(Male) I was standing among a cluster of adults watching a group of young people flying paper airplanes. One of these kids had made a highly experimental looking design that sort of looked like a double-ended spoon or maybe like a propeller. One of the adult males looked down at this kid and said “That’ll never work, kid. Give up now.” I said “Let him try it. Maybe he can get it to work.” Then this guy, the adult, turned around with two of his buddies and stared at me. He became immense. He reached out and wrapped one of his hands around my throat. The other hand he grabbed my crotch like he was going to crush my balls. He lifted me off the ground and then he clamped his teeth onto my nose like he was going to bite it off. I did not back down. I said “Only a weak man counters a verbal threat with physical violence.” He held me there while his friends looked on. Still I didn’t back down or beg to be released.
Next thing I knew, everyone had vanished, the bully, his buddies, the paper airplane throwers. I was alone.
(Male, 30′s) There were these brick lined hallways. Normal red brick and mortar. It was in the basement of some building. Perhaps they were used for ventilation because I’ve seen ventilation tunnels like that. I couldn’t find an exit. Everything was dark. Then there was a green gas. It glowed slightly. It floated up and stayed right in the middle of the hallways so I couldn’t move down the hallways without breathing some of it. It was poisonous. I got on my knees and continued moving though I still didn’t know what way to go. The poison was making me weaker even though I tried to breathe where there was less of the gas. When I was lying flat on the ground, I saw a three figures cross the hallway in front of me. They floated or glided though it looked like they were walking. They were glowing silver like space aliens. One was taller than the other two and I think it was their mother. They floated right by me like they didn’t care that I was dying.
(Female, early 20′s) I was visiting a friend, an actual person I knew in high school but I guess we were supposed to be friends now. We were at her place and we decided to watch TV. After a little while, cockroaches started to pour out of the TV. She apologized saying that usually the place is pretty clean.
There was also this guy there who was never really introduced to me. He was in the bathroom and he dropped something. Before it could hit the ground, the toilet sucked had sucked it up and swallowed it. The guy was confused but he stood a little too close to the toilet for a little too long and then HE was sucked down the toilet too. All of him. Gone.
About that time we realized that all the appliances in the apartment were going on a rampage. The computer printer for instance had slices of meat feeding into it like a paper shredder, only they weren’t coming out the other side. It was devouring them. We noticed many little objects gone, presumably swallowed by the appliances. My friend said “Gather up your valuables and let’s get out of here.” So I started looking for my jewelry – like I have jewelry – and I say “I can’t find my engagement ring.” And my friend says “I didn’t know you were engaged.” And I said “I’m not, but I’m engaged to be engaged.” And my friend said “And you’ve got a ring for that?” And I said “I guess I don’t.” So then we started running down the street away from this apartment.
(Female, early 20′s) So this isn’t so much a whole nightmare as it is just a creepy image. I don’t even really remember being too scared by it at the time.
My boyfriend and I were planning a trip to the hot springs in Japan and before we left we had to stop at the store for a couple things for our baby daughter. So I’m at this brightly lit baby store and I see this baby – I don’t really know how I knew he was a boy but I also knew that he was Brazilian for some reason – and maybe he was more of a toddler because he could walk. Actually he could run and hide too, both pretty well. For some reason, my friends and I were supposed to find him and catch him and he kept eluding us. All pretty normal so far.
Except this baby is running around in his diaper and he’s holding a zip-loc storage bag filled with his own internal organs. They’re all bloody and pulsating and since they’re in this clear plastic bag, you can see everything. Which is pretty creepy, right? but the point of the dream was that we were supposed to catch him so we didn’t really notice his misplaced organs. Weird, isn’t it?
(Female, mid-teen) This dream took place in a small town. A tornado had just ripped through the center of the town, including right through the town’s high school where it had killed almost everyone. Life was just starting to get back to normal.
