(Male, 30′s) I’ve been having trouble sleeping recently. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night worried about work or life. So when this dream started, it just felt like I’d woken up again. In the dream, I was in bed next to my wife and it was the middle of the night. What had woken me up was the sound of someone rummaging around in the kitchen which is just next our bedroom. It didn’t sound like whomever was out there cared or even knew there was anyone else alive in the house. It was the sound a leisurely ransack, knocking over a dish, banging into a pan. Why would someone break in to go through our housewares?
I was terrified to get up which is strange because I usually feel quite at home in my own house, even in the middle of the night. I looked to see if I could see the invader but the door to the bedroom was closed. It never gets closed. I thought, I should at least make some kind of noise so the invader knows there’s someone here. In the dream it was hard to move but I picked up a book and threw it at the door. It collided with the wall but made no appreciable sound. That should have been my clue that this was a dream. I picked up something else, a round tray and threw that. It also was silent. That should have been my other clue because that tray wouldn’t have even been in our bedroom.
Finally I decided to get up. My stirring woke my partner who was immediately concerned, mostly that I was awake yet again. I got up and opened the door. There was nothing. I went over to the kitchen. No one. I checked the back door and found it was unlocked, open. Outside was dark, but a clear empty dark. It was the Inky Blackness. I don’t know exactly what was so scary about it, but I was extremely glad there was a door between me and it.
I accused my wife of leaving the door open. We fought a bit then I looked at the door leading down to the basement. It too was dark. I turned the light switch on and it did no good. It was like a wall of darkness, of emptiness, hungry annihilating blackness. The Inky Blackness had gotten inside the house and had filled up the basement.
I finally woke up as I prepared to step into the basement, into that dark, just to see what was going on.
(Female, 40′s) It was the middle of the night in my dream, and I was not able to sleep so I woke up– that is, in my dream I was awake and the only one in the house
who was awake.
So I wandered around the house, being quiet so that I didn’t wake my sleeping family. I went into the kitchen, and I walked to the backdoor to open it and look out in the yard. I wanted to see what the weather was going to be like.
When I opened the door, I saw a huge menacing dog or wolf standing in the yard about 20 feet away from me. It was very dark outside, but the animal was an even darker black in the night. The opening noise of the door caught its attention, and now its gaze was focused on me. Its eyes were bright red; I could see the gleam of its big pointy teeth in its growling mouth. Its fur was ruffed up along its back so it was obviously an angry animal.
As I had opened the door, a broom had fallen into the doorway, so I knew I couldn’t just slam it shut and be safe. I would have to bend over and pick up the broom before I could shut the door, and that action would give the dog enough time to charge me if it wanted. Of course, after mauling me, the dog/wolf would get my sleeping family.
But the dog hadn’t yet made up its mind about attacking me.
Instead, we locked eyes across the short distance. Both of us stood stock still, having a staring contest. Time stretched on. I was too afraid to move at all.
Then suddenly, I blinked and it was gone. I hurried to move the broom and close the door.
I was sitting in bed, reading a book. It was night time and for some reason I had the window shade pulled back so the window was large and black reflecting the lights from the room. I heard a sound outside. I can’t remember exactly what it was but it made me think someone was out there messing around in my backyard. I was outraged and without a single thought I raced out to the kitchen and threw open the back door.
The whole back yard was pitch black but I could heard voices coming from over by the corner of the yard.
“What the hell are you doing back there?”
The voices replied jovially, ha, ha, nothing to worry about.
I flipped the switch for the porch light and without thinking I charged forward into the darkness. I had gone about four steps before I realized that the light had not come on. I was completely engulfed by the dark. I was also just a little disoriented because at that instant all the lights in the housee also went out. I became immediately aware of my vulnerability, standing in my back yard, with the backdoor still presumably wide open, surrounded by darkness with two or three different voices of mischief makers coming from just a few steps away. Their tone shifted to one of menace and mockery.
Startled, I woke up.
(Female, 30′s) In real life, we built a new garage in our backyard a couple of years ago. And it was sort of the garage in my dream, but not exactly, you know, in the way dreams are different from real life. Anyway, this dream was short on story line, but big on image.
In my dream, there had been a huge storm and a gigantic tree collapsed on the top of our garage (there’s really no trees anywhere near our garage).
Half of the garage was destroyed, like utterly smashed in. The upper story collapsed in by this tree. The roof was left all jagged and unstable.
Then a big machine with a big claw was scooping up the damaged bits.
I had no idea how we were going to fix the garage.
(Male, 40′s) I woke with oily puddles of half evaporated tears in my eyes this morning. Horrible dreams about my mother, where she was still alive, where people were having a barbecue on her back lawn, neighbors encroaching on her space like she wasn’t even there. They were using her grill and had pulled another one in as well. Hundreds of invaders. I went over to speak to them. The chief instigator looked like that actor, that guy who played a thug in Dazed and Confused. He offered me a joint. I tried to look cool, to be cool. He assured me he’d got an OK from “the old lady.”
