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Haunted dreams

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Man lurking at window Man lurking at window (mnapoleon/flickr/CC-BY-2.0)

Matt Kielty introduces us to Steve Volk, a city reporter in Philadelphia who--for decades--was plagued by a recurring nightmare. It popped up whenever Steve was going through a stressful time, and it always played out exactly the same way. But no matter how self-aware Steve was about his most current set of anxieties, and no matter how hard he tried to rationalize and explain away the dream...he couldn't make it stop.

Then one year, Steve started working on a book about topics at the edge of science, and along the way he stumbled into lucid dreaming. Pretty soon, Steve was reading through old sleep studies conducted by a scientist named Stephen LaBerge, and he was starting to wonder if lucid dreaming might not be so fringe-y after all. So he called up LaBerge's assistant and began training himself on a set of techniques that would eventually help him put his inner demon to bed.

Read more:

Fringe-ology, by Steve Volk

Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming, by Stephen LaBerge

Guests:

Steve Volk

Comments [7]

I really enjoyed this rerun this evening, but it did remind me my nightmares long ago.

When I was a child, I used to have a lot nightmares. Remember Chucky? I had a lot of horrible dreams of this tiny doll chasing me through an endless dark hallway. I'm not sure when, but after some time I was able to know that I was dreaming and woke myself up by move my body upright in bed.

I don't have those dreams anymore, but every once in a long while I would have a nightmare. The last one I actually let out a blood curdling scream in my sleep.

Sep. 21 2013 03:48 AM
Thad from Washington

It would have been good to hear of odd types of dreams. I suffered night terrors as a child and eventually got control. Now, I have more omnipotent dreams where I jump from character to character. Often I'm a totally different person with different feelings, then I "shift" and all of a sudden I'm the person hearing what I was just saying.
I am pretty lucid in most my dreams. However, I tried the method described. It worked for what was about five minutes. Then, I became too conscious and found myself losing the dream and becoming awake. :( obviously lucid is different then conscious.

Dec. 11 2012 07:13 AM
Jason from Rochester MN

When I was maybe 7, I learned to do this from the simple instructions given by Ray in episode 107 of The Real Ghostbusters "Mr Sandman Dream Me a Dream

http://youtu.be/_EXg3nqrYXs?t=2m30s

I can't really do this on demand anymore, but it makes it hard to have nightmares. In the grown up adult world of hard and fast reality where everything is logically bound up into a set of unbreakable rules, I sometimes find it very difficult to have a trancending moment. I appreciate a good nightmare every now and then (the ones I forget to control) I know this may sound a little twisted, but it's one of the few ways that I ever get in touch with that otherworldly sense of awe and mystery that we are so tuned into as children. To wake up from a dream death into this life may in fact be the only life after death experience permitted by the cosmos. Controling my dreams is just another instance of logical reality taking all the fun out of stuff.

Nov. 10 2012 05:06 PM
Rory Antonsson from Sweden

I love this episode, its like a horror-movie that Ive experienced via this fantastically produced episode.

I want to hear more stuff like this, any audiobook or podcast-suggestions? Horror-stuff like this, real stuff.

Sep. 17 2012 04:05 PM
Edie DeWeese from Boulder, CO

In first grade when I was learning to ride a bike, I kept having dreams of falling off. In the dreams I started "re-running" the sequence of events to before the fall so I could make myself stay on the bike. After that, when I had scary dreams I would make myself walk through whatever frightened me and it would disappear.

Jul. 01 2012 06:22 PM
Harlan Johnson from Rockford, IL

For over 30 years I've been teaching people about Senoi Dreamwork - which is a waking state way of becoming the master of your dream universe, being surprised by having wonderful things happen, and bringing gifts back to the waking life. It doesn't have to happen in a sleeping dream.

Jul. 01 2012 03:44 PM
Chaski from Santa Cruz, CA

I was excited to accidentally hear "Haunted Dreams"! Over a period of many years I've experienced the same sort of dream, except that it's positive and not scary. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the recurrent dream's basis and even bought S. LaBerge's book a couple of years ago. I taught myself to lucid dream (only in the hypnopompic state for me). My story parallels Steve Volk's description, and it was so neat to hear that shared experience on the radio. My dream suddenly came and never went away like his did. It has even influenced my life in a number of ways when I look back. Since it's positive and not ominous like S. Volk's, I'd never want it go away. These "haunted" phenomena aren't necessarily negatory as may be implied by the story. Thanks!

Jun. 30 2012 06:09 PM

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