ZOMBIE DREAMS!

Happy August! I almost let the day get away from me, because I am very much feeling like the subject of today’s entry: ZOMBIES!

I had no idea these were so popular, but zombie dreams ranked right up there with lucid dreaming and insomnia. When I think of zombie dreams, I don’t necessarily think of the “hordes of hungry undead” type zombies. In my dreams, they are certainly in varying states of decay, but I usually only see one, and it’s not inherently threatening. The sight of an animated corpse is just incredibly unnerving, whether it would eat you or just bring you another cup of coffee.

So what came first, zombies or animated corpse nightmares? I’m certain people have been having zombie nightmares for as long as people have been dying and dreaming. It was probably a lot more common when your daily life might involve seeing a corpse. (Those poor cops and morticians! I think it’s bad enough when I have repetitive dreams about filing paperwork. Geez!) How often do you dream that you’re talking to someone you know is dead? One of the major facets of any culture is treatment of the dead, and it’s not surprising to want to bring the dead back to life. We just don’t want them to return to life as their body continues to decay.

As you may or may not be aware, “zombie” comes to us from the West African Vodun tradition. These were revived by a bokor and are essentially mindless servants. It’s a fantastic idea, and one that Harvard ethnobotanist Wade Davis suggested is inaccurate. Davis proposed that the zombies had never been dead to begin with, they had simply been given a substance that put them into a state of suspended animation, after which they would be revived in a state of psychosis.

So real zombies aren’t much like the movie zombies that have been spreading through pop culture. They went from terrifying speculation to excellent comedy and now they’re just a part of fictional nature, being cartooned onto children’s school supplies, like unicorns and dragons. They begin to lose their scare factor when so many people are prepared for a zombie apocalypse.

…then you have a dream about zombies and remember just how scary they are!

I’m not big on interpreting dream symbols, because symbols seem to vary in meaning from person to person. If a zombie chases you and you are scared, it probably means the same thing as if a clown chases you and you are scared. That said, here is the most commonly copy+pasted snippet I’ve found.

“To see or dream that you are a zombie suggests that you are physically and/or emotionally detached from people and situations that are currently surrounding you. You are feeling out of touch. Alternatively, a zombie means that you are feeling dead inside. You are just going through the motions of daily living.

To dream that you are attacked by zombies indicate that you are feeling overwhelmed by forces beyond your control. You are under tremendous stress in your waking life. Alternatively, the dream represents your fears of being helpless and overpowered.” – dreammoods.com

This gets paraphrased all over the internet. If you’re the zombie, you’re feeling detached. If you’re chased by zombies, you’re feeling overwhelmed. No wonder zombie dreams are so common, that describes the workforce at large.

But what about a dream of a single animated corpse, all sinewy and disgusting? What if it’s not chasing you or in any other way threatening you, but the sight of it still makes your skin crawl? That’s the kind of zombie dreams I have most often. Realistically, something that decayed would barely be able to stand, and maybe it’s that unnatural element that creeps me out.

Have you had a zombie dream/nightmare? Please comment!

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Nightmares

I’ve got a schedule planned for this blog to give it some structure. Tuesdays will be the scientific/research/medical entries, Wednesday will be the personal subject commentary entries, and Thursday will be a free day for cool dream related stuff I’ve found. I’ll be adding a few more pages to the blog for helpful links and terms used in the blog.

Today is a Wednesday, so it’s a personal subject day. I chose nightmares.

I don’t remember much of my dreams from early childhood, but I do remember the nightmares. They were really simple and symbolic when I was a toddler. Between the ages of 2 and 4, I remember a recurring nightmare that I called “The Eyes.” But they weren’t eyes at all. They were just two spots that sort of floated in the air and followed me around. One was small and black, the other was large and orange. They were positioned like eyes, which I suppose is why I called them that. The dreamscape was usually some sort of newsprint. Black and white buildings, black and white paper cutout people from some era I’d only seen in old photographs. Perhaps the eyes were actually cigarette burns in this paper dreamscape and that’s why they were so scary, but I really felt stalked/haunted by them.

As I got older, the nightmares would have more real fear triggers, like snakes or tornadoes. I was terrified by natural disasters in my teen years. The big movies at the time were all about tornadoes and volcanoes, and a town nearby mine had been devastated by a tornado. I kept imagining how easily one could rip my little house apart and it was a very real concern of mine for years. I also had terrible dreams about monsters and zombies at this time in my life. During the early teen years I was very religious, and I was actually baptized at 14. I was plagued by nightmares several times a week.

During my later teen years, my parents were divorced, and the nightmares weren’t so terrifying anymore. There were some awful subjects, but they didn’t scare me awake anymore. I felt like I could handle them. In one, I actually remember myself dying. That’s something many people believe you can’t witness, but I know several people who have experienced that. I was fleeing from some people who had a Predator with them. I tried to hide in an old abandoned hospital. They found me and asked me “How would you like to die?” I suggested “Old age.” “Not an option!” My next choice was to be injected with something from the hospital, which they did. I saw myself sitting on a table, the needle go into my leg, and as my body fell back, I was suddenly watching from darkness above. There was nothing. No feeling, no light, just nothingness. It wasn’t scary. It was peaceful, like this was the most natural state of existence. I thought “Okay…what now?” Then I woke up.

Other nightmares involved the deaths of people close to me, but I actually woke up crying when I had nightmares of my pets getting injured. Around this time, I wasn’t going to church anymore and my spiritual interests turned more toward witchcraft. This continued into college. Infrequent nightmares and nothing so bad I couldn’t face the problem in my dream.

After leaving a bad relationship, for nearly the entire duration of the next serious relationship, I would have nightmares that my ex was back, but I would violently attack him and often wake up frustrated that all the yelling and hurting I could inflict wouldn’t make him go away. After entering the third serious relationship, the nightmares stopped. Nightmares now only involve separation from my important people from which I will sometimes wake up crying. There are other dreams that I would call “bad dreams” with some absolutely disgusting elements, but very rarely do I have nightmares anymore. At this point, I wouldn’t say I’m devoid of spirituality. I feel a great spiritual connection to the universe, but I experience it as an extension of the sciences.

Upcoming topics for this blog: REM sleep, time-lapse video sleep study, chemicals of sleep, and lucid dreaming.