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Smell and Taste in Dreams

Just writing that title is mildly controversial, since current sleep research says that the parts of the brain active in REM sleep make dreams highly visual, emotional, and kinetic, but lacking smell or taste, for those senses are processed in older modules passive in sleep. Of course much current sleep research also concludes that dream-contents are largely irrelevant, being just memories getting fixed, or garbage getting deleted, or associations getting linked (take your pick), so dreams have no inherent meaning--we just see patterns in noise. Since this is demonstrably false (your dreams couldn't respond with meaningful answers to specific questions if this were true, and they do; and lucidity couldn't be real; and it is) it shouldn't surprise you that dreams can not just contain smells and tastes, but hinge on them, as in The Train On Time Cafe, Tuccotine, or Yum Yum!

A few dreams here hinge on scents or flavors not sensed by the dreamer but by others, like the Sweet Wall. All in all, it seems to me that taste and smell are like any other dream topics. If a dream wants to engage them, it will.

Why aren't all dreams smelly/tasty, then? Here's a thought-experiment. Imagine if films added scent. Picture yourself in a theater watching a short about a fire. The scent of smoke fills the room. Is it story-smoke or is the place on fire? Do you sit trusting it's fiction as a real fire cuts off escape, or panic and stampede over a movie illusion? Confusion either way could be fatal. Now, isn't the same true of dream-smoke? Might be a subliminal warning of a real fire--so wake up!

This might explain why so few of my taste-and-smell dreams involve smoke, gas, or other hazards (and the few that did woke me promptly). How about you?

RELATED TOPICS: More impossible dreams: incubation (dreams answering a question) - lucid dreams - psychic dreams - dreams about dreaming - cledonic dreams (dreams bearing messages for others than the dreamer) - See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.