..Life was just starting to get back to normal…
A mother was in her kitchen working when she looked out her back window and saw the body of a high school girl lying face down in her back yard. It had been dropped there by the tornado. The mother called the officials and let them know. There were sounds of someone coming down the stairs. It was the mother’s five year old daughter. In the dream, my perspective shifted so that I was the little girl. The mother met the girl (me) as the girl (I) came into the kitchen and tried to block the view of the back window so the girl wouldn’t see the dead high school girl back there. But I looked around the side of the mother and I saw the dead high school girl. She was standing at the back window, waving at me, smiling. She was creepy dead, bruised, broken spine, leaves in her hair, that kind of thing. I woke up in the middle of the night and was scared to look at any of the windows in my room.
(Female, 40′s) I have this recurring nightmare scenario that plays on a couple of my real-life obsessions. One is my sense of orientation, by which I mean knowing which way is north, and therefore east, south, and west. In my head, I place myself on a map, most of the time, and I know where I am. And the other is a sense of direction, so that I know where I want to go on that map in my head.
My recurring nightmare image is more like a backdrop than a plot. Whenever I find myself in that dreaming place, I’m filled with a sense of dis-ease. I’m at the place where two country roads intersect. There are no street signs at these four corners. The roads stretch on in all directions far as the eye can see, and farmlands and fields cover all the ground. At some junctions, there’s a house or two, but no one is home at any of them. There are no signs of life, no cars in the drives. In these dreams, I’m usually traveling, either walking or driving or occasionally riding a bike. Sometimes I’m trying to get somewhere, like to visit a relative, or get away from someone who is following me. The scariest part though is not knowing where I am or which way to go. I travel on and on but the landscape keeps repeating. There’s no way out.
(Male, 44) I had this dream just last night so it’s still fresh in my mind. I’m still trying to get over it. I hope it’s not too extreme.
…I hope it’s not too extreme…
The situation is that there was sort of a Manson family sort of group holed up in this house. Except it was a real family, like they had kids too but they were also murderers who would invade someone’s house and butcher them. I saw the dream from several different perspectives, all pretty much at the same time, which was also weird.
From one perspective I’m one of the SWAT team who shows up to bring this group down. There are probably a dozen of us, each with a rifle and a site — a sniper’s set up — but what’s strange is that we’re right up by the porch of the house, probably 4 feet away from the family who’s just on the other side of some windows. It seems pretty clear to me at least that we are way too close to this situation for the weapons we’re carrying. In the dream this was my first time out as a SWAT member and I was crouching low, trying to get a good clear shot but there was too much reflection off the glass for me to risk anything.
Another perspective I had was inside the room with the mother and father and their kids. They had at least two kids, a boy and a girl, both probably 5 or 6. The place was a mess. They had ransacked the whole house and brought anything that looking interesting down to the living room and put it in a big pile. Also in that pile were bloody, lifeless arms and hands of the people they killed, thoughtlessly, casually. The mother and father knew that their bloody spree was up so the each pulled out a huge hunting knife. The father killed the son, just sliced into his throat so deeply he almost cut it off. Blood went everywhere. And almost immediately, the father threw up, a bright green vomit. (Did I mention this was pretty extreme?) And almost immediately, the mother did the exact thing to the daughter and then vomited as well. Somehow the vomiting meant that the parents loved their kids and regretted having to kill them.
And the third perspective was that I was a little kid, probably 5 or 6. I don’t think I was a member of the killer family; I think I was a member of the family whose house the killer family invaded. I was hiding. I had been hiding throughout most of what was happening. At the end, I found a telephone pole in the backyard and wrapped my arms and legs around it and sort of inchwormed my way to the very top so nobody would see me and I wouldn’t get killed accidentally or on purpose by anyone. I looked out over the neighborhood. The trees were a mass of leafless twigs sort of like steel wool. The house looked much bigger than it did on the ground. I just held onto the pole and waited. Eventually everything turned brown like in an old, sepia toned photograph which somehow meant that all the killing was over and that it was time for me to come down. It was time for the funeral for my family. Someone handed me a small silver tray that had six items on it. They were supposed to represent the other members of my family who I had lost. I started crying in the dream and the items started falling off the tray. When I woke up, I was still crying.
