This term is not common today, but dreamworkers should know it, for the phenomenon is as common as ever: dead loved ones (or hated ones!) returning or reviving in dreams. They may be mere ghosts (or phone calls, the modern equivalent) or solid--the dead alive again. You can even be a revenant yourself, as in Dead Rights, Sporecount or The Peak Where I Died.
Many such dreams are private and emotionally intense, even harrowing. But not every revenant's heavy. Or private. Revenants listed here include such notables as President Coolidge and Donald Duck. Context, my friends, context!
The list of dreams about death was getting huge, so it's now split into four smaller ones:
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|AFTER HE DIED: by Jane O. Wayne, 1990?, a dream-poem fragment
After he died, I dreamed that the phone rang and when I said "hello"...
|AMERICAN WIDOW: by Alissa Torres; February 2002, a dream of her husband lost on 9/11
High-voltage traces of our lust and love flowed through our mattress nightly... until one night when the power surged and overflowed. Then I felt you...
|ANNABEL ROSE: by Emily Joy; 2006/12/14, a ghostbusting dream on... love? sex? what?
Edgar Allen Poe confronts his dead girlfriend, who wants to drag him into the grave with her...
CAUTION: HUNGRY GHOST, SEX TALK
|AROUND LAKE ERIE AND ACROSS THE HUDSON: by Rachel Hadas; 1997?, a dream-poem.
My dead friend Charlie and his sister and I are driving around Lake Erie. We know it's a dream and he's dead, and yet we're joyous...
|BARING THE BREAST: by Carla Young, 2010/2/27; dream painting and scene
I'm half-naked at an arty dinner party, talking to a man I really think I ought to recognize... who is he?
CAUTION: TOPLESS JUNGIAN
|BELLE OF THE BALL: by Bonnie; 2006/5/2, a sexy ghost dream
I'll win a house if I can survive a night in the Haunted Pavilion! But it turns out I've been here before--before I was born...
CAUTION: GHOST ORGY
|BERYL'S KUNDALINI: by Wayan; 1997/8/26, a clarifying dream.
My friend Beryl's ghost makes mad love to me--just long enough to swipe my Kundalini energy...
|BETTY STOPS BY: by a Kentucky woman before 1961, a farewell visitation dream?
I was moved that Betty came to see my two babies despite her illness, but shocked when her father wrote to tell me...
|BILLIE: by Billie's Mom; 1945/1/20, a psychic warning dream
My son Billie, his Navy uniform soaking wet, cried "Oh, Mom--it's so terrible!" and shrank into a baby again as I held him...
|BLIND ANCESTORS: by Wayan; 2007/8/6, a nightmare poem about all of us
While we're off at work, blind Ancestors come smash our homes--and we all take zombie vandal relatives for granted...
|BRUSHWOOD BELLY: by An the Black; Easter 1003, a bizarre predictive dream.
An dreams a scary woman pulls his guts out and fills him up with brush! He wakes, gets gutted in a feud, and then...
CAUTION: BLOODY VIKINGS!
|THE CIRCUS HUMANS' DESERTION: by Wayan; 1988/2/19; a holy dream.
I join a circus, but soon all the best carnies sail off to the Blessed Isles. The circus animals pitch in and carry on--clumsy, lonely. Then a herald arrives from the Isles--Donald Duck! He says...
|CLOCKS STOP, CLOCKS START: by an Indiana family, 1953/10/3, and a Florida family, before 1961; similar psychokinesis accounts
Indiana: Father's favorite clock, a cuckoo clock, stopped at exactly the time he died...
Florida: an old clock (silent for years) started ticking loudly at 10:20, the time of my husband's death the day before...
|COOLIDGE'S DUCK: by Wayan; 1981/4/29, a political dream.
Calvin Coolidge takes over the White House and invites his rich fossil friends over for a bath...
|CRYSTAL AND GUNSEL: by Wayan; 1997/7/2, a nightmare--psychic or not?
Gunsel kills my friend Crystal in a flaming aircar crash. But that's not enough--he comes back, and...
|DEAD, NOT STUPID: by Wayan; 2000/1/20, a (psychic?)dreamtale.
My little sisters tell the detectives, "Daddy's ghost has a message for you" but they don't listen...
|DEAD OR ALIVE? by Nancy Price; 1948, a surreal, poetic dream from the borderzone
Troutmet the moon-pigeon, Burtra the blackbird, a talking acacia, and my dead dad and gardener give me afterworld-advice...
|DEAD RIGHTS! DEAD RIGHTS!: by Wayan; 1983/10/1, a dream of the other side.