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ACORN AND PELT: by Wayan; 1983/7/19, a simple sex dream growing to a mystical extravaganza
I fall in love, defying dwarf-tossers and Toulouse-Lautrec, till I become a time-traveling bunny...
ADORABLE CYBORGS: by Wayan; dreamed 2016/10/5, a dream-poem on inner teamwork
A child dreamer and two different kinds of cyborg must cooperate
to free the hostages imprisoned under San Francisco Bay...
THE B SIDE OF THE PENIS: by Wayan; 1996/8/26, a sex dream about reprogramming.
I erase my sexual tape, and start over. Am I male, female, gay, straight? Uh-oh! What SPECIES?
BATTERED, WITH SYRUP: by Wayan; 1998/11/6 & 11/21, two healing dreams.
I'm a battered girl who sings in a mall. The Dictator (of all people) helps me start healing and learn to fly...
THE BLACK CURRENT: by Wayan; 1985/6/16, a slice-of-life dreamtale.
A dream-voyage round the world on the Black Current, only to wake up back in my animal village...
THE BORIS BADENOV SOLUTION: by Wayan; 1989/2/10, a dream of puns.
My evil twin, Boris Badenov, wants $8000 or else. I ask my dreams for a solution, and get one...
BROWNIE: by Wayan; 1984/9/26, a sexy dreamtale.
At last my girlfriend and I manage to peel off the Brown Dress of Shame, and ...
A CAT AND HER GIRL: by Wayan; 1979/5/15, a deep little dream.
I'm a doctor in the future, trying to heal the neurolink between a girl and her cat...
COW PUNS: by Wayan; 1983/5/14, an ethological dreamlet.
The pecking order (goring order?) of cows explains why our leaders stink...
THE CULT OF DIRTY LAUNDRY: by Wayan; 1993/10/2, a dream-critique.
I find the feminist principle "the personal is political" leads to some alarming consequences for privacy...
CURSING ISABELLA: by Wayan; 1992/8/19, a thoughtful dream of sorcery.
How I cursed Isabella the sofa sorceress, cursed her with a blueberry. And why that stinks...
DAWN'S TOILET: by Dawn Z and Wayan; 1999/1/6, two strongly parallel dreams
Wayan dreams of surprising Dawn on the toilet while she dreams that flushing away evidence of Foul Play won’t work...
DEAD OR ALIVE? by Nancy Price; 1948, a surreal, poetic dream from the borderzone
Troutmet the moon-pigeon, Burtra the blackbird, a talking acacia,
my dead father and my dead gardener all give me afterlife-advice...
DOG IN A CASSOCK: by Wayan, 1972/2/3, a comically surreal dream-poem
A master criminal is tracked down by a hound in a monk's robe
who's introduced to me as... the President of the United States?
EATING SOIL SAMPLES: by Vladimir Nabokov, 1964/10/17, a possible predictive dream.
In a museum, I absent-mindedly eat crumbly bricks I think are pastry; they really are rare soil-samples...
Three days later, I see a TV show I thought was on children. Wrong; it's on soil samples--that turn into eatables...
FACULTY WIFE: by Wayan; 1998/1/6, a sexy but disorienting dream.
I'm a faculty wife bored out of my mind until two students have sex in my yard. I ignore HIM and jump HER...
FISHERGIRLS: by Wayan; 2.6M, 42 illus.; 1996/7/15; a sexy dream epic.
I had an epic dream lasting subjective weeks--a true other life. It wasn't Earth and we weren't human.
I was a teenage lemur, sailing with two friends into unknown waters--a rite of passage. One night,
my friends curled round me, I saw I didn't WANT to pass the test, be declared a woman, marry, and have pups.
I loved my girl friends. In a world lacking the very word, I was groping toward queerdom.
Sailing into unknown waters! "Here be dragons," the old maps say. And they were right...
2600K loads slowly? Try it in parts: 1: HOME, 650K, 2: VOYAGE, 1200K, 3: BACK 750K.
FOINBREK THE MOOSE: by Wayan; 1993/12/4, a dreamtale on love and work.
My lesbian twin, who lives in the unemployment line, falls in love with a pushy moose from Brooklyn...
FOX-MOTHER: by Wayan; 2008/8/12, a dream poem; Dreamverse #2.
The goddess of the Cult of Clutter catches a little thief, and tastes her to see if she’s worthy...
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...
HAVE YOUR COCK AND EAT IT TOO: by Wayan; 2007/4/14, a dream of happy autocannibalism
I grew extra penises which bud off me like fruit. So I fry them up like sausages, and...
THE HERBIVORE'S EXCEPTION: by Wayan; 1999/12/6, a dream of snapping.
A beautiful herbivore suddenly eats one of its friends! Bloody. Who or what is this warning me about?...
IN A REHEARSAL ROOM: by Wayan; 1982/10/20, a sexy dreamlet on shyness.
I dreamed my fears faded like ghosts, as we made love in the rehearsal room. But invisible is not gone...
IN EL RIO: by Wayan; 1994/5/14, a singles nightmare.
My family runs a bar. I walk through, after hours. Who are all these silent figures?
INTRUDER: by Georges Perec; Feb. 1971, a dream unsure if it's warning, erotic, subliminal or psychic. Dream #50
Someone's broken in, prowling my apartment. Man or woman? The scent gives her away.
I wake, calling aloud "What is it?" Moments later, C. knocks on my door...
IRISES: by Frederic Mistral; 1834, a four-year-old's ecstatic dream
That day Frederic, craving irises, fell in the water three times. At night he swam through an iris paradise...
IT STINKS: by Aleksanteri Nevalainen; 2011/8/19, an accidental dream-incubation
Can dreams have taste and smell, I wonder? That night my dreams set out to show me...
LEARNING SCALES: by Wayan; 1985/6/26, an epic dream of Chinese dragons.
I find myself in astral China. The Empress is banished, the Jester rules. Wisdom is lost.
We need an Imperial Dragon...
LION-GIRL TRIANGLE: by Wayan; 2000/12/11, an uncomfortable sex-dilemma dream, possibly predictive
I'm a betrothed teenager having to choose between mates, in an alternate Africa where
lions are another tribe of people--and occasionally adopt humans...
THE LOST DUTCHMAN BURNS: by Wayan; 2011/11/17, a smelly dream censoring itself for safety reasons!
I smell smoke. I know I'm dreaming; did my sleeping body scent smoke in my home, and insert it in my dream to warn me?
But the dream sees my worry, and erases the scent to clarify it's symbolic smoke! Now I can finish my nightmare in peace...
MAGIC SCHOOL: by Wayan, 1982/1/26: a waking event and replying dream.
