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When I was about five years old I had a dream that I remember clearly to this day. I was operating a little peddle car designed to look like a surrey carriage. Peppermint striped canopy. Bench seats. This toy car existed in the waking world, but I was peddling it in a dream. My sister—older by a year and a half—was sitting on the front bench. I steered and cranked away happily in the back seat.

For no reason at all that I can recall now I turned down a short, steep driveway maybe a block from our home. A bad man lived there, in the dream. In the waking world no such man or driveway existed.

We picked up speed going down that steep driveway and crashed into the bad man’s garage door. My sister sustained a serious injury. I had to get home and get help right away.

But when I turned around, the short, steep driveway was gone. What stretched out before me now was an endless, winding road. And all along its length other roads came off it like millipede legs.

For at least two years after that I found myself every night in a dream on that winding road trying to get home. And every night I would try a different branch and every night I would have nightmares. Witches, giant trolls, werewolves, Frankenstein’s monster. Every night.

This was not a recurring dream. It was a serial dream and the crash was the pilot episode, so to speak. The dream never repeated itself. I would find some new terror each night on each new turn I tried as I searched for home and help.

But after around two years of finding myself every single night on that road I became aware of the times that I was asleep. The terror became my cue. If I found myself abjectly terrified I’d ask myself if I was dreaming. And when I found myself on the road, I knew I was. And I would either wake myself up, or ever better, just fly away and have some fun adventure. I had learned to lucid dream.

Eventually the serial dream stopped when I forgot the name of the bad man in it. It returned briefly when I remembered the name, and went away again forever when I lost the name for good.

 

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Years later, in my twenties, I read about lucid dreaming and realized I had already experienced it. But I wanted to again, and so I began keeping a dream journal as part of that effort. I used a mini-tape recorder (this was way before digital). And odd things happened.

I woke up one morning and as was my new habit I spoke my dream memories of the previous evening into the recorder. I had been in a car with a coworker named Keith. In the waking world I never saw Keith outside of work and had never spoken with him by phone. But in the dream we had been driving through an accident scene in which another coworker name Jody had crashed her car. We were looking for an icy spot, which was absurd because this was Houston, Texas we were in. Jody was someone else I never had contact with outside of work. Neither of these two people was particularly special to me. Just folks I knew from work and had no strong feelings about.

The following afternoon, for the first and only time, the real Keith called me. He called to say that Jody had been in a car accident and that some people from work were going to the hospital and donating blood and would I like to help out.

As you might imagine, I thought that was a hell of a coincidence. I probably would have missed it had I not recorded the dream on tape.

 

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Not long after that happened, maybe a month or so, I recorded my recollections of another dream. In this one I was standing outdoors and knee deep in water all around me. I watched something flying through the sky high above. I thought it might be some kind of experimental aircraft because it seemed to be both rocket and plane. In the dream it exploded midair.

Then the scene suddenly shifted. I was a hundred feet or so in the air myself, looking down. I saw helmeted astronauts in their pressure suits bobbing in the water below me. I thought I counted seven of them.

I had the tape recorder set to auto start whenever it detected sound. That’s why it turned on three days later to the ringing of my phone. On the same tape as the rocket/plane explosion dream, again three days later, you can hear me answer the phone, exclaim something like, “No, no,” and turn on the TV news.

The next thing you hear on the tape is the story on the news of the space shuttle Challenger exploding with all aboard lost.

I don’t believe in the supernatural. I don’t know how or why information could travel back in time and enter a dream. I find it interesting that the “visions” I had were not literal, but were more of the nature of just incorporating bits of truth into a scene that never actually happened.

I want to say it’s just chance. That given billions of people and hundreds of billions of dreams, someone is bound to experience something like this.

I just don’t believe that. And yes, I still have the tape.

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