Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dream Work

One of the reasons why I posted my "Rainbow's Fall" dream yesterday is because I'm preparing a presentation for this Sunday on the topic at the local Pagan Pride Festival. Part of the focus will be on how to improve recall of your dreams. Among other things, don't drink caffiene or take any kind of sleep aid before bedtime. These usually interrupt dream sleep. I also suggest that people keep a small tape recorder by the bedside as a quick way to record dream images and impressions without the hassle of turning on a light to write by.

I'll also be talking about dream sleep disorders such as sleep paralysis, Narcolepsy, and REM without Atonia. And about hypnogogic and hypnopompic phenomena. Hypnogogic events are very sudden, dream-like incidents that happen as one is going to sleep, while hypnopompic events are similar things that happen as you come out of sleep. I've had a fair number of each experience, and I firmly believe that these and some other sleep state events can explain many cases of so-called astral projection, demonic or ghost contacts, and even alien abduction experiences.

In one of my hypnopompic experiences I witnessed a shape moving underneath the bed sheets and was grabbed around the wrist by it. Quite terrifying while it was occurring, though afterward all I could think was...cool!

25 comments:

Avery DeBow said...

So, do you believe in any type of paranormal event, or do you think there's a psychological/scientific reason for all of them? Just curious.

Many nights before I fall asleep I think I see a dark creature crouching by my bed looking at me. It freaked me out at first, but now the novelty's worn off. At least now I have an official term for it (other than 'crazy').

SQT said...

I often hear conversations in what I think is called hypnogogic events. This happens to me so frequently that I've learned to go with it. I have also had the physical sensation of someone laying down with me.

Charles Gramlich said...

Avery, I'll just say that I'm very skeptical of the paranormal. The universe is indeed strange and I won't deny the possibility of paranormal happenings, but I certainly think the vast majority of so called paranormal experiences have scientific explanations.

Sqt, I've never had the conversational experience. Something lying down in the bed or sitting on the bed is another story.

SQT said...

Charles

The conversation thing is what happens to me the most. I wonder if it's because I'm a woman and we like to talk. ;)

SzélsőFa said...

I do happen to believe that all paranormal events have their explanations - it is only that science is not developed enough to understand all of them;-P

This Local Pagan Pride Festival sounds interesting! Will you care to share with us the lecture you gave there?

Bernita said...

"I firmly believe that these and some other sleep state events can explain many cases of so-called astral projection, demonic or ghost contacts, and even alien abduction experiences."

So do I.

Shauna Roberts said...

A possible hypnopompic event: One morning I woke up, opened my eyes, and saw one of those aliens described by people who say they've been abducted (triangular head with a pointed chin, big round eyes, not much nose or mouth). My first reaction was, hey, those "abductees" were telling the truth after all.

As I gradually became more alert and examined the alien more closely, I saw it wasn't an alien after all. My cat was standing on my chest and staring at my face to see whether I was awake yet. Because his face was so close, it appeared large, and because his head was tipped, the proportions changed so that it looked more stretched out and triangular.

What about the phenomenon where one feels no pain for a few seconds after waking up? Is that a hypnopompic experience? Or do different parts of the nervous system kick into action at different times in the morning?

Charles Gramlich said...

sqt, I refuse to comment on the grounds it might incriminate me. :)

Szelsofa, I certainly look for such explanations myself. As for the lecture, I'll share bits and pieces after it's done. Sounds like people might find it interesting.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernita, and that fact makes these events even more interesting to me.

Shauna, lol on the alien cat. As for the lack of pain sensation, I think you must be talking about a sleep paralysis experience. I've never had a full blown sleep paralysis event but I do believe they are accompanied by very little feedback from anything below the neck.

Michelle's Spell said...

I'd love to hear the lecture. Sleep has always been a challenge for me given my propensity for terrible dreams. I haven't thought about astral projection in quite some time -- my parents friends were always trying after a few too many at parties in the seventies!

Steve Malley said...

Telling the Pagan Pride crowd their most vivid experiences are neuronal misfires and hypnogogic events...

Something tells me popularity isn't your first priority!

the walking man said...

When I sleep if you call it that, is a few hours of no consciousness of any kind just black space and then when I wake from it I am totally alert as if there was never a period of unconsciousness.

I suppose this means I have no dreams left to dream just the cold reality of existence.

Peace

TWM

Charles Gramlich said...

Michelle, I tried astral projection as a teenager but never had any luck. No matter my drunken state.

Steve, I'm planning to wear body armor and carry a big stick, maybe even a sword.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, if you are on medications then that will totally fuck up your sleep cycles and dream patterns. I would guess that's a big part of the reason for your experiences.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Damn, I can sleep through anything. Nice to see I've been found again. Had to keep the blood hounds off my trail. Gotta keep my job, earn a living. It could be worse. I could write something meaningful, something worth publishing, only to have my contact choke on a chicken bone. Isn't it weird?--the things we remember.

Lisa said...

What is actually happening during lucid dreams -- when we are actually aware that we're dreaming? I got pretty good at it for a short period of time years ago, but I'm way out of practice and haven't done it in a long time. I used to knock on a hard surface when I was dreaming to determine whether or not I was awake and I could tell by doing that when I was asleep. What is a lucid dream, really or do you even think they're real?

Charles Gramlich said...

JR, Sorry about not reloading your site. I remember you were going to take a break and you posted some sketches. But when I went back I always saw the same sketch and just assumed you weren't updating. My bad.

Lisa, lucid dreams are definetely real. I've had quite a few. There are actually two levels of lucid dreaming, 1) you know you are dreaming but are merely an observer, and 2) you both know you are dreaming and can manipulate the dream. I love the latter type.
I think lucid dreams only occur when a sleeper is pretty close to waking up. Some Research suggests that sleeping on your back increases your chances of having a lucid dream.

Church Lady said...

The topic of dreams fascinates me. I hope you post some of your lecture.

Travis said...

Now I just found something out that helps me. I have a severe fear of spiders. I joke about it quite a bit, but I really am afraid of them. Especially large ones.

Sometimes I'll wake up and think I see spiders crawling on the pillow or dangling down from the ceiling. I jump out of bed and turn on the lights and shake the hell out of the covers until I'm sure there's nothing there. Pam thinks I'm nuts when this happens.

Now I understand that this might be a hypnogogic or hypnopompic event.

But I've never thought these things were cool...it's spiders dangit!

Christina said...

I started keeping a dream book when I was 16, but now it is just quicker to write the dream on the computer.

I would love to go to a pagan convention, but most of the conventions out here are anime. I guess I need to do a better search.

Have fun at your reading!

Charles Gramlich said...

Church lady, I will.

Travis, that's actually a quite likely interpretation. I might not think the ghost demon was so cool if it visited me more frequently.

Charles Gramlich said...

Christina, I do keep a dream journal but I don't update it as often as I should. I'm very lazy about recording anything but the most interesting dreams.

Josie said...

Wow! Interesting! When my brother was a little boy, every night when he was falling asleep, he could hear his heart beating. He thought it was footsteps of a "bogey man" coming to get him, and he couldn't convince his parents that he was in danger. This awful fear lasted for a long time, and he still talks about it, and about how real it was.

I have had sleep paralysis a couple of times, and that's really a weird feeling.

Erik Donald France said...

Totally awesome post. Pagan Pride -- love it!

Dreams/sleep are endlessly fascinating topics.

Cheri said...

I don't have problems with the ghostly figures coming in and out of sleep but mostly the ones that get me in my dreams.

I think that most people experience these things but tend to forget them.