(Male, mid-40′s) This dream was like a movie, a post-apocalyptic / giant monster movie. I was one of a handful of survivors. We were all more or less trapped inside this one house. It was a relatively large house but still there were probably about a dozen of us. And for some reason, everyone — at least everyone other than me was stupid, doing things that were incredibly dangerous considering our situation. I suppose that’s a lot like a movie too.
The dream took place in the near future where bees had taken over the world at least all of it we could see. And by bees I mean bees that had probably 4 foot wingspan and were intelligent. The bees were able somehow to plant crops. They had planted every square inch of soil for miles around this house with sun flowers. The sunflowers grew right up to the walls of the house, right beside the road and the sidewalk. They were every where. Miles and miles of bright yellow flowers. But the sunflowers short and weren’t tall enough to hide humans if we went outside. And of course everyone wanted to go outside.
For some reason, our big project was to try to scoop up some of these sunflowers and bring them inside and get them to grow in the bathtub. (Did I mention that everyone seemed stupid? I thought this was a stupid goal even in the dream but I wasn’t able to convince anyone of that.) One guy went outside and tried carrying in a sunflower, which seems to be very fragile which meant you had to move very slowly, and of course he was attacked and stung to death.
I awoke as we were organizing a party, including lookouts to keep watching the skies.
(Male, mid- 40′s) This is just an image that I remember from a dream I had last night. I don’t know if it’s what you mean by a nightmare but it struck me dead in my tracks.
I was on a road that sloped pretty steeply down a hill. Beside the hill, down in the valley was a church or some kind of building with a tower. It wasn’t a tremendously high tower, maybe 5 or 6 stories tall but it was just about even with where I was on the road so I was able to see it pretty well. I don’t think it was an observation tower, that is, I don’t think it was really designed to have people on top of it. Further more it must have only been maybe 3 foot by 3 foot on the flat roof of this tower. But someone was standing up there on that treacherous peak, a kid, no more than 12 or 13. What’s more, that kid wasn’t just standing on the flat part of the roof, he was up on the edging, the “ramparts” I think they’re called. The wind was blowing because I could see it blowing around his hair and I knew that he could lose his balance or get blown off that roof before he realized what was happening. It’s just like boys that age to try something that seems cool, like crawling up on a roof without realizing how incredibly dangerous it is. Heck, I did sh*t like that all the time when I was that age maybe not quite as extreme but pretty stupid. In the dream, I started to panic because there was no way I could get to this kid or protect him. I couldn’t even pay him too much attention. I still had to drive my car down the road that took me farther and farther away from him.
(Female, 40′s) My oldest, most disturbing nightmare
There are three characters in this dream. There is a little girl of 3 or 4, who is sitting in her highchair at a dining room table. There is the mother, who is in the bathroom out of sight, getting ready to go somewhere; the mother never appears in the dream but she talks to her little girl while she is putting on her makeup and doing her hair. There is also the invisible Monster. He is sitting at the table. The mother doesn’t know he’s there. My perspective shifted back and forth in the dream. Sometimes I was the little girl; sometimes I was the audience watching the scene.
The Monster sits at the table, next to the little girl, and he has a toolbox. She knows he’s there, of course. She can see him. He whispers to the girl and only she can hear his voice. He asks, “Do you want me to make you pretty so you can surprise Mommy?” The little girl nods enthusiastically.
The Monster opens the toolbox, which is full of sharp things: scissors, knives, razor blades, pieces of metal, broken glass. He takes the scissors and chops her hair off all raggedy, all over her head. Then the Monster picks up a big piece of broken glass and jabs it slowly and purposefully deep into the girl’s arm. He leaves it sticking out, and blood begins to drizzle down her skin. He admires his work. Next he takes 10 small squares of metal and slowly pushes one under each of her fingernails. He uses each of his tools to poke and cut her face and arms, and she bleeds from her fingers and arms and cheeks. The box is full of things to hurt and torture her with, but he keeps telling her how pretty she looks.
In the last scene of the dream, the Monster tells the little girl that they are finished and asks if she is ready to surprise Mommy. He lifts the bloodied little girl out of her highchair and sets her on the ground. She toddles off to show her mother, saying “Mommy, mommy, look at me!”
And then the mother screams a long, loud, horrified scream.
