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No. 18: Nov-Dec 1981

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Dreams More Real Than Reality

Those people who experience so-called lucid dreams say that they are not only vivid in all human senses but completely under the control of the dreamer. Specifically, individuals can be commanded to appear and the action controlled to please the dreamer. As Keith Hearne, a dream researcher, remarks with tongue-in-cheek, the entertainment possibilities are endless if lucid dreaming could be induced in everyone!

Lucid dreams are so real that the dreamer will sometimes believe that he has awakened and answered questions from the researcher, when nothing like that has happened. Lucid dreaming occurs only during periods of REM (Rapid Eye Movements) sleep. The lucid dream-er, however, can signal the dream researcher that lucid dreaming has begun with agreed-upon eye movements and changes in the rate of breathing.

(Hearne, Keith; "Control Your Own Dreams," New Scientist, 91:783, 1981.)

Comment. The fact of lucid dreaming encourages many questions. How is it related to out-of-the-body experiences and hallucinations? Pertinent once more is that old philosophical teaser: How do we know that reality is not a dream from which we shall soon awaken? It turns out that lucid dreamers have to devise special tests to ascertain whether they are dreaming or awake!

From Science Frontiers #18, NOV-DEC 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss