Tag Archives: dreams

Conversations with Spirits during Dreams (Memorate)

Text 

Collector: “Have you ever been contacted by a spirit?” 

Informant: “With loved ones that I have lost, I have had experiences with them partially in the physical world and a lot in the metaphysical slash dream world. When our Nana died, I started having dreams about her and they felt immensely real. I’ll still have some every now and again. I’ve had experiences with my father’s grandfather who passed away. Immediately after he passed away, he came to me in a dream and told me things about myself, gifts that I had, and I felt like he was very at peace with his death. I only experienced him once, same with my great-grandmother. Two days prior to her physical death.” 

Collector: “What made this experience feel different than other dreams, your normal dreams?” 

Informant: “In these dreams, I felt paralyzed like another force was holding on to me. Almost like my soul was in a different place and then needed time to get back to my body. I found myself lying in bed. I heard the sound of static like a television channel. It grew louder. I grew more uneasy. My body felt celestial is the best way to put it.” 

Context

The Informant is a 26-year-old man. He’s had several spiritual interactions through intense dreams and episodes of sleep paralysis. Each interaction was with a deceased family member after or nearly before their time of passing. The Informant expressed he could have full-length conversations with the dead through this medium. 

Analysis

I found it interesting that the Informant’s spiritual interactions took place during vivid dreams. This reminded me of the article, “Ghostly Possession and Real Estate: The Dead in Contemporary Estonian Folklore” when the author Ülo Valk explains that, “visual and auditory experiences with spirits can also occur in dreamlike states.” (Valk 34) In this dream space, both parties could say their peace. These encounters also happened near the Spirit’s time of death. This could be interpreted as the Spirit “finishing business” with loved ones before moving on to the afterlife. Valk also notes that spiritual interactions commonly occur in transition periods where there are feelings of, “disorientation, uncertainty, discontinuity, [and] unrootedness.” (Valk 35) Those emotions are common during grief. For the Informant, these spiritual conversations helped both parties to emotionally move forward and find peace in their respective realms. 

A Nat’s Malevolent Dream

Nationality: Burmese

Primary Language: Burmese

Other Language(s): English

Age: 19

Occupation: Student

Residence: Baltimore, WA

Performance Date: 03/19/2024

Y.Y. has been my friend since Kindergarten, and is also a Burmese person who is originally from Yangon, Myanmar. He recounts the time P, his grandma told him a horror story about Burmese spirits. Their relationship is very close knit, as his grandma would regularly tell him Burmese legends and superstitions that she has learned about. 

“In Pyi Oo Lwin, there are a lot of cave pagodas and this one family went on a vacation there. They visited a cave pagoda one morning during their trip and later that night, their son had a dream. In the dream, he was in the exact same cave pagoda they were at earlier that day. In caves like these, there are usually ponds that are created since water would drop and seep through from the top of the caves due to humidity. There was a pond in that cave pagoda and it just so happens that there was a lot of treasure in that pond. Somehow, he ended up in the cave in real life the next day, to search for the treasure in the pond. Days later they found his corpse floating with chains tied around his body on top of the pond. P. Told me that sometimes Nats (god-like spirits) try to seduce people into the areas that they are chained to, because they are finding a replacement. Nats are usually found in sacred places like those ponds and they attract humans using dreams and hallucinations so they can leave the place once a replacement has been found. I interpret the story my grandma told me as a way for her to make me respect or at least fear the Nat. This is because my family usually doesn’t believe in spirits like the Nat but she does, so she says that although we don’t have to worship them, at the very least we should respect and acknowledge them when we visit pagodas so they don’t harm us. 

I personally found this story really terrifying, and interpret it as an unrealistic legend made to incite fear in us. I think these stories usually have a motive that is trying to push a certain narrative or lesson on to us. For this story, I think it teaches us to not wander off and be greedy. Since P. told Y.Y. this when he was quite young, it might be her way of protecting and warning him from danger whenever they visit sacred places like temples. In Myanmar, it is very important that we are respectful when we visit sacred places like pagodas and temples. We would have to be dressed a certain way, and not do much else other than pray and walk around there. This type of story makes sure people are not doing anything that can be considered greedy or sinful, when they are at sacred places.

The Lady in the Green Dress

Nationality: Italian
Primary Language: English
Other language(s): n/a
Age: 52
Occupation: Civil Defense Attorney
Residence: North Salt Lake, UT
Performance Date: 11/25/2023

Tags: Green Dress, Ghosts, Gothic Hotel, Dreams

Text: “Ever since I could remember, my mom had this recurring nightmare of the same figure. In her dream, there was this lady with long hair who was wearing a long, green dress. Everything about her seemed stretched. The dreams were so prominent that the Lady in the Green Dress was a household name. She never extended her reach outside of dreams, however, until her and her second husband’s anniversary. To celebrate, the couple booked a night at some old, decrepit hotel. She can’t remember the name of it, but said it reminded her of the Bate’s Motel from Psycho. On the first night at midnight, my mom said she woke up and felt the air around her go heavy, and when she opened her eyes, the Lady in the Green Dress was hovering no more than six inches above her. The fog immediately cleared from her head as she froze, staring at this floating apparition from her dreams. After a few moments, she registered what she was seeing, bolted out of bed, and screamed.”

Context: KV’s mom was not a spiritual person. She always took a practical, scientific approach to things. Therefore, it’s surprising that she’d share, and more importantly believe, a story like this. As for the informant, KV firmly believes in ghosts, therefore this story was not difficult for her to share, in fact, however, she made it known her mom constantly talked about the lady in the green dress throughout her childhood. She mentioned how this was the one exception her mom made to her belief in the supernatural. 

