October 19, 2009
I think everyone has a few nightmares that stick with them throughout the duration of their lives. Nightmares are certainly unpleasant but supposedly the occasional one is good for you. Carl Yung thought that the scary figures in your dreams were just projections of certain parts of your own personality. Therefore recognizing what these parts are and defining them can be an important step in personal development. Take this with a grain of salt though. Psychology is the Rodney Dangerfield of Medical Science…it don’t get no respect. This is probably because scientifically proving a psychological hypotheses is nearly impossible. But in an attempt to normalize myself, over the next few days I’ll be describing my three worst and most memorable nightmares*.
*Notice how I don’t say my “weirdest” nightmares. All nightmares are weird. Having a weird nightmare is like having a wet shower.
The Price is Wrong…Dead Wrong!
The time frame for this one was probably early high school. The dream starts normally enough. I walk into a huge and crowded mall. It’s like the Mall of America or something. There’s a lot of commotion and hub-bub because some type of event is going on that is drawing people to the center. I approach the crowd of onlookers, who have their necks craned upwards. There are some syncopated thumps coming from the middle of the crowd accompanied by “oooh’s” and “ah’s.” One woman turns away from the center and walks away with a look of sad disgust on her face, like she was supremely disappointed with everyone there. It’s the face your mom made when you got caught for stealing something.
I work my way to the center to see what’s going on, but before I can catch a glimpse, a strong hand grabs my arm. “You’re next!” an excited voice tells me. I’m put on an escalator that looks as though it’s headed to nowhere in particular. I still don’t really know what’s going on. The intermittent dull thumps continue drumming in my ears and the crowd is still cheering. I see that all the excitement is because the Price is Right! is being played 8 stories in the air on a small, cherry-picker type platform. Bob Barker is right there on the platform, performing his duties as a host with the giant wheel.
There’s a lady in front of me in the line to be on the show. She is terrified but still she goes out onto the platform. Bob Barker asks her name and tells her to spin the wheel. “Please, don’t make me,” she says. He insists. And she does. The first spin landed on something less than a dollar. So she had to spin again. She goes over. In more ways than one.
Barker violently shoves her off of the platform and I suddenly realize what those thumps I heard earlier were. Let the bodies hit the floor.
“Jeff Konkle, come on down!” says Rod Roddy over the megaphone. I step out onto the platform for some reason and I spin the wheel, despite knowing that I’m about to get murdered. My spin lands on an 85 or a 90 cent one. “I’ll stay with that,” I speak into Bob’s slender microphone.
“Not an option,” he replies coldly. “Spin again.”
I spin again and get like a 40 or something. I grab onto his tie in anticipation of him sending me plummeting to my death. He knocks my hands away with the microphone and pushes me. I manage to grab the ledge, but not for long. Barker’s dress shoes stomp on my hands and I let go.
This one occurred during one of my college breaks while I was living at home with my parents. It was the most cinematic dream I’ve ever had and perhaps, because of the clarity of the images, it was the most horrifying. There are still scenes from the nightmare burned into my mind.
For some reason I got on a short Bible kick during that time period in my life. I was reading a bunch of books that had referenced or paralleled Bible stories so I thought I needed a refresher in order to increase my comprehension. I was in the middle of reading the New Testament, which follows Jesus and his disciples, when I fell asleep.
In the dream, I am a follower of Jesus. Not quiet a disciple, more of just an enthusiast. I tag along wherever the group goes. We walk for a few days, moving from town to town, and I listen to him preach. He holds one absolutely huge sermon where it seems like a hundred thousand people gather at the foot of a hill just to get a glimpse of him. I watch from all the way at the back just saying to myself, “Wow. They’ve really got something here. People are into this.”
