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trickywoo
09-03-2014, 03:36 AM
So I'm looking to incorporate some nightmares in a middle-grade fantasy. I've done some research on common nightmares and it pulls up what you'd expect - monsters, falling, being chased, etc.

I was wondering if anyone could comment further on any recurrent nightmare themes common among children of any ages?

Thanks!

Siri Kirpal
09-03-2014, 03:58 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Going to school and realizing they're still in pajamas. (not that it's a big scary type nightmare, but still)

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

benbenberi
09-03-2014, 04:42 AM
When I was young (less than 8) I had several recurring nightmares -- none of them absolutely terrifying, but all strong enough that I still remember them as Bad:
1) cars driving around without drivers, not doing anything destructive but inherently malevolent (there are a couple of early 60s models in particular that to this day I can't see without an inner frisson)

2) a long, long school bus ride, & when I finally get home everything & everyone looks & acts normal but they're really Different/Bad/Wrong

3) all the well-lit oil refineries & tank farms in Bayonne that I could see across the harbor from the windows at home were actually monsters, crouching there and smiling (evil secret smiles), & in the dream they might also get up and move around

4) a scary recurring adventure dream: I and my companions were all astronauts exploring the surface of the sun, which was solid & full of sharp rocks & fire-geysers -- the scary part was that we couldn't stay long because it would turn back into a non-solid sun again, but we didn't know when

I never had any of these dreams again after we moved to a different house when I was 8. I'm not sure what the common-to-many themes are in them -- possibly the scary deep nature of the superficially mundane world.

Saanen
09-03-2014, 04:55 AM
I clearly remember a terrifying dream I had as a little kid where I was being chased by skeletons. I knew if they caught me, they'd put me in a bag and shake me and I'd turn into a skeleton too.

Fruitbat
09-03-2014, 04:55 AM
I still recall a few early childhood nightmares.

In one (recurring) dream, my mother had a clear cookie jar full of meat and fed it to me, not telling me that it was her baby. I remember her seeming very confused the next day when she gave me a ham sandwich and I sobbed uncontrollably. She didn't understand that somehow I felt like it was cannibalism, but I was only about five and couldn't explain my dream. I think she finally decided I must have come down with something and that was why I was acting so strangely. Maybe I did have a fever that time, I don't remember. Sometimes the older girls in the neighborhood talked about "grown up" things in front of me so it could be I heard something about miscarriage or abortion and got it confused. Not sure, but that's a thought that stayed in my mind about it...

I think I was even younger in the other one, maybe four. I had a bad dream or got scared during a storm so was allowed to sleep in my parents' bed. Ah, right between them, how lovely and secure. But then in the early morning, I looked up at the window and was sure the "leaf" stuck to it was really a monster face. I think they just told me to stop yowling and go back to sleep, lol.

And then I recall a few early childhood late night terrors from shadows in the room. My mother put a "hall tree" in my room so I could easily hook coats, etc. on it and quit driving her crazy with un-hung up jackets and such. At lights off time it looked like a person standing in the corner of the room and I often thought it was a monster. My father would come in, turn on the lights and show me that there was nothing in the closet, under the bed, etc.

Shadow_Ferret
09-03-2014, 05:00 AM
I had nightmares of my family dying and I'd have to get up and sneak into everyone's room and make sure they were still breathing before I went back to bed.

I had another nightmare where my brother kept falling off a cliff and I was always too late to save him until in one dream, I discovered I was able to fly -- by swimming through the air.

I also had a recurring nightmare where I kept blowing up like a balloon, usually my extremities.

Tazlima
09-03-2014, 06:28 AM
A lot of people have nightmares about being in out-of-control vehicles of some type, anything from cars to roller coasters.

Personally, I had two nightmares that recurred throughout my childhood.

The first was volcanos. The one I remember most vividly was a dream where I was in the back yard with my family, cooking out. I looked over the fence and there was a volcano erupting approx. a football field's length away, a sea of lava heading straight for us. I tried to warn my family of the danger, but they didn't notice the volcano, so I was torn between the desire to run away and the desire to stay just a bit longer and try to convince them of the danger before it was too late. Each volcano dream was a bit different, but no one else ever realized there was any danger.

The second was (feel free to laugh)...white balls. Seriously, that's what I called them.

