Michael Wolf
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Dreaming Without Imagination
Last edited - 2019/11/27

I don't think my fascination with dreaming is unique among humans, but I would like to use this page to share my experiences and more interesting dreams.

2023 Update: Bad dream coming through


I've never had a keen ability to visualize scenes or objects. My spatial memory is normal, and I fancy myself a decent artist, but imagining a fantasy when I close my eyes has proven difficult without the aid of psychotropic substances. It's not quite aphantasia, but still has been a frustrating ability I would love to have. That's of course where dreams have made an impact in my life.

I greatly enjoy sleeping even without the benefit of a free dip into the subconscious. But I quickly became fascinated with them and from the age of about 10 kept a dream journal. I had initially tried to read the signs of the dreams like an Old Testament prophet using some dream analysis books that my mother had. These obviously had a similar scientific basis as astrology, but I still marvelled at the surreal illustrations

When I was in middle school I discovered the concept of lucid dreaming (and its pseudoscientic cousin astral projection) through Internet forums. As someone with limited conscious imagination and no access to taboo psychedelics, lucid dreaming became a leisure activity Incould look forward to after exhausting the day with schoolwork. I kept rigorous, daily dream journals, read old passages (if they were legible) before bed, and staggered my morning alarms to put my mimd in limbo between conscious and unconscious for a few hours. This process worked! I had several months of consistent lucid dreaming experiences, but a few stand out.

Controlling nightmares had never been a reason why I chose to lucid dream, but probably the first dream I woke up in was about a school shooting. In the dream I was in the main corridor of my school. It was either early morning or late at night because the halls were deserted. Through the front door came a masked gunman with an assault rifle. Perhaps I had been playing too much CounterStrike, but this didn't strike me as being too odd. I flipped over a desk and crouched behind it as the gunman opened fire. At this point, I woke up in the dream. I strongly recall being able to mentally pluck the bullets from the air and whizz them past my head. I imagined myself a handgun and returned fire, walking forward. At this point, the dream faded away and I woke up exhilerated that I could take control of these fantasies.

I had several more lucid dreams and to this day will occasionally wake up mid-dream, but I stopped actively pursuing lucid dreaming due to several episodes of sleep paralysis. Guides I had read had warned about about several oddities in lucid dreaming. The most notable warning regarded mirrors. Since most people don't look at their own face regularly, they don't have the capacity to accurately recreate it or at all. In my case, my face was a grotesque Cubist painting with misaligned eyes and a smashed nose. This was more of a curiosity. Being conscious in my unconscious body for several horrifying minutes was not quite as fun.

Going through my dream journals I've found some humorous patterns that I hadn't really noticed otherwise. Of course, aside from being incredibly cringeworthy most of my adolescent dreams were about having sex with whomever my love interest at the time was. Ironically nearly all of them end in the act being interrupted by something (perhaps because that tended to happen a lot before I had my own space or perhaps I just couldn't visually conjure a happier ending). Anyway, below I've pulled out some more notable dreams of the ones that I could actually decipher.

