In the lifetime of a person who has lived an average lifespan, he or she will spend about 230,000 hours asleep, which means you spend approximately a third of your life in that mysterious realm of dreams and altered consciousness which has confounded scientists for centuries.
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Joseph, in the Bible’s Book of Genesis was deemed to be a great prophet because he was able to decode the strange worrying dream of the Pharaoh of Egypt concerning seven fat cows and seven lean ones.
The Pharaoh’s magicians and high priests could not unravel the meaning of the dream, but Joseph said the dream meant that Egypt would enjoy seven bountiful harvests followed by seven years of famine and drought, so the Pharaoh immediately ordered his farmers to stockpile grain and create a spare reservoir of water in preparation for the hard times envisaged.
After this famous dream interpretation, Joseph was elevated to become a vizier – the highest official in Egypt to serve the Pharaoh. Thousands of years later, Sigmund Freud was elevated from a neurologist to an international star when he practically invented psychoanalysis in the 1890s and became an official (and an exceedingly well-paid) dream interpreter.
Despite scientific analysis, the dreaming mind continues to defy the laws of physics. How, for example, can people dream of future events or of incidents in the present happening miles away? A case in point is mentioned in a press report for June 10, 1935.
On the death of their mother, a brother and sister in Bebington quarrelled and the brother went abroad. Months later, the sister had a dream on a Friday evening in which her deceased mother appeared to her in a strange azure satin dress and said: ‘Go to my grave and you will meet your brother – go tomorrow – you must talk to him again!’
The sister went to the grave in Bebington Cemetery – and there was her brother at the graveside. He told her he was there because of a strange dream he’d had on Friday night: ‘Mother appeared in the dream in a pale blue dress, and she said: “Go to my grave and you will meet your sister – go tomorrow – you must talk to her again.”’
Brother and sister made up and remained close for the rest of their lives, and all because of a dream.
Dreams of death are one of the most commonly reported ones that come my way. In 2016, a 44-year-old Tuebrook woman named Leanne returned from her shift at a school canteen one Friday afternoon, and although she was feeling rather tired and worn out with being on her feet in the school kitchen all day, she had to put the tea on.
Her husband and two sons were due home in an hour’s time and Leanne always enjoyed serving them their meals when they came home. However, on this particular afternoon, Leanne sat on the sofa and her tiredness overcame her. She drifted off, and had a very disturbing dream.
She found herself walking down Church Street, and she turned left into Primark, when she almost collided with a workmate she had not seen in years – a 33-year-old woman named Clare, and at first, Leanne thought she was carrying a child – but as Clare got nearer, Leanne saw to her horror that her former workmate was carrying a little coffin.
Leanne awoke with a start and saw that she’d only dozed off for about five minutes, and she got up and went into the kitchen to make herself a strong coffee. As she put the tea on, she thought about the short nightmare, and wondered where shocking imagery like that had come from. Leanne never even watched the most dated and innocuous horror films on the TV; she preferred romantic films and comedies.
She told her husband about the strange dream, and he didn’t even seem to listen to a word she said. The very next day, which was a Saturday, Leanne went to the city centre to do a bit of shopping with her friend Joanne.
Leanne preferred ordering clothes and goods online, but Joanne had persuaded her to go to town so they could have a drink and a meal after they’d been around the shops. Leanne found herself heading towards Primark on Church Street, and she was filled with an intense sensation of déjà vu – she just knew she was going to see her old mate Clare, and she slowed down and looked at Joanne.
‘What’s to do, Lee?’ Joanne asked her friend, noticing that she seemed worried about something.
‘Nothing,’ came a reply from Leanne that was almost whispered.
The two women walked into the popular Irish-owned store – and there was Clare; she was walking towards a thunderstruck Leanne. In her arms, Clare carried her three-year-old son. Clare and Leanne said their hellos and Leanne asked Clare to come and have a drink with her and Joanne, but Clare said she couldn’t.
She had promised her husband she’d be home soon because it was their anniversary and they were going for a meal. Clare said goodbye and Leanne asked Joanne if they could go for a drink first because she’d just had a shock. Joanne thought her friend was pulling her leg at first, but Leanne insisted on going to a nearby pub on Hanover Street.
The two ladies went there and Leanne told her friend about the dream she’d had about Clare carrying the little coffin and Joanne said it had just been a nightmare, and that she was reading too much into it. Leanne said she just knew something was going to happen to Clare’s son.
A week later, Joanne called Leanne on her mobile and said, ‘Where are you?’
‘At home, why?’ Leanne replied, wondering why Joanne had asked her that question.
‘Are you sitting down?’ a sombre-voiced Joanne asked.
‘Standing up – why? What are you asking me daft questions for?’ Leanne replied, getting a bit irritated by Joanne.
‘Sit down, Leanne,’ said Joanne, ‘Clare’s son passed away last night. I only heard about it about ten minutes ago.’
‘What?’ Leanne felt her stomach drop through the floor.
‘He had an allergic reaction to something and stopped breathing,’ Joanne told her. ‘The paramedics were called out but they couldn’t revive him or something.’
‘Oh my God,’ said Leanne, over and over as she felt her blood run cold. ‘Maybe that dream was a warning and I should have told Clare,’ Leanne reasoned, and she started to cry. ‘I should have told her – it must have been a warning and I didn’t do anything about it.’
‘Leanne! Stop it! You couldn’t have done anything about it. I’ll come and see you in a minute, love,’ said Joanne, and she came over and comforted her friend.
Another dream concerning a warning from beyond occurred at Birkenhead in 1960. A midwife named Christine was asleep at her home on Portland Street when she had a vivid dream about her late mother, Winifred – a Liverpool woman who had also been a midwife.