White balls were glowing white spheres roughly the size of basketballs. They were sentient and bounced around making this horrible noise (something between the buzz of an alarm clock and the whir of an off-balance clothes dryer). They'd chase you and you'd have to climb up high, out of reach of their bouncing, to avoid being eaten. I have no idea what started the white ball nightmares. Apparently they began before I could talk well enough to explain what I was afraid of, but I'd wake up screaming on a regular basis. Once I was a bit more verbal, I was able to explain what was so scary, but naming the monster didn't make it go away. The nightmares persisted into my late teens.

CrastersBabies
09-03-2014, 06:47 AM
I distinctly remember a nightmare I had about snakes. Probably around 6 or 7. I had just watched that movie, Rikki Tikki Tavi, and had a dream that the cobras were chasing me down a country road. I was so scared. I climbed up a tree to get away and they were slithering up after me. I woke up screaming.

My daughter will sometimes dream about monsters. Snakes and spiders usually.

Justin K
09-03-2014, 07:17 AM
tomato plant taking over the world- oldest dream I remember, age six or so

Debbie V
09-03-2014, 07:37 AM
I remember a lot of my dreams. I had them all at around six, but they repeated.

The car driving by itself: I could turn the wheel but not reach the pedals, and I only managed to turn right. I went around the block over and over.

The car again, but with monsters - they looked an awful lot like the creations of Jim Henson - in the way back of the wagon. That was the forbidden area because my mother learned it was less safe to be in during an accident.

The long - too long - dark hallway with a table and candle at the end. I knew if I could reach the candle, I'd be safe in the light; but it was very far away, and the hallway had no walls for part of it. (It was the entrance to a great room where the dark just continued as walls in real life.)

Same candle on the table in a courtyard of a building in Queens near my grandparents' house. Again a blank dark space.

So I was afraid of being left in the car and it starting to move. I'd heard what my mother said about the way back. I feared the dark too. Also, I had a good imagination.

I had a specific nightmare based on the Star Trek episode with the pods that made everyone happy. I think I was lost in this jungle of plants. I wasn't allowed to watch Star Trek again until I was a teen.

As an older child/teen:

The Russians have taken over the world and General Hospital characters are going through town in jeeps trying to save us somehow. (There are a few with GH characters from the 80s. This isn't the scariest. The one with the worms squirming in the cup in the hospital is, but I can't remember the context.)

Snakes in the backyard. I'm semi lucid when I dream and have actually heard myself think this would be a better story if there were snakes. The backyard in my awake imagination had a stream going through it and was part of another world.

I'm afraid of spiders too, but I try not to dream about them.

My daughter had recurring dreams about her grandparents dying in a car accident. I think it started with one grandfather's death from cancer.

The key to writing kids' dreams is to note that a specific word, image, or incident may trigger them. The fear may not be clear to the child or even really exist before the dream. The brain processing the trigger comes up with something scary later on. That's why my candle dreams were the beginning of overcoming the fear of the dark.

trickywoo
09-03-2014, 07:39 AM
You guys - these are all awesome. Thank you!

Brightdreamer
09-03-2014, 07:43 AM
I used to have nightmares about being drug/tossed around my bedroom at night by some invisible force. They were realistic enough that, on waking, I half-believed it had actually happened. (Had that one come back recently - I think it was stress.)

And then there were recurring dreams/nightmares about a plane crashing into the mountain behind our house and starting a fire. (I also had recurring nightmares about developers encroaching on our neighborhood. The fence was always in the same place in those dreams, right along the ridge through the woods out back. Oddly enough, I mentioned them to my mother a few years back and she'd had similar dreams, down to the placement of the fence.)

Speaking of fire, I recall one nasty one where the house was on fire, my father was sitting in a recliner being engulfed by flames, and I was trying to put it out by carrying water in a glass from the kitchen because nobody else in the family would listen to me.

I also had nightmares about escaping the school bus. I'd want to walk home from school, but couldn't get away from the bus. (Yeah, I know - most people have nightmares about missing the school bus. I had nightmares about getting away from the danged thing.)

Also had several involving large spiders - like hand-sized and up.

Had a fairly vivid one about being lost in a haunted house once - sort of like Monster House, only decades before the movie.

And another one where, somehow, our family had fallen forward in time and everything was overgrown and rotten and rusted; that one ended when we were trying to leave the house in the old car, rolling down the hill toward a huge patch of stickers, and the engine wouldn't start and the brakes were out.

