Extrasensory Perception in Dreams

As I mention in the book, over the years, I have gotten used to members of my classes or dream groups talking about extra-sensory perception occurring in their dreams. For some people, such experiences seem to be a regular occurrence and often involve relatively trivial events, like predicting that a certain relative is going to call on the phone. For others, the experience is a once-in-a-lifetime event, usually very dramatic. Telepathic experiences are usually the most emotionally charged, such as dreaming that a loved one is in intense emotional distress and then having that turn out to be the case.

Dream sharing, in which two people report having the same or almost the same dream during the same night’s sleep, is a particular form of telepathy that is sometimes reported in dream groups. These experiences almost always seem to occur when the two people are very close and one or the other of them is going through an emotionally turbulent time.

This forum is a place to share such experiences. By way of further introduction of the topic, I would like to define a few terms.

The terms parapsychology, psychic phenomena, or extra-sensory perception are used differently by different writers. But the overlapping labels refer to phenomena that are as elusive and difficult to pin down as they are fascinating and important to study. The most common of these terms is extrasensory perception (ESP).

The term extrasensory perception describes experiences that are extra-sensory, meaning beyond our sensory capacity to perceive. For instance, our eyes, which are capable of perceiving within certain limits, cannot see through walls. Neither can they physically see what is going on 1,000 miles away. So if I claim to see something that my eyes just can’t see, I am making a claim for extrasensory perception.

There are three kinds of extra-sensory experiences that have been claimed and studied. The first, called telepathy is essentially mind-to-mind communication. There is no physical perceptual mechanism by which I can read your mind. So if I claim to do so, I am making a claim for mental telepathy. The second kind of ESP is clairvoyance, which is the perception of remote events. So if I claim that I see or have seen a train wreck that happened thousands of miles away, I am making a claim for clairvoyance. The third kind of ESP is precognition, which is the perception of events before they happen. So if I claim that I saw your car accident before it happened, I am making a claim for precognition.

Some people report all of these kinds of extrasensory experiences as being part of their dream life.

In addition, some people while asleep have the experience of their consciousness somehow leaving their body, and perceiving their body and sometimes other things in the environment, from an outside perspective. We also know that somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of patients who have experienced cardiac arrest have had some sort of near-death experience in which they leave their body and have experiences from what seems like a different level of reality.

So what are we to make of all this? My own take is that putting all of the dreamlike experiences together creates a picture of the sleeping mind as actively engaged with many levels of reality. This is clearly the experience of many people who pry open the door between waking consciousness and sleeping consciousness. And sometimes, as in the case of Francine, the connection between such an experience and the external world seems startlingly firm and accurate. Beyond that, I can’t say. But I will say that walking back and forth between these two experiential worlds enriches the lives of those who do it.

The word premonition is more commonly used than the term precognition but essentially means the same thing. There have been a number of efforts to register or document premonitions so that there would be evidence of their validity. One such effort did seem to produce some positive evidence.

In one dramatic example, the Central Premonitions Registry in New York City received a telegram predicting that President Reagan would be shot and, if there was no explosion, he would survive the assassination attempt. This prediction, which was received before the March 1981 attempt on Mr. Reagan’s life, was based on a precognitive dream which included the information that three to six shots would be fired.

As mentioned earlier, telepathy is defined as the sending or receiving of information through non-sensory means, (mind-to-mind communication). Anecdotal accounts of occurrences abound, and many of them are reported to occur during dreams. We might speculate that the mind is especially sensitive to incoming information during the attentiveness that dream sleep involves.

In the early 1970s, a team of researchers at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY conducted a number of experiments in which dreamers who had previously reported such experiences were mentally sent information by a group of senders who were staring at a photographic slide in a room some distance away. While the researchers report the results to be inconsistent, some of the dreams of receivers seemed to have been influenced by the content of the slide.

I hope that this brief introduction to the topic of dreams and extrasensory perception encourages you to share your experiences here.

8 thoughts on “Extrasensory Perception in Dreams

  1. I never thought about the bridges being a symbol of fear over the next chapter in life, but its very interesting since I had one bridge dream that was re-occuring. When I was about 6 or 7, my parents split up. Every Saturday night, my mom and step dad would take me and my brother and sister out to dinner at a favorite resturant. My re-occuring dream was about us going to that resturant in a car, being on a bridge we used to have to travel over, and my stepfather would get mad and throw my little sister out the window just as we were traveling over the bridge. I would yell at him and he would then throw me out the window! I would find my sister sitting by the water near the bridge, and I would try to console her by giving her a doll(a doll that we didn’t have in real life, but I desperately wanted, a “Dressy Bessie Doll.”) but she would through the doll in the water. I knew this meant she was very upset since this doll was a prized possession. The dream would always end there with a feeling of dispair and I had this dream maybe a dozen times. The very last time I had this dream, it didn’t end there, but my sisterand I began to walk home, and as we found our way down the street, a blue car pulled up and it was our neighbor. She asked what was going on, and we began to tell her the story and then the dream ended. I never had the dream again after that. I have thought of this dream many times and never recognized it as a symbol of my fear of moving on and trusting my stepfather. Very cool angle, Thank you! I am sure you may have other comments and insights about this re-occuring dream, and I would love to read them, too.

