Last year, within a few months of each other, two different friends wrote to me to tell me that a photograph I’d taken was of a landscape within their dream.
The First Dream: Train Station in England
The first was Jonathan. I posted a picture to Facebook of a train station in Carlisle, England. Within a few minutes he commented that it was the train station from a dream he’d had in 2009. In 2009 he and I were in a class on facilitating dream groups.
Here is part of his dream:
I am outside on what appears to be a nice sunny day. I am talking to a nice looking but older dark haired woman. She has short hair and is dressed like she is on a business trip. I think we are both on a business trip. We seem to be outside a train station, a nice modern train station. We have just arrived from somewhere but are going our separate ways. We don’t seem to know each other well, but yet we are intimate in some way. I am wanting to or considering having an affair with her even though I think she is married. Her name is Mrs. McDonald. I think she says her first name but I do not remember. She tells me that she lives in Carlisle.
Jonathan’s astonishment at seeing the train station from his dream was apparent. He said it looked exactly like the one in his dream and he didn’t expect it to be in England, because in the dream he assumed it was a place in Southern California. The fact that the woman in the dream was from Carlisle added to his excitement.
The Second Dream: Mount Diablo in California
The second friend to write about one of my photos was Trude, a woman I met while in Norway this summer. We had an immediate connection when we met and have since maintained email contact. I sent out an email about re-opening my online photography shop, and not long after she emailed me.
“The photograph of Mount Diablo is an exact image of a dream I once had, a long time before I met you. In this dream I was running in a landscape and feeling extremely light. Happiness is perhaps the best word to describe the feeling.
“I can’t remember ever having seen such a landscape other than in my dream. I remember this dream so well because I had it in a time where I had a lot of terrible dreams, and I started to draw my dreams in a book, and interpreted them. This dream was one of comfort and joy.”
Trude has never been to the United States, so she wouldn’t have seen the Mount Diablo landscape in waking life. She did draw the dream after having it and said the drawing looks similar to my photograph.
So how did this happen?
How did Jonathan dream of a place I visited in England?
How did Trude dream of a landscape in California that I photographed?
Is there some innate connection between me and Trude and me and Jonathan that allowed this kind of synchronicity to occur?
There are no straightforward answers to this question, but one place to find clues is in dream telepathy research.
Dream Telepathy Research
In the 1960s and 70s, Stanley Krippner, along with other researchers at Maimondes Medical Center, conducted a study on dream telepathy. In the experiments, one person was asleep in a room. In another room, a second person looked at a picture. The scientists would wake the sleeper from REM (rapid eye movement) sleep while the second person was looking at the picture. Often, the sleeper remembered dreams that included images from the pictures seen by the person in the other room.
This research seems to indicate telepathic communication happens between the dreamer and the “sender,” the person looking at the photograph. Of course, this communication happens in real time. How can we explain dream telepathy that occurs with a gap of several years in between?
In the case of Trude’s dream I took the photograph in 2006 and she had the dream in 2010. Jonathan dreamed of the Carlilse train station in 2009 and I didn’t visit it until 2011.
This leaves me with more questions than answers. If time is an illusion and everything is really happening at once, that might get us a little closer to an explanation. It doesn’t matter what year I took the picture or what year the dreamers had their dreams.
Another question: why did I photograph these specific people’s dreams? Often, when people are incredibly close, like twins or spouses, mutual and/or paranormal dreaming occurs. But Jonathan and I don’t know each other all that well and Trude is someone I only met for a few days this summer.
Something dream researcher Montague Ullman said about the unique relationships formed during communal dreamwork might explain why I photographed Jonathan’s dream. As I mentioned, Jonathan and I were in a dream group facilitation class together. The class consisted of a two-hour dream group once a week for several weeks.
Ullman writes that, “Experiential dream work generates emotional closeness among the participants. It is expected that this developing rapport in combination with the natural psi facilitating effect of the dream itself, would result in an increasing number of identifiable psi occurrences among the members of the group.”
Since Jonathan and I did experiential dream work together, it makes sense that we’d have a “psi occurrence.”
But how to explain photographing the dream of a woman in Norway who I’d never met before and only spent time with for a few days?
All I can say is that, from the moment I met Trude, I knew on an intuitive, gut level we had a connection. I felt like I knew her from somewhere. A past life? A dream? It was one of those moments where you just know you’ve met the person before.
We met at a shamanic workshop weekend, another emotionally intense and experiential field where psi comes into play. Perhaps the same principles apply with me and Trude as with me and Jonathan. As a result of the time we spent together that weekend, Trude and I formed a tight emotional bond and we have remained close even though I’m now back in the United States.
Have you ever photographed something from someone else’s dream?
Have you ever seen a photograph and thought, “that’s my dream!”?
Share with us in the comments below.
Reference: Ullman, M. (1979). Psi communication through dream sharing. Paper presented at the Parapsychology Foundation Conference on “Communication and Parapsychology,” held August 9-10, 1979, in Vancouver, Canada.