And, of course, the going to school in PJs/underwear dream (but if you didn't look down, nobody would notice.) In more recent years, it's been replaced with the dream where I'm back in school, but can't remember my class schedule. I'm even somewhat aware of the fact that I graduated and shouldn't be there...

frimble3
09-03-2014, 10:41 AM
There's a nightmare that I've had consistently for 40 years. Not really scary, but unpleasant. When I was a child, I would be at my schooldesk, trying to work, but there are no words in my books, and my pens and pencils won't make marks. As an adult, I'm trying to work, but my computer is blank, and my paperwork is blank.
Weird part? These nightmares don't occur when an exam is coming, or a deadline at work. They always happen the first night of a vacation or holiday. Go figure.

blacbird
09-03-2014, 10:56 AM
Falling. I had a lot of those. Still happens once in a while.

caw

DancingMaenid
09-03-2014, 12:38 PM
When I was fairly young (like say, seven and younger), dreams about creepy monsters were fairly common. I had a dream about a vampire hiding in my house once. Another time I dreamt that a creepy zombie-like guy killed my mom. I also had a dream where my dad turned into a skeleton, though that wasn't really a nightmare. In that dream, I was a little nervous about him being dangerous, but I still let him take me out Christmas shopping in skeleton-form.

Bad things happening to my parents was a pretty common theme of my childhood nightmares.

When I was an older child/young teen, there weren't really many recurring themes. I had a dream once about a giant snake leaping out of a lake and eating some people who were in a rowboat. Another time I dreamt I was being held prisoner in a hospital. I escaped and found my mom waiting in a car out front, but she'd been knocked unconscious somehow.

When I was around 14, I had a dream where people in my town were being possessed by evil spirits that somehow originated from a secret military lab. The only cure was eating canned green bell peppers that came from a warehouse on the same military base (green bell peppers were my most disliked food at the time).

Ramshackle
09-03-2014, 01:08 PM
I had maybe five reoccurring dreams as a kid:

1) I was the guardian of the ghosts and they escaped. Chased by a headless, axe-wielding Henry VIII.

2) I was walking a scotty dog and suddenly the ground opened up beneath me, toppling me onto a helter skelter into hell... fire and lava and cackling witches and demons. Much dizzy too.

3) I could fly, but only three feet off the ground and very slowly (for a while I was genuinely convinced this was real, and that I could do it by kneeling down in front of the rabbit hutch at midnight). Chased by a mob whilst doing this.

4) I was captured by Shredder (teenage mutant hero/ninja turtles) and while waiting for the turtles to bust me out, my parents arrived crying to arrange ransom. It was so embarrassing, I just wanted to disappear. I lost all street credit as a superhero.

5) ... this one scares me even as an adult. In a dark room looking at a map, trying to solve an unspecified mystery, and one person suddenly utters the phrase "It must be Apple Island!" and the door creaks open. That was all, but the emotion behind it was chilling. No idea on that one. Although sometime when it went further, I would be battling an evil grandfather clock until it burst into tears and I felt bad for it.

Foolonthehill
09-03-2014, 03:49 PM
I used to very often dream (from my childhood onward and very occasionally still have that dream today) that I'd walk into a house which always felt familiar and I'd start walking up the stairs and I just knew someho
I used to very often dream (from my childhood onward and very occasionally still have that dream today) that I'd walk into a house which always felt familiar and I'd start walking up the stairs and I just knew somehow there was an attic with terrible, terrible things in it, but at the same time i felt so drawn to it that I had to keep on climbing. The few times I did reach the attic it was just this huge place filled with old furniture, but still the dreadful feeling remained, other times there were ghosts and I'd manage to get away through a window and jump into the bushes.
The curious thing is that I read that according to Freud the attic ( just like other parts of a house are connected to other feelings and issues) is connected to the subconscious mind and the hidden emotions we store there, the ones we are unable to face and deal with.
w there was an attic with terrible, terrible things in it, but at the same time i felt so drawn to it that I had to keep on climbing. The few times I did reach the attic it was just this huge place filled with old furniture, but still the dreadful feeling remained, other times there were ghosts and I'd manage to get away through a window and jump into the bushes.
The curious thing is that I read that according to Freud the attic ( just like other parts of a house are connected to other feelings and issues) is connected to the subconscious mind and the hidden emotions we store there, the ones we are unable to face and deal with.

Debbie V
09-03-2014, 10:56 PM
This is making me wonder what y'all watched on TV as kiddies.

Frimble, of course these dreams happen on the first day of vacation - you're leaving the work behind. Blank work. There you go. Not strange at all.

Karen Junker
09-03-2014, 11:39 PM
I had the climbing stairs to an attic dream, too.

