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Under the Influence (Dream Themes).

People I know often tell me their dreams — oftentimes even before they know that dreams in general tend to fascinate me. Occasionally they would tell me that I had been in their dreams, typically as someone off in the distance, just watching. That was an odd consistency, but I neglected to collect any written examples.

I noticed something else more recently, however — the dreams of others in which I am more involved seem to carry a theme, too, and these are more unnerving.

A friend of mine who I’ll call Elizabeth has remarkably vivid dreams and damn good dream recall. She doesn’t even need to write them down despite how long they often are, a talent which I am rather envious of.

In a dream she told me recently (3/22/15) and which I had awakened her from through text, I noted the theme. I did not have the chance to take notes on the dream and she has yet to write it down herself, so some of this is likely to be in error. As I remember her telling me, more or less, her, a young girl (a Mexican sex slave, specifically) and I were hanging around when a humanoid praying Mantis ran by, looking rather terrified. He had an exaggerated mouth of cartoon-like teeth superimposed over where its mouth should be. She said she vaguely recalled him saying something about masks and how we will never see what the mantis-beings really look like. She also seemed to understand that these superimposed mouths were used to express emotion, as their faces were incapable of doing so.

A female mantis then arrived, with the same superimposed teeth, and this was likely what had frightened the male. We fought it. It stabbed me in the chest up by my neck but that was all, though it tore the shirt partway down my chest.

Elizabeth finally killed it by stabbing it in the back of the head, but mantis blood sprayed on me and the girl. I suddenly became paranoid and explained that we had to get it off, as the blood was toxic. The effect it had in the girl was interesting: a horn or barb grew out of the pupil of one eye; a knife grew out of the other.

Elizabeth found me hiding in a closet with one of the superimposed teeth on me now. I seemed to be straining to smile, as if to fool her into thinking I was all right when this was clearly not the case. She could tell because unlike the mantis brings my face could express emotion.

I recalled two dreams that stemmed to carry on the theme of me being under the influence of something. One had been told over the phone and I took notes on it. The other a girl I knew had emailed to me some time ago. I managed to find them.

The first was from a girl I’ll call Savanna, who had emailed me in response to an email I had sent to her earlier that same day (11/7/03) in which she wrote:

It’s funny that you speak up today. I had a dream about you last night. It was really rather strange. I came looking for you at your apartment. Bear with me, this was a dream. I was standing outside of your apartment door, and I heard some giggling. So, I go to open the door and some boy is already opening it for me. He smiled, and I smiled and said rather cheerfully, “Well, HI!! Is Benny here?” He chuckled and pointed up to the ceiling. Which meant to me that you were on the roof.

So, I started walking down the hall and passed a set of double doors, or at least that’s what I call them. I heard your voice from behind them, so I opened them. The room was kind of like a banquet hall, but smaller. Chairs lined the walls, and there were tables set up kind of like a bar in the back. And there was a guy dressed like a bartender at a wedding setting up something behind the table. There were windows, too, that let only a dim light show through the dusty, particled air.

You and a girl with longish light brown hair had pulled two chairs away from the wall and were sitting there, in the fading light, talking. As I entered you both looked up at me and both smiled. I felt odd, needless to say, and the girl gave me an overly enthusiastic smile and wave and said, “HI!”

Instantly, I was sitting with you guys and you were both telling me about how you had this lingerie party at the suggestion of some guy she had met on the street. He had hosted the party. It was for both men and women. Kind of like a hosted orgy, as you two explained it. As it turned out, the guy that had hosted the party was a convicted murderer or serial killer, I don’t remember which, but I had been investigating the case earlier that day. (I was an investigator in this dream. I’ve never actually had a memorable career in my dreams). So, you told me more about this “party” and told me about the drugs that he had given you. “Like we were floating, up, up, and away…” is how the girl explained it to me. You sat next to her shaking your head, agreeing.

It seemed very odd to me that the two of you would be sitting in this room talking when your apartment was just down the hall. It also appeared to me that you two were still pretty intoxicated from whatever drug he had given you. Kind of like “New-age hippies”. That’s all I can remember about it. I made myself keep repeating the main parts this morning in my head so that I could remember enough to tell you about it…

Then there was a dream a girl I’ve called Eva (who is one hell of a story herself) which irked me as much as Elizabeth’s dream. The notes I took on the dream as she told me it (on 2/20/10) is as follows.

There was an entity in the house. While it frightened Eva’s mother, it didn’t toy with her, and she warned Eva against involving herself with it. It turns out that I was there, too; furthermore, I was being manipulated by this invisible entity. I was on the floor playing a board game, holding a small game piece, which was green, plastic lizard. Eva would look away and look back, and things always seemed to be changing in the background, one of the things was the closet door, which kept opening and closing. She wondered if I was moving so quickly that I could be doing these things under the influence of the entity. At one point she saw me stand up, game piece still in hand, walking away in an almost robotic manner.

Try as she might to convince others, no one believed her about the entity.

She went to the door and tried to hold it open, it was trying to push it closed, but it could not overpower her. She read a crumpled piece of paper in the closet that said, “You might as well give up.” She believed the entity was trying to discourage her. She suddenly had a flashback of a real event in her childhood; she couldn’t remember what it was, but it was some memory in which she displayed her inner strength. She wanted to communicate to me that I didn’t have to fall under its influence. She took me and brought me to an empty room, assuming that there was little it could make me do in there, but I kept banging my head against the closed door.

Next, we were in the basement, and I was atop a wooden structure, trying to light matches in futility, and she tried to stop me. She then brought me to the elevator, thinking that getting me out of there would stop the entity’s influence over me, but when the door opened the elevator wasn’t there. Her mother’s voice said, “I told you.”

The recurring theme is me being controlled, or in the very least under the influence of — something: a humanoid mantis, a drug, an invisible entity. The fact that one dream involved a mantis being and another more covertly referenced reptiles makes me think, of course, of the creatures I’ve encountered throughout my life and, again, there is the theme of robotic movements, not unlike the “kriya” I have been experiencing in meditation.

I’m not sure what any if it may suggest, if indeed it suggests anything — but it interests and concerns me nonetheless.

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