Beverly’s Autobiography Class Paper
February 9, 1992
Facing the Witches
When I was five or six years old, gruesome witches lived in the back of my dark and scary closet. I’d be quietly playing, and without notice, they would sneak out and come after me. I’d scream and run through the house, making it to the back porch, and sometimes down the back stairs, but never any further. I’d fall on the cement at the bottom of the stairs, spread eagle on my back, and just as they were about to devour me, I’d wake up. In an icy sweat, breathing fast, I’d be terrified of going to sleep again. For a few weeks, the witches would leave me alone, but, when I least expected it, they’d be back. After years of this same recurring dream, I’d find myself pleading, as I lay on the cement with the witches hovering over me, “Please, spare me tonight. You can have me in tomorrow’s night’s dream!” At that point, they’d stop their attack and I’d wake up. However, the dream was still very upsetting, and I always hated going to sleep, especially if I ate anything close to bedtime. My uncle once told me that my dreams were scary because I ate my Mom’s donuts late at night!
One hot, sticky summer night, when I was seven, I was especially afraid of going to sleep. I hadn’t been able to resist having one of my mom’s fresh, warm donuts, and I was sure the witches would appear in my dreams that night. My mom was sleeping on the living room couch, which she often did when it was so hot. The front door could be opened to create a breeze. That was before the days of air conditioning. So, still being awake about 2am, I grabbed an old, dark pink, american indian blanket and put it on the floor next to the couch to be close to my mom, and I fell asleep. Soon, I found myself back in my bedroom and noticed the closet door creaking open. I knew at once it was them, and I began to run for my life. I barely made it through the kitchen. As I raced across the porch and down the stairs, I tripped as usual and immediately those horrifying witches caught up to me. The instant before I started to plead with them, the thought flashed through my mind, “If I ask them to take me in tomorrow night’s dream, then this must be a dream!” Instantly, my fear dissolved. I looked the witches straight in the eye and said, “What do you want?” They gave me a disgusting look, but I knew I was safe in a dream, and I continued, “Take me now. Let’s get this over with!” I watched with amazement, as they quickly disappeared into the night. I woke up feeling elated. I knew they were gone. I never dreamed about witches again.
My dreams were really fun after that night. Remembering the feeling of facing the witches, I learned to recognize when I was asleep and dreaming. Safe in the dream, I would do things I’d never do when awake! Being a very obedient student during the daytime, I would dream of being in class jumping wildly and carefree all over the tops of the school desks. Whatever I desired, was possible. Whatever I thought, would occur. I made up ways to wake myself up by staring at street lights whenever I wanted to end a dream. Oftentimes, I would lay in bed imagining myself doing backward summersaults and float right into my dream without ever losing consciousness. I even learned to fly in my dreams, first, by flapping my arms like the wings of a bird, and later, by extending my arms like superman and just gliding threw the air. I stopped flying when I devised a way to merely turn around and just “be” wherever I desired: a beach, Chicago, or even another planet! However, I missed the sensation of flying, and soon went back to gliding effortlessly through the air, but now an invisible force pulls me to unknown, and sometimes undescribable, destinations.
I’ve had many other adventures in my dreams. Sometimes, I’d visit and talk with my friend, Denise, who died when I was eighteen. Once, I went back in time to the year 1974 and met myself at the age of twenty-one to tell my younger self that “everything is fine.” I solved my writer’s block so I could finish my PhD and even let myself die to see what would happen. I’ve walked on the moon, merged with the sun, and have been a star in outer space.
It’s been 30 years since that night I first discovered lucid dreaming. I didn’t know it was called that until 1980, when I met and began working with a scientist at Stanford on dream research. My dreams have since been featured in many books, major magazines, and television specials. Recently, I changed my career from working with computers to teaching lucid dream groups and workshops. I’ve also used my lucid dream experiences while asleep, to view life as a dream and become lucid while awake. When I’m really lucid, I have no fears and no unmet desires. I just “am.” I realize that I am the dreamer and everyone and everything is a part of my mind, including those mysterious, and well disguised witches.