Also, being put into a cauldron of roiling snakes (I blame old Tarzan movies for this).

Also, those flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz taking over our farm (I don't know what I blame for this.).

thedark
09-03-2014, 11:49 PM
Great thread.

Makes me feel better to know I wasn't the only kid with the "vehicle out of control/no driver" nightmare (mine was a motorhome, and the reoccurring dream finally went away when my dad showed me how to use the emergency brake one day).

My other one was falling -- off anything, a loooong ways down. The feeling of falling always woke me, and I was always glad, because I was (and still am) quite certain that if I ever hit the ground, I'd die in my sleep. Here's hoping that one doesn't come back. :)

As a grown-up, the occasional nightmare tends to be much more mundane, like it's suddenly Finals Week again in college and I haven't studied, or I forgot to pay an important bill (yes, I'm that type that pays bills the day I get them..).

Now I have a kiddo, and at 2 years old, she has nightmares involving Curious George (presumably not getting to watch him on TV, to which she's rather too addicted), and not being able to find her beloved soccer ball.

So cute.

Katrina S. Forest
09-03-2014, 11:50 PM
3) I could fly, but only three feet off the ground and very slowly (for a while I was genuinely convinced this was real, and that I could do it by kneeling down in front of the rabbit hutch at midnight). Chased by a mob whilst doing this.



I had this one too! ^_^

As soon as one of my teachers told me that Washington had wooden teeth, I had a recurring dream where my teeth were made of rotting wood and if I bit something too hard, they all broke in half.

I also had a recurring dream with a disembodied hand. (Probably saw Thing from The Adams Family or something.) The hand would always be doing something, floating around the house and we had to be very careful not to upset it, because it would kill us if we got it angry.

Once I dreamed of being trapped in the house while it was on fire. At one point, I dreamed that my arm burnt to a crisp, only to wake up and find that I had fallen asleep on the arm in question, so it had that pins and needles sensation all over it.

Movies could scare me, too. And not just stereotypical grown-up movies. I mean The Care Bears movie. If anyone remembers it, the villain is an evil book. That character showed up in my nightmares so much, my mom had to record over the movie. (Yeah, these were the days of VHS tapes.)

Los Pollos Hermanos
09-03-2014, 11:51 PM
I regularly had (and still do) the falling dreams, complete with adrenaline rush and the jolt awake.

I've also had a few seconds of sleep paralysis a couple of times, but realised what was happening so found it quite interesting.

And... I also laugh in my sleep and have woken myself up on occasion.

You say weird like it's a bad thing!

thedark
09-03-2014, 11:54 PM
I regularly had (and still do) the falling dreams, complete with adrenaline rush and the jolt awake.

I've also had a few seconds of sleep paralysis a couple of times, but realised what was happening so found it quite interesting.

And... I also laugh in my sleep and have woken myself up on occasion.

You say weird like it's a bad thing!

Forgot about the sleep paralysis... that's just scary as all hell. But I'm the kid who woke up under general anesthesia and couldn't move, too, so it hit home really hard. These days, I make sure they knock me out REALLY good.

Shudder.

And my kiddo laughs in her sleep - it's awesome.

Los Pollos Hermanos
09-04-2014, 12:00 AM
I'd hate to wake up whilst supposedly under general anaesthetic - that must have been terrifying. :Hug2:
The first anaesthetic I ever had was a local at the dentist three years ago!

featherpen87
09-04-2014, 12:03 AM
My son (6 years) has nightmares about spiders and wasps. There was a time he used to wake up and tell us that there were ants all over his bed as well.

I can remember having nightmares about really loud noise. It would appear out of nowhere, then there would be total silence and suddenly the piercing noise would come back again.
I also remember one where our whole house was taken over by crocodiles and they wanted to cook us for dinner:tongue

heza
09-04-2014, 12:05 AM
I had the opposite of the attic dream. I think it probably stems from getting lost in a department store once, but I often dreamed about being in a large building (a store or a hospital) and finding a staircase down into the basement. But once I got down into the basement, I couldn't figure out how to get back up again, and there were scary things in the basement I needed to get away from.

thedark
09-04-2014, 01:01 AM
I'd hate to wake up whilst supposedly under general anaesthetic - that must have been terrifying. :Hug2:

I was 5, and my mother had said that we were going to get ice cream. But instead, from my 5-year old perspective, we pulled up outside a large white building and inside, two guys in white separated me from my mother. I remember being terrified right then, and my mom wouldn't look at me or talk to me, then they whipped out this gigantic needle (an IV line). I threw the biggest fight my little 5-year old self could manage, which lasted about 45 seconds before they had me pinned down. I remember hiding my hand in my mouth, thinking they wouldn't be able to get to it.