I die young, to get it over with, like chickenpox. As I slowly revive, I face bias against the dead. So..
|DIPSOMANIA: by Dick in L.A.; before 1961, a suicide-preventing ghost/voice
I couldn't find Mrs. B and feared she was suicidal. Quite clearly and at once I heard my late mother say "She's in that hotel over there"...
|DREAM OF KOA RETURNING: dreamed before 2009 by W.S. Merwin; dream poem on a revenant dog
I reached back slowly hoping to touch your long amber fur wondering if you might be a dream...
|THE DREAM TREE: by Roswila; May 1997, a dream-poem on roots
I have no roots but those I steal--until my father leads me to a sacred tree, saying "Look to your mother"...
|DREAMKU, JUNE 2006: by Roswila; various dates up to June 2006; thirty dream-haiku
Daily dream-poems in haiku style, nonstop for a month. A flood of animals, revenant ghosts, sex changes...
|DREAMKU, SEPTEMBER 2006: by Roswila; thirty dream-haiku with various dates from 1960-2006
One dream-poem in haiku style each day for a month! Ghosts, snow, penguins, yoga babies, elves who leave their tree...
|DREAMKU, JANUARY 2007: by Roswila; various dates up to January 2007; 31 dream-poems--some longer forms than haiku
A month of dreams full of science fiction: galactic navigation, spacedragons, oppressed fairies, alien love...
|EFFORT VERSUS APTITUDE: by Wayan, 2017/8/23, a dream about... oh, read the title.
I urge a cafe to host a talented Tarot reader with an amazing aura, but the owner says "Anyone can be psychic with practice." Oh? Can practice make you Einstein, too?
|ELLIS CRITIQUE: by Wayan; 2008/12/10, four dreams comically challenge Havelock Ellis's dream-theories!
Pa warns me to protect my paws. Gilt wounds my sole. A lioness eats a drumstick. Then a bus crashes on our corner--for real!
|FAIRY WIFE: by Wayan; 1985/1/17, an epic dream of love and choice.
A fairy woman and a mortal man? Can't work! They're flighty, we're crude. Doomed, right? Well, some people are so sure of it they decide to help things along a bit. Or a lot...
|FALL FROM A STAR: by Edwin Muir; 1920, a hypnogogic shamanic initiation
Escaping the tiny red plush room inside a star, I dive back to earth. Oops. A beast eats my broken body. My soul waits...
|FATHER LOOMS: by Wayan; 1983/?, a nonliteral diagnostic nightmare.
I was a 30ish woman discovering that my chronic pelvic inflammation was from childhood molestation...
CAUTION: MOLESTATION IN DREAM-PAST
|A FINAL GOODBYE: by Justin Hall; dreamed summer 2001, drawn 2003; comic of a lucid dream on closure.
I found myself in a cafe in Amsterdam--or was it Sevilla?--with Kevin, who I knew was dead...
|FLIGHT: by Denise Levertov; 1945; a dream poem
I meet William Blake! He says "The will is given us that we may know the delights of surrender." While in my bedroom...
|FRANKENSTEIN'S ORIGIN: by Mary Shelley; 1816/6/16, a waking or hypnogogic dream inspiring a book
I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together; I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out...
|GERMAN AT THE DOOR: by Jenny Badger Sultan; 2009/7/19; a dreampainting from the Box of Dreams
A hulking, intimidating young man is at my door, with two scary dogs. Wait, is that Carl Jung?...
|THE GODDESS OF WYRE: by Edwin Muir; c.1920, a dream of soul-rebirth
After 25 years I land on my native island of Wyre, to touch an ancient clay figurine, who grows young and wakes...
|GRAMPA HAS SPOKEN: by Wayan; 1989/11/26, an oracular dream.
In a worldwide junkyard full of warring spooks, I finally meet the one whose message I need to hear...
|GREG'S GIFT: by Sheila and Trish, reported by Janis Amatuzio; June 1995, three dreams (?) of a ghost
A woman dreams of her boyfriend recently killed in a car crash. Unremarkable so far. But he also haunts his ex-babysitter, two thousand miles away, who had no idea he'd died...
|GUARDIAN GHOST: by an Oklahoma girl; 1919, a dream (?) of ghostly advice
I dreamed my late stepdad warned me to stand by my mother--she'd be in trouble and people would gossip and blame her...
|HAIL AND FAREWELL by Nancy Price; 1947/6/6, a revenant dream-message
A dying colleague haunts me all night. He says "crossings are often unpleasant" but death's not bad...
|HOWARD ANY TIME NOW: by Alice; before 1961, a predictive dream of a ghost calling.