Phyllis Schlafly, killer of the Equal Rights Amendment, provokes a dream of being Captain Kirk
trapped in a magic school with no way out but the graduate exam. Can I learn the lesson of the tree?
MY GATE: by Wayan; 1996/5/29; a bizarre, joyful dream; 4-page comic (or ill. text version)
The full moon rises: I become Weregirl, do the Moondance, and gnaw open the lock on my heart...
ONE FRUIT REMAINS UNEATEN: by Catshall; November 1983, a journal dotted with dreams
My day life as an artist and explorer of the San Francisco underground scene
gets regularly commented on by my dreamlife...
RAGS TO RICHES: A FIGHT FOR LOVE: by Hyal; October 2006, a dream of courage.
I was just a street rat, but I danced with the princess at a ball, and fell in love. Three rich suitors pulled their blades...
RIB-CRUSHER: by Robert Southey; 1823/10/5, a nightmare leaving traces
I was in the grave. Worse, a living skeleton was trying to crush my ribs. Though terrified, I fought back, and...
SCORCH: by a California woman; 1944, a lifesaving olfactory hallucination (clairsniffance?)
I smelled scorching paint; my heater was about to burn the house. But I'd moved--my old house was six blocks away...
SENTENCED TO CHEESE: by a Birmingham physician; early 1850s? a classic subliminal nightmare
One night as I slept over a cheese shop, I dreamt I was trapped in a huge cheese, as a rat-horde gnawed...
SKUNK? SWALLOW!: by Wayan; 1981/5/7, a dream-joke with a point.
When I see two scary men on the trail, naturally, I swallow my skunk! I really don't recommend...
SULFUR GROTTO: by Wayan; dreamed 1988/8/30, a psychic genderbent rescue-dream
I'm a teenage girl diving for treasure. In an eerie coral grotto reeking of sulfur,
I spot a diver in trouble... and wake to find the grotto is real..
THE SWEET WALL: by Wayan; 2011/5/8, a charming but mysterious dream vignette
A lonely little girl plays on a swing in her yard. A shy young faun or satyr
who has a crush on her conjures up a strange gift: a translucent wall of candy...
TASTEBUDS AND LIARS: by Wayan; 1993/8/7, a dreamtale.
I was warned Wolf-Cats turn on people, but I still befriended one. Now I'm looking down its throat...
"TELL HIM I SAW HIS HEAD IN A BOX": by James Quinn; Jan/Feb 2003; peculiar ghost dream
Inside a Renaissance reliquary, I see a dried-up head--but is it St. Sixtus really? Weeks later...
I dream I'm in a cafe joking with my mom's ghost. I say "If you meet a guy called St. Sixtus, tell him..."
THEY DON'T BELIEVE ME: by Wayan; 550K total, 15 illus., 1989/10/4, an unbelievable dream.
My dog and I are abducted by aliens who turn us into cats. We escape & go feral to survive.
How we got back, and what happened along the way, even my own shrink refuses to believe...
THIS CAN'T BE REM!: by Wayan; 1981/8/18, a predictive stinky dream.
An article claimed smell is rare to absent in dreams. My dreams felt insulted and sent me a stinky one!
But why THAT stink? Well... next morning on my way to work...
TITANIA: by Wayan; 1981/12/7, 83/1/7 & 2/13 and 84/10/2, a dream-epic in installments
Clarence the sappy angel from It's A Wonderful Life and Milton's Lucifer land on Earth, offering treaties.
Who to sign with? Clarence thinks we're fine as is, but the Devil's a tinkerer, learning from failures. Failures
like me and my girlfriend Titania, the first android with a full palette of feelings. Like the feeling she's fake...
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...
THE TRAIN ON TIME CAFE: by Wayan, 1981/12/20, an epic political dream.
Silicon Valley goes enthusiastically fascist. I hide in a berry patch. They build a shining world, and then...
TUCCOTINE: by William Archer; 1917/1/14, a tasteful dream.
The innkeeper insisted I try a strange-looking liqueur, a house specialty called "Tuccotine"...
TWO PLANES: by Wayan, 1994/9/6, a multistaged psychic dream.
An assassination plot using two planes triggers an invasion of our kingdom. Flee? Fight?
I'm a peaceful hobbit who'd rather be playing Frisbee with the dryads...
THE VAT MESSIAH: by Wayan; 1985/2/27, a major dreamtale.
In our cult, we lie in vats of goo till we grow wings. But we’re feared more than we knew...
VERY FUNNY, MR. MOSLEY: by Wayan; 2009/10/8, a dream poem with sketches; Dreamverse #58
Trapped in a blend of Joan of Arcadia and The Tempest Tales, I'm tired of being the pratfall sidekick...
THE VIDEOGRAPHER'S APPRENTICE: by Wayan; 165K, 1994/7/29, a predictive/warning dream.
Blondie Wiggle builds a Video Igloo. But I'm allergic--TV kills me! A BAD omen for our video project...
VULTURE PEOPLE: by Jack Kerouac, 1962, a gross-out nightmare--and a warning?
The vulture people are fucking in the city dump. I end up their guest, given putrid food
in their cold stinking house of rancid grease. I'll become a vulture too...
by Wayan; 2013/4/13, an epic shamanic epiphany dream with tinges of ESP
I meet my Creator--a were-deer. No wonder I'm a shy, horny herbivore
so unlike these naked apes! She tells me my divine purpose...
WILD W.I.L.D.: by Dream Junkee; 2008/1/19, an epic lucid frustration dream?
I'm lucid but paralyzed. A weird child spies on me; is she controlling me?
Then I'm having sex--but if I come, I'll wake up! Then some thugs jump me.
I make sure they won't bother me again, but... is everyone in this dream out to distract me?
THE WIZARD'S HORSE: by Wayan; 2018/9/3, a magical dream about... toxic waste?
I'm a wizard's horse, trying to warn him about a toxic spell on a roadside corpse...
Wake into a second dream, but try to return to being a dream-mare and warn my rider...
And then wake to realize my Nightmare was warning about a home-renovation project!
WOLVES EVOLVE: by Wayan, 1983/11/11, a Darwinian dream.
After seeing 'Rear Window', Grace Kelly and I are wolf children in a pack that's quickly evolving into...
YUM YUM!: by Wayan; 1985/1/31, a smelly dream.
At work, a toxic potluck. I say no! And dream I'm a scent-oriented alien tossing back stink-grenades...
ZOMBIE RUSH-HOUR: by Wayan; 1993/12/14, a predictive nightmare.
I'm in an apartment co-op in Silicon Valley where people share their skills--till rush hour begins...

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