I lost, of course, and they knocked me under.

I woke up completely unable to move. I could hear the doctor talking with my mom, and with all the force and all the strength in my little body, I cracked my eye open just a sliver, and I could see them peering down at me, discussing me like I wasn't there. I still can't decide which was worse - not being able to move but being fully conscious, or the betrayal of "Let's go get ice cream..." and having my mother be in on it.

I should mention that as an adult, I realized that my mother clearly had a case of Munchausen by proxy. There was nothing wrong with me, that time or for any other doctor's visit. But she liked the attention, even reveled in it.

A few minutes later, a nurse or a tech must have noticed my eye was open, because I remember them saying, "Fuck, she's awake." then everything going dark again.

Strangely, I don't remember anything else from that day, or the days after. But I bet I never got that ice cream.

And my mother never got my trust back.

Karen Junker
09-04-2014, 05:25 AM
Geez Dark -- I actually knew someone who I think had Munchausen by proxy -- I can't imagine going through that. I'm sorry that happened to you.

Beachgirl
09-04-2014, 05:58 AM
The very first nightmare I can remember (4 or 5 y.o.) was being chased around the house by Ronald McDonald, who had a butcher knife and was trying to kill me. I still hate clowns to this day.

Multiple tornadoes. As in, five or six of them drop out of the sky all around me at the same time. I'm pretty sure that had something to do with growing up in Tornado Alley and spending an extraordinary amount of time in a bathtub with a mattress over me.

Vampires. And not the pretty sparkly ones. I blame that on watching too many Dracula movies late at night with my Dad.

Getting to middle-school and realizing I had my bra and panties on. Likely caused from being a self-conscious geek.

Geesh...nighttime during childhood was brutal!

Vilya
09-04-2014, 07:47 AM
My kids have the dream about the out of control car a lot. It is mostly about driving off the road into the water. There have also been dreams about killer vacuums.

Once I had a dream that I was being drug under the bed by a demon. A about bad characters coming out of video games in the night and one where every time I looked through a hole in the wall someone would shoot me in the eye.

CWHs2
09-05-2014, 06:10 AM
My 3-year old woke up one morning and said he was scared of the glow-in-the-dark stars on the wall near his bed. Think this started after his night-light went out earlier this month...I don't know if he had a bad dream about the stars but I'm still hoping he'll get into astronomy one day. Fingers crossed.

Bolero
09-05-2014, 01:09 PM
My bad childhood dreams largely came from pictures I saw just before going to sleep. Some kids books have very well done illustrations in them - but if they are big, bad, scary wolves, or dangerous pirates not helpful. :) (MUMMY!!)

Fascinated to read all the "out of control car" that people had as children. I never, ever dreamt about cars until I learnt to drive - now every so often I have a dream (usually after a tiring/stressful day) where I put my foot on the brake and nothing happens, still rocketing forwards.

Question to people who had car dreams as kids. Were you driven by people who liked going fast, taking chances? It was just occurring to me that both my parents were safe, sedate, take no chances drivers and being of a scientific mind I was wondering if there was a simple correlation - that people with scary childhood dreams about cars had scary car experiences when awake.

Dallionz
09-05-2014, 04:36 PM
I was one of those kids who had horrible, horrible recurring nightmares.

But there are the two most frequent:

1) Fire. I even had one where the clouds caught on fire and as they burned, little pieces of cloud would fall to the ground and catch whatever that touched on fire.

2) Home intruder. I would dream that if I didn't cover my head or something, that someone would come and get me. If they didn't, I was the only person in my family to make it (though thankfully I never saw them killed in my dreams).

My daughter is horribly afraid of spiders right now. She says she dreams giant pink and black spiders come crawling down the ceilings to sit on her tummy at night. *shudder* No wonder the kid woke up screaming the other night!

Tazlima
09-05-2014, 04:39 PM
Fascinated to read all the "out of control car" that people had as children. I never, ever dreamt about cars until I learnt to drive - now every so often I have a dream (usually after a tiring/stressful day) where I put my foot on the brake and nothing happens, still rocketing forwards.

Question to people who had car dreams as kids. Were you driven by people who liked going fast, taking chances? It was just occurring to me that both my parents were safe, sedate, take no chances drivers and being of a scientific mind I was wondering if there was a simple correlation - that people with scary childhood dreams about cars had scary car experiences when awake.