My dead father said "We are looking for Howard any time now. We'll be glad to see him but sorry for the ones he left..."
|THE INCEST DREAM: by Maxine Kumin; 1979? a dream-poem
While my brother was dying, I had a succession of vivid premonitory dreams about him...But I was in no way prepared for...
|INSURANCE: by a young widow; 1947, a dream of lucrative ghost advice
Soon after my husband's death, I dreamed he pointed at a small black bag I'd stored unopened. I found it held insurance policies...
|IRENE'S DREAM: parallel (linked?) dreams by "Irene May" and Jack Kerouac, c. Aug 9 1953
IRENE tries to mold Francesca like clay to bring her back to life, and does--for a moment...
JACK finds his brother Gerard dead, and all Jack's words can't revive him...
|JAKE'S MAGIC CARPET; 2006/12/12 by Zhea Zarecor; a poltergeist experience and a reconciliation dream that grew to something more
Not long after Jake died, I dreamed he took me on a magic carpet ride. Since then, I've been flying...
|JAMES MERRILL REMEMBERED: by Rachel Hadas; around May 1995; two dream-poems
Soon after my friend and mentor James Merrill died, I had recurring, elusive dreams about him...
|JOHN SAYS GOODBYE: by Mary Fleener; August 1973?, a comic of a psychic farewell dream.
After a summer apart I dream my friend John and I fly hand in hand. Bliss! Strange, he has long hair and no beard...
CAUTION: OFFSTAGE MURDER
|THE LIBRARY: dreamed between 1976 & 1982 by Audrey Niffenegger; an book-inspiring dream
I die. But then I find a door in my grandmother's pantry leading to a beautiful library where I'm no longer dead...
|LIFE MATES: by Katie Hofgard; 2003/4/19?, a reincarnation-romance dream|
Mysterious doings on an archeological dig bring a creature back to life, but this is no Mummy...
|THE LOST RING: by Helen Fraser; 1924; an astral lost-and-found dream
A friend in Heaven promises Helen a lost ring would return to her. Three days later it did; but its path had been strange...
|MICMAC TOWERS: by Wayan; 2010/6/12, a quietly predictive surreal dream
I dream squatters build surreal towers in a city of junk. I wake, go to a movie, and see...
|MOM ON THE WING: by a tail gunner; 1942-45, a lifesaving warning dream
I saw my mother standing on the tip of one wing of our plane. She was dressed in white flowing robes and calling my name, warning me of danger...
|MYRNA, LOOK AHEAD: by Myrna, drawn by her daughter Joey Epstein; before 1988, a dream of a revenant ghost’s advice|
After Myrna’s husband gave up diabetes treatments to die at home, one night she felt him behind her in bed, and he whispered...
|NED'S KISS by Ned's mom and sister Ethel; before 1961, cledonic dreams of a playful revenant
I wished I could kiss my son farewell. That week, Ethel called. "I dreamed Ned kissed you, not me! I was hurt. He laughed like anything and kissed me too..."
|NEW BODIES: by Dreamy; around 2007/1/25, a transformation dream
My best friend and I qualify for new bodies. The new me is taller, but poor Ken may take years adjusting to his new...
|THE OLD YOUNG MAN: by Anna Kingsford; 1880/2/21, a dream of a step-in soul
Malaria nearly kills a talented young artist; he must retrain from scratch. Why? Well, he's not exactly himself...
|PAPA: by Hélène Cixous; 1006/5/15; a revenant dream
I'm in my papa's waiting room. I beg him to take a break from his patients now that he's dead, and walk with me...
|PEGGY'S CAKE: by Jenny Badger Sultan; l998/10/26 , a nightmare plus surrealist painting.
At a party I meet a friend I thought was dead. She's become a small talking rabbit made of cake, and I...
|THE POLYGAMOUS PILOT: by Wayan; 1990/9/25, a psychic dreamtale.
My friend the Polygamous Pilot is up in an ice-storm, hanging powerlines on the sky, when...
|RECONCILIATION: by Martha Sherwood; 2003/6/19, a dream-parable
Even after the Resurrection, a mother and daughter still have issues to clean up...
|REMARKABLE: by Joseph Wilkins; 1754, an out-of-body dream
Wilkins visits his parents in a dream. Only they think he's a ghost, and panic--in the real world...
|RUBBISH: by Naguib Mahfouz; dreamed 2001? A dream of advice from the dead.
My dead friend lost patience with the local dump, so I beat the trash--and out came shining people...
|A SHARP CLICK: by Herbert W., 1932/5/30, apparent spirit-rapping
My friend Mr D. was interested in psychic research but skeptical about psychokinesis. But 24 hours after his own death...
|SISTER TO LIFE: by Edwin Muir; c.1920, a dream of shamanic healing
The glow seemed to come from within her, but I knew it flowed from my own breast. Her eyes fluttered...
|SISTERS OF THE INTERFACE: by Wayan; 1983/12/21, a shamanic dreamtale.
