Tag Archive: dream

Submitted by a reader who prefers to remain anonymous. From her blog:

“As a follow-up to my last blog “Proof of Life After Death” which explored the possibility of psychic mediums communicating with those who have crossed over…

There are more ways besides mediums that your deceased loved ones can personally communicate with you..to let you know they are well and watching over you. I would like to share with you one…of many signs…that have proved to me that my deceased loved ones still live on. This story is about my beloved Grandmother or as I called her – Nana.

About 10 years ago I was trying to have a 2nd child…my first came easy but the 2nd proved to be difficult. I happened to be staying at my mom’s overnight (where Nana had lived the last few years of her life) and before I went to bed asked Nana to pray for me to have another baby.

That night, THE DREAM happened ..I was asleep but still knew as it was happening that it was TOO REAL to be just a dream… my Nana came to me. The dream was as real to me as you reading this right now.  I was crying, so happy to see my Nana and hugged her and asked her if she was OK …”Good,” was her response…”I can’t stay long,” she said “but want to tell you that you are going to have another baby!” I responded that I knew I was asleep and could she offer me any PROOF that she was really there talking to me. She said, “Remember the slippers. You’ll know it’s me because of the slippers. Remember the slippers.”

When I woke the next morning the “dream” I had the previous night was as clear as day. I remembered her “slippers” message but in the wake of day…slippers.. had NO meaning for me. None. That is, until I finally asked my Mom (without giving her any details about my dream) … “Mom, this is gonna sound crazy but is there anything special you would think of associated with Nana and slippers?”

She immediately said “Yes, I was reading an article in a magazine a few days ago about a daughter who was taking care of her elderly dying mother (as my Mom had taken care of my Nana) and how her dying Mom’s slippers (and the loss of one of them which paralleled her loss of independence) were a major point of the article.” My Mom then told me that the article moved her so much because it reminded her of my Nana that she saved the article for me to read. The title of the article…”The Gray Slippers.”

Welcome, baby Ryan 3-2-04!

Thank you Nana, for being there for me… always.


Below are the extended notes provided by cognitive psychologist and statistician Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 225.  Take a look and leave your comments below. Also, please be sure to listen to the podcast for our own sarcastic and hilarious commentary. Also, visit Barbara’s blog.

This is another case of the very human tendencies to find meaning in coincidences and ascribe agency. There are several points to address here.

– Dreams that we can remember are often described as vivid, and we experience (and remember them) as if they are physically real because brain activity while we are dreaming is very similar to brain activity when we are awake. So to say a dream did not feel like a dream is not only not unusual, it’s how most people experience dreams, and when we believe they are meaningful, we’re more likely to share them and thinking about them, construct stronger images to beef up the memory.

– The slippers in the story her mother read are not connected with being pregnant or with anything in the author’s life. They are not even connected with anything in the grandmother’s life or the mother’s life.

– When the author asked her mother if she knew what “slippers” meant, her mother searched her memory for some reference to slippers and came up with the story. This is not at all unusual. In fact, it would be unusual for her to come up with nothing. I would be much more impressed if, for example, the mother arrived at the author’s house with slippers the author wore as a baby. Even if that were the case, it would still be a case of making connections between unrelated things (finding patterns) and assuming that they must be related in a causal way (ascribing agency).

But there is no reason to think that there is anything more than the dream of a woman who was focused on having a child, a woman who looked for greater meaning in that dream.

Prehistoric Dreams

(Submitted by reader Jeff Wagg)

Last summer, I surprised my girlfriend with a mystery trip to St. Louis. She agreed to get in the car without knowing our destination, and as I drove the five hours south, she watched the signs and tried to guess where we were going. By the time we hit Dwight, IL, she had it figured out.

My primary destination was an amazing place called simply “City Museum.” This rather mundane and non-descriptive title belies the wonders waiting inside.

