Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Halloween Dreams

I had Halloween dreams last night. Grave yards and haunted houses and masquerade parties. It is what I have termed a "seeker's" dream. It does not matter if it is an airport or a multi-storied house I am seeking something throughout the twisted course of the dream.

We are told by sleep researchers that dreams can last no more than a minute or two and yet this one seemed to go on all night. As as kid I used to tell my mother I dreamed in Soap Operas, because it seemed that each new dream was an additional episode of an on-going story where the same cast of characters came and went not unlike As the World Turns. I also obviously reuse stage sets.

I have a memory of my parents helping my paternal grandmother move out of the huge house in the Prospect area of Kansas City. It was a mansion to my way of thinking with a huge entry area that opened up to the ceiling three floors above us. The room where we stood was ringed with a staircase and balustrade. Grandmother, dressed in unrelenting black taffeta, leaned over the second floor railing and stared down at us through her one good eye. A black patch was over the other and she wore a black hat with a veil. The woodwork was dark and the walls behind her in a burgundy silk pattern. A huge crystal chandelier hung over us and fractured the sparse light. Mom held my baby brother. Dad held my hand but I was not afraid of my grandmother just the palpable hate between her and my mother. I wanted to be free to roam the halls.

Mother used to tell me there was no way I could have any memory of that house. I had to be no more than three at the time. And yet that image comes over and over into my seeking dreams. Especially those around Halloween. It is forever my haunted house. And I am never surprised to find myself there again. Or in any of two graveyards I have visited. Actually I knew the one in the Garden District of New Orleans before I even visited it in real life.

I awoke this morning unclear as to what I was seeking beyond the perfect mask for a costume party. It really is never that simple.

The weather here is unsettled. The link calls it Wintry Mix. Almost a freezing rain outside currently. But the chill in my bones that caused me to light a fire in the wood stove was more from the dream last night than the temperature in the house. It is more than three weeks to Halloween. There will clearly be more such seeker's dreams. And I will visit the Prospect house again and again.


  1. What a photo - wow! I've been watching Alfred Hitchcock on Youtube in your honour. Remember the pregnant woman who whacked her unfaithful husband with a frozen leg of lamb, cooked it up and fed it to the police investigators puzzling and clueless as to finding the murder weapon?
    And how about the woman having a nervous breakdown, claiming to identify her attacker to her husband, who took his revenge, only to claim yet another later walking down the street as her attacker, and another. Oops. That's what the husband got for believing his imbalanced beau.

  2. Interesting... I often have vivid, protracted dream sequences too. When I was younger I used to have a recurring dream, especially when I was feeling sick or had a fever. It was more of a emotional/feeling/sensing type of dream rather than a visual one. It related to having this enormous task ahead of me to complete and having no hope in the world of doing it in time. Yet I had to start and feel the anxiety of rushing to finish something that was impossible to finish - eg. like emptying an ocean with a teaspoon before sundown!

    Your description of your grandmother made me think of Bette Davis in her role in "The Anniversary" (see:
    Probably nothing like your memory, but that image of Bette with an eye patch spooked me when I was young!

  3. I have read this and reread it several times.

    My dreams at present are trying to climb mountains, trying to get around the mountain without climbing it and there is sea - a great deal of it. No cats, witches, bats, broomsticks or the like.

    Mothers are not always right - I am convinced you can remember that house very well.


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