|Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (2000 Winter). The Net Impact on Dream
Psi Awarness. Dream Time Cyberphile. Dream Time 17(1).
The Dream Cyberphile
by Richard Catlett Wilkerson
In this issue the Cyberphile will explore how the Internet has advanced the study of psychic dreaming and offers a wide variety of tools for further research in this and another difficult-to-define dreaming areas. Please help us find a name for the center for dreams and paranormal phenomena. Also tips for dream websites are included as well as notes about the new e-benefits such as member’s pages, Dream Time Live and more.
The Net Impact on Dream Psi Awareness
One of the main reasons that I was attracted to the Net as a vehicle to promote dream awareness was the appeal of the mass transformation it offers contemporary culture. This followed from my interest in what kinds of dreamwork yield the greatest impact. For many, the question of impact involves the healing aspects of dreamwork and this constitutes a large portion of dreamwork practice. I have a more political viewpoint, which includes dreamwork-as-healing, but tends more towards dreamwork in service of liberation. That is, I am interested in the aspects of dreaming that call into question the dominant narratives and assumptions we live by and then how the dream offers creative alternatives. While paranormal dreaming usually offers practices and results far too subtle for my radar, I have noticed corresponding thematic threads online between liberation dreamwork, psi dream research and the rising optimism concerning the connecting of all humankind. I have also been impressed with the way these groups develop community online.
From Montague Ullman’s 1989 Dream Telepathy
The belief that this reorganization can create connections to distant places, people and times is summed up by Robert Moss, who says that in dreams, "... the mind is ‘nonlocal’ and can tap into information from just about anywhere, if we are open to it. We are connected to other people and pick up their thoughts and feelings at a distance, waking or sleeping. We tend to get more precognitive messages in dreams because while we sleep we let down our left-brain inhibitions and our natural intuitive radar comes into play."
It is not surprising that the outwardly perceptive and connecting view of dreams comes into conflict with many other views that see dreams as self-contained projections of subjectivity, pieces of the self and a cosmos cut off from the world at large. It is part of an irreconcilable opposite, and archetypal conflict at the center of the universe. The debate over how dreams connect with the non-dreaming world is also much like the debate over how virtual reality and Cyberspace connect with the non-virtual, offline world. For advocates of both, there is a feeling that the connections are far more abundant and far more reaching in scope and range than we had originally imagined.
The Internet is not the first time that communications systems have been used to explore dreams that seemed to push the boundaries of time/space. Clay tablets of dream prophecy and strange phenomena occurring during dreams go back to the beginning of writing itself. Dream prophecies have been found in cuneiform tablets in the cradle of civilization and the Egyptian Deral-Madineh Early Hindu writings contain a wide variety of paranormal dreaming.Amityville, New York: Baywood. Cicero, nearly 2000 years ago discusses the probability of prophetic dreams on parchments. However, these communication systems were used more for documentation than research.
By the late 19th Century, the London Society for Psychical Research and others had formed and began documenting psychic dreaming in ways that allowed for independent verification. Many people reported having had dreams that corresponded to an event distant in time or space. These and other similar surveys continued throughout the 1950's and re-confirmed that people at least *felt* they were having psi experiences in dreams.
One of the major anecdotal collection devices has been the therapeutic encounter. In 1953 George Devereux published Psychoanalysis and the Occult which summarizes many clinical accounts. The therapeutic relationship is a perfect medium for dreams to not only be recorded and time stamped, but also followed over time and examined for correspondences and anomalous information.
David Ryback made use of his position at a college in Atlanta to do a survey of hundreds of students to examine precognitive dreams that dealt with the future. Where the evidence seems convincing, he followed up with interviews of the subjects and their friends in an attempt to further corroborate the dreams. While he felt that less than 10 percent could be called precognitive, the notion of using the survey to study paranormal dreaming began to emerge into the culture at large.
Communications devices like the telephone has been used as well. Keith Hearne used the telephone to signal Alan Worsley to trigger a dream psi phenomenon in London. http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/dreamthemes/
Louisa Rhine used newspapers and other publications to circulate her survey questions about paranormal dreams. The results were eventually published in 1961.
Van de Castle reports many mail and publication surveys since Rhine have been carried out many times over a variety of populations. One example in particular occurred while he was the co-editor of the Dream Network Bulletin. On November 17th, 1985 he focused on a picture in his home and had subscribers send in letters with their dreams about that night. This procedure was modified and is still used by Rita Dwyer, Van de Castle and others at ASD conferences.
