Ten Thousand Dreams Interpreted,
or, What's in a Dream, A Scientific and Practical Explanation
by Gustavus Hindman Miller
M. A. Donohue & Company, NY (n.d., between 1901 and 1910)
"In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men and sealeth their instruction that he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.''
--Job xxxiii., 15.
"Dreams are rudiments of the great state to come. We dream what is about to happen.''
The ultimatum of all human decrees and wisdom is to gratify the passions of the flesh at the expense of the spirit. The prophets and those who have stood nearest the fountain of universal knowledge used dreams with more frequency than any other mode of divination.
Profane, as well as sacred, history is threaded with incidents of dream prophecy. Ancient history relates that Gennadius was convinced of the immortality of his soul by conversing with an apparition in his dream.
Through the dream of Cecilia Metella, the wife of a Consul, the Roman Senatewas induced to order the temple of Juno Sospita rebuilt.
The Emperor Marcian dreamed he saw the bow of the Hunnish conqueror break on the same night that Attila died.
Plutarch relates how Augustus, while ill, through the dream of a friend, was persuaded to leave his tent, which a few hours after was captured by the enemy, and the bed whereon he had lain was pierced with the enemies' swords.
If Julius Caesar had been less incredulous about dreams he would have listened to the warning which Calpurnia, his wife, received in a dream.
Croesus saw his son killed in a dream.
Petrarch saw his beloved Laura, in a dream, on the day she died, after which he wrote his beautiful poem, ``The Triumph of Death.''
Cicero relates the story of two traveling Arcadians who went to different lodgings--one to an inn, and the other to a private house. During the night the latter dreamed that his friend was begging for help. The dreamer awoke; but, thinking the matter unworthy of notice, went to sleep again. The second time he dreamed his friend appeared, saying it would be too late, for he had already been murdered and his body hid in a cart, under manure. The cart was afterward sought for and the body found.
Cicero also wrote, "If the gods love men they will certainly disclose their purposes to them in sleep."
Chrysippus wrote a volume on dreams as divine portent. He refers to the skilled interpretations of dreams as a true divination; but adds that, like all other arts in which men have to proceed on conjecture and on artificial rules, it is not infallible.
Plato concurred in the general idea prevailing in his day, that there were divine manifestations to the soul in sleep. Condorcet thought and wrote with greater fluency in his dreams than in waking life.
Tartini, a distinguished violinist, composed his "Devil's Sonata" under the inspiration of a dream. Coleridge, through dream influence, composed his "Kubla Khan."
The writers of Greek and Latin classics relate many instances of dream experiences. Homer accorded to some dreams divine origin.
During the third and fourth centuries, the supernatural origin of dreams was so generally accepted that the fathers, relying upon the classics and the Bible as authority, made this belief a doctrine of the Christian Church.
Synesius placed dreaming above all methods of divining the future; he thought it the surest, and open to the poor and rich alike.
Aristotle wrote: "There is a divination concerning some things in dreams not incredible.''
Camille Flammarion, in his great book on ``Premonitory Dreams and Divination of the Future,'' says: "I do not hesitate to affirm at the outset that occurrence of dreams foretelling future events with accuracy must be accepted as certain.''
Joan of Arc predicted her death.
The Bible, as well as other great books of historical and revealed religion, shows traces of a general and substantial belief in dreams. Plato, Goethe, Shakespeare and Napoleon assigned to certain dreams prophetic value. Joseph saw eleven stars of the Zodiac bow to himself, the twelfth star.
The famine of Egypt was revealed by a vision of fat and lean cattle.
The parents of Christ were warned of the cruel edict of Herod, and fled with the Divine Child into Egypt.
Pilate's wife, through the influence of a dream, advised her husband to have nothing to do with the conviction of Christ. But the gross materialism of the day laughed at dreams, as it echoed the voice and verdict of the multitude, "Crucify the Spirit, but let the flesh live." Barabbas, the robber, was set at liberty.