I read once that the "out of control vehicle" dreams represented how the dreamer felt about their life at the time. That they were being carried along for the ride and felt powerless to stop or change the direction of their circumstances. Depending on the individual situation, this could be frightening or exhilarating or both.

This theory could, of course, be total hogwash, but it's certainly an interesting idea.

thedark
09-05-2014, 06:23 PM
I read once that the "out of control vehicle" dreams represented how the dreamer felt about their life at the time. That they were being carried along for the ride and felt powerless to stop or change the direction of their circumstances. Depending on the individual situation, this could be frightening or exhilarating or both.

This theory could, of course, be total hogwash, but it's certainly an interesting idea.

My mother wasn't the best driver, and I know just where mine came from. We used to live in California, and a few times every year, we'd pile into the family motorhome and go up and down Highway 101 (which is a beautiful scenic cliffside highway along the coast, that, in the 1980s, had no guardrail for most of the hundreds of miles it spans). My mom wasn't the safest driver to begin with, as I mentioned, and there we'd be, speeding along Highway 101 in a motorhome, doing 60 or 70 (which is insane on that highway to begin with, much less in a motorhome), AND there would be dense fog so thick you couldn't see more than 15-30 feet in front of you.

That's what I'd dream about -- except I'd be the one driving, all alone in the big motorhome, and I couldn't even reach the brakes, much less see the road at the same time.

And somehow, in my dreams, the road was always going downhill.

Shiver.

I kinda like the "out of control life" idea as an explanation. I'm not sure it'd hold true for everyone, but as an adult looking back, I can see how that would apply to the years I had that particular reoccurring nightmare.

Orianna2000
09-05-2014, 11:25 PM
The earliest nightmare I remember (I was probably three or four) had these geometric shapes appearing on the ground, sort of like drawn hexagons or octagons, but with dashed lines and dots. They showed up mysteriously all over the world, and if you touched one or stepped on it, you had to be "put away" . . . stuck in a closet or under the bed, so you wouldn't infect anyone else.

Debbie V
09-08-2014, 11:13 PM
I read once that the "out of control vehicle" dreams represented how the dreamer felt about their life at the time. That they were being carried along for the ride and felt powerless to stop or change the direction of their circumstances. Depending on the individual situation, this could be frightening or exhilarating or both.

This theory could, of course, be total hogwash, but it's certainly an interesting idea.

My parents are pretty good drivers.

No child has control of much. That's part of being a child, so this may make sense.

I could change the direction of the car in my dream (right turns around the block), just not to pull into the driveway and stop. Sometimes I wonder if I didn't subconsciously like the idea of driving, but I may have been older once I could control a little. These dreams repeated for years.

mrsmig
09-08-2014, 11:27 PM
I had recurring tornado dreams as a kid, but they were never scary so much as troubling. There would be a tornado coming and we were supposed to be running away but I always had to go back after something mundane - like a hairbrush. I would always wake up before anything bad happened - which still happens when I'm having a bad dream. I think I must have a very strong mental editor.

The weird thing about the tornado dream was that one of my older sisters would have the same one, right down to the hairbrush.

Orianna2000
09-09-2014, 12:58 AM
Occasionally, I have nightmares about being in a car that I can't control. Sometimes I'm in the driver's seat, but the brakes won't work. Other times, I'm in the back seat and no one is driving, so I have to try and climb up front to stop the car. I've read the idea that these dreams represent your feelings of being unable to control your life.

I also used to have frequent nightmares about losing my teeth. They would either fall out or break off. Often, a new tooth would start growing underneath, like when I was a kid. That's how I learned to tell I was dreaming--if a new tooth was there, I knew it was just a bad dream. Of course, my subconscious soon figured out how to stump me by changing the details of the dreams.

To my horror, the dental nightmares came true when I actually had a tooth break. The filling had fallen out of one of my eye teeth, weakening it, and before I could get into the dentist, the tooth broke in half. Let me tell you, it was the worst feeling in the world to experience one of my own nightmares come to life.

Bolero
09-10-2014, 12:11 AM
Thanks for answers on car dreams. Interesting.

In general terms on dreams I have heard (but don't have a link) that these days dreams are being considered as effectively "end of day filing" - your brain dealing with things that have happened during the day and the Freud (was it Freud?) level of reading meaning into them is no longer current.

