for the fact that he was very hyperactive and was jumping around all over the place. Our group was sitting on the grassy bank - DJ's friend was fooling around while we watched. We then all walked over to a car and drove off together - I woke up before I could find out where we were going. 
Wile E. Coyote from Warner Bros cartoon, Road Runner

Monday, 2 December 2013

Dream 205

This entire dream was themed around an episode of the Channel 4 dinner party contest show, Come Dine With Me. I think I appeared as myself in the dream, because at one point my nan appeared and started talking to me, but I did not see myself in the dream. The show usually has 4 -5 contestants - 4 if it is an hour-long edition and 5 if it is shown over one week. For those who have never watched the show, each contestant gets the same budget and has to host a dinner party in their home which the other contestants score out of 10. Often the host will also provide some form of entertainment and the guests will have a chance to snoop around their host's home. The show will start with the host for that evening shopping/preparing the meal, which is typically 3 or more courses and can be cooked by the host (expected) or bought in/made by a third party (although this is not against the rules, it is considered cheating by other contestants). The contestant with the highest score at the end of the week wins a cash prize, with no-one knowing how well they were rated until all the dinner parties are over. There are often a lot of arguments and personality clashes (with contestants airing their views in private chats to the camera at various points in the evening). It is a very enjoyable show to watch.

In my dream, besides me, the other contestants were:
  1. A middle-aged woman with shoulder-length dark brown fluffy hair, of plump build, and with an extrovert personality
  2. A blonde woman with long straight hair, approximately late 20s age and of slim build, who was a hippy and a yoga expert
  3. A middle-aged man with a tanned complexion and balding head, robust build, and quite forceful personality, who no-one seemed to get on with
  4. A middle-aged man of  very slim build who always wore a Hawaiian print shirt and had quite a camp personality. He had deep wrinkles on his cheeks and thinning hair of a mid-brown colour
  5. A middle-aged woman with a brown bobbed hairstyle and very short stature and quiet personality
  6. Katie Price aka 'Jordan' the glamour model, media personality and entrepreneur - the only celebrity contestant
The dream started with Katie Price's evening. I did not see exactly what she was cooking, nor experience eating her meal. While she was preparing the food, I saw that the slim Hawaiian shirted man was helping her in the kitchen and was aware that they were friends outside the show. I wondered if they had arranged with the TV company to both be on the show at the same time, or whether it was a coincidence. Then my nan appeared and asked if the Hawaiin shirt man was Katie Price's latest husband. I told her "No, she is married to Kieran" (Kieran Hayler). My nan then asked who the father of Katie's son Harvey was, to which I replied: "Dwight Yorke" (my nan knows this in real-life and in the dream I questioned to myself why she had forgotten this information). This exchange with my nan took place in the living-room of her house. 

The scene then changed to the house of the plump middle-aged woman with dark hair. We were in her lounge, which was tastefully decorated in pastel colours. I became aware that my fake nails had all fallen off. I looked on the floor and saw them all in a pile - but there were more than 10, so I thought that some must belong to the other contestants as well. I picked them up and called to the other contestants, who had now gone into the dining-room "I have all the nails!" I went through to the kitchen were the host was serving the meal onto plates. She was carving some beef, which I thought was overdone. The kitchen was that of my nan's house and looked almost identical to how it would in real-life, other than the fact that instead of the tumble dryer being where it usually is positioned, the counter extended further. I was standing by the washing machine and back door. The disliked robust male was interfering with the plating up - he kept moving the meat around on the plates. The host said: "Would you please let me do this alone, it's solo work!" The robust male did not listen to her.

