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Why does the written word change in dreams?

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posted on May, 30 2009 @ 07:18 AM
Many years ago I was doing some research into Lucid dreaming (when you become aware that you are dreaming, and have some extent of control over the dream world), and I read that a good way to discover that you are in a dream is to read a bit of text, look away and then back, and if it is now different, your dreaming. I have since discovered, that certainly for myself this holds true.

Does this happen to everyone, or is it more a case by case thing? I believe that on occasion I've been able to reconstruct the original phrase after becoming lucid, forcing the text to revert if it was something (for whatever reason) I really wanted to re-read, but I consider that to be a byproduct of the lucidity and controlling the text subconciously to return to what I remember it said.

My question is why can't the brain process text in the dream state? It can conjure up incredible things, sights, sounds and feelings and keep them strong and consistent, but has trouble maintaining a few words?

Prehaps there's something deeper to this, some way that the subconcious is trying to get something across to you. But then why not directly manipulate a character in the dream world to do so? I cannot recall the particulars of anything I've actually read in a dream in the same way other recollections fade upon waking, so I can't speak to the exact content, but I think it would be fascinating to be able to record what was written first and then the text that replaced it.

But then prehaps it is entirely meaningless, a dreaming quirk.

What do you guys think about this? Does it happen to you as well? Why does it occur when the rest of a dream can remain so real for what seems at times to be a long period of time? Does it contain any deeper meaning, or is it just the brain screwing up whilst painting the rest of the dream picture?

All thoughts extremely welcome, I find the nature of dreams fascinating...

posted on May, 30 2009 @ 07:56 AM
Hi Vector J,

About a year ago I went thru a long period of time (3 months +) where the only dream I could remember was this:

A red text on yellowish parchment. I would read and read for the whole dream. I wouldn't remember what was in the text I read when I woke up, but always had the distinct feeling that I knew more then when I went to sleep. Weird huh?

My girlfriend at the time would often tell me in the morning that I would burst out laughing during these dreams. Wonder what I found so hilarious?


posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 12:43 PM
reply to post by shamus78

That sounds pretty cool there Shane. Thanks for taking the time to share! I know that sometimes bits of dreams suddenly come back to me a very long time after I had the initial dream, so prehaps you'll recall what you were reading on that parchment one day? I certainly hope it does for you

And no-one else has anything to share? No comments, no points, no experiences or ideas? Nothing at all? This seemed the most appropriate of the forums to post this in. Guess I was wrong. Next time I'll be sure to title such a thread 'Why do I dream these things? IS IT THE DEVIL?!?!??!?!?' and post it in Skunkworks. I bet that would have had a few more responses.

Oh well, sleep well ATS...

posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 06:14 PM
reply to post by Vector J

Another thread would be about how I've been looking for this EXACT thread without any luck and you post it within a few hours of my almost giving up!

Anyway, to the subject at hand.

I remember hearing years ago that dreams were produced on one side of the brain specificaly, and the center for reading and writing is in the other hemisphere entirely and "never the twain shall meet", thus no human can read in their dreams.

To that I say "BAH". I have been able to read words, sentences, even paragraphs in my dreams and REMEMBER them upon waking but they are very fleeting, as most dreams are, and I am not in the practice of dream diaries (perhaps I shall start, now that I know that there is someone else who experiences the exact same phenomenon).

I have asked many people on different ocasions if they can read written words in their dreams and I always get a response such as, "I don't know" or "I can't remember" or "no" or even "I don't dream in color".... Amazing.

I sometimes become lucid when I find myself STRAINING to read as if I am trying to FORCE the words to read themselves to me. I have also read text that was completly alien to me(like chinese or arabic, not "gray") and understood its meaning in the dream and upon waking.

I find that I have particularly vivid dreams(not neccesarily lucid or reading text) when I eat spicy or "heavy" food within two hours of sleeping. I recall a Pastor of mine answering questions of dreams and prophecy with an old southern drawl and, "Ya probly juss ett a sour pickle"

I do believe one of the keys to solving this mystery lies in the scientific description of the interaction between the left and right hemispheres of the brain while sleeping. I, however, am dependent upon you for research as I am basicaly computer illiterate to the point of not even knowing how to sign my posts..... how sad.

posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 07:22 PM
I've always had trouble reading the written word in my dreams, at least, I've had trouble remembering what I've read in dreams.

I've always just figured it to be something about my mind; I'm primarily a very "visual" person.

I like the idea that this inability to recall the written word as seen in dreams has something to do with the side, or area of the brain responsible for producing dreams.

But still I wonder.

Here's my contribution, recently revisited as a result of the H1N1 flu scare:

About 3 weeks ago, I think maybe the night of April 26-26, 2008, I had a dream, which, although on the surface seemed quite ordinary as dreams go; but which encompassed certain details that have left me in a quandary.