I retreated still agitated. Mom in the dream had a dog, a small shaggy poodle. Wherever it went, the carpet changed from blue to brown, like it was changing the territory to places that belonged to Mom. It strayed into my house — in the dream, I lived next door to my mom. My carpet turned brown, square by square. I went over to talk with Mom. She started complaining about how I hadn’t put a proper tombstone on her grave. I didn’t know what she was talking about for the longest time. I hugged her hard, wrapping my arms around her like I didn’t do enough of in life. She was small and frail. She wore a faded pink housecoat. I told her I was sorry. She didn’t seem to hug me back, she seemed pre-occupied as if I’d caught her in the midst of doing something else. Eventually, I realized what she was talking about with the tombstone and I started weeping. I was still crying when I woke up this morning, early, long before sunrise.
(Male, 40′s) About a year ago, I moved back to my hometown to take care of my aging parents. In the dream, I come back to their house to find none other than Kanye West digging up the bushes in the front yard. Every now and then, he’d stop and consult a landscape designer then he’d go back to digging. When I asked what the heck he was doing, Kanye explained that my folks had sold him the house. My parents were nowhere to be seen. I asked if I could at least get my stuff out of the house and he flatly refused. He said I’d have to leave.
I was pretty bummed at losing all my memorabilia but the kicker was when he said “And what were you thinking with these bushes? I mean, really?”
Micro-funding of niche projects like creepy video games just warms my heart. Amp up that warmth when the project is Creative Commons licensed and even available for linux. So dig “Haunts” a turn-based haunted house game currently soliciting funds for finishing on Kickstarter. Every $5 gets a download code for the game; larger donations get more codes plus the typical silly perks. The game itself looks fun with a style reminiscent of Gorey. Readers of The DailyNightmare might note that players can select portraying the human adventurers who discover the house OR the creepy denizens who would rather just be left alone.
The company, Mob Rules Games, operates with a radically transparent business model and is documenting the development of the game rather publically with lots of behind the scenes bits and pieces. To be brutally frank, it’s good to know that they have a business model since some of the projects on micro-funding sites seem devised without a speck of realistic financial savvy. Since Haunts has been in development for several months already, they appear to be on track to ship an actual product. Donations for these kind of projects work out to be more pre-orders than risky venture capital investments.
So send ‘em a few bucks. $5 is barely what a double-mocha-cappu-frappa coffee costs these days.
(Male, 30′s) I was dragged down a flight of wooden stairs. My shoes made a thump thump thump as they hit each stair, like a drum. I was supported somehow under both arms but the stairs were too narrow to have someone walking on either side. When I realized where I was, I was in my basement, or at least what what supposed to be the basement of my house. We’ve just finished remodeling it into a kind of rec room but this wasn’t cozy. It was more like a workshop, one that had been turned into a torture chamber.
I stood on top of a small box, like a milk crate. I think I may have been tied. Underneath my throat was a hacksaw blade. I think the idea was that if I relaxed, it would start to cut into my throat.
But as I “woke up” in the dream, the blade was less tight. I think I was supposed to be forced to stand on my tip toes, but I was able to stand flat footed.
My torturer turned to look at me. I was supposed to recognize him, I had that sense, but he was no one I knew. I told him that I’d tell him whatever he wanted to know. He said he knew that was true. But that didn’t seem to be of interest. He was more afraid that I’d say what I already knew, that I already knew some horrible secret that shouldn’t be revealed.
I let my mind wander so as not to add to the torture. I knew this wasn’t the first day that I’d faced him. But was it the second? The third? I tried to come up with a technique to remember, to keep myself from going crazy. I looked at the walls. They were covered in shelves of junk. There were two metal cans, like one would use for paint. I told myself to remember that those two cans meant it was the second day or the second session. The next time I was brought before him, I’d look for three of a kind. I kept focused on that idea. The knots around me gradually grew looser.
Eventually, I was just in my bed, awake.
(Male, 20′s) I came home one night, around twilight. The actual house resembled the house that belonged to my grandmother, by the way. But there was something wrong, really wrong. The entire first floor of the building had been ripped apart, pretty much torn down to studs. There were people I didn’t know living there. They were frantic and quite suspicious of me at least at first. It was difficult to explain to them that I actually lived there, that this was my house.
Evidentally they lived there too, somewhere upstairs. I asked what happened. Zombies attacked and started tearing off the siding and drywall. It was like the zombies were cracking the shell of a peanut in order to eat what was inside. But then, evidently the zombies wandered off when dawn came.
The inhabitants of the building were insane with fear because they thought the zombies would return because it was nearing dark. They were useless. I tried to get them to work, to re-arrange some of the rubble into a small defendable structure but they were shell shock, totally gone.