Then it stops and resets. It was one of those cut scenes that happens so often in the dream world. The camera in my mind gets transported to a wide shot of the Earth in a black and starless space. The picture is desolate and haunting. The sun turns to a shade of dusty grey. The stars finally show themselves but slowly ooze a red light that looks, to me at least, like blood. Something bad has happened. Not just a little bit bad, like cosmically bad. The very fabric of the Universe is weeping; it’s disappointed, sorrowful and angry. I can only assume that this event was brought on by the execution of Jesus, but I’m never shown explicitly.
Then, another cut scene. The initial image filling my mind’s eye is the one below.
It’s the very popular depiction of Jesus with a white robe against an earthy brown background, the one that people keep on their vanity mirrors or in their car’s sun visors. However, in my nightmare, Jesus’ face slowly turns to me and his eyebrows furrow. He looks absolutely enraged, staring at me as though I had wronged him personally. He is trembling with anger. Then, his eyes bulge out of his head and his jaw unlocks from his face like a boa constrictor. He lets out a Tyrannosaurus Rex roar that reverberates the cosmos. It was a piercing bellow that triggered some deep, instinctual terror in me, like a caveman running from the sound of a stampeding Woolly Mammoth.
I was jolted out of my sleep by the scream and I stood up in my bed. The sheets were soaked with sweat and I was trembling. Most times, when people wake out of a dream it takes them a few minutes to regain their senses. Not this time. I was so scared that my adrenaline glands had already started feeding my brain and my muscles with the fight or flight chemical. I awoke alert and cogent, though I have never been as scared in my entire life. I was a 20-year-old man, on the verge of panic tears, standing upright in my bed with my head nearly touching the ceiling. I knew that it was a dream, but this dream happened for a reason. I had rationally convinced myself that Jesus was coming to take me away right then and there. This was the Rapture. I almost went into my parents’ room to tell them goodbye forever (I couldn’t just leave them without saying goodbye). I had to pack a suitcase too. I wasn’t sure what the journey to the afterlife was going to be, but I thought I would at least need some shoes, a sweater and a toothbrush.
But something in my brain reminded me that it was a dream, and a dream couldn’t have any bearing on reality. I sat back down in my bed, and pulled the covers over my head, hoping that when (not if) Jesus came to steal me away in the night, he might not see me.
So what do you think? Was it a demon or was I just experiencing the terror that is the Everlasting?
Oh wait. Research suggests that nightmares can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
So…that seems a little bit more likely.
This was, as far as I know, the first nightmare that really stuck with me. I think I had to have been 4 years old at the time. As such, I don’t remember all of the details, but the general scenes I remember. My family still lived in our old house in Whitehall at the time. My sister’s room was a large closet. My parents had to turn it into a nursery out of necessity. This dream involves candy, my blankie and my baby sister, all of which were the most important things in the time to me.
I’m in my room asleep, I’m snuggled up against my favorite yellow blankie and my stuffed Polar Bear named Pudgie who has a bean bag leg. There is a crunching sound that rouses me out of my slumber. It’s a loud crackle though, like somebody was snapping a bunch of pretzel rods in half. I get up and there is Kermit the Frog. He is tearing lollipops off of my wall and eating them with one crunch.
I yell for him to stop. “Those are mine,” I scream. He puts down his last lollipop and without saying a word, snatches my blankie from me.
I don’t care if this is a dream or not, you don’t f**king touch my blankie Kermit.
I run after him but since we were about the same size, I am relatively scared. If I have to battle Kermit in hand-to-flipper combat, I’m not sure I would win. I am only 4 for crying out loud. But still, that bastard took my blankie.
I chased him into the hallway and he turns hard to the left, heading into my sister’s room (closet). I open the door and he’s standing there over my sister’s hamper. He opens the lid and a dull orange glow spills out into the room. It dances on the walls, giving the illusion of fire. He jumps into the hamper with my blankie and closes the lid.
“Got him,” I think to myself. But when I go to open the lid I am met with a disturbing image. It’s like hell, but for Muppets. I see an evil Gonzo, a demonic Miss Piggy and a grotesque Fozzy Bear. I quickly shut the lid.
I wake up.
OK. Now that was a weird dream.