Since I brought up my son's nightmare the other day, I thought it only fair to bring up some of my own in comparison.  When I was young, not only did I have nightmares on a somewhat frequent basis, I often had recurring nightmares and dreams.   One of the most vivid that I can still recall was almost always the same.  I was in the garage, with my father and grandfather, doing something.  (Our garage was the kind always filled with stuff, not with a car, the cars lived in the driveway.)  We might be working on my bike, or going through the tools on the shelf, something.   Then the very ground of the garage would rip apart, and amidst flames up would rise The Devil.  Red skinned, big giant black horns, a pointed tail, the works.  The dreams rarely lasted much longer than that, because the arrival of the Devil was so intense it almost always woke me up in a complete panic.  I'd get up, go into the bathroom and sit for a while to calm down.  (It was the one room that had a light that I could turn on and not wake everyone else up.)  I'd usually have to read for a while, to get my mind off the dream (something I still do occasionally when my mind gets into a panic/anxiety mode late at night, which is, naturally, never fun) and then I would brave my way back to bed.   Sometimes these things would wake up one of my brothers--we all three shared a room--and when it did, they would usually comfort me and get me back to bed.  That dream happened a lot all through grammar school, then eventually faded away.  I'm certain I'm forgetting quite a lot of the little details.   But then, that was quite so long ago now.

Besides that particular dream, I'd also have recurring and what I think of as "serial" dreams.   Usually they would come in batches, from two to a dozen.  Separated out by a few days here and there so I'd never really know if I'd finished the story (so to speak.)   But the jist of it was much like being inside a TV show or movie, where the story would go along then abruptly cut off.  (I would wake up.)   Sometimes an "episode" would repeat itself, though often modified.  Like two, or three variations of the same story.  Sometimes, they would pick up right where things left off, but mostly, they would start up again as if some time had passed, and we were just now catching up with the hero.  (IE, me.  Hey, if I can't be the hero in my own dream....)

Actually one of my oldest novel attempts, from somewhere around 5th grade was me trying (and pretty much failing) to put down on paper the story of my dream.   The problem with that, other than the fact that I was maybe 10 or 11 trying to do that, is that dreams often just don't make sense.  They aren't usually narratively cohesive.  Things would happen, like, one moment I would be running down the block trying to catch up to my friends, then as I turned the corner, I would be driving a motorcycle.   Being young, I'd often have super human powers.  Could make things move with a flick of a hand.  Fly.  Swing from webs like Spidey.  You know, kids ideas of how these things go.  They'd be harrowing adventures, filled with things to battle and overcome.  And on at least one occasion, I recall having died, and trying to get back down through the clouds to help save my friends, and I couldn't.   No matter what I did, whenever I tried to go through the clouds, it would hurt, like being set totally on fire.   That one was particularly frightening, because the need to get down to the ground and help save my friends was so intensive, that being unable to help them hurt every bit as much as the pain I was experiencing trying to reach them.  So it was pain for me either way.  I had that particular dream twice that I know of, though it never made it's way into that story.

I still experience the occasional bad dream, or reccurant dream.  Though it gets hard to tell if I they really are recurring or just déjà vu in a dream.

What about you?   Do you recall any nightmares from your youth?

From: [identity profile]

The most terrifying dream I ever had resulted from the entire school being pretty much forced to have polio shots when I was five, during the great polio scare. I had never had a shot before, my dad being Christian Scientist. I was already tense, because though I was in kindergarten, I could already read more or less, and the attitudes of the big kids made me read that yellow form we were sent home with that we were told WE MUST RETURN SIGNED. What I read scared the crap out of me, half-understood as it was.

Then the day arrived (this is still experience, not the dream) we were lined up and went down to the world war 2 bungalows that had been carted in for the overflow of kids. At one, on the top of the steps to the doorway, stood a woman in white nurse's uniform with a little table of stuff, and another woman ministering it. The big kids were lined up. Each would go up the three steps to the nurse,who would jab them in the arm with a pointy thing. The big kids would howl, and one kid was bleeding, but when it was done, they had to get in line for another one. (The shots in those days came in a series of three.)

You cannot imagine my terror. I already knew adults couldn't be trusted to keep you safe, that the worst danger came from them. That was it--I ran, hid, they searched the school for me, the principle got me to come out of hiding at the auditorium because just hearing her voice terrified me even more, I thought she had Powers. I was sent home with no shots, and there was actually no parental retribution for once, because (I figured out later) my mom had signed the letter without my dad knowing.

Forgive me for that long story, but now the dream will make slightly more sense: people, presumably everyone in the country, had to line up and lie down on these conveyor belt things. White figures would lay clay over your eyes and up your nose so you could be conveyed into a machine to kill you. I tried to run . . . well, the rest is typical dream terror. But that conveyor belt, and everyone getting on it, terrified me horribly. That dream would come back when I read about Holocaust genocide and other like subjects.

Other than that, I had/have pretty normal nightmares, plane crashes and the like--anything that involves being helpless against inimical forces.

From: [identity profile]

I don't know if it's true, or what, but I recall the needles for shots being much larger/thicker when I was a child rather than what I've dealt with recently. I really can't imagine that, I wasn't particularly good about shots as a kid. I can definitely see the connection between your experience and the dream, however. And that's pretty horrific.

From: [identity profile]

My childhood nightmares usually involved scary clowns, or that big, face-smothering balloon from The Prisoner - sometimes both :(

From: [identity profile]

I am sure there is a whole generation of people who saw that show as a child, and then had horrific dreams based upon the balloon from The Prisoner. I didn't encounter the show until I was an adult, so it doesn't have that same sense memory for me.

From: [identity profile]

Serial dreams

From childhood to current I've occasionally had serial dreams where they'd pick back up, either direct continuations or at a new act. Even more frequent are dreams in a location I "knew" from other dreams. Sometimes I can fix them to other remembered dreams, other times I wonder if it's just my mind playing tricks - and if that's any different than a dream anyhow.

I'm a deep sleeper but usually wake up sans alarm, and I find that I will go for long stretches without remembering dreams when I wake like this. I remember more dreams from times when I'm ill or have other reason my sleep is disturbed. Humorously, this means that a noticeable share of dreams I remember involve at some point that I need to use the commode. Ah well. :)

I don't remember any recurring nightmares, but that may be just creative editing over time.

Just to add in another category, sometimes I do "work" in my dream. Things that could make challenging but boringly repetitive flash games. When I wake up I don't feel mentally rested. I don't appreciate those.

From: [identity profile]

Re: Serial dreams

Most of the rest of my recurring night mares, were probably more of a mixed state. I used to half wake up a lot, and still sort of be half dreaming, and it was very much like having hallucinations. My senses were almost over-amped, if you know what I mean. Like I could feel sights and sound with my hands, and I know I'm not explaining it well at all. But it would freak me out and it was very hard to get fully awake from that state, and it was equally hard to go back into real sleep as well. So time would dilate and it would feel like eternity. Oh, and I used to sleep walk too. Loads of fun.


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Edward Greaves

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