Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dream Houses Can Be Nightmares

Twitter friends Johanna Harness (johannaharness) and John Ross Barnes (barnestorm2004) recently were discussing dreams about houses, a subject I find intriguing. I've read that when you dream about a house, it's actually a metaphor for  your own psyche. If that's true, I must have a very strange psyche, because I've dreamed about a lot of very strange houses.

But the most memorable was a fairly normal-looking three-story house with a large attic. I lived on the first two floors, and as hard as I tried, I couldn't walk up the wide, carved staircase to the attic. Something malevolent lived on the third floor and would allow no one to pass. I dreamed about the house repeatedly over a period of months and never was able to contain the gut-clinching panic I felt every time I started up.

Then one day at a family reunion, my father and sister and I started discussing strange dreams and discovered that we all were dreaming about the same house. And not only that, but we were all dreaming about it over and over, and none of us was able to get to the attic. 

Months went by, and every time we were together, we discussed "the house." Finally I dreamed I performed some kind of exorcism that walled off the malevolent presence and, though I still had to fight fear every step of the way, climbed the stairs to the attic. It was filled with beautiful antique furniture, jewelry and fabrics that looked like it could be worth thousands of dollars. More importantly, much of it met my needs to beautify my living space below. It was magnificent.

Several months passed before the family got together again, but when we did, the subject of the dream came up as usual.

"You know," said my sister, "I haven't had that dream for quite a while."

"Neither have I," added my father. "Did anyone ever get to the attic?"

I admitted that I had, and after thinking about it for a while, that I hadn't had the dream since. So I figured out about what week I'd reached the attic.

Not one of us had dreamed about the house since then.


  1. Wow! That was fun!

    In my dreams it's the 3rd floor that's haunted also. Not necessarily malevolent as such, but not welcoming either - defensive, territorial. Kind of a blocky, brick 1930's thing like the town bank president lived in back home. Stone around the windows, long halls up stairs, dusty sheets over most furnishings, etc. sound familiar?

    Thanks very much for the mention. It always makes me very happy if I actually say something that incites writing in others. ;-D

  2. Yes, blocky and brick, stone window sills, but not around the windows. No sheets on the furniture except in the attic because my family was living on the first two stories. Still, surprisingly similar. And the haunted third floor is really interesting. Perhaps a shared cultural experience? I think I'm older than you, though.