The scene changed again and now we were in the dining-room of the short woman with bobbed hair. We were all seated around a large wooden dining table and there was a roast turkey and trimmings laid out (I do not like turkey). The blonde hippy was leaning back in her chair with her arms stretched out over her head. The man in the Hawaiian shirt was in the corner of the room dancing by himself. His shirt was white with a palm tree design on it. Suddenly, he leapt forward and dived through the wall as if it were not solid. The wall did not break or become damaged - it was as if he was moving through thin air - the way you imagine a ghost to be able to walk through a wall without problem. I saw his legs sticking out of our side of the wall as he made his way through it.
Katie Price aka 'Jordan'

Dream 204

Dream during afternoon nap

I was in a huge, open room with doors coming off it. It was brightly lit. I was sitting on a sofa and next to me was Simon Bird, who plays Will McKenzie in The Inbetweeners, although he was the character 'Will' in the dream and not the actor who plays him. There was another male - Will's friend (unfamiliar) - sitting opposite us in an armchair. Will was wearing a pink jumper and jeans. My mum was working at a desktop computer a few meters away. Will was telling his friend to leave and it was clear that he was intending to have sex with me, but I did not want to. He stood up and was acting impatient. My mum called over: "What's your name?" Will answered her and she said: "Are you Sophie's [my real name] boyfriend?" to which he replied "Yes" and I replied "No" at the same time. My mum said she was going to have a bath and left the room. Will and I went into the kitchen. He started eating a packet of crisps - which were like Wotsits in colour and texture. He spilled them and the crumbs made a mess - covering a laptop nearby Will and also a massive food blender which was on a counter. While Will tried to clean the laptop keyboard, I tried to clean the food processor. The crumbs were all stuck inside various parts of it. I tried to remove the 'whisk' part of it, but when it came off, the food processor suddenly started by itself with my finger stuck in it. I panicked, anticipating a horrific injury, but managed to pull my unharmed finger free in time. The loud whirring noise disturbed my mum who shouted through to ask why I was using the food processor. I told her I was trying to clean it.

I was then in a kitchen, making a meal of fish and chips with 'Chesney Brown' from Coronation Street (played by Sam Aston). The kitchen was quite small and cramped. I turned around to get a bag of peas from the freezer and asked Chesney if he wanted any with his meal. He said: "A very small amount". I went to pour the peas into a bowl and asked Chesney "Tell me when it's enough", but he didn't stop me. A large amount was poured. I said: "I thought you wanted a very small amount..." to which he replied "I was only joking, I want loads."

The scene changed and I was in my old York Street flat, seated on one side of the sofa. EB was on the other. We were sitting sideways, so we faced one another. I saw this part of the dream from third person perspective - so I was watching myself. I was aware that this obnoxious guy called Leon, who used to be my upstairs neighbour was now living in the house next door and he had a bag of drugs in his house. EB was trying to persuade me to break into his house and steal the drugs so we could sell them and become rich. I did not want to break into the house because I would have to do so via the roof and I thought it would be dangerous (plus I am scared of heights). EB was getting frustrated and kept saying: "Just tell me if you don't want to do it..." but at the same time would not listen to my concerns or volunteer to do it himself. There were further scenes (in first person perspective) with EB where we were discussing this plan, but I cannot recall the location or other action of the dream. 
Simon Bird aka 'Will McKenzie' in The Inbetweeners
Sam Aston aka 'Chesney Brown' in Coronation Street

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Dream 203

This dream occurred when I was a little bit drunk from going out clubbing. I drank one can of beer, bottle of white wine and two vodkas, but it took me ages to fall asleep when I got home. This dream was very confusing as you will see.

Dream fragment - I could see a bowl with thick, curly spaghetti/noodles in it - but as I looked at it, I realised it was blonde ringletty hair instead.
Dream fragment - I was in my room at university, putting on a pair of white trainers which had fluorescent pink/orange intersecting lines on the side which glowed in the dark - I was going for a walk on the field.
Dream fragment - I could see someone reading a huge newspaper, but could not actually see the person holding the newspaper.

False awakening - I awoke and then was sitting at the bottom of my bed, recording these dream fragments on a piece of paper (in one word entries) so I could write up my dream report in the morning. No lucidity occurred. 