The wife of a captain who has gone out to the Indian mutiny sees one night her husband standing before her with his hands pressed to his breast, and a look of suffering on his face. The agitation that she feels convinces her that he is either killed or badly wounded. It was November 14th. The War Office subsequently publishes his death as having taken place on November 15th. She endeavors to have the true date ascertained. The War Office was wrong. He died on the 14th.
A child six years old stops in the middle of his play and cries out, frightened: "Mamma, I have seen Mamma." At that moment his mother was dying far away from him.
A young girl at a ball stops short in the middle of a dance and cries, bursting into tears. `My father is dead; I have just seen him.' At that moment her father died. She did not even know he was ill.
All these things present themselves to us as indicating not physiological operations of one brain acting on another, but psychic actions of spirit upon spirit. We feel that they indicate to us some power unknown.
No doubt it is difficult to apportion what belongs to the spirit, the soul, and what belongs to the brain. We can only let ourselves be guided in our judgment and our appreciations by the same feeling that is created in us by the discussion of phenomena. This is how all science has been started. Well, and does not every one feel that we have here to do with manifestations from beings capable of thought, and not with material physiological facts only?
This impression is superabundantly confirmed by investigation concerning the unknown faculties of the soul, when active in dreams and somnambulism.
A brother learns the death of his young sister by a terrible nightmare.
A young girl sees beforehand, in a dream, the man whom she will marry.
A mother sees her child lying in a road, covered with blood.
A lady goes, in a dream, to visit her husband on a distant steamer, and her husband really receives this visit, which is seen by a third person.
A magnetized lady sees and describes the interior of the body of her dying mother; what she said is confirmed by the autopsy.
A gentleman sees, in a dream, a lady whom he knows arriving at night in a railroad station, her journey having been undertaken suddenly.
A magistrate sees three years in advance the commission of a crime, down to its smallest details.
Several persons report that they have seen towns and landscapes before they ever visited them, and have seen themselves in situations in which they found themselves long after.
Another mother hears her daughter announce her intended marriage six months before it has been thought of.
All these show unknown faculties in the soul. Such at least is my own impression. It seems to me that we cannot reasonably attribute the prevision of the future and mental sight to a nervous action of the brain.
I think we must either deny these facts or admit that they must have had an intellectual and spiritual cause of the psychic order, and I recommend sceptics who do not desire to be convinced, to deny them outright; to treat them as illusions and cases of a fortuitous coincidence of circumstances. They will find this easier. Uncompromising deniers of facts, rebels against evidence, may be all the more positive, and may declare that the writers of these extraordinary narratives are persons fond of a joke, who have written them to hoax me, and that there have been persons in all ages who have done the same thing to mystify thinkers who have taken up such questions.
These phenomena prove, I think, that the soul exists, and that it is endowed with faculties at present unknown. That is the logical way of commencing our study, which in the end may lead us to the problem of the after-life and immortality. A thought can be transmitted to the mind of another. There are mental transmissions, communications of thoughts, and psychic currents between human souls. Space appears to be no obstacle in these cases, and time sometimes seems to be annihilated."
In this dream we find the dreamer conversing with some strange intelligence possessed of knowledge unknown to objective reason. It could not, therefore, have been the waking thoughts of the dreamer, for he possessed no such information. Was the message superinduced through the energies and activities of the waking mind on the subjective mind? This could not have been, because he had no such thoughts; besides, the intelligence given was free from the errors of the calculating and anxious waking mind.
We must therefore look to other sources for an explanation.
One thing we may truthfully affirm--that it did not proceed from the rational, objective mind of the rank materialist, who would close all doors to that inner life and consciousness where all true religion finds its birthmark, its hope, its promises and its faith; which, rightly understood, will leave to the horrors of the Roman crucifixion the twin thieves, superstition and scepticism, while the angel of "Goodwill'' will go free to solace the world with the fruit and fragrance of enduring power and promise. The steel chains that fasten these hydra-headed crocodiles of sensuous poison around love and destiny can only be severed by the diamond of wisdom and knowledge.