By far the most extensive research on dreams and parapsychological occurrences come from the decade of studies conducted at the Maimodides Medical Center in Brooklyn. The 50+ published articles are summarized both in a technical monograph (Ullman and Krippner, 1970) as well as two editions of the popular book Dream Telepathy with Ullman, Krippners and Vaughn,(1973, 1989), as well as the more personal account by Krippner in Song of the Siren (1975).and also Ullman, M., Krippner, S. & Vaughan, A. Dream Telepathy. New York: Macmillan, 1973.
Ullman was the chair of the Psych Department at the Center and after some preliminary studies with Parapsychological Foundation in 1960, the lab was established in 1962. The basic procedure was to have the participant hooked up to an EEG and sleep in a sound-proof room. After going to sleep, the target picture was revealed, usually an art piece selected by random and given to an agent 32 to 98 feet away (sometimes longer). When REM sleep began, the agent began "sending" the picture, and after 10-20 minutes the sleeper was awakened and the dream recorded. The next morning the sleeper was shown 8-12 pictures and asked to rank them in terms of how closely they matched the emotions of the dreams. Many variations and subject combinations were used. Some as exotic as having the 2,000 dead heads from a Grateful Dead concert see and send the picture 45 miles away to Malcolm Bessent in the lab. The results were significant, but the project was not replicable. This seemed to be the overall conclusion of the studies. The research lab of the famous David Foulkes in Wyoming attempted to replicate some of the experiments without results, and to this day the story seems to be that the lab was rather hostile & unfriendly to the "loaned" subject, Robert van De Castle and the conditions less than favorable for psychic hits. It is interesting that online psychic communities find something similar. The more they know one another, the greater the chance of feeling there is a significant correspondence.
The Psi-Net Effect
With the rise of the Internet, information & education about psi dreaming has become much more available, though dream researchers are slow to use the Net to collect data. Still, the opportunity to time stamp dreams, have large surveys and questionnaires, to draw upon potentially millions of subjects and communicate with interested researchers around the world, will eventually be irresistible.
Linda Magallón’s Psi Dream Archive is the first place to stop online for authoritative information about dreams and psi phenomenon. Her archive offers a selected bibliography dedicated to extraordinary dreams as well as a dream psi glossary. It features information on mutual, lucid, psychic, creative, psionic and flying dreams as well as related phenomena.
Magallón has been offering an online course since 1997 on these topics, called "Psychic-Creative Dreaming: An Explorer's Guide to the Dream Net." As with all of Linda Magallón’s undertakings, the students receive not only the basics and a well researched history course on the topic, but also psychologically useful techniques and theory which challenges the boundaries of dominate cultural themes and notions in dreams, as well as offering a lot of fun ‘dream aerobics" exercises.
Robert Moss, who has done so much to popularize dreamwork and neo-shamanism uses his online site to mix business with research. The site offers some quick advice on how to verify the precognitive elements of dreaming, as well as to collect psychic dreams for his upcoming book DreamingTrue: How to Dream the Future and Create Better Futures. Moss answers questions on the site as well as on the ASD bulletin board, thus creating a mix of educational and research.
Research & Experimentation
Cynthia Pearson has used the Internet to study the pre-cognitive ability of dreams. The protocol was developed from Dr. Marcia Emery’s "Programming the Precognitive Dreams." Pearson would request that dreamers focus on an upcoming event-target, such a cover of an upcoming issue of USA Today Magazine. The dreams would be sent in three days prior to the cover release. Judges would then compare the dreams and the cover to determine the degree of correspondence.
"... this was the first time I could invite anyone who was interested to take part in the judging. Previously, I would solicit four volunteers to compare the content of the dreams submitted with the target newspaper. This time, I was able to post all the dreams and the target news , and ask anyone who wanted to participate to fill out a judging form. I received 30 dreams on time from 14 dreamers, and 9 people turned in judging forms. This, therefore, is the most complex amount of information I have had to analyze and report."
Pearson’s experiment online even included a participant from Japan. But were the results more impressive than offline projects using similar protocol? The experiments didn’t use statistical analysis and are more on the pioneering edge, but the participants felt that many images beyond change emerged. Pearson leaves the final judgment of the results up to the participants and observers. Her own feeling is summarized by a quote from Jane Roberts’ Seth book Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment "There is an entire global dream network that goes quite unrecognized-- one of spectacular organization in which exchanges of information occur that give you the basis for the formation of recognized physical events." Or is it, as one of Pearson’s participants wrote in, "I think the mind likes to be delighted?"