I had this nightmare a long time ago, when I was a kid, maybe 9 or 10. It scared me terribly when I had it, and it scares me to think of it still. The thought that nightmares are stories that come from somewhere inside one’s head really doesn’t comfort me. I can’t figure how I came up with this.
(Male, 44) This may not sound too scary but the mood woke me up from a dead sleep.
I was sprawled out on the floor of my living room watching TV, which is strange in itself because I haven’t had a TV in years and I was playing with my pet cat which is also strange because I haven’t had a cat in, well, decades. If it matters, though the living room looks exactly like it does now.
On TV was an episode of the X-Files. Scully was walking across a pitch black courtyard with another woman. The other woman had blond hair if it matters. They were looking for Mulder but had no leads. The two women were having that typical X-files conversation about science vs. intuition, except the blond woman was a psychic, far more extreme and out there than Mulder ever was. She kept mentioning how she was picking up strange vibrations as they were walking, supernatural disturbances. These vibrations meant something was going to happen, something significant, possibly very dangerous. Eventually the psychic stopped walking and said “I can’t believe you can’t feel these vibrations too.” At that moment in the background between the two women a light flared on in a second story room to reveal Mulder bound in thick brown leather straps. I don’t know if he was actually hanging from his throat but it was clear he was in some kind of immediate danger. The women didn’t notice him but rather continued talking.
What was strange was that through most of the scene, the cat I was petting was calm and relaxed. But as soon as the psychic started talking about the strange vibrations she was picking up, the cat kept getting more and more agitated. She walked up and down over my lap, kneading her claws into my legs and into the rug. When the psychic stopped and said “I can’t believe you can’t feel these vibrations too,” the cat stared up at me and her hair all stood up on end, not soft like it was a puff ball but sharp and bristly like it was preparing to defend itself against some danger.
(Male, early 30′s) I’m with a small crowd of people on some tropical island; unnamed, but dream-sense tells me I’m somewhere around Guam. Ponderous steps shake the earth and this bizarre hulk comes into view over the treeline: a gigantic rhinocerous, truly a behemoth thing. The only way to appreciate it’s size is to note that strapped to it’s back is an elephant. By comparison, the elephant appears small, but then strapped to _its_ back is a full-sized dump truck. So it’s larger than your average elephant.
The rhino rears and looses it’s balance; the elephant slides off its back. When it hits the ground the dumptruck’s restraining ropes give way it crashes free of the elephant. The elephant hesitates for a moment, then goes to the rhino and starts pushing at it, as though to help it back on its feet. This initial mis-perception is corrected as the elephant, enraged, gores its over-sized target with its tusks, over and over and over.
About this time the crowd and I get over our initial shock and decide it’s time to run like hell. Because that’s one big, pissed off pachyderm and we know coming after us next…
A chase that follows; then the dream just got weird and not so much scary, so I’ll leave off here.
A friend of mine endured some quite significant abuse as a child and as an adult, much of that abuse was re-presented to her in nightmares. In her conscious life, she quite bravely worked through the trauma, bit by bit, by various techniques.
But the nightmares continued, occuring whenever they wanted.
My friend refused to be victimized a second time by these same events. She chose to see a veiled but therapeutic value to the nightmares. Though this attitude allowed her to see a continuity between her waking and dreaming therapy, it didn’t make her nightmares any less horrifying.Â She needed comfort that was a little more tangible.Â My friend decided to reward herself when she had one of “those” nightmares. She had limited means at the time so the reward wasn’t grand but my friend would treat herself to a bagel and cream cheese at a deli on the way to work.
I lost touch with this friend years ago but I’m curious if she still has these nightmares and if she still rewards her bravery with a bagel in the morning.
(Male, 40′s) I was alone in the house. It was dark and I was watching TV in the living room. The layout of our house is that there’s a living room at the front of the house then an archway leading to a dining room and a doorway leading to the kitchen. All three rooms are in a row so you could see into the kitchen from the living room. The dining room and kitchen were dark, probably the only light on was coming from the TV. I started hearing scratching coming from the kitchen. Just every now and then. I knew that there was no one else there, no people, no pets. I ignored the sound. Then the sound got more regular, a scraping, scratching sound. Still I watched TV. Eventually the sound turned into a constant scraping and I looked and squinted and tried to see what was going on.