    • Hello again Andrea. I apologize for the long delay in getting back to you but I’ve been out of town – in Telluride Colorado where I presented at their public library on the topics of sleep dreams and self hypnosis. It was a very worthwhile evening with more than 50 people in attendance. A very interested and enthusiastic group.

      Anyway, I think that your interpretation of the dream is very reasonable. I think that the parts about your stepfather throwing both you and your sister out the car may very well have suggested your misgivings about whether or not he wanted you in his life at all. It sounds as though things resolved in a positive way both in the dream and in your life.

      You seem to have vivid dreams so any more that you would like to post on this website would be welcome. Thanks again for your interest and your willingness to share your dreams.

  2. When I was little I used to have nightmares about bridges. Some were about long bridges that would break while I was on them, others were about bridges familiar to me that we would crash off of. As an adult, I found out that my dad had the same type of dreams. As we discussed this similarity in ours dreams, we also discovered that we shared two other dream themes; being naked or in our underwear in public and not being able to find a toilet to use that isn’t in the middle of a kitchen or public area. I found this type of “dream sharing” very interesting. Are dreams hereditary somehow?

    • Andrea, your dreams about bridges crashing and cars crashing off of bridges seem to me to probably be at least in part your child’s mind sensing your vulnerability. Children are generally consciously unaware of the dangers that lurk in our environments. But on some kind of a deep level little people probably are aware of how fragile and delicate and vulnerable they are.

      On a more symbolic level bridges are transitions from one place to another and could be a good symbol for a child’s fear of moving on to the next chapter in life. Fear of the unknown is powerful.

      Both dreams of being in underwear or naked and also of being challenged to find a proper toilet both would suggest a feeling of being exposed and maybe open to criticism and disapproval. Think about that and see if it fits with your memories of when you had these dreams.

      In terms of your father and you having similar dreams that sounds very familiar and while I don’t know if it’s anything like Genetics it certainly speaks to having common threads of psychological issues both positive and challenging. Having the same dreams during the same stage of life May be revealing some real closeness between the two of you.

      thanks for sharing your experiences of your dream world!

  3. I once had a very strange dream that I didn’t understand. There was this family that lived down the street when I was growing up, and I knew there were two brothers and a sister. In my dream I saw who I thought was one of the brothers shot in the head. He was bleeding from a crack in his forehead, and was in bad shape. My only weird detail was that the brother had blonde hair. Both the boys in this family had dark hair and so did the sister. The dream was vivid and a sense of deep concern filled me from it, but I couldn’t figure out why I was worried about this guy being one of the brothers when he definitely had blonde hair in my dream. When I went to work that afternoon, I told my dream to my manager, and she grew pale. She too knew the family, and what I didn’t know was there was another brother; an older brother with blonde hair. And just the night before, the same night I had this dream, he had a car accident. He ran his car off the road and crashed, cutting a wide gash into his forehead down to and through his skull. He was in very bad shape, and the description of his head injury sounded exactly like what I saw in my dream from the “gun shot”. I have remembered this dream for twenty five years, it was vivid and freaky to find such a connection.

    • Marget, your dream would be called a clairvoyant dream. Clairvoyance is a term for the kind of extra sensory perception that involves being able to see or sense things that are out of your sensory range. Since there was no direct way for you to know about this accident your dream seems to have expressed an awareness of information that seemed unavailable through the usual sensory channels. These kinds of dreams are not too uncommon if we believe even some of the accounts that I have heard over the years. It does appear that certain people are much more likely to have these kinds of experiences. It is also true that most people that have one such experience have another one sometime later. It is probably still unclear to you why you would seem to be so connected to this neighbor when you didn’t even know of his existence. Such is one of the mysteries of these kinds of baffling dreams.

      A second kind of extra sensory dream is a precognitive dream in which the dream seems to be describing an event that hasn’t yet occurred. I would be interested if you or any other readers have had such dreams.

      • I definitely always wondered why I had this dream about an obscure neighbor who I never met. But I have learned since then, that I often have dreams abouit things that dont really matter. Like the Jerry Sienfelf of dreams. Once, I dreamed I hit a dear while driving down a back road, and that next morning on the news there was a story about a woman driving down a back road the night before that hit a deer. Dreams like this often happen to me, but I see no use for them, besides the obviouis facination of course!

        • Hello again Marget,
          These kinds of dreams are indeed fascinating and speak to the possibility that our sleeping minds may be more alert to things around us in the world that we might think. This can sometimes turn out to be important information as in dreams that warn of possible future dangers or that seem to make an early diagnosis of impending illness.
          Thanks again for your dream sharing and for your interest in this website.

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