Christine’s mother told her to go at once to a girl who was in labour at a house on Grange Road West, and she kept emphasising the number of this house and warning Christine that there’d be a death if she didn’t go. Christine awoke and told her husband about the realistic dream but he just said, ‘Ah, you had cheese on toast for supper; that’s caused it. Go back to sleep will you? I’ve got to be up at five.’
The same dream played in Christine’s mind two more times and her mother was livid at her for not doing what she was told. Christine felt that her mother had really visited her somehow, and so at 3.15am she sneaked out her bed and drove in her Morris Minor to the address she’d dreamt of on Grange Road West, and a young girl named Susan answered the door with tears in her eyes.
She thought it was her father calling. She explained that her older sister, Patricia, who was just sixteen, was upstairs – about to have a baby – with no one to attend her. She’d run away from her Liverpool home months ago after getting “into trouble” with a boy.
Christine went upstairs and with the help of Susan, she delivered Patricia’s baby boy and convinced the girl to go to hospital. Christine’s husband was dumfounded when he realised his late mother-in-law apparently had contacted Christine in a dream.
One of the most surreal types of warning that can come in sleep is the well-documented ‘backwards dream’ – and the following account is an excellent example of this type of dream. A 50-year-old Tuebrook man named Roy Horner had a series of recurring dreams over one month in 1982. The dreams were very strange because everything happened backwards in them.
Roy was the only person in the dream who could move forwards, and the dreams always began with him standing on the corner of Maiden Lane and Finvoy Road, and the opening scene was always the same eerie one. He was looking down Maiden Lane towards the Knoclaid Road end when he’d see the slow-motion reversal of a weird black car.
This turned out to be a limousine full of mourners, and there were six more limos travelling backwards up Maiden Lane behind it. The funeral cortege would reverse around the corner where Roy was standing and travel backwards into Finvoy Road, with the hearse being the rear car.
The procession of ominous black cars would then all swing left into Isabel Grove, and it was easy for Roy to run to this street to see where they were going because the whole world was moving so slow, but he could move at a normal speed. Upon reaching Isabel Grove, the funeral hearse stopped at a certain terraced house where all of the windows were covered with white blinds.
The pall bearers then removed the coffin from the hearse and walked backwards into the house, and Roy went in with them, but they didn’t seem to notice him. The six men walked backwards through the hall into the little front parlour, and as they put the coffin on a stand, a spectacled woman said to the man next to her, ‘Checked heart bleeding his get and go to him told Stan.’
The lid of the coffin was then pushed off by the body inside it, which sat up and reached out for the woman. The ‘dead’ man was baldy but had tufts of red hair on either side of his head. He was in tears, and the shock of a dead man merging from a coffin would always wake Roy at that point.
Roy had this dream almost every night, for a month, and then they stopped. A few weeks later, Roy was visiting a friend on Portrush Street, and he had to take a shortcut down Isabel Grove, so imagine the shock he got when he not only recognised the street in the dream, he also saw a hearse, followed by a train of black limousines pull up. The hearse was outside the very house he had seen on so many nights in that scary backwards dream.
He mingled with the crowds outside the neighbouring houses and he saw the very same spectacled woman come out of the house after the pallbearers had carried the coffin into the hearse. To some man, the woman with the glasses on said: ‘Stan told him to go and get his bleeding heart checked.’
Roy went cold in the pit of his stomach, because he realised now that he had heard the woman say those very words – in reverse – in those ghastly morbid dreams. Roy did not know the man who had died and he was baffled as to why he had experienced so many dreams about him.
Thinking it might be a warning, Roy visited his doctor and lied about having chest pains. The doctor eventually referred Roy to a heart specialist – who discovered that Roy had a dangerously enlarged heart, and Roy had to have heart valve surgery. Roy stopped smoking and made a full recovery and he is still alive today, and he thinks those strange dreams somehow served as a warning – a warning which saved his life.
The most chilling case of a psychic dream concerns a 40-year-old Birkenhead woman named Celia, who woke up screaming one night in 1968 and almost throttled her milkman husband Brian, who was trying to get some precious sleep before his working day started – at 3.30am. Celia said that she had seen a ghastly murder in a dream in which a smart-suited man with red hair had strangled and raped a woman.
The whole thing was too realistic to have been a dream, Celia maintained, and she’d had these dream warnings before. The dreams went on, night after night, and Celia, who was very good at drawing, sketched a picture of the red-headed murderer in his black suit, white shirt and royal blue tie. ‘He’s got a Scottish accent,’ Celia told her bemused husband, ‘and Brian, he knows I’ve seen him in the dreams because he’s psychic too and he’s come down here to look for me.’
‘What? All the way from Scotland? You’re going worse, you are,’ Brian told her. ‘It’s all in the mind – all these crime series you’re watching on the telly and that.’ However, on the following morning, Brian saw a red-haired man with a blue tie and black suit standing outside his home on Price Street, and he looked like the man Celia had sketched. ‘Nice morning isn’t it? The stranger said to Brian in a Scottish accent.
He was also seen following Celia to the shops and after a week of this, Brian reported the Scotsman to the police. A policeman who looked at the sketch of the stalker remarked that he looked like the identikit picture of “Bible John” – a mysterious religiously-motivated serial strangler and rapist wanted in Scotland. A policeman followed Celia whenever she went out the house, and he too saw the red-haired man when Celia pointed him out, but this man ran off and he never stalked Celia again. Bible John was never captured…
Author: Tom Slemen, who is a Liverpool writer, known foremostly as the author of the best-selling Haunted Liverpool series of books which document paranormal incidents and unsolved or unusual crimes. Check his Books on Amazon here.