Dreamed about being at an international convention with [my roommate]. As we were leaving I saw [a classmate I had a crush on]. She was upset about something so I hugged her. It felt real. Drunk dreams are the best.
Common Dreams and Secret Fears
My teeth were falling out and I was developing a lisp? I began living out the life of A---- from E--- ????
Every picture I took with my phone had been automatically uploaded to the Internet
I'm in a standard jet in the front but it isn't first class and the plane takes off and the flight attendent is going over instrucrions something hits the tail of the plane and it catches fire. Screaming ensues and the pilot makes and energency vertical landing but the plane ends up upside doen.
I'm on some sort of detective mission and I end up on the roof of a skyscraper. I see that I need to get to a nearby building and the only logical step would be to jump over to it. But as I approach the edge I get a dizzying fear of heights and decide to go down the stairs instead.
I am launched into outer space from the main space ship I'm in and desperately trying to get back to it. I almost collide with a rock before being saved by a tractor beam.
Lucid Dreams
I travel around the world on a quest and end up in Romania where I learn of the impending destruction of the world by a giant. There is an elaborate way to stop it through making a quilt but we never do it. It arises and wrecks the hidden humans. Throughout the dream someone was suggesting that I was dreaming.
I'm in the band Spirit and we are in the studio recording a song. I start playing chords and realize I'm dreaming. I try to fly but I try too hard and I wake up.
2010/06/05 I was driving down a road at night with a passenger and we pull up to a banquet-hall-like place. I find my friends and we have a seat at the table. I notice two rows of mirrors facing each other. Out of curiousity, I force myself. It's not good.
2011/03/11 I am visited by several satanic visions of my younger self and other children mispronouncing my name (Mikael, Michelle, Michaela). I talk to [my priest] about it. I write this down in my journal twice before actually waking up and writing it down.
2011/05/27 I slice my eyeballs with a straight razor
A small rat climbs a sharp fense. It is covered in lacerations and blood. Eventually it falls and screams in agony. I panic and try to pick it up. It falls from my hands, breaking its back and giving the most blood-curtling shriek. A bisected cat at some point.
I was sitting at a four-person booth at the office cafeteria area and everyone there aas taking a company-wide nap. I dreamed within a dream a gunman came in and shot everyone at the table except me because they they thought they already shot me. They left. I sensed they came back again and when they tapped my arm, I rapidly swung up from my heads down pose and started choking them, still with my eyes closed. Their neck felt thin and feminine. Both their hands were on my arms and they made pitiful noises. I tried to scream but my voice was gone. I opened my eyes and realized the gunman was a nightmare and this was someone from HR doing performance reviews. I tried apologizing and explaining to the small asian girl and she seemed to shrug it off. I tried to calm down and explained how much I loved the job.
I try to take a cute video of [my childhood husky puppy], but when looking through the camera lens, he appears all-white and angry. He's snarling and bearing his teeth in the video.
Recurring Dreams - Childhood Home/House Show
As I'm coming home (the Nullbrook one) I see big flyers spraypainted on the sides of houses advertising upcoming house shows. One looks pretty lame but the other doesn't look too bad. I keep going and find out it's being hosted at my house in a few hours. I bounce between the two house shows and I ask my mother to buy some more apples because the ones in the house have rotted. The bands suggest setting up in the dining room which is clearly too small.
2019/09/01 ish
I'm going to Hunter Park in some pretty raggedy clothes when I notice there's a shindig happening at the Knollbrook house. I see it's a day-long festival of bluegrass bands. It's only about 10am but I go over to see if I can attend. I knock on the door nervously and a short, trashy-looking older woman opens it. She's not bad-looking, but she's clearly already wasted. She eyes me and asks what I want. I see an image of myself, disheveled and sketchy. I say I used to live at the house and ask to say hello to the new owners. She looks down on me and says I shouldn't be there. I see bands moving equipment around the messy house and hear one starting to play in the bedroom. I leave slowly.
I go to [my roommate's] bedroom early in the morning to make sure he's awake for exams. He had moved his bed outside to be closer to the class. The perspective of the dream is overhead, similar to Pokemon. Once I sit down on the bed I become a huge monster. I'm on the ground fighting the master [?]
I have a dream I do homework and turn in my bio assignment. What the hell.
a lot of bullshit
I dreamed about a woman who would ride the bus until the bus was totalled in an accident. She would then go and find a new bus to ride.
I'm laying beneath a painting of a woodland creek in my apartment. [My roommate] had just bought it. Suddenly the water begins to rush from the painting as look at it and I become very wet. [My roommate] thought I was crazy and tried explaining it away but couldn't.
I'm at a riot grrl show. I'm talking to the bassist about the RHCP and a guy comes up and asks if we want to smoke. We follow him outside. He says he got it on Craigslist and proceeds to pack a bowl with a garden salad.
[My childhood dog] is at my apartment. Being a dog, he jumps over my second story balcony railing and lands with a squeal. He only breaks a few toes and is just pacing when I go down to check on him. He gains sentience and tells me it was worth it.
I'm talking to [my love interest] in my room. I ask her some question and she goes silent. She begins to slowly sink through the floor.
