Welcome back, traveler! I have a query for you: Have you ever had dreams that were so vivid you awoke certain it was more than just a dream? Perhaps a message or a warning? Maybe a bit of foresight?
When I was a girl, I dreamt my brother returned home after being away for an extended period of time. I knew he would be home that evening. My mother was skeptical as she was sure that he would have told her if it had been his intention to head across the country on a whim. That evening he arrived much to everyone’s surprise but mine.
Years later, on the eve of giving birth to my first child, my brother told me that he had a dream that things would not go well during delivery. In his dream, there were serious complications, and he was worried. I noted his concern but was not worried as everything had gone as smoothly as possible up until that point. Within 24 hours of his warning, however, both the baby and I were near death mainly due to doctor’s error.
This sort of premonition is seen in folklore as well, giving us yet another connection to our ancestors and the weight of dreams in the human mind. For example, on April 14, 1865 an elderly man in Clarksburg had a most terrifying dream. After being asleep a short while, he awoke in a state of panic. President Lincoln was murdered…shot…and he had been there when it happened! He saw the entire scene. Not sure what else to do, he noted the time on the clock as well as the date. Two weeks later, news arrived that President Lincoln had been murdered at the exact time and day that the Clarksburg man had his dream.
Sometimes these glimpses into the future are guided by the spirits of loved ones. This was the case for Vera Taylor, who, unlike my experience, was extremely unsettled in the time leading up to the delivery of her child. In the dark of the night, Vera would hear words of warning to begin making funeral arrangements prior to the birth. She was going to die, the voice promised, and it encouraged her to have everything in order so that her husband, in his distraught state, would have one less burden before him. Shortly after hearing this, a second voice would chime in and discourage her from any such thought or action. If she made the arrangements, the second voice argued, then they would be needed. If she avoided making them, they would not be required. She would survive. Each night these voices bickered back and forth with increasing intensity as she approached her due date.
Vera did develop serious complications and was admitted to the hospital. It was during these terrifying moments that her father who had died years prior appeared at her bedside. He did not speak but his presence eased her enough that she fell into a dream. She was given a premonition that all would be well. She and her child would survive, and they would leave the hospital as a happy and healthy family. This dream proved true and Vera forever credited her father and that dream as saving her life.
Sometimes dreams may be more than just figures of our unconscious mind. Sometimes they might be messages from the other side, glimpses into another place, or a warning of things to come.
Until next time,
Burchill, J. V. (1993). Ghosts and Haunts from the Appalachian foothills: Stories and Legends. Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press.
Musick, R. A. (1976). The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Tales. University of Kentucky Press.