Analysis: This is a classic ghost story involving many examples of liminal spaces. For example, the initial appearance of the apparition occurred, and recurred, in a dream. Dreams occur in the REM stage of the sleep cycle, a paradoxical stage in which the mind acts as if it were awake, but the body is paralyzed. Additionally, the couple stayed at an old hotel, giving the impression of a classic, gothic haunted house typical of many ghost stories. The apparition appeared to KV’s mom at midnight, the liminal period between two days. While all of these elements are reminiscent of a classic ghost story, I myself am not completely convinced of an actual haunting. I believe the Lady in the Green Dress was in fact a character in a recurring nightmare, however, as the supposed physical appearance occurred during the night, I believe it may have just been a very convincing dream. However, who is to say the Lady in the Green Dress did not appear to KV’s mom that night, for dreams may exist in a space between the living realm and the realm of the dead.

Angel Childhood Musical Ballad: Legend/Myth

Text: 

Me: “Did you grow up hearing any bedtime stories?”

CC: “Um not really, instead my mom used to sing me a song before falling asleep about an angel”.

Me: “Can you sing it for me?”

CC: “Sure…Angél de mi guardia…dulce compañero…no me dejas sola…de noche ni de dia”.

Me: “Who is this angel?”

CC: “Well in my Catholic Mexican household we often believe that angels are here on earth to protect us especially at night and during the day. Growing up I was told that the angels will come in our dreams and we can see what they looked like if we really believed. Usually they are said to be dressed in white and have a calm demeanor. Part of the reason why my parents would sing this song to us during bedtime was to make sure the angels would come to protect us as we rested. If they didn’t sing it to us, the angels wouldn’t be in our dreams and we wouldn’t be protected at night”.

Translation: “Angel of my guard, sweet companion, you do not leave me alone, night or day”

Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):

-CC’s relationship to this piece stems from her Catholic Mexican culture given that her Mexican household consisted of religious beliefs that resulted in comfort. CC would hear this musical legend/myth from her mother as she would often sing it to her when she would go to sleep or had trouble falling asleep. CC interprets this musical legend/myth as a calming coping mechanism that helps her fall asleep quicker. In actuality, CC interprets this musical ballad as a prayer-like story that helps her connect to her faith. 

Analysis(what kind of personal, cultural, or historical values might be expressed) YOUR interpretation:

-The overall cultural value within this musical legend/myth stems from the Mexican Catholic culture that can be seen represented in the childhood home of CC within her family’s overall spiritual and religious beliefs. Not to mention, the personal values that can be expressed within this musical legend/myth is that it allows the individual to inherit the calmness and the overall reassurance that results from their conscious beliefs. I see this musical legend/myth as an overall concept of protection and safety that is implemented by a caring caregiver. Considering that I have heard about similar legends/myths regarding angels myself, I interpret this musical legend/myth to be a validating motive that can be seen as a stress reliever or as an act of reassurance considering protection is granted as you rest. Considering that I don’t have similar experiences with hearing this specific musical ballad, I can still relate to it given the fact that I have grown up hearing mythical legend stories revolving around angels within my Catholic religion as well. The mythical legend that I grew hearing about was the guardian angel named Michael. The similarity within the angel named Michael and the guardian angel within CC’s ballad is that both angels are called upon for protection and guidance. Unlike CC’s ballad, the angel guardian Michael is said to heal those who are sick while they rest. Considering the similar approach between these two mythical legends, it is safe to assume that these two stories can be claimed as different oikotypes. Considering this mythical legend stems from religious perspectives, it can be claimed as an overall supernatural-individualistic process that plays into the category of sacred myths.  

Chinese Dream Proverb

Text: Well, ever since my mom’s brother suddenly died at the age of 62– two years ago, I think this proverb has continued to provide my mom with a sense of comfort and release. “All in life is a dream walking, and all in death is a going home.” She passes this on to anyone in need of feeling at peace with recent tragedies or deaths. I think that for her, it’s a reminder to feel grateful for the joyful parts of life and that…when death comes, one part has fulfilled their purpose.

Context: K is twenty-one years old and of Chinese, Japanese, and Jewish descent. She was raised in San Francisco, California. Her maternal grandparents are Asian immigrants whose culture she was raised with.

Analysis: K’s mother told her the quote above is a Chinese proverb. K would frequently hear proverbs from her mother while growing up, typically used and repeated as little bits of advice or reminders throughout a day. In Chinese culture it’s considered a sign of a good education to include proverbs in your writing or advice to others. Proverbs speak on a range of topics– often moral, like patience or kindness to strangers. They intend to provide wisdom to its listeners, and are meant to be respected by both the speaker and the listener even if not always successfully followed. Many proverbs are accredited to Confucius or Lao Tzu (although some are miscredited), but many don’t have distinctive roots with one speaker or author. The majority of proverbs were passed down in oral traditions among the peasant class in China, and were not written down until years, sometimes hundreds of years after their inception. Many proverbs still haven’t been translated to English. This makes sense why there isn’t much available on the proverb above other than the quote itself. However, its ruminations on the meaning of life, death, and dreams are not uncommon topics for proverbs. It’s also interesting to note that traditional Chinese medicine believes that one’s dreams are directly related to their physical health, hence the proverb’s association with dream and “life” or the living, bodily world.