I picked up a piece of metal and stapled it to a joist. There, I thought, at least I’ve started.
(Male, 40′s) I was cleaning in the basement of my house… which is what I actually have been doing the past few nights. I swept the floor and there was a lot of dark dirt on the beige tile. Then I looked up and noticed, for the first time, that there was an immense hole in the basement wall. It was probably 7′ by 7′ and appeared to go through the cinderblock foundation. I wondered “How long has that been there?” and “Why didn’t I ever notice that before?” The hole had beed patched and filled in with many different kinds of brick and concrete and rubble. There was an iron pipe protruding from the patched area right around my head height “How come I never hit my head on that?” There was a central area that was rectangular, roughly the size and shape of a window. It too had been bricked in but at the very bottom, where the sill would have been, there appeared to be two extremely small hands. It looked almost as if a child had tried to crawl out of the hole and instead was bricked inside… inside whatever that hole in the foundation was. I tried not to think about them being actual hands. I swept a bit more and then tried to go upstairs.
As I got to the stairs, a flood of brick dust, dirt the color of dried blood, poured down the stairs. The landslide trapped my feet. I tried to get on top of the flow of red brick dust but another torrent poured down and knocked me back into the basement. I was getting buried and crushed to death but the most important thing I was thinking was that I’d never be able to sweep up all that dirt.
(Male, 30′s) I haven’t had a scary dream in ages but this one really shook me up. I was alone in my house and I knew I wasn’t alone. I could hear someone upstairs, probably several people. They made the sound of Lincoln Logs being thrown together. Lincoln Logs were a toy I had as a kid, basically notched wooden sticks that you could build log cabins. I don’t know where I got them because they were a lot older than I was. But they had this really distinctive “tonk” sound, like tiny wooden logs, a little bit like a wind chime. Did I mention that I knew the people upstairs were here to kill me?
I tried calling the police but only got an answering machine. Then I realized I could just run out the front door. A strange thing happened then because I was outside the house where I grew up, not the one where I live now. And I was still carrying the phone, or at least the receiver of the phone. It didn’t matter how far down the street I ran, I could still hear the sound of those Lincoln Logs rattling around.
Then I was back in the house. I tried calling again and I just hit the answering machine. I had a message from my wife and daughter who for some reason were out of the country at a LAN party. And there was a message from the police saying they’d caught the people who’d stolen my bike (or was it my motorcycle?) they were only able to identify it from the serial number. They couldn’t give it back because they were still identifying the fingerprints and body parts (!!) they’d found with it but they listed out the names of the four people they’d apprehended. I then realized that there must be four people upstairs coming to kill me since they were mad I went to the police about the stolen motorcycle. Or something like that. I tried to escape the house again…
And I woke up terrified and for the first couple seconds even after I was awake I still heard those Lincoln Logs rattling.
(Female, 50′s) I had slept in because it was the weekend and I remember that when I woke up I had a horrible headache likely because my brain was caffeine starved.
I was in one of those surprise remodel TV shows. It seems like my whole family had gotten together to redo our kitchen. My husband and I have been remodeling the kitchen bit by bit improving it whenever possible for several years now. So the buildup to the big reveal comes… and the remodeled kitchen is just horrible.
It was worse than horrible; it’s a collection of everything dreadful that we’d ever gotten rid of dating back from just about every kitchen throughout our marriage. The fridge is this old white model — we finally upgraded to one with a nice stainless steel front. The cupboard were from our old condo. And they had the door handles right in the middle of the doors, which is a silly place for handles. There were dishes out on open air shelves which I hate because they just collect dust. It was horrible.
And everyone was standing around looking so pleased with themselves for what they accomplished. They handed me a bottle of wine and I was so upset I smashed it against the table.
And I woke up!
(Male, 20′s) I had this nightmare about an hour after I fell asleep and when I woke up, I seriously considered just not going back to sleep.
I was in a house with a half dozen other guys. It felt like we were in college and we had rented a house together. What a weird house though. It was like a hollowed out tower but a loft had been built inside that stretched up three full stories. The top floor had a floor entirely covered with mattresses, so I guess that was the bed room.
Most of the guys seemed friendly but shallow, always smiling but just skin deep. I didn’t know if they really were dumb or if there was something else underneath that silly happiness.
One of the guys was very disturbed and very disturbing. He gave off “serial killer vibes.” Tall, wore a wide brimmed hat and a black raincoat that always seemed to be wet. On one occasion he was actually dragging in a plastic bag that looked like it could have contained a dead human body.
I accidentally crossed his path. I was using my computer and I was watching a movie / playing a game about a serial killer. It was a horror survival thing. But then I realized that I had somehow hacked into his computer and I was actually seeing what was live on his screen. And worse, he knew I had seen him. He used the camera in my computer to spy on me all the time.
