You’re walking down a long hallway you’ve traveled hundreds of times, but can’t remember where you are. You’re looking for other people but can’t find anyone, only the belongings they left behind as evidence that people used to congregate here. Suddenly, as the horizon shifts, a 700 foot tall creature stands up soundlessly in the distance you realize this is that same nightmare. But why are you having it? And how can you get out?
How often do we have nightmares? Why would a species developed through evolutionary means inherently require that we have complexly symbolic yet difficult to interpret dreams that seem to instill in us a sense of terror and dread? A recent study indicated that a full three fourths of the content in dreams is negative. But why?
Nightmares occur in every culture, but are most prevalent in people who have a great deal of fear and stress in their lives. It’s been found that those who have encountered traumatic stressors in the past will be most effected by these visions of terrifying worlds. Fear in waking life has been directly linked to fear in sleep. But is this quantum computer run by the soul the only source of the nightmare? Or is there something else our consciousness picks up on when our minds become most vulnerable? Studies of hundreds of hauntings seem to indicate that in the presence of both poltergeists (which seem to be caused by or attracted to emotional disturbance) and residual hauntings (which hold a connection to those who lived in the past) nightmares can appear with far greater regularity than they do in places where hauntings aren’t present.
So is this communication a connection with another world? Many psychics claim that their dreams are not only vivid, but the events contained in them often come to pass. Fortunately for most of us, our nightmares do not normally come true, but it isn’t unheard of for some to occasionally leak through into reality. And an interesting aspect of the true psychic nightmare is that it’s rarely an actual literal interpretation of the dream, but several aspects -something someone says, a sign that displays something in another dream, the time of day- pop up and maintain the illusion of consistency, but deviate just enough to make us question what really just happened, and if it was truly predicted.
So prolific are our negative dreams that some people come to fear them profoundly even when still awake. Though they can’t hurt us, they seem to take hold of the very essence of self preservation and hold on to it. Perhaps this is the reason for nightmares. Perhaps we need to be frightened every now and again in a way that’s truly real so that our mind can recognize and effectively deal with fear which is a very powerful survival instinct.
In order to deal with nightmares, some people merely need to distract themselves upon waking for a few minutes by watching television. Without a doubt, the quickest way to recover from a nightmare is through laughter, but at 4:00 in the morning laughter may not be available. Other people find thinking about the images from their dreams helps them recover and ensure the dreams don’t come back.