There were branches slowly being pushed into the kitchen from just beyond my line of sight. There were branches, and paper and trash. Something was pushing all of this stuff slowly into the kitchen. I didn’t want to go back there and confront it directly but I wanted to know what was going on so I went out the front door. I switched on the light and looked down the side of the house. I couldn’t see what was pushing the stuff inside but there was a huge white wolf. Gleaming white. Larger than a Labrador. It bared its teeth at me and snarled silently, menacingly. I tried to move, whether to get away or investigate I don’t know but every move I made, the wolf countered and continued to threaten.
(Male, mid-40′s) I dreamt that my partner was, well, he was dead. I didn’t realize it at first so I tried to talk with him but he kept moving toward me, slowly, very slowly. Then I got a good look at him. His skin was grey and his eyes were red. In the dream, I figured he had caught some kind of vampire thing that was going around. He kept coming and I knew I couldn’t let him catch me. I got to the staircase of our place and was going to escape downstairs. But our two dogs were down there. They were MUCH larger than in real life. They kept circling, circling at the foot of the stairs, waiting for me. I figured I’d take my chances with the dogs so I stood at the top of the stairs and took a huge leap to jump to the bottom just as my partner got to the top.
And I just hung there in space. I moved slowly, slowly like I was moving through water. I tried to grab onto the banister to pull myself along but I couldn’t reach it. I glided slowly down through the air and my undead-zombie-vampire partner was able to keep up, step by step, even moving as slowly as he was.
(Male, early 40′s) This nightmare sounds almost funny when I write it down but it wasn’t at the time. I had this dream around the time I was moving my mother out of her house and into a retirement-sized apartment. Box after box of things we didn’t know what to do with but that we couldn’t discard ended up at my place.
…They were sort of like large, cardboard marionettes. DANGEROUS cardboard marionettes….
In the dream, there were boxes everywhere. Plain brown corrugated cardboard boxes with no markings would appear in tall stacks, for instance up against walls, blocking doors, etc. This was one of those dreams where it feels like you’ve really woken up from another dream and now, you’re REALLY awake. So in the dream I was sitting in my bed, surrounded by stacks of boxes and I wondered if there were even boxes UNDERNEATH the bed. I was a little scared to look but then I told myself that it’s not like I was a kid and there were monsters or anything under the bed. Except that when I looked, there in fact WERE boxes under the bed and further they in fact WERE monsters. The lids of the boxes pushed back and inside were these monsters made of brown corrugated cardboard. They were sort of like large, cardboard marrionettes. DANGEROUS cardboard marrionettes. They had huge sharp teeth like triangles but the teeth actually WERE sharp, not like cardboard but more like box cutters. They started attacking me, biting at my feet and their bites drew blood. I tried to run but the doors were all blocked with stacks of boxes. Finally, I hid in the closet, all curled up. I could hear them just outside the door snapping their jaws. Weird, isn’t it?
(Female, 40′s) Do you remember how, when you were a kid, you could rub a stick back and forth on the sidewalk until you sharpened it to a little point for war games and such? I’d forgotten about that until I had this dream.
In the dream, I was looking after a little girl. She was about 7 or 8, very solemn, with straight, long black hair, no one I know from real life. She was the heir of this farm property and it was my job to protect her. I followed her all over the property, into the barns, up and down ladders, while she played. Her uncle worked on the farm and it became obvious that he was extremely jealous that she had inherited the property and not him. He did the chores resentfully, casting angry glances at the little girl. She was in the way of his fortune; he wanted her dead so badly that he would kill her himself. Since I was supposed to take care of her, I knew what I had to do. I took a broomstick handle and began sharpening it on the cement sidewalk, rubbing it back and forth until I made a very dangerous point. I waited until he was asleep and then I pounded the stick through his temple, just like Jael in the Bible.
Does it count as a nightmare when you find yourself doing something really awful, like killing someone with a stick? I think so.