Orianna2000
09-10-2014, 01:31 AM
I know it's believed that dreams might have some relation to your mind sorting through your short-term memories and storing them in long-term memory, but I don't think your actual dream content is related to your daily memories. Granted, it is possible to dream about things you've experienced. I've had flashback dreams, where the trauma I survived as a child was as clear as if it had just happened. But regular dreams can't be based on your actual memories, because I've never gone to school naked, or kissed an alien whose ship crashed in my backyard, or any of the other weird and bizarre things my mind comes up with when I'm asleep.

I have a very active imagination, from which my subconscious no doubt draws the imagery for my dreams. I've had dreams that were so clear and detailed that I wrote them down and used them as the basis for a short story, or even a novel. I don't just dream random fragments, but fully fleshed-out scenes and subplots!

Keyan
09-10-2014, 03:33 PM
I used to get nightmares as a child, as I suppose all kids do. But around age 9 or 10, I read that Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide originated in a dream. After that, my dreams developed plot lines. I immediately dreamed a Superman story. Then when I was 16, I had a couple of dreams that were really interesting sci/fi adventure stories, based in the town where I lived. I woke up, wrote them down, and they still made sense in the morning.

In one, a brother and sister - maybe 12 or 13 years old or so - were helping their scientist uncle explore some inaccessible haunted houses on high on a steep wooded hillside across a deep ravine, using a Thought Helmet that he'd invented. It gave them telepresence, and also made them aware of ghosts.

As their investigations continued, the uncle discovered that the one child was going mad. He stopped the experiment, but the dream ended with the realization that it wasn't soon enough. The second kid was also going mad.

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I stopped having those kinds of dreams after my teens. I still occasionally had entertaining dreams afterward, but none that were so detailed or that felt so real.

lottarobyn
09-10-2014, 05:52 PM
Most of my nightmares involved being in public places without pants. But as far as monsters or typical scary stuff? I remember several dreams about something or someone outside the house stalking me or my family. As long as we stayed inside, we'd probably be all right; however, we needed to get to the shed about a hundred feet behind the house for some vital reason and there was a time limit (basically forcing me outside with the monster).

jaksen
09-12-2014, 04:50 PM
Driving into a lake, before I could drive, and just seeing the world turn black as the car sank and it filled up with water. And then, just knowing, that I was going to die. That there was no way out. And that THIS was not a dream.

I dreamt that several times as a child.

Rags99
09-12-2014, 05:03 PM
My son (6 years) has nightmares about spiders and wasps. There was a time he used to wake up and tell us that there were ants all over his bed as well.


Those were mine as well. Usually it involved me falling down dark stairs or into some pit full of either ants or bees/wasps. As much as I would try to kill the wasps they wouldnt die but stick to my hands and try to sting me.

Same with ants.

Debbie V
09-15-2014, 10:23 PM
I can often point to exact triggers for my dreams. Dreamt we were getting ready for Passover the other night. My father in law was due to attend. Since he's dead and all my dreams take place in my parents' house, I knew I was dreaming.

At dinner, the kids had asked how my husband and I met and what some of our early dates were. We are also getting ready for Rosh Hashanna. That adds up to one Jewish holiday and one father in law who came to one Passover. We don't have company for Rosh Hashanna.

Qui Amat Scribere
09-17-2014, 05:04 AM
My partner's little brother had a recurring nightmare in which dinosaurs were looking into the house. They never did anything, just LOOKED. And he would run around desperately trying to find a room with no windows, so that the dinosaurs would stop LOOKING at him. Apparently it truly terrified him.

My own little brother had nightmares that seemed to be triggered by Wizard of Oz. So, he dreamed a lot about tornadoes and evil witches and, yes, flying monkeys. He was always terrified of witches. He's also always been very religious - I don't know if there is connection, though.

When young, my partner constantly had nightmares about the house catching fire.

Personally, I have never had the naked/pajamas dream, or the car dream (I didn't even know that was a thing!), and maybe only twice dreamed about falling. If I had nightmares, they were of the disaster sort (freak weather, evil magic, demons, invading soldiers, etc.), where the terror came from the possibility of people I cared about getting hurt or killed. Very rarely were the nightmares focused on my own safety. A lot of children are like that, I think. The nightmares that would wake myself or my siblings up in tears were usually about family dying, and friends have reported similar experiences.