A guide to Cincinnati recommended a certain peak to have a beautiful view of the city. I went up on the hike at 4pm to find it was like a barren California foothill with a wilting Victorian garden atop it. I walked through and knocked flower heads into the vine-covered pathway. A beetle kept crawling on my shoe and up my leg. I eventually made it to the entrance of an old grand hotel built partially into the side of the mountain. I go inside the door to find I am on the 20th floor or so. A woman's voice in the elevator greeted me and prompted me to select a floor. I don't think I said anything, but pulled out my phone to text a friend I had fallen out of contact with. The elevator descended. From the corner of my eye I see the reflection of a cute girl next to me in the mirror. I look around the elevator and there is no one there. The elevator opened up to the 5th floor-- an empty hallway. I slammed the door closed and mashed the 1st floor button. The voice of the elevator seemed annoyed and the lift moved quickly in a direction it really shouldn't have. There a number of ghosts and hallucinations that the elevator passed (I saw through the glass bottom) but they weren't that freaky. My favorite was the image of a ghost corgi bounding toward me. The elevator stopped on the 1st floor and I got out onto a crowded lobby of a generic hotel. It was full of highschool athletes checking out and leaving. It was oddly normal.
A lot of really incredible dreams. One was a new scenario in Roller Coaster Tycoon in that you are inheriting a theme park from someone with a grand idea but that person died and so the park is haunted. I don't know it was really cool because there was like a hedge maze at the top of the hovering map that is built on top of catacombs.
I owned a decently sized incandescent bulb that I was using for some project. When I stopped using it, two little spheres were orbiting the central filament like some sort of magnetism. The orbit went faster and faster until the little sphere flew out. Where they landed I saw they were two beautifully patterned snail shells. Slowly, out of them crawled two human girls. One was probably 16 and reminiscent of [my cousin], one about 10 - [another cousin]. I took them to my father and said something like , 'can we keep them?' I learned that apparently snails were sentient and had been used as workers in the federal government
Tthere was some huge up-and-coming pop act called Brittney and Spears. It was a goth couple duo but the effeminate male stole the stage. For one of his acts, he stuffed his partner, who he cared little for, in a small box and put the box in a tank of water as to eventually rescue her on stage. He went to put on makeup. One of the tagehands got him to help wheel the tank on stage but they realized that the box hadn't actually been airtight. They opened the vat and Brittney yanked the body onto a tarp on the ground and left.
Tthere was some huge up-and-coming pop act called Brittney and Spears. It was a goth couple duo but the effeminate male stole the stage. For one of his acts, he stuffed his partner, who he cared little for, in a small box and put the box in a tank of water as to eventually rescue her on stage. He went to put on makeup. One of the stagehands got him to help wheel the tank on stage but they realized that the box hadn't actually been airtight. They opened the vat and Brittney yanked the body onto a tarp on the ground and left.
I'm on a high, classical pedestal doing some sort of labor while [ a classmate] continually pesters me. Eventually I find a way to sneak out of the work and [another classmate] and I go to a Black Sabbath concert in Chernobyl (before the disaster). I stop on the way there because I couldn't figure out who Black Sabbath's singer was. I was paralyzed trying to mull over the answer. I was startled from this by the meltdown at Chernobyl and looked for shelter. I knew the radiation would hit in a few hours (dream logic). I watch the singer (still unnamed) run into a shelter.
For show-and-tell I choose suffocation from the goat god. I went to the front of the class and put my head in an invisible noose. I heard people recount their own stories about hanging before I die.
I see a digital clock in the darkness. It says 7:04 which would mean I am late to school. It changes to 7:05 and I wake up in a cold sweat to see it's only 6:50
I was sent to help someone on the ISS get back to Earth. I was given a jetpack. When I met him he was curious how much had changed on Earth. Did everyone have jetpacks?
There are giant rats in my aunt's house. she takes them and executes them with little guillotines. Soon she starts using slingshots to kill them.
I'm an actor in a large-scale movie. I work with Harrison Ford and Jack Nicholson. The set looks similar to a mall with a central escalator and several floors around it. I wander around while the crew sets up for the shot in which I play a minor role. I see on the top floor several doors which are classrooms or studios. One is "Fat Cats Summer Gym." Another is a radio club. I am put through a personality/music matching test in which I was told I was like disco. I suggested something more my style but when asked to justify, I couldn't. I kept saying "dark." The shoot was about to begin and I became suddenly anxious. I wished I was doing radio instead.
I'm transported back to the year 2000 with my friends that used to go to the same babysitter with me. We enter our child-bodies but still think like teenagers. There is a massive junk sale at the house. We see a ton of collectibles that would be very valuable one day, but are unable to buy them for our future selves--- somehow I'm in a tree-lined road and hundreds of people are walking toward me. On the ground are thousands of presidential campaign pins, several have the name of [my girlfriend's father].
My dog dies and is replaced with a labrador retriever
There are frog eggs in a tub. I am instructed to take them out and put them on my kitchen counter. They hatche into tadpoles and I put a thin layer of water on the table. Some of them turn into caterpillars.
A bottle of Jack Daniels with a prescription label.
I stand on the edge of a field. Suddenly it all goes up in flames. I sense a presence next to me. It says "Hold my hand and the flames will disappear." The figure switches forms from [love interest] to God and back. I hold her hand and we step on to the field. I feel warmth but the fames are gone. We get to the top of the hill and look over the area. She points out her [dream] farm. As we run down to it, I notice her hair is the same color as the field.
I'm at a lakeside with my young daughter who is playing in the waves. She brings me a wildflower and I remember that my wife is dead. I hug my daughter.

Other notable subjects: cults, parties, nuclear explosions, being on a roller coaster without a seatbelt, Roller Coaster Tycoon, girlfriends, arcades.