I’d like to share that quandary with you folks, and maybe get some more learned observations.

First, the dream:

It began, as most of my dreams do, with no introduction, no prelude, just suddenly there I am in the middle of a situation. I was in a small to medium-sized meeting room or hall, something like what you might find in an average community center: filled to bursting it might have held 150-200 people.

A meeting or lecture had just concluded, and I found myself lingering on with a handful of other folks. I do not recall the nature of the lecture, but it is a this point that I realize that I am dreaming: Hilary Clinton walks up to me (I register the fact that she was the speaker at the just ended function) and asks me if I would be interested in taking over the directorship of the community’s Cancer Society organization.

Point of information: I do not know Mrs. Clinton. I do not particularly support her current political aspirations. Nor have I ANY operative knowledge of the “Cancer Society”, or any other non-profit organization. I belong to no such groups, nor do I know anyone who does, at least that I am aware of.

In short, I have no idea why I would be in the position to be offered such a post, nor would I in good conscience be able to accept such a post if offered.

Mrs. Clinton made it a point to tell me that the position “would pay in the low to middle six figures if you’re interested”, and if she could find the budget. This is strange enough that I now realize that I’m dreaming and begin to wonder, while in the dream, if I’m having a precognition dream. (I sometimes do)

Fast-forward. The next image in the dream has me in the parking lot of the “community center”, getting into what I recognize as my car.

But it is not my current vehicle, a late model BMW sedan; it’s an old late 60’s-early 70’s Rover 2000/3500, like the first car I’d ever owned.

The Brits on this board, who happen to be car nuts, would have recognized it for a P6 model. Rover sedans (mine was a ’69 2000TC) were exceedingly rare back in 1976 California; I was very proud of mine.

In the dream, the car is a LHD model, as would have been sold in the US, brick red with white hood (bonnet), top, and trunk (boot), and a black interior: well worn. The car I owned as a kid was a very proper British Racing Green (BRG) with a natural (light brown) leather interior.

As I’m getting into the car, I notice two white cardboard boxes on the dashboard “shelf”(those familiar with the P6 Rover will know what I mean), one box is lettered in black or dark blue “VIRUEX “, the other box is labeled in red, “TAMIFIL”.

For some reason, I take both boxes, get back out of the car and proceeded to put the boxes in what I was expecting to be the trunk...

But, much to my surprise, This old Rover turns out to be a STATION WAGON! What the folks across the “pond” call an “Estate Car”.

I open the rear hatch (it reminds me of the tailgate on an old Citroen DS estate, opening as a single piece from the top), I note the high floor of the cargo area, I put the two boxes on the floor of the cargo bay, and as I close the tailgate, I wake up...Perplexed.

Now this is why I still wonder about that dream:

Back when I owned my Rover, the Summer of 1976, the Internet was barely a gleam in the eye. To the best of my knowledge then, and in fact up unitl I originally posted this "dream", I had no knowledge that a car like I had described, a Rover P6 Estate, even existed. My '69 2000TC was one of only 400 or so in all of California at the time.

I know this because I had to try an order a camshaft bearing cap for mine. Not an easy task in the days before the Net!

As I said, I have trouble "reading" in dreams; yet in this dream, I was easily able to read the labels on those two boxes.

And the fact that knowledge previously unknown to me, concerning the existence of a rare car like I described, was imparted to me in this particular dream, leads me to regard thsi dream experience with more than the usual attention.

posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 04:58 PM

Originally posted by Tyler 720
I remember hearing years ago that dreams were produced on one side of the brain specificaly, and the center for reading and writing is in the other hemisphere entirely and "never the twain shall meet", thus no human can read in their dreams.

Had a quick look on wikipedia and it tells me that that isn't true, that no-ones entirely sure where they originate in the brain. But hey, thats just wiki. But it makes sense as theres still a lot unknown about dreams.

Originally posted by Tyler 720
To that I say "BAH". I have been able to read words, sentences, even paragraphs in my dreams and REMEMBER them upon waking but they are very fleeting, as most dreams are, and I am not in the practice of dream diaries (perhaps I shall start, now that I know that there is someone else who experiences the exact same phenomenon).

I've definetly been able to read in dreams, as I said in the OP. And i know I've recalled bits in the morning, but they are some of the details that just never seem to stick with me for more than a few minutes. I think it might be an idea if I start a dream diary for myself!

Originally posted by Tyler 720
I sometimes become lucid when I find myself STRAINING to read as if I am trying to FORCE the words to read themselves to me.

Thats a familiar feeling. I know theres been times when i've felt exactly like that, trying to force the damn words into my perception!

