Tuesday, July 27, 2010
My Weird Alien Dreams
I am sitting at a kitchen table with my brother, who in real life is one year younger. In the dream, we are eight and nine years old or so—not quite into puberty, but not little kids either.
The table belongs to one of those 1950s Formica-topped dinettes, the kind with grooved chrome side trim, metal legs, and matching chrome chairs with red vinyl seats.
(Today these retro sets are popular fixtures in soda shops, hamburger joints, and Atomic home décor. When I was a kid, every household had one.)
The Formica table, my brother, and I are all suspended in black space. The scene reminds me of one of those 1950s existential stage plays in which the theater goes completely black except for a spotlight on an actor or two who blather on about (supposedly) deep stuff.
My brother is wearing pajamas, also from the 1950s, the seersucker kind with cowboys and Indians and lassos printed all over them. His expression is blank and a little strange. I reach out to shake his shoulder, as he seems to be in some sort of trance, and just as I begin to stretch out my hand I hear a voice inside my head hiss, “Don’t touch him!”
But it’s too late.
By the time I hear the voice I’ve already touched his shoulder. The moment my hand makes contact, he is suddenly not my brother anymore but some alien creature with huge deep eyes as black as space itself, only much, much deeper and vast beyond imagining. ‘Hypnotic’ is a shallow word for these eyes—They are infinite and alive, dark in a way that almost gleams or shines.
I recognize this creature. In fact to this day I can see its face clearly and vividly. I have never forgotten it. The face is so real that in the dream it feels hyper-real, as if it is somehow more real than everyday reality, and it is clear to me right away that the warning voice and this thing are in fact one and the same.
The thing has staged this scene somehow for my benefit, but my touch has destroyed the illusion and now I am face to face with it instead, locked in its gaze. It is nearly impossible to explain how this feels, but the moment includes extreme terror, paralysis, and the sense of being completely controlled by this other being.
The creature’s skin glistens golden or slightly green-golden, iridescent, like the skin of some colorful Amazon frog. The eyes take up most of the bulb-shaped head. There is no nose to speak of and no proper mouth. Beneath the eyes, which dominate the entire top half of the face, in the place where the mouth and nose should be, a network of what looks like veins or ridges or some kind of wrinkled skin disappears into an almost nonexistent neck.
Then suddenly this thing, which has no mouth, smiles. It smiles with its eyes somehow and yet it feels like the whole face smiles. The smile is transmitted telepathically in some sense, and yet looking at the face it is still clear that it is in fact smiling—in somewhat the same way you know that a dog is smiling even though dogs don’t have human features.
The smile is not reassuring at all, but weirdly sickening and terrifying. I sense that the creature means to reassure me by smiling, but the smile is so ‘off’ that it only deepens my terror.
I am convinced against logic that this vignette has not been a normal sort of dream but something dreadfully familiar and all too real, and I now feel as if I am losing my mind. Yet my experience is so visceral I cannot make myself chalk it up to hallucination.
The next night, a follow-up nightmare seems tailor-made to validate these fears:
In this second dream I believe that I am just waking up, as if I am not asleep at all but am in my normal bedroom about to start my day. Standing at the foot of my bed is the creature from the night before, only this time, I sense that there are others with him nearby, even though I can’t see them.
The minute I see this creature again I am frozen in terror. I can’t move and I can’t cry out. The thing is absurdly dressed in what looks like a very ornate, heavily embroidered medieval red robe, and is holding a thin white metallic rod about a foot long that is slightly pointed at the end. The tip of the rod glows.
This thin rod looks exactly like the sort of ‘magic wand’ a stage magician might use as a prop, and the ridiculous ornate costume that the thing is wearing heightens that absurd association. I seem to already ‘know’ that this rod holds a charge of some kind—I recognize it--and I immediately begin to plead in my mind with the thing to please, please not touch me with it.
Of course it does touch me with it, and the second that it does, I am no longer frozen in my own bed but find myself running hard through a downtown alleyway at night, still dressed in my bedclothes.
Just as in the scene from the night before, the run through the alleyway feels hyper real—more real than real—I can feel the cold night air on my skin and I recognize the location.
I come round a corner (I am ostensibly running from this creature though I don’t see it anywhere) and run smack into a street person, a man, in very dirty clothes and wearing an odd expression. He smiles in a way that is oddly reminiscent of the smile on the thing in the other nightmare, but he’s clearly human. I can smell him, and he doesn’t smell good.
“Are you all right?” he asks me solicitously, and reaches out his hand. The minute his hand touches my shoulder (again, much like in the dream the night before where I reach out to touch my brother’s shoulder) I wake up.
Once again I wake from this dream in my own bed, drenched in sweat, short of breath and more than a little nauseous, still smelling this street person and still stuck with the sick feeling that none of this is a dream, that it’s all way too real and way too horrible.
That same day, I return some books to the public library downtown and check out some new ones. The books I check out are about trauma, PTSD, and multiple personality. I hold a BA in psychology and have a legitimate academic interest in these topics, but my interest is also personal. I’m trying to figure out if I’m cracking up, and if so, exactly what the nature of my insanity is.
I’m about to walk out the door when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I wheel around, and standing there in front of me is the very same bum from my dream, still smiling that odd, inhuman (but not really threatening, just weird) smile, still dressed in the same dirty clothes and still smelling really bad.
“Are you OK?” he asks, and then goes on, “I was worried about you last night.”
I run, literally run, out of the library without responding.
I wonder how many people have these odd experiences and never discuss them for fear of ridicule. I have been unable to completely swallow the ET hypothesis when it comes to alien encounters, and weirdly, since all this happened I have found some of the weirder, more ridiculous elements of my dreams (like the wand, the ornate clothing, the wrinkled 'mouth' of the creature) repeated in other people's stories, giving the whole thing a sort of credence that is not exactly welcome.
One thought I've been entertaining lately now that the movie Inception is in theaters is that someone or some thing may well know how to move in and out of other people's dreams for a purpose. This idea is not as fantastic as it sounds. In fact, modern scientific culture is the first in history to NOT believe that such things happen routinely.
That being the case, it does make you wonder WTF.