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No. 131: SEP-OCT 2000

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Anomalous Dreams

At the 2000 annual meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, S. Krippner and L. Faith reported on their analysis of 1,666 dream reports. In this large sample, they identified 134 dreams that they deemed anomalous in one way or another. They classified these dreams as follows:

In telepathic dream reports, it is the dreamer's impression that the dream correctly identified the thoughts of someone in external reality at the time of the dream. Mutual dreams are those in which the dreamer and someone else report similar dreams on the same night. Clairvoyant dreams concern distant events about which the dreamer had no ordinary way of knowing. In precognitive dreams, information is reported about an event that had not taken place at the time of the dream. A past-life dream concerns past events in which the dreamer participated but with a different identity than characterizes his or her current life. Initiation dreams introduce the dreamer to a new worldview, or to a new mission in life. In visitation dreams, the dreamer is visited by ancestors, spirits, or deities, and is given messages or counsel by them.

Lucid, healing, and out-of-body dreams were also deemed anomalous but were not defined in the abstract. In fact, lucid dreams were the most common type of anomalous dream. Out-of-body dreams came next. Precognitive dreams were third in frequency.

(Krippner, Stanley, and Faith, Laura; "Anomalous Dreams: A Cross-Cultural Study," Society for Scientific Exploration paper, 2000.)

Comments. Lucid dreams are especially vivid and, in addition, under the direct control of the dreamer. Actually, all dreams are anomalous in the sense that it is difficult to understand how dreaming evolved. How can a series of small, random mutations introduce these often bizarre images that drift through the not-so-quiescent, sleeping brain? How could dreaming have had enough survival value to our distant ancestors to lock it permanently into the human genome?

From Science Frontiers #131, SEP-OCT 2000. 2000 William R. Corliss

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