I was walking past a row of houses with a low fence/wall in front - it simultaneously seemed to be the row of houses I live on at university and also those along Sheringham sea-front. There was an orange/brown tent and several other fabric objects in the same colour in front of the house on the far end. I was aware that these had been placed by a man named 'Nigel Lee'. I went to the other end of the houses - and found it was indeed my university residences. I was with two other males, who I knew in the dream. These males were minor celebrities, who had given Nigel Lee an opportunity to work with them. The males and I were discussing Nigel Lee and how funny he was - although he was not present with us (I think he was in the tent). We went by car to a business park, where there were also some blocks of flats. I was standing with the two male celebrities (who were my friends it seemed) in a quadrant in the centre of the buildings. I was explaining how I was hoping Nigel Lee would join us (he was apparently in one of the block of flats to my right - I looked up at the window). I said: "Nigel Lee thinks he is too famous for us now".

False awakening - I woke up in my bed, aware I had been dreaming. I thought (I could fee this clearly) that one of my false nails (fourth finger, left hand) had fallen off in my sleep. I found the nail in my bed and decided I would not glue it back on until the morning.

I was in my nan's house, but there was a new room which I had not seen before. My nan was in there, while I stood in the doorway, looking in. My nan told me she was having to store some of my books in the room because there was no space elsewhere in the house. I went into the room. She showed me one of my books, which I did not recognise. It was smallish, with black leather binding and contained watercolour images. I flicked through it. 

I was then on a bus. There was a luggage compartment adjacent to where the driver sits, in which several unfamiliar people were crouched. One male said: "She looks like a crackhead!" I exited the bus and went into a bedroom - it looked like PS's room and my university room at the same time. I looked in a mirror and saw my reflection in profile - I looked exactly like my mum, with short blonde hair. I walked over to the side of the room, where there was a large cork noticeboard with lots of very messy items pinned to it. Next to this there was a huge cannabis joint, nailed to the wall. I felt annoyed that this was on the wall and removed it and placed it on the windowsill. A female entered the room - I cannot recall who it was, but she was older than me. I looked at the joint while I was talking to her (with my back to her - she was tidying the room). The joint now looked as if it had been smoked to almost nothing, then extinguished on the windowsill. From outside the building, I could hear the voice of a girl from school, AP, telling someone that she was dating NS, her former boyfriend again and that they had just smoked some "peng weed". I therefore assumed they were responsible for the cannabis joint in 'my' room and wondered if they had stolen it or brought it with them. 

False awakening - I woke up in bed and thought a second fake nail (middle finger, left hand) had fallen off. I could again feel this very clearly, but could not find either of the two nails in my bed. I wondered if I should get up and put the light on, but 'fell asleep' again instead.

I was in the strange composite bedroom again, looking in the full-length wardrobe-door mirror. I had blood soaked plasters/bandages stuck on the right side of my face. I undressed (my body was tanned and gleaming) and noticed these wounds extended all the way down my body, with a large bandage on the right side of my chest. I did not have (or did not see) any breasts - my chest looked like a man's, although the rest of my body was curvy and feminine. I started to remove the plasters/bandages. Underneath were deep gash-like wounds which were stitched together. I wondered how I had managed to get such injuries. I left the room and walked into a classroom, where there was a tall blonde female teacher and pupils of a non-determinate age seated at desks. Everyone gasped in shock when I walked in - I am not sure if it was because I was naked or because of my wounds, but I did not feel anxious or self-conscious. I walked over to the window and stood there. The teacher approached me, with the intention of inspecting my wounds, but fainted on the floor.

I was then in my nan's living-room which had changed so that furniture on the left side of the room was now on the right - as if it was a mirror image of how it appears in reality. I was holding a smartphone, and brought up an image of a beautiful tropical island (photograph taken from above) in the middle of a sapphire ocean, which was dotted with black speckles. I was with a female who was sat behind me in a chair, with me kneeling beside/slightly to the front of her. I could not see who she was. I showed her the photograph of the island and said: "This is where my cousin CAJ will be living." I then tried to enlarge the image on the screen, but found I could not. Suddenly, I realised that the screen of the phone was badly smashed - as if I dropped it. My fingers were cut on the broken glass. I thought I must have dropped the phone while out drunk, but could not remember doing so (I had a memory that I had been out clubbing - to the same location - a hip hop club - I had visited in real-life before I had this dream, although I had not taken my contract smartphone out with me. just my old pay-as-you-go one, which  has all my numbers and music stored on it). I walked up stairs and stood on my nan's landing, staring out the window, while I called my mum on my pay-as-you-go phone. I wanted her to use the phone insurance for the smartphone to get it fixed (the smartphone is on a contract in my mum's name in real-life). My mum could not quite understand what I was asking her to do and I was getting frustrated trying to tell her I had broken the phone. She kept saying: "The bill will come to me in a few days, don't worry." I explained I was not calling about the bill, but the insurance. She started whispering. I said: "Look, unless the phone gets fixed, don't pay the bill!" I woke up.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Dream 202

This was a very confusing dream as it kept changing, although the actual narrative was quite simple. It started with me just having given birth to a baby. I was in an unfamiliar room which was quite dark and had a shop counter along one wall and a bed along another. I was standing at the shop counter, looking at the shelves behind it, which were stocked with groceries. Next to me at the counter were two males - both quite short with black hair and wearing white shirts. It was obvious to me that they were gay men in a relationship. I was also aware that I had just given birth to a son, and that one of the men (the one standing closest to me) was the father. The non-father male went behind the shop counter - it was his shop. I turned to my son's father and said: "When you have access to the baby you must always feed him whole foods". I was very concerned that my baby have the correct nutrition. The male said: "What about meat?" I said: "No, I don't want him to eat sausages". The male then said: "What about bread?" to which I replied: "Only if you bake it yourself". I looked at the groceries behind the counter and said: "The baby must not eat any food from this shop..." I felt anxious about letting my son's father look after him, as I wanted to care for him by myself. 

The scene changed and I was in a large family home - which was also unfamiliar to me in waking-life, but which was the home of my ex-boyfriend HL in the dream. His whole family lived there with him. The house was decorated in white and had lots of sofas in a huge lounge, where his family were gathered. This was the first time I actually saw my baby and I could see he looked Chinese. I was talking to HL's sister, and found his family were very supportive and wanted to help me care for the baby, which I was holding, wrapped in a white shawl. I was passing the baby to his family members and chatting in a friendly way with them. 

The scene changed again and I was watching the action from a disconnected, third person perspective. There was a girl standing in the centre of a forest which had a forked road in it. The girl had strawberry blonde hair and was wearing a long, flowing white dress. She stood at the fork of the road, looking confused. To her (and my) left side, there was another girl - she was dark-haired and wore glasses, dressed casually in jeans. She was trying to persuade the blonde girl to go home to her parents, but the blonde girl was refusing, saying that she was waiting for her boyfriend to arrive. Suddenly, a young male arrived, riding a large horse. He stood to the right of the two females. I was aware that the blonde girl was intending to ride off with the male - and take part in some kind of race. However, instead of a horse, she was going to ride in a white lorry-like vehicle, which I could now see in front of  the characters. The male rode off on her horse. Then, without the girl getting in the lorry, it started to move away, at speed. I was watching the scene from above and witnessed the lorry driving by itself onto a residential road lined with trees and other parked vehicles, where it crashed into a load of cars.

I then was standing outside a building, leaning on a brick wall, which was approximately waist-height. HL's family approached, his sister carrying my baby. She said to him: "There you go, back to your grandmother!" I was confused as I was his mother and not old enough to be a grandmother. I said: "No, I'm his mother" and took the baby from her. He now seemed very big - about the size of a four year old child, although he still had the face of a baby. I laid him down on the brick wall and started tickling his belly - he had a really strange protruding belly button. He was laughing and said: "Do it again!"

Olfactory Dreams - Do we perceive smells in our dreams?