For more information about Cynthia Pearson’s work, see
These protocols have been used by other online experimental communities as well. Cyberdreams@lists.best.com is a discussion group that has been developing experimental protocols for psychic and mutual dreaming via e-mail lists. The group was originally started by Jeffery Mislove at the Intuition Network. Lars Spivock arranged to have the group hosted by DreamGate when funding for the original project was lost. Every two weeks a different host will pick a target for the group to dream about. The dreams are sent in and discussed. A group member, Dana, reports:
Interestingly, beyond the correspondences that may or may not hold up under statistical scrutiny, the group has formed a strong emotional bond and the group explores mutual dreaming as well as more traditional dreamwork. For more information:
The Seth groups have been actively using the Internet to expand their frolicking psychic dream activities. As early as 1992 the Astral Project RM was in full swing on Prodigy. This project had participants involved in mutual dreaming where they were asked to arrive at a dream ball in costume. It was interesting, Linda Magallón notes, that the character most recognized by other was the skeptic of the group who decided to come to the dream ball as a pizza delivery man.
A similar experiment called the Tropical Moosemeet or Moosequarade was offered by the 1995 SethWorks mail list. The meeting place was to be a castle in Ireland. Though this was more a mutual and classic paranormal meeting, local groups did send target images to the imaginary meeting.
Magallón expanded both the notion of the mutual ball room and precognitive dreaming to create community before the 1996 ASD conference. The complex program involved not only having people dream of special distant objects, but also included an imaginal dream gathering at the ballroom that would be used for the waking life conference Dream Ball. Participants sent in their dream experiences via e-mail and these were posted on a long tapestry, the Flying Carpet.
Using social and mutual dreaming to imagine the future has been also explored by Lars Spivock during the Community Millennium Dream Quest. http://www.dreamgate.com/dreams/ed-backissues/ (Wed, 24 Nov 1999). In this project, participants are contacted via a variety of online venues, and asked to attempt a dream meeting before the beginning of the New Year. The New Year, and in this case, the New Millennium, becomes the focus of the way the dream is interpreted. That is, the dream is asked, "What do you have to say about the new age that coming about, and in what ways is this going to be meaningful for me? " Participants will be sending in dreams to email@example.com and the results will be posted on public dream networks.
Linda Magallón recently teamed up with E. W. Kellogg III, Ph.D. and Robert Waggoner to develop an online protocol for Lucid Mutual Dreaming. The results of this research were presented at the 1999 July ASD conference in Santa Cruz, CA.[1999, Nov. 15].
To understand this project, three unusual conditions must be conceptualized. First, imagine that you are a very good lucid dreamer, and often aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. Next, imagine that you make an agreement during the day to meet with another person in your dreams. Perhaps at a place you both know in waking life, such as the Empire State Building. Meeting with other people in dreams at pre-arranged dream destinations and times is often called "mutual dreaming". Now imagine that you are going to give a silver flute that person you meet in your lucid dream at the Empire State Building. Then you can easily ask the person at a later time, "What did you get from me in the dream?" and make some progress in learning if there had been a paranormal transfer. To develop a research design that avoids contamination is necessary and the topic of the protocol offered by Ed Kellogg and his fellow researchers. They have made this protocol available online at:
Several other sites and projects are online to assist the psychic dream researcher, primarily in the form of time-stamping and recording dream premonitions. A few of these include:
The Central Premonition Registery, http://yaron.clever.net/precog/
The Dream Registration Center http://members.aol.com/Rose53202/drc.htm
The Dream-Flow http://www.dreamgate.com/dream/temple
However, any e-mail that you send will be time-stamped, and any post you make to a Usenet bulletin board, such as alt.dreams or alt.dreams.lucid will be time stamped as well. These venues are detailed in past issues of the Dream Time Cyberphile and have been recently summarized in Krippner and Waldman’s DreamScaping in my chapter "Dream Sharing in Cyberspace."
The Dream-SETI project.
If you are familiar with SETI Project, you may be wondering what it has to do with dreams and dreaming. Well, they may both be in search of ET. For those not familiar with the project, SETI@home is a scientific experiment that harnesses the power of hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). An individual can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data. With radio telescopes we collect much more data than we have computer time or power to analyze. The solution was to distribute the analysis across the planet to the millions of microcomputers that people have, but are often not using. Just like a screen saver, the SETI analysis program only activates when you are not using your computer. When a block of data is processed, it is sent back to headquarters via the Net automatically and there's a small but captivating possibility that your computer will detect the faint murmur of a civilization beyond Earth.
Carolyn Groth and others have begun these data base experiments with dreams. In fact, she has combined the SETI Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence and dream research in this area by establishing a site that will research the occurrences of Extra Terrestrial life in our dreams. From the Site:
" Have you ever dreamed of being in a place other than earth - perhaps in space or on another planet? Or, have you had dream visits by non earthly beings or entities? As well as hearing about your dream, we would like to hear about the effect that the dream(s) have had on you in waking life. Have they changed the way you think or feel about the world and your place in it?"