Housed in a large old shoe factory, City Museum features airplanes suspended in mid-air, connected by human-sized habitrails. A school bus leans over the side of the building, and you’re invited to sit in the driver’s seat and open the door at the 150 foot drop. Inside is the world’s largest pencil, a ten story spiral slide, a circus, a carnival sideshow, an architectural museum, and a complex network of caves and tree houses all connected by tunnels, bridges and secret passages.

The things listed above account for about 5% of what this unique place offers.

Jen (my girlfriend) was very interested in the tunnels, but as I had badly twisted my ankle in a cave earlier in the day, I was taking it easy in a room filled with waterways and dinosaurs. As I’m wont to do, I checked Twitter to see what was going on in the world, and I saw a tweet that amazed me.  It was from Magician and magic designer Andrew Mayne, and though I don’t have a copy of the actual tweet, it went something like this:

“I just had a dream about a white pterodactyl. It was so real.”

This doesn’t seem like unusual dreamtime fare for a magician, but the amazing part was that directly above me, at the exact moment he tweeted  that short message was this:

@Andrewmayne umm, are you following me?

Andrew and I are friends, but we’re not super close friends and I doubt he even knew I was in St. Louis. I know of no webcams at City Museum, and even if he did know I was there, the place is large enough that his assumption that I’d be in the same room with, nevermind standing underneath, a life-sized pterodactyl of the unusual color “white” would be amazing in itself.

My best explanation is that this truly was a coincidence, and while I could point out the fact that Andrew has hundreds and hundreds of Twitter followers, and that the chances of any one of them finding some connection to one of his tweets is quite likely, the specificity of this particular coincidence is such that I felt it worthy of inclusion here.

By the way, if you’d like a great opportunity to see the City Museum, some of us are putting on a first-year conference there, called the College of Curiosity. It’s on May 26th, and will last ALL DAY. I promise you’ll leave having experienced things you’ve never imagined.

That is, unless you’re a sleeping magician.

[EDITOR: First off, this place sounds FANTASTIC. If I had any chance of being in town for that event, I’d definitely be there. Sounds like something you could visit over and over again and never run out of new things to see. As for the actual story, well… this one’s really hard to put clear thoughts behind. We can try to start listing out the number of people Jeff follows on Twitter, the average numbers of tweets across those people, and all sorts of other factors, but it falls apart when you start dealing with what people DREAM about. A pterodactyl? I can’t imagine people don’t regularly dream about the critters, but it’s still likely a pretty small number of people each night. And a white one at that? Far more specific. The timing of it being the night before Jeff went is pretty interesting, but then you realize if the dream ever occurs it will ALWAYS be the night before probably hundreds or thousands of people visit this museum. So then we have to come around to the fact that someone who specifically follows Andrew was at the museum the next day. Slimmer margin, although he does have nearly 4,000 followers. And finally the fact that Jeff happened to look at Twitter at that moment. Would it have counted if he had looked at it five minutes later, though? Probably. Saw the pterodactyl five minutes later? Just as likely. Then we can start adjusting to any of the other odd attractions in the place and things people dreamed about. With tweaks and modifications you can find that a lot of variations would have garnered the exact same reaction, raising the odds that SOMETHING would have gotten this amazing coincidence from SOMEONE. That someone happened to be our friend Jeff. And to him it was crazy. And it is to us, too. – Jarrett

And we don’t mind at all promoting The College of Curiosity – in fact, curiosity is our favorite educational resource! – Wendy]

Kindergarten Koincidence

(Submitted by reader Daniel L)

When I was in kindergarten some 20 years ago, I became close to one of the ladies working there and she was my favorite teacher of them all.

When I was in the 8th grade (about 9 years later) my favorite teacher showed up in my dream for the first and only time since I went to kindergarten. Later that very same day when I was riding my bike home from school, who do you think I run into on the sidewalk, if not, my old kindergarten teacher.

To this day, I’ve carried this story with me as a perfect example of a “one in a million event”. Although I am a statistician by education, and can point to several high-probability factors in this story to increase the odds a bit, I still think it’s a really cool story.

[EDITOR: I’ll refrain from speculation as to what happened in the dream.]