Originally posted by Tyler 720
I do believe one of the keys to solving this mystery lies in the scientific description of the interaction between the left and right hemispheres of the brain while sleeping. I, however, am dependent upon you for research as I am basicaly computer illiterate to the point of not even knowing how to sign my posts..... how sad.

When I've got a bit more solid time, I'll try and do some deper research into the theories about what parts of the brain are invovled and why. I'll then report back here with what I find!


Thats quite a story. Could you link me to where you posted that originally, I'd like to read it in context. It is indeed amazing that you really recall those words even though you usually have so much trouble recalling words.

I for one am very impressed that you still remember the words even now, being that although I know i've read in dreams, I cannot for the life of me bring the words back into my mind now!

Prehaps the reason you remember them was because it was a dream your mind somehow marked as extremly important, prehaps because it was attached to the car that means something very particular to you? Kind of a tagging effect, knowing that showing you the image of the car would be striking and extremly memorable, your subconcious tagged on the boxes with the words so that you would definetly remember them. Not a clue if anything like that was goin on in your mind, but I find it an interesting idea!

Thanks very much for your contributions guys! I love hearing stories about dreams, especially in context to the thread. It's great to be able to hsare and discuss experiences like this!...

posted on Jun, 3 2009 @ 01:54 AM
reply to post by Vector J

Per your request, here you go:"Should I/We be Concerned?"

posted on Jun, 3 2009 @ 04:33 AM
I fall asleep reading a lot, and i've always found it hard to tell when i fall asleep because i'll slip right into a dream and continue reading. The words will be different from what's in the book, but i often find that it's like reading my own written interpretation of my understanding of the subject.

I can remember reading in dreams.

One instance, i had a dream that i was at a marina on an island somewhere, and i was looking out at a chain of small rocky islands with some unique features. While walking around the docks i came across an old wooden cabin cruiser of about 40' that caught my attention. The name of the boat was QUASAR. I was compelled to board the boat, and while exploring the interior, i encountered the things with no face, those who have seen them know what i mean, if you haven't seen them you wouldn't believe it, i know i wouldn't have until then. The faceless beings then proceeded to physically restrain me and perform some kind of psychic assault, something i can only call "the brainsuck" cause that's what it felt like. I woke up and found the beings were actually in the room and were standing over me performing some kind of telepathic procedure. I was paralyzed, like sleep paralysis, but i willed myself out of paralysis and then resisted the beings. They were real enough for me to have a short physical altercation with them trying to pin me back down when i jumped up. It was a lot like what people describe as grey abductions. I don't claim aliens abducted me but my experience parallels lots of "classic details" of abduction. I wasn't taken though, whatever it was didn't take me.

Point is though, if remembering words are important in the symbology of dreams, then quasar means something, because a few weeks after having the dream i found myself standing on the very island i dreamed of, staring across a sea at the same prominent features of the smaller islands. The only difference was that i was standing on top of South Mountain in Phoenix looking at the distinct features of camelback and squaw peaks and a sea of brown smog. It was the same exact scene, i don't know when, but the valley will be seafloor again someday and i got to see it. I wonder if the word quasar was "code" for a gamma ray burst or some kind of astronomical high energy event that could affect earth enough to raise sea levels enough to make these peaks into islands.

Usually if i dream words it has some kind of meaning. I've also dreamed i could read in other languages. When i used to do a lot of debgging and coding in assembly language and raw binary, i'd dream strictly in binary code and i knew what it all meant. My dreams had no visual aspects, all i could sense was a series of states of energy in rapid 16 bit binary pulses. When i awoke i could remember a vivid dream with color and situation and context and meaning but only after the code compiled.

I dream of math a lot, and usually i can't remember the theories in full, only bits and pieces. I had a dream once that i was arguing with Galileo concerning his infinity paradox. I remember in my dream an eloquently simple way to apply a curvature to the lines along multiple dimensions and had solved the paradox. I just can't remember the formula but i understand that representing Galileo's straight like model along multiple dimensions of curved timespace would solve the gap problem because the gaps would be closed when the infinity plane is rotated multidimensionally. But, i failed to remember the equation on the board.

posted on Jun, 3 2009 @ 07:14 PM
reply to post by Vector J

Thank you very much for your research.

Years ago I remember a "Batman" cartoon where our hero was experiencing some strange things that appeared to defy the natural laws of physics. As it turned out, our hero had been captured and was unconscious, having his dreams manipulated by a machine. Our hero was only able to awake and destroy the villian when he found he could NOT READ ANYTHING, thus alerting him to his dreamlike state, thus giving him control over his dream and, ultimately, his foe.

This seems noteworthy as this cartoon was produced years ago. Perhaps if it is in the internet somewhere, you may get a laugh or even an understanding of what the writers opinion on the matter