While this project is still some ways from being at the level of the space SETI project, it really involves much of the same principles in that it draws upon the hope of distributing the task out to millions. That is, people are already dreaming and already analyzing this data by simple recording their dreams and putting them online. To the degree one can get these folks to input dreams directly into a data-bank is the degree which events and dreams can be analyzed for paranormal correspondence.
ASD Dreams and Paranormal Phenomema Fourm
In an attempt to bring together all the past psi research by ASD members and offer a resource and discussion center, Ed Kellogg, Ph.D. has begun a special forum. The forum’s first effort was a
special project with Dream Time and the Dream Telepathy Contest that is hosted each year by the ASD Conference. Experiences of the participants and artists are included. The project, like a living tapestry, adds pieces over time. The fourm will also include articles and other resources by ASD members.
Here are some ways to participate:
1. If you were a participant in an ASD Telepathy Contest and would like to send in your experiences, we will add them to the center.
Send to Ed Kellogg, Ph.D. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. If you have written articles for Dream Time on these topics, please send us permission to re-print the article online. Send permission request to Robin Benatti, E-mail: email@example.com
3. Help name the forum. The general topic area has been given various names, all of which come with baggage that most researchers would like to avoid, or define only one are of the field. Psi dreaming, paranormal dreaming, parapsychological dreaming, occult dreaming, psychic dreaming and anomalous dreaming forum all have their charm, but we would like to hear from you. Please stop by the ASD bulletin board and tell us what you feel the center should be called.
4. Volunteer to help Ed Kellogg host the forum. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
With your help the Internet will become a research center that could not be imagined a few years ago. Both the Net and Psi dreaming are examining and challenging the boundaries of dream, self, time and space, there are sure to be some quite amazing undertakings. I would like to end this section with a quote from Stanley Krippner:
"...I devoted ten years of my life to parapsychological research because of a lifetime curiosity concerning the scope of human consciousness as well as a commitment to the development of human potential. The findings about ESP and PK, sparse though they may be, suggest that there exists in the universe a dimension that is ignored, unacknowledged, and virtually unexplored. This dimension of existence could teach us more than we know about time and space. It could expand our development of intellect, emotion, intuition, and creativity. It might even demonstrate that human beings do not end at the boundaries of the skin, but exist as part of a network of consciousness which connects one person to another person distant in space and time."
Getting Attention for your Dream Web Site
In the past two issues, I covered two important ways to get attention for your site, using your e-mail network, and having the right metatags and keywords on your webpages. This issue you will get two more ways to increase the visitors to your site.
Dream Census: By filling out and sending in the Electric Dreams annual Dream Site Survey you will be making the critical information about your site available to the most active groups of dream concerned netizens. This survey gives you a chance to list the services, products and other benefits to people coming to your site. These surveys are then used to generate reports to the online community by the Electric Dreams community. To receive a survey via e-mail, simply send an email to email@example.com
Search Engines: Have you ever gotten an ad that says for only $100.00 they will sign you up with over a thousand search engines? Gosh, it’s a deal that seems too good to be true! And it usually is. What we have found at the ASD website and at DreamGate.com is that the majority of visitors come from only a few search engines. Also, third parties that register your website often don’t bother to answer all the questions that a particular search engine needs to list your site properly. What I would recommend is that you focus on the top five search engines and getting your site registered on these places properly before spending time on the thousand of other search engines and portals online.
Yahoo is the web's most popular search service and has been in service since 1994.
AltaVista is one of the largest and most comprehensive search engines on the web. AltaVista opened in December 1995.
AOL NetFind is targeted at America Online users. You don’t have to be an AOL subscriber to register here.
Excite is a smaller but faster and popular way to access information online. Excite was launched in late 1995.
Lycos started out as a search engine, then shifted in April 1999 to a directory model similar to Yahoo.
Visit these sites and look for how to add a URL. This link will often be a the bottom of the first page. Read the instructions for each site very carefully. They are all different and ask you set up your web pages in particular ways to be cataloged.
New E-benefits from ASD
To encourage online dream community and awareness, you can now order a free web page on the ASD site. Whether you need to attract subjects for an experiment or simply say hello to the rest of the dream community, the page will be available with information about you and your dream interests. Look in Dream Time for a copy of this form and send it back to the information office or e-mail it in to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more information by looking online in the new member’s area:
Dream Time Live offers real time discussion at online Chat Rooms. These are very easy to use and a great way to meet with other ASD members and dream folk from around the world. You can get the latest schedule at:
or by simply sending an e-mail to email@example.com
ASD online volunteers can receive free training in web site design and HTML coding. If you are interested in volunteering, contact me at Richard Wilkerson, firstname.lastname@example.org
This article may be slightly altered from its original form on the ASD Newsletter to conform to Web Format.
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