I had lot of nightmares as a child, which was due in part to the fact that I lived/slept in a drafty, old mansion--in a room by myself without a nightlight. However, I was constantly coming down with some illness or another, and that definitely contributed to the rash of nightmares. I seemed to be continuously coming down with the flu, a cold, walking pneumonia, etc. I only attended preschool for 6 days, missed 23 days of Kindergarten, and 16 days in the 1st Grade as a result of these illnesses. These diseases would always cause me to become feverish. I think that these fevers helped bring on (at least in part) most of my nightmares. Luckily, my parents took me to a allergist during the summer between my 1st and 2nd Grade years. He pricked me with a ton of needles (well, it seemed like a ton at the time), which indicated that I was allergic to most things (luckily not to peanuts or gluten). Anyway, I started taking allergy shots that summer and (perhaps coincidentally) caught fewer illnesses after that point (even achieving perfect attendance numerous times from the 4th Grade through my Senior year in high school).
But I digress. As I was saying, I had a ton of nightmares as a child. I was chased by all sorts of things, including beasties, ghouls, and angry parents. I even managed to find myself (while dreaming) in the passenger seat as a car ran off a cliff (wonder what I had been watching on T.V. that day). Luckily, I usually woke up before I suffered any serious dream damage. I could then look around the room (not much to see since everything was dark) and reassure myself that it was only a dream. I then put the covers back over my head and tried to go to sleep (I figured if I put the covers over my head, then at least I wouldn't see the ghost when it jumped out of dresser drawer to get me--hah). However, that wasn't the case on one occasion.
I was six years old and dreamed that my parents and other family members were downstairs playing whist (sort of like spades) while I was confined to my room. My dream self recalled that my Mom had told me to stay in my room and not come downstairs. In real life, I would have listened to that advice, as I was not a big fan of the game (to a 6 year old, that game appears to be rather boring) and preferred to spend time with my toys. However, my dream self decided to disobey my mother. I wanted to sneak downstairs and try to peak in on the game. So, I left my room and walked down the steps without any problem. However, when I hit the landing (the floor), I came face to face with the red guy with horns--yes, you guessed it--Beelzebub.
In my dream, I could hear my family talking amongst themselves in a room not too far down the hall. I could also see the lights from the room (the hallway I was in was rather dark). I tried to call for help but no sounds came out of my mouth, and of course, my dream self couldn't run (though I wanted to do it--my feet wouldn't move). The Devil said, "I am taking you to hell." He then proceeded to walk over to me and grab me forcefully by the arm.
I woke up at that point and looked around; the room was as it should be, ie. no Devil; however, my arm was hurting where the dream Devil had grabbed me. That represented the first of several occasions where I would feel residual effects from a dream. I assume that my mind, while dreaming, had sent a message to my arm that it was in pain (when of course, it was not). My arm dutifully obeyed my brain's signal even after I had awakened. Luckily, the pain did not last too long after I woke up.
To be continued...
Clip Art courtesy of Microsoft