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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/752

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

All writers on dreaming have brought forward presentative dreams, and there can be no doubt that impressions received during sleep from any of the external senses may serve as a basis for dreams. I need only record one example to illustrate this main and most obvious group of presentative dreams. I dreamed that I was listening to a performance of Haydn's Creation, the chief orchestral part of the performance seeming to consist chiefly of the very realistic representation of the song of birds, though I could not identify the note of any particular bird. Then followed solos by male singers, whom I saw, especially one who attracted my attention by singing at the close in a scarcely audible voice. On awakening the source of the dream was not immediately obvious, but I soon realized that it was the song of a canary in another room. I had never heard Haydn's Creation, except in fragments, nor thought of it at any recent period; its reputation as regards the realistic representation of natural sounds had evidently caused it to be put forward by sleeping consciousness as a plausible explanation of the sounds heard, and the visual centers had accepted the theory.

It is a familiar fact that internal sensations also form a frequent basis of dreams. All the internal organs, when disturbed or distended or excited, may induce dreams, and especially that aggravated kind of dreaming which we call nightmare. This fact is so well known that such dreams are usually dismissed without further analysis. It is a mistake, however, so to dismiss them, for it seems probable that it is precisely here that we may find the most instructive field of dream psychology. On account of the profoundly emotional effect of such dreams they are very interesting to study, but this very element of emotion renders them somewhat obscure objects of study. I do not venture to offer with absolute certainty one or two novel suggestions which dream experiences have led me to regard as probable.

Dreams of flying have so often been recorded—from the time of St. Jerome, who mentions that he was subject to them—that they may fairly be considered to constitute one of the commonest forms of dreaming. All my life, it seems to me, I have at intervals had such dreams in which I imagined myself rhythmically bounding into the air and supported on the air. These dreams, in my case at all events, are not generally remembered immediately on awakening (seeming to indicate that they depend on a cause which does not usually come into action at the end of sleep), but they leave behind them a vague but profound sense of belief in their reality and reasonableness.[1] Several writers have attempted to explain this familiar phe-


  1. Many saints (Saint Ida, of Louvain, for example) claimed the power of rising into the air, and one asks one's self whether this faith may not be based on dream experiences mistranslated by a disordered brain. M. Raffaelli, the eminent French painter, who is subject