Can we experience smell in dreams? Many people would say that they experience a distinct sense of smell when dreaming, myself included. JK Huysmans, a nineteenth century writer and dream diarist recounted vivid dreams where he experienced intense smell and colour sensations, but the scientific basis for claims that smell is possible in dreaming has received little empirical research. In the "Statistics of Dreams" published in American Journal of Psychology (1893), Mary Whiton Calkins analysed the dream diaries of two subjects, recorded over a 6 - 8 week period and found that olfactory sensations appeared very rarely - visual and auditory perceptions are much more common. A later study at Wellesley College by Sarah Weed and Florence Hallam (1896) stated that olfactory perceptions appear in less than 15% of dreams. A further Wellesley College study by Hall and Titchener, published in American Journal of Psychology (1901) cited olfactory dreams, such as one where the dreamer was holding a can emitting vapours which were absorbed into a sponge, and created the sensation of an 'oppressive' and "strong, stifling, choking odour". Another olfactory dream cited in this study was as follows:

"I dreamed of looking off towards Milton and saying that beyond lay the ocean. I immediately got the keenest and most natural smell of wind from the flats and the delicious ocean odour. This gave me such intense pleasure, as it always does, that I awoke."

In Freud's Interpretation of Dreams (1900), he included an account of an olfactory dream:

"Eau de Cologne was held to his nostrils. He found himself in Cairo, in the shop of Johann Maria Farina. This was followed by fantastic adventures which he was not able to recall."

AL Zadra, TA Nieleon and DC Donderi, researchers at the McGill University in Montreal published "Prevalence of auditory, olfactory and gustatory experiences in home dreams" in Perceptual and  Motor Skills (1998). They asked 164 subjects whether they had experienced taste or smell in dreams - 41% of females and 35% of males stated they had. Subjects were asked to record their dreams upon waking, enabling the researchers to gather 3,372 dream records. More than half of these dreams recounted auditory perception, but less than 1% recounted smell. They found that experiencing smell in dreaming was a widespread, but low frequency phenomenon, with huge gender differences - 20.9% of females, compared with just 2% of males recalled experiencing smell in their dreams. 

Since 1950s research, we are aware that external stimuli such as light and sound may occasionally be incorporated into dream content. K Trotter, K Dallas and P Verdone, sleep researchers at Cal State, Sacramento, published "Olfactory stimuli and their effects on REM dreams" in Psychiatry Journal of the University of Ottawa (1988) following experiments where they exposed subjects to a smell for five minutes during the REM stage of sleep. The subjects were woken a minute later and asked to recall their dreams. Around 19% of the subjects recalled a smell perception during their dream - which is consistent with the rate of dream incorporation associated with other forms of external stimuli. One piece of anecdotal evidence from the study claimed:

The subject was presented with a freshly cut lemon while in REM sleep. The resulting dream was: "I dreamed I was in Golden Gate Park. I was walking by some gardenias. They were just opening. All of a sudden I could smell the gardenias, but they smelled like lemons rather than gardenias".

The researchers used both pleasant smells (lemon, peanut butter, roses) and unpleasant smells (dog faeces, match smoke, onions), finding that the pleasant smells were more likely to be incorporated into the subjects dreams - in 27% of cases, compared with 11% for the unpleasant smells. However, the pleasantness of the smell was found to have little effect on the emotional tone of the dream itself - approximately 33% of odour-stimulated dreams were unpleasant. A study of 15 female subjects by German researchers, Stuck and Schredl et al, of the University Hospital Mannheim, "The impact of olfactory stimulation on dreams" (2008) presented at the American Academy of Otalaryngology in Chicago found that unpleasant smells (i.e. hydrogen sulphide, which smells like rotten eggs) produced predominantly negative dream content, whereas pleasant smells (i.e. phenyl ethyl alcohol, which smells like roses) tended to produce positive dream experiences. The researchers also used a neutral substance as a control. After waking the subjects for recording of their dreams, it was discovered that the specific smells did not appear in the dreams (i.e. the rotten egg smell was not incorporated into the dream content as rotten eggs). The olfactory sense is closely related to the brain's limbic system, which is responsible for emotion and behaviour. The brain handles smell stimuli in a very different way to visual or audio sensory information, and so the female subjects of the study recalled dreams about activities linked to smell (i.e. cleaning a toilet or walking through a garden) rather than the particular smells themselves. This research is clearly at odds with the data obtained by the Sacramento teams. What is certain, however, is that the boundary between smells and dreamscapes is porous - and indeed smell can be incorporated into the dream experience, much like other forms of external stimuli.