Deb Kinnard
09-18-2014, 01:53 AM
I grew up in the 50s and 60s. My nightmares were of thermonuclear war. Movies such as "Fail Safe" and the like didn't help much. The ridiculous "duck and cover" drills at the grade school gave it added horror. We kids used to laugh, because if the Bomb was going to drop on you, what earthly good would it do to hide under your desk? I'd have bad dreams for days after one of these drills.

It also didn't help that I lived (and still do) under one of the main final approach glide paths for O'Hare Airport. I remember dreaming and waking up thinking that one of the big prop planes they had at the time was actually a Soviet bomber come to drop The Big One on Chicago.

My kids, now -- they dreamed of wolves. Why I don't know, to the best of my knowledge neither of them ever saw a live one. So I repurposed one of my mother's "room potpourri" sprays into Wolf Spray. We sprayed their rooms most nights. Just one tiny shot would do it, because of the distinctive fragrance. It was never used for a lesser purpose, and my kids swore it kept the slavering beasts out of their rooms.

Orianna2000
09-18-2014, 07:06 AM
My kids, now -- they dreamed of wolves. Why I don't know, to the best of my knowledge neither of them ever saw a live one. So I repurposed one of my mother's "room potpourri" sprays into Wolf Spray. We sprayed their rooms most nights. Just one tiny shot would do it, because of the distinctive fragrance. It was never used for a lesser purpose, and my kids swore it kept the slavering beasts out of their rooms.

You know, I recently read about someone who actually produces and sells "Anti-Monster" and "Anti-Nightmare" spritzes. They're just scented oils, but it makes your kids feel like you're doing something to protect them. (And possibly, the different scents help calm them.)

Oh, and I forgot, I used to dream about lava. It would be approaching slowly, and I'd have to try and warn my family that we had to escape before it got there. Or it would be on the ground and I'd have to climb over the furniture to escape.

WriterDude
09-19-2014, 12:59 AM
I used to wake in the night expecting to find a skeleton at foot of my bed, not that I was brave enough to look.

Tazlima
09-19-2014, 01:39 AM
So I repurposed one of my mother's "room potpourri" sprays into Wolf Spray. We sprayed their rooms most nights. Just one tiny shot would do it, because of the distinctive fragrance. It was never used for a lesser purpose, and my kids swore it kept the slavering beasts out of their rooms.

I went through a period where I was afraid of the dark, but I was also terrified to get out of bed and cross the room (which was necessary to turn on the light). My dad went to Radio Shack and bought a little contraption that you plug into the wall and then plug whatever appliance you want into it, to make that appliance turn on and off with a single-button remote control.

We hooked it up to my desk lamp, put the remote on a loop of shoestring, and I wore it to bed like a necklace. If I woke up in the middle of the night, I just fumbled for the remote and turned the lights on. I slept with that remote for years.

When I finally outgrew my fear of the dark, I moved the gadget to my stereo and had an awesome "remote control" stereo before there was such a thing.

Roxxsmom
09-19-2014, 10:19 AM
I remember dreams where I was falling a lot. Sometimes they started as flying dreams. Or dreams with plummeting elevators. Still have those sometimes, in fact.

The worst ones were the ones where I thought I'd awakened, but then the dream monster or bad situation (sometimes even just a very bad, creepy feeling) or whatever would still be there, because I was really still asleep. I had those sometimes as a kid but never as a teen or adult. I wonder if there's something about being a kid that makes you more prone to those fake waking up nightmares.

They were horrible and are the nightmares that made me wake up (for real) screaming.

Orianna2000
09-19-2014, 07:31 PM
I've had many waking nightmares as an adult, where I think I've woken up, but am still dreaming. Those are always the worst! Occasionally, there's visual clues, something I identify as "wrong," that makes me realize I'm dreaming. Like, the bedroom walls might be the wrong color. Or I'll see my cat that died when I was a child. Or my legs will be covered in tattoos. Something that isn't normal.

I used to have sleep paralysis all the time, where you wake up, but your brain is still in REM. You're conscious, but your body is frozen (so you can't act out your dreams) and because you're still dreaming, but your eyes are open, you hallucinate. Quite often, I would hear footsteps approaching, or see a shadowy figure in the doorway, or next to the bed. It's absolutely terrifying! I would believe that someone had broken into the house and I needed to wake up, so I could defend myself. I'd struggle to snap out of it, but there's nothing you can do. Sometimes hearing your own screams is enough to wake your brain up, but not always.

I went through a period where I was literally screaming myself awake on a nightly basis. The content of the dreams varied, but invariably, something would terrify me and I'd start screaming in my sleep. It always scared my husband to death!