Saturday, September 6, 2008

JJNN Saturday: Pseudoscience - 06

Welcome again to JJNN for Saturday September 6th, 2008. Today we will be taking about waking dreams.

Have you ever had a time when you were sleeping and you suddenly woke up? Did you find that you couldn't move when you woke up? When you woke up did you ever feel that there was someone or something in the room with you that wasn't supposed to be there? Maybe you saw or just felt a figure in white or a small green man with big eyes. Anyone have any of those experiences?

If you did have any of those experiences you were not be haunted or being looked over from aliens from across the void of space. What were you experiencing is known as a waking dream. Waking dreams are actually a common experience that happens to everyone around the world all the time.

I want to explain what a waking dream using an example from my own life. About 6 months ago after a long day at work and shamisen practice I crawled into bed for a good night's sleep. I quickly drifted off to a very light sleep. It was than that I woke up in a total panic. I knew for sure that there was something or someone in my room. I looked around, but there was no one there. I could feel them standing there near my door. My body was fighting to react to the terror, but I found that I couldn't move at all. I was struggling as hard as I could to get up and run to the other side of my room, but I couldn't move at all. The only thing that I could move were my eyes. I knew that this thing in my room would come to attack me, and sure enough it did. I could feel it suddenly move forward and grab my foot. As soon as it grabbed my foot I found that I could move. I jumped away and looked around and surely enough it was only me in that room.

So, what exactly happened? A lot of things actually. The person that I felt in my room was a dream. I couldn't see it because it wasn't there. There are people that go though a deeper version of waking dreams that do actually dream something in their room. Why couldn't I move? Well that is for my own safety. When a person goes into REM sleep the part of the brain that controls body movement shuts down for a little while so we don't react to our dreams in real life. When people have trouble shutting this part of the brain off it leads to things like sleep walking. So, not being able to move while dreaming is a normal thing. Why could I move at the end? Well that is because the terror of the whole experience ended up fully waking me up. Why did I dream that there was something in my room? I don't know. I guess that is what I am the most paranoid about so it came up in my dreams.

What do you think my reaction would be if I didn't know about waking dreams? I would have thought it was some type of ghost in my house. At that point I heard that there was a ghost in my house any way so I guess that would be the logical conclusion. But, I have heard of waking dreams. I was able to figure it out as soon as I fully woke up and wrote it off as a natural thing that happened in my brain, not an evil spirit in my room. I was lucky that I heard about waking dreams because if I have not I would be living somewhere else at this point.

The thing is, not a lot of people actually know what waking dreams are. They have this weird experience and don't know what to think about it. A lot of good ghost and daemon stories come out of waking dreams. Any story that has some sort of spirit that sits on your chest so you can't move is actually a waking dream. This includes stories about old hags (the origin of the term "hag ridden" for someone that looks tired), incubus, succubus and other ghosts.

The thing is this changes by society. People a long time ago heard the stories of succubus so that is what they experienced. If your culture has no stories like the story of the succubus you never experience a succubus waking dream. You would experience the waking dream that fits your society and culture. After the stories of Roswell and aliens in the west a lot of people have experienced waking dreams that include aliens. That is how a lot of abduction stories got started. It not something from outer space, it is something from inside your head.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 夢(ゆめ). It is pronounced yume and means dream. In Japanese they say yume wo miru, which means to dream. If you literally translate those words it means to see a dream. I sort of like that.

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.

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