Deb Kerry and The Little Man From Dream

ghostbusters-logoI’m a fan of things that we in this house refer to as “woo woo,” just as long as they don’t get too close and personal. It’s all well and good to watch Ghost Hunters or Ghost Whisperer or whatever on TV – but I don’t want to wake up in the morning and accidentally step in a puddle of ectoplasmic goo on my way to the coffee pot. Not in my bare feet, thank you. Not before I’m caffeinated.

Okay – really just not ever. I’d much prefer to get the little shivers of distant fear by listening to a ghost story without ever encountering the ghost.

The same thing goes for dreams. I enjoy dreaming for the most part, although those dreams where all of my teeth fall out, or I’ve inexplicably gained a hundred pounds, lost all my hair, and find myself walking around naked in a public place because somehow it didn’t seem important to get dressed before leaving the house – those I could do without. I would also cheerfully skip the nightmares, not that I have many these days. Because one thing about dreams is this – even when I know it was just a dream, the experience of the dream stays with me as part of memory and reality. The fear remains, or the ecstasy. I know how it feels to fly, thanks to dreams, and I’m not likely ever to forget.

When I was a little girl, no more than 4 or 5, I’d guess, something happened that scared me for years afterward.

I was lying snug in bed with my stuffed dog, when a rhythmic thudding, drumming sound started. A little man appeared – no more than six inches tall – wearing a suit and a top hat. He began to walk the winding circle of the rag rug on my floor, moving in time to the drumming sound. That was it – nothing threatening on the surface of things. He didn’t threaten me, didn’t even look at me; he was intent on his marching. And yet I was terrified. I tried to tell my mother about it, and then my older brother. They told me I’d been dreaming.

But I wasn’t dreaming, I was sure of it. In retrospect, I think that is why I was frightened.  In a dream, a small man marching around on your rag rug might be funny or just a curiosity. But a creature of dream made real was a terror that lived with me for years.

Logic finally dictated that since little men do not exist in the adult world, it follows that this event must have been a dream. And yet, somewhere deep inside where my wide-eyed inner child still looks out into a world filled with mystery, I believe that this was no dream. No matter what anybody says, no matter what I know as an adult to be true, my child self believes with unshakeable faith that this thing really happened, just as she knows that she could fly, if only she remembered the knack.

And who am I to argue with a child?

Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real you found yourself doubting that it was a dream?



8 Replies to “Deb Kerry and The Little Man From Dream”

  1. Yes, I have. It was about a week after my dad died (I was twelve), and he came to me dressed familiarly in his suit for work. I knew I was technically dreaming–a lucid dream–but I also knew with every fiber of my being that my dad was really there. I was crying and told him he was dead. He touched my shoulder and said, “Linnie, I’m all right. Everything will be fine.”

    Was it just a dream? Looking back with my adult perspective, I suppose it was. But no other dream of mine, before or since, has had the same feeling of utter reality. Guess I’ll just have to ask Dad myself someday, when my time comes. 🙂

  2. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a dream like that. For me, it’s the emotions that are so powerful, what you said about them staying with you and being part of reality.

    I do remember once dreaming as a teen that I had a terminal illness and in the dream I was just going about my normal life, but knowing I was about to die. I woke up sobbing and inconsolable. That dream wiped me out emotionally for days with its powerful sadness.

    I love your story about the little man.

    1. Jenn – I hate dreams like that. I walk around wondering whether they are going to come true! Which is silly, because I’ve never really had precognitive dreams. But logic need not apply. As for the little man – it’s incredible to me that over 40 years later I still remember that incident so clearly.

  3. I have. More than once, actually – and it bears a striking resemblance to Linda’s dream. I saw my dad, and talked with him, shortly after he died. In one sense, it was a dream because I was asleep (I woke up as the dream ended, when he said he had to go) but in another I am absolutely convinced that he was there, somehow, to let me know he is okay.

    In slightly less serious news, I too have those occasional dreams where I’m at the mall, or at work, and I have a shirt on but NO PANTS AND NO UNDERWEAR AND OMG WHAT WAS I THINKING. I HATE those dreams.

    1. Susan, I envy the dreams you and Linda had about your dads. I seldom dreamed about mine after he died, and when he showed up in a dream he was always sick or injured. It was years before I dreamed him healthy and happy and showing up to tell me I’d done a good job and he was proud. As for the no underwear dreams – I KNOW. They are horrible.

  4. I’ve definitely had dreams where my emotional response is so strong it feels as if it must have been real. This can occasionally make things awkward — like when I had a dream that my boss was a huge jerk about something, and I went into work with a chip on my shoulder. The poor guy hadn’t done anything! It took a day to shake off being angry with him, even though he hadn’t done anything.

    1. I hate the ones where I wake up mad at my Viking for something he did in a dream. Or hurt, which is worse. The emotion of “How could you do that to me?” when all he’s been doing is sleeping!

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