Our dreams are a fascinating reflection of who we are.
They change as we grow as people, often dissolving our anxieties, interactions and thoughts into one big thick stew of images that are often challenging to interpret.
Carl Jung once wrote in his collection of essays, Civilization in Transition, “The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the psyche, opening into the cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness may extend.”
As a teen, I’d often dream about helping people who were victims of hauntings. The dreams would teeter on the precipice of nightmare territory, and sometimes just jump off that cliff face into the lurking depths of terror below.
Upon awakening — heart rate elevated — the vivid dreams would often give me enough inspiration to write up a plot for one of the many stories I scribbled into an idea book.
Then, I’d flip through my mom’s copy of 10,000 Dreams Interpreted by Gustavus Hindman Miller to get a sense of what was going on in my teenage brain. But one thing I could never quite find an explanation for was the recurring theme of being a paranormal investigator in my visions.
Perhaps it was the steady stream of paranormal TV being jammed in that head of mine. I grew up watching “The X-Files”, “Unsolved Mysteries” and “Sightings”. I drank in the words from paranormal books with my eyes — perhaps too much Ed and Lorraine Warren — and obsessed about the quatrains of Nostradamus a little too much.
When I reflect on that, I laugh. I really didn’t have much of a religious upbringing. The only time the Bible was mentioned was if I was acting out-of-line and my parents — mostly my mom — would threaten me with Bible camp or a force-reading of the Book in order to get me to behave. (Clearly, even in my middle age, I associate organized religion with punishment.)
But that secular background allowed me to explore different cultural beliefs and dive deeper than most into the uncanny. It spurred me in the direction of archaeology and social anthropology at university.
So, when it came to my sleep-time dreams as a teen, I was inundated with the paranormal. I still am, although the recurring theme of paranormal investigator has been swept aside by interviewing people as a journalist. My favourite example involves sitting at a Venetian café, talking with Cindy Crawford and Daniela Pestova, while waiting for Alessandra Ambrosio to arrive. (As the saying goes, one can dream … but I digress.)
Still, a paranormal theme does creep in from time to time. That dream is being offered a home to live in, as long as I write about all the uncanny experiences.
Yes, my subconscious hope that someone bequeaths a house to me is blended with my intrigue of the paranormal. But I doubt my wife, who is Roman Catholic, would approve of living in a haunted house. She’s often given me a humourous but firm warning, “Don’t bring anything back with you” whenever I’ve covered a spooky location or event.
Dreams aren’t as common as in my youth. Perhaps my lack of good sleeping habits prohibits me from entering REM, thus rendering any vivid dreams non-existent. I blame becoming a parent for that.
But, the paranormal has been a constant throughout my life. Even in the early stages of my journalism career I still absorbed the paranormal, I just kept my interest on the down low or it manifested in what I covered for publications as a reporter.
Now, I feel I can freely write about it. I mean, it was either the paranormal or supermodels. But a middle-aged, non-fashion-forward man interviewing supermodels is dubious at best. So, paranormal it is!