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Cryptomnesic dreams reconstruct (often in hallucinatory detail) data consciously forgotten. Cryptomnesia parallels the waking phenomenon of eidetic ("photographic") memory, but occurs in non-eidetic people too. It can overlap with subliminal dreams (noticing things the conscious didn't during the day). It can be mistaken for ESP, though that doesn't mean all ESP dreams can be explained away by cryptomnesia.

What kind of data? Often the kind many sleep researchers claim it's hard for dreams to recall at all--lost phone numbers, codes and formulae, calendar dates, long musical scores, or whole texts word for word. Some dream-theories claim the dreaming brain can't keep track of such things. Stephen La Berge's books on lucid dreaming, for example, recommend looking twice at texts or clock-displays if you suspect you're dreaming, because if you are, your poor old unconscious can't recall them steadily enough to fool you--they'll change! Cryptomnesic dreams disprove this theory--the Props Department of Dreams may often not bother with perfect continuity (drama requires compression!), but dreams are able to keep track of vast amounts of precise data... if they want to.

Which means the shiftiness of dreams isn't always noise. Sometimes it's signal.

RELATED TOPICS: dreams of memory in general - subliminal dreams - therapy - archeological dreams and buried memories - personality integration - abuse and healing - past lives - visits from the dead - calendrical and anniversarial dreams - dream displays of math and logic - lucid dreaming - dreamwork and dream research - See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.

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CRYPTOMNESIC TROLLEY: by Wayan; 1991/4/22, a lucid dream of a suicidal experiment.
To prove I really am lucid-dreaming, I let a streetcar run me over. Mm, crunchy! Then I find out...
DEJA REVE: by Percy Bysshe Shelley; before 1810, a flash of a premonitory dream
While walking in the country, a vista suddenly terrifies Shelley: he recognizes it from a dream years before...
FISHEL AND FRISH AND FIREBIRD: by Wayan, 2003/12/4, a seven-year dream.
Why do the guests arriving for our seven-year reunion include
part-time giants and dog-headed gods? They tell me...
GOOGLE DREAMS: by Michael Flora; early 2010, three (psychic? cryptomnesic?) dreamlets on names
After an article suggests we roam the multiverse in sleep, I dream of three strange names. Awake, I google them...
KINDERTOTENLIEDER: by Oliver Sacks; 1974, a musical dream
I dream of German dirges I don't know. I hum them for a friend, who shocks me by asking
"Have you abandoned any children, or burned a manuscript?" Right on both counts...
LEOPARDS AT THE FRINGE: by Wayan; 2014/3/28; poem of a cryptomnesic species-bent thespian sex dream
I'm at the Fringe Festival, onstage in a Performance Orgy, playing two roles:
a leopard with human pets and a leopard's human pet. But I'm not quite playing...
LOST OPAL: by Anonymous #27; pre-1961, a clairvoyant or subliminal dream
The opal fell out of my ring somewhere around town. I was heartbroken at the loss. But that night my husband dreamed...
LUCKY STARR: by Wayan; summer 1964, a childhood cryptomnesic dream.
I fell asleep reading a book I'd read years before. I finished it in my dreams. Every word in place. How?
SORTING HAT, DRUNKEN CAT: by Wayan; 2013/10/18, a steadily mutating warning-dream
I discover a Sorting Hat, as in Harry Potter--and it moves in with us. Our cat crawls in and plays peekaboo.
She becomes a teenager eager to get drunk at Thanksgiving--like every adult in her life. But she's not
puking drunk like them, so she must be OK! Just as I think I am--I only overwork to exhaustion.
TWO TANKS: by "Anonymous #19"; pre-1963, a small but precise psychic dream
Two photographic developing tanks disappear. I assumed theft
until I dreamt they were in a room I'd never seen, in locker FJA 39...
UMBRELLA: by "Anonymous #"17; pre-1963, a helpful cryptomnesic/predictive dream
My wife dreamt where to find her lost umbrella; the next day she did.
But the finder said word for word what she had in the dream...

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