I was freaked. He was coming for me but I figured I’d be safest if I climbed up to the top of lofts, to the bedroom floor. There were two other guys there. They told me not to worry, that the crazy serial killer guy never climbed up the ladder. We started wrestling for some reason and then I discovered gradually that I couldn’t move my arms or legs. One of the guys laughed, “That’s because we drugged you.” I started to foam at the mouth. “We’re going to rape you and then give you to the serial killer so he can chop up the evidence.” I fell over face down on the mattress, paralyzed, my mouth filled with foam. I was unable to scream but eventually I shook myself hard enough that I woke up.
(Male, 40′s) It’s my own fault. I ate a couple slices of pizza right before bed. I just can’t handle green peppers anymore. This nightmare was an EPIC length ghost story. I hope I made it sound half as scary as I thought it was.
It was night and I was waiting for my girlfriend at a church. I was inside the church, an old style, stone church, not much different from the one I grew up attending in fact it felt like that church even though there was no room in that building like the one in my nightmare. It was getting late and I couldn’t really remember why I was waiting, what was keeping my girlfriend. I couldn’t remember much about her in fact (sorry, dear!) She might have been a professor so I thought maybe she had a night class and then I thought maybe she was a high school principal so she had a long meeting … but I wasn’t 100% certain of anything, only that I was waiting in a pretty large room – one large enough to be a dance hall – so late at night that all the electricity had turned off.
Yeah, that was the first real scary thing. It was like the electricity was timed to turn off at 10:00 or something. I couldn’t turn the lights on even if I wanted to. There was a surprising amount of ambient light, however – through the windows, through the open doors – not enough to see into the corners but enough to make out the general contours of the room. And there was enough light for me to realize that the floor was extremely dirty. There were actual clods of dried mud, like a large group of people had come in from hiking cross country and stood around in this room until the mud fell off their shoes. I didn’t have anything better to do so I grabbed a broom and started to sweep up. I figured that might make the ghosts happy.
Because by this time, I was pretty sure there were ghosts everywhere inside this church. I was hearing strange sounds that I kept telling myself was just the furnace… though now I think about it, a building that shut off the electricity at night probably shut off the heat too. It was white noise that was sculpted almost to sound like music but it also sounded like human voices singing. I also thought I saw lights – shimmering crescents of light – out of the corner of my eye, over where a big storage closet was. But I started sweeping, if for no other reason than to keep my mind off the creepy things in the room. And that’s when the really weird stuff started.
I would no sooner get a pile of dirt swept up and it would dissolve into the floor. I thought at first a breeze had blow it away – which would have been scary enough but it actually was dissolving IN to the floor. I didn’t really care too much. No need to find a dust pan, I guess. But right about this time I realized that there were two large trees growing out of the floor over by where this storage closet was. They were cedars, with long rope-y bark. The diameter of the trunk was over a foot so these were quite strong trees. They came right up through the tiled floor, like the church had been built around them. There was definitely paranormal activity being active over there so I approached to check it out. I was extremely scared but I kept moving closer. A bright bluish glow had started coming out of the closet. Then a dimmer orangeish glow started from one of the trees.
I started hearing a voice-over in my head, like a book-on-tape or a long interview on NPR. The author had written a book called “The Apple and the Cedar” and it was about these very trees. I didn’t have too much faith in his patient, long-winded analysis because for one thing, he entirely mis-indentified one of the trees. The author seemed to think the trees were harmless and they were part of some grand circle of death and re-birth. I was pretty sure that he wasn’t telling the whole story, that there was actually something slightly more dangerous about these trees but I knew what I had to do. I don’t know how I knew it, but I knew it. The long ropes of bark were strangling the trees. If they were going to live, the bark needed to be pulled away. I didn’t know if removing the bark would antagonize the ghosts / spirits but I felt I simply had to do this. I started unknotting the bark from around the trees. It was hard work. Every now and then I’d see a flash of light out of the corner of my eye and hear an angry buzz in my ear so I knew the ghosts were paying attention. I just couldn’t tell what they were thinking. But as I unwrapped the cedar, the light it gave off grew more intense. I could see the buds of new life growing on the undersides of the stems.
That’s the last thing I remember about the dream, looking up at the branches of this cedar, branches that reached all the way to the ceiling and beyond, an seeing all the beautiful new growth on them. As it sounds here, this was a positive ending but I woke up quite disturbed. I didn’t ever figure out whether the ghosts were angry about what I’d done with the cedars. I sat up in my bed. It felt like my whole house was haunted.
“…everything was shut off. We weren’t supposed to be there…”
…that horrible sound again, a rumbling growl and a high pitched scream…
“…My Mom was there which also was strange because she’s dead…”
“…I stood ankle deep in the dead shells and bones of these creatures. I was trapped…”