My sister's beautiful; I'm plain. When she's murdered, I ride into the Interface Desert, where worlds meet...
|SKYLIGHT: by an Honorable Lady; well before 1894, a crimesolving dream (psychic? subliminal? ghost-visitation?)
My dead father said a trusted servant was stealing our goods through an unlocked skylight. This proved true...
|SPORECOUNT: by Wayan; 105K, 1990/1/5, a dreamtale on change-phases.
I'm a hot archeology student till I open the wrong tomb. A plague turns us into green moldy monsters...
CAUTION: DISEASE, DEATH, GRIEF, SHAME
|STEPMOTHER: by Catshall; c. 2014/9/24, a dream-haiku about revenants
I dreamed my stepmother moved in with my dead grandparents...
|STOCKDEN'S MURDER: by Elizabeth Greenwood; Dec 1695-Jan 1696, at least six ghost-dreams solving a murder.
Greenwood was repeatedly haunted by her murdered neighbor's ghost. His detailed tips helped her catch his three killers...
|THE STUTTER: by Wayan; 1995/9/7, a religious dreamtale.
Half our religion-founders were just one guy coming back till he got it right. Well, practice makes perfect...
|SWIMMING CATS: by Starvibes, 2012/1/20, a mysterious dream image
Following two cats at night, I watched in amazement as they dove in and swam gracefully across a swimming pool...
|TED'S DEATH: drawn by Joey Epstein from her aunt's mid-1980s dream; an apparent psychic dream
Ted died of CO2 poisoning in Hong Kong. His mom dreamed he came to tell her it was painless. To prove he was real, he told her...
|"TELL HIM I SAW HIS HEAD IN A BOX": by James Quinn; late Jan. or early Feb. 2003; a grotesque artpiece spurs an equally odd little dream weeks later
In a museum, inside a Renaissance reliquary, I see a dried-up head. Supposedly a saint's, but unlikely; he lived centuries earlier. Weeks later...
I dream I'm in a cafe, joking with the ghost of my mom, and find myself saying "By the way, if you meet some guy called St. Sixtus, tell him..."
CAUTION: READ THE TITLE
|TOWER OF THE MARTIAN DEAD: by Wayan, 1983/7/7; a dream-poem of an exo-Valhalla
Climbing a mountain on Mars, I reach a hall where I'm transformed into a cryophilic being. Then I feast on methane soup with the heroic Martian dead...
|TRANSPERSONAL PUPPIES by a dog breeder; before 1961, a cledonic dream of a ghost
The stranger seemed to know me. He said "Tell her about the little dogs, it will comfort her." Two weeks later...
|MY TUTELARY UNCLE: by Wayan; 1993/5/28, a shamanic dream.
I'm half Anglo, half Kwakiutl. My uncle the shaman died, but he still wants to teach me his medicine...
|VRILLASSA'S ONLY PRIEST: by Jo; 2007/2/10, a dream of meeting God
A job as the only priest on an island colony sounded perfect, only I'm the wrong religion...
CAUTION: DOGMATISTS AND DEAD BIRDS TALKING
|WE GO IN PEACE: by Florence; before 1961, a telepathic dream-report of another's death experience
My father-in-law looked me in the eye and said, 'Florence, the Lord is my shepherd and we go in peace'...
|WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: by a Coon Rapids woman, reported by Janis Amatuzio; early 1993, an almost-lifesaving dream of a ghost who wasn't dead
I dreamed my husband told me he'd been in a car crash and was in a frozen ditch not visible from the road near our house. I woke and called 911 who found him just twenty minutes later...
|THE WHO IN HELL AM I: by Wayan; 1984/1/28, a stubborn dream.
I'm Pete Townshend of the Who, climbing stubbornly out of Hell by noticing what I don't want...
|WHOSE DREAM WAS IT?: by Wayan; 2008/10/18, a nested-dream poem, Dreamverse #35.
I'm a Chinese kid fleeing the Japanese Occupation in 1938. As we near San Francisco, I wake to find it's all my dad's dream. Wait... he's alive again? But he wasn't a refugee. Is this a pastlife memory, and if so, whose--his or mine?
|A WIFE OR A GHOST: by Justin Masi; 2014? a surreal dream-painting-prose-poem on grief
My sister's fiancé Billy died a year ago. I didn't realize how deep the grief ran till I dreamed...
|WITH WILD AND TURQUOISE EYES: by Joan-lee Woehler Lasalle; c.1950, a dream-poem on a stubborn shadow
I slay the beautiful dragon attacking us, despite my regret. And then, as I sleep, glowing eyes advance on our keep AGAIN...
|YEW: by Mrs. Cl. of S.; 1670 or 71; a risky dream-prescription.
In a dream, a dead friend told Mrs. Cl. how to cure her daughter's chronic illness: the yew tree. But yew is toxic...
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