Richard Stevenson and Trevor Case conducted a 2004 questionnaire study, "Olfactory Dreams: Phenomenology, Relationship to Volition Imagery and Odor Indentification" published in Imagination, Cognition and Personality (2005). They asked 284 subjects to answer questions about smell perceptions in dreams. They found that 26.4% of the subjects had olfactory dreams. When the dream content was analysed, around 50% of smell perceptions were found to be food-related, with bacon being the most common food smell recorded. Additionally, 21% of the olfactory dreams were associated with smoke or burning smells and another 21% involved body or animal odours. Similar to the waking world, smell sensations in dreams were briefer, but more emotionally-charged than visual perceptions. A second survey study by Gilbert, Crouch and Kemp on visual and olfactory mental imagery ability, published in Journal of Mental Imagery found multiple links between smell ability in waking states and dream states. Olfactory dreamers were found to experience both visual and olfactory senses more vividly than non-olfactory dreamers, and secondly, persons with more vivid mental imagery for smells experience more vivid smell dreams. It was also found in a follow-up study that olfactory dreamers tend to perform better in identifying specific odours in waking smell tests.

For a very useful literature review on olfactory dreaming, I would direct you to read Weitz, Croy, Seo, Negoias and Hummel, "Studies on Olfactory Dreaming" in Chemosensory Perception (2010). This paper produced arguments and counter-arguments and empirical data on the topic, as well as providing a very useful overview of all the main research studies on the topic of smell perceptions in dreaming.

Another theory of olfactory dreaming is that you do not 'smell' an odour in a dream, but rather, due to the emotive, highly evocative nature of smell-memories (i.e. the fact that smelling a certain perfume out of context, but which you associate closely with another person, can bring to mind vivid memories), the brain is able to trigger an olfactory memory (much like it can trigger other memories while in the dream state) leading the dreamer to believe they are able to smell in the dream. Indeed, smell is the sense which is said to be most closely linked with emotional memory.

Some oneironauts claim that one way of testing whether you can experience smell in dreams is to use Smell Induced Lucid Dreaming techniques. Smell is different from our other senses, where information is processed by the thalamus before being sent to the primary regions responsible for handling the sense perception. When visual information hits the photo-receptors in the eyes, the data is processed by the thalamus before being sent to the optical lobe; with auditory information, the data is sent to the primary auditory centres after being received by the eardrum and processed by the thalamus. A similar process occurs for touch and taste. However, smell is a more 'primitive' sense which bypasses the thalamic switchboard, travelling straight from the nose to the cortical areas of the brain responsible for conscious thought. Professor Tim Jacob, an expert in taste and smell at Cardiff University states: "Smell is the only sense which does not 'sleep'. Information continues to reach the limbic system of the brain and that includes the hippocampus or memory area and the amygdala that is involved wtih emotional response. Other senses have to pass through the 'gate'of the thalamus, which is closed when we sleep."

Therefore SMILD may be an effective lucid dream induction technique as the smell sensation is not routed away from conscious recognition by the thalamus. However, smell is habituated to, very rapidly - fading from conscious awareness very quickly even when still present in our immediate environment. Therefore, in order to be a successful lucidity trigger, the scent employed for this purpose would need to be sprayed into the sleeping environment on a timer system, rather than relying on a single scent being placed in the room at the start of sleep. Essentially, the best way to do this, would be to time the scent activation with the REM sleep stage, which is quite complex - and perhaps even impossible - to achieve in a normal home environment as opposed to within a fully-equipped dream laboratory, but which mirrors the standard method used by dream/sleep researchers in the studies outlined above.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Dream 201

Dream during afternoon nap

This was the longest and strangest dream I have had in a long time. It was very vivid and the scenes kept interchanging, but I could make out a narrative nonetheless. I woke up in a really good mood and felt happy that I had experienced such a dream. Before I went to sleep, I saw this picture, of a baby squirrel which had been found in a bag of mulch by a man, who then cared for it and posted the images of its development on the internet site Reddit. The story was reported in the news and a friend of mine posted it on Facebook. At the time I saw the photo of the baby animal, I did not know it was a squirrel and I did not click on the link or read the story. I only did so now, while writing up my dream, so I could retrieve the picture. 
Baby squirrel found in a bag of mulch
In my dream I started off in a house which was unfamiliar, and it was night-time. I was standing outside in a courtyard garden, which was typical - with some usual garden items laying around and a tall wooden fence separating it from the neighbours' gardens. I was with a male - who I thought was PS - but who may not have been. He was telling me about an animal he had saved - he said it was a hare. He said: "The mother 'fronted' and I found it had give birth to this hare, so I raised it". The hare was huge - about the size of a Labrador dog, and grey in colour. It's head did not look particularly like a rabbit/hare - more like a strange deformed kangaroo, and it sat back on it's hind legs, which did resemble those of an over-seized rabbit. It bounced about on it's hind legs, as a kangaroo would. It had very sharp teeth, but when it took my finger in its mouth, it just chewed gently. I spent some time in the garden with the male and the hare, playing with it. I was then in my nan's house, sitting halfway up her stairs in the hall, while she made a telephone call to someone. It was still night-time. My nan was saying: "It's a dog!" referring to the hare. I was interrupting her, saying: "No, it was a hare!" My nan ignored me and said: "It was a sheep, it was a horse". I said: "No, it did not have hooves, it had the feet of a rabbit". 

The scene changed and I was walking down the top end of York Street in Norwich, where I used to live. However, it also seemed like it was the upper part of Pine Grove, Sheringham - where my former childhood home used to be. It was like the roads were merged now. It was daytime. I saw a car, with the boot open. Inside were lots of long black metal items - all identical and brand new in boxes.  I am not sure what they were, but I helped myself to two of them and continued walking, with the intention of going home. 

The scene changed and I was outside my nan's house in Sheringham - it was still daylight. I was watching this scene in the third person. Louis Walsh got out of a car which had pulled up outside the house. The front door was open for him. He sprinted up the path, and entered the house, with me following him. Inside the house, the interior was very different - it was no longer my nan's house, but instead some form of children's home/orphanage. Louis was supposed to have brought some sweets for the children (who were not present), but had forgotten. I saw a big box of chocolates on a table - the box was cardboard and the chocolates were wrapped in shiny colourful foil, but were extra large - each about the size of a family-sized bar of chocolate, but different shapes. I heard a disconnected voice say: "Louis Walsh is Phil Mitchell! He's Alfie Moon! He's Ian Beale!" (these are all characters from Eastenders). I got the impression that Louis Walsh was going to be replacing the actor Adam Woodyatt who plays Ian Beale. Louis Walsh was walking around the dining room of the orphanage, looking confused. He was wearing a white T-shirt.

The scene changed again and I was in the Student Union Bar at university, on the sofas in front of the window in the Red Bar. It appeared to be exactly as it would be in real-life. I was sitting with a group of people I did not know, and I was bored by them. On the table next to us was another group of people, including one male who had black hair and black stubble on his chin. He was wearing a grey Nike tracksuit (my favourite outfit for a male) and bare feet. He had headphones in. He went to the bar and ordered something - he had his right foot lifted up and placed on the bar. The group of people at my table left and I felt relieved that they were gone. Then I saw the group of people at the male's table had also left. He said: "Thank god for that, now I can buy salad". I said: "What's your name?" and he told me "Nick". He said I could join him, as we were both alone. I went to the bar because I wanted to buy some cigarettes. I bought some of the Rothman's brand - but I was unhappy as I actually wanted  rolling tobacco, which they did not stock. I wondered how to get rid of the cigarettes as I knew I would not want to smoke them. 

I was then in a strange bedroom, which was well-lit - I was with PS. It was 'our' room, but it did not really resemble the real room we used to share. I was sitting on the bed, and he was adjacent to me, with his back to me, using a computer. He said: "I left my lighter with MS, so I need to borrow some off you". I said: "Some lighters?" and he said: "No, some money". I asked him what he meant, because I assumed he would just need another lighter, which I would be able to give him. He was getting annoyed by my confusion over his simple request and said: "Look I need £3.50 so we can move house". I said I would give him the money, but wondered why he had mentioned lighters in the first place if he wanted cash. I started looking at a TV guide magazine. I was able to tell that it was Saturday night, by reading the date at the top of the page I was on. There was a picture printed in the middle of one of the listings - of a painted countryside scene with a cottage and flowers and children looking jolly. The caption said that it related to a movie adaptation of the BBC children's high school-based programme Grange Hill (where many Eastenders actors started their career). The caption said: "Shows such as [then listed a range of programmes set in schools, which I cannot recall] and Madison Square [I think I made this one up in the dream] do not have to worry about following in the wake of this less than formidable movie". I thought that the movie must be rubbish and started looking at other TV shows listed in the magazine. There was one, scheduled for 6:25 am - there was no title or caption given, but it caught my interest and I felt annoyed that it was going to be shown at this inconvenient time. The picture was a cartoon drawing, in black, white and sepia tones. It showed a cavern with a river flowing through it, and some industrial elements. There was a big sailing vessel in the centre of the image, and in the forefront (left) there was a stack of boxes, each with an evil clown doll inside. In the foreground (right) there was a female in a flowing dress, chained to the wall of the cavern (standing on a ledge, so she was not in the water, which appeared to be 'choppy'). Behind her, half-blended into the wall, was a full-sized clown - looking as if it was waiting to take her by surprise. I wanted to find out more about this TV show, so I decided to find the listing from the previous week to see if it gave me more information. I thought to myself: 'I bet the TV guide starts on Sunday, not Saturday...' but as I flipped to the front of the magazine, I saw that there was a listings page for the previous Saturday. The same cartoon show had an entry which spread over two pages - from the bottom of one page, to the top of the second page (which I saw when I turned the page). I saw another image from the cavern scene - instead of boxes of small evil clowns in the right foreground, there was a stack of skulls. The woman was no longer chained to the cavern wall, and the sailing vessel was closer to the foreground of the image - I could see there were people depicted - men on some sort of mission. The show was called: "Intergalactic" and described as a 'horror'. I looked in a hand mirror which I found beside me on the bed. It was a magnifying mirror. I looked the same as I do in real-life, but I noticed I had wrinkles by the side of my eyes (crow's feet) which are not really there. I put the mirror down, then raised it again to check my reflection. This time, I saw there was bright blue paint on the centre of my face, with a slightly darker blue/high saturation of paint on my nose. I wondered how it had got there. 

The scene changed again, and I was in another strange house - it was night-time and the lights were on it the house. The staircase was bare, unsanded wood, with visible splinters - leading down to a lounge, where there was an old red and white striped sofa, at the foot of the stairs, against the wall. You could then walk a few steps and go through to a kitchen area - the wall was knocked through and had not been rebuilt, The house looked a mess, but quite homely. Louis Walsh was there - I was watching the scene without any form of interaction. I followed Louis Walsh down the stairs (I did not see anything of the upper floor of this house, as the scene started when we were already halfway down the stairs and could see the ground floor). Louis Walsh - as Ian Beale - was on the phone to the producers of Eastenders who were also the police at the same time. They were questioning him over a text he had sent to Hetti Bywayer - who plays Ian Beale's teenage daughter, Lucy Beale in Eastenders. The police were asking him why he had not forwarded them a copy of the text (it appeared that they were investigating him for sexual abuse/incest or suchlike). Louis/Ian was explaining that he thought that when he text Hetti/Lucy, he was 'acting' - he said: "But on the show, when someone texts another character, the recipient receives a text straight-away. I thought I was meant to text her in character so she would receive the text in the scene" - he was basically trying to say that the text had been sent as part of the scene they were both acting in, and not as a personal text to Hetti, the actress. The police told him he was going to be arrested for his inappropriate behaviour. Louis was pacing the kitchen, looking very anxious.
A March Hare
Rothman's cigarettes
Evil Clown - 'Pennywise' from Stephen King's IT (1990)
Louis Walsh
Adam Woodyatt & Hetti Bywater aka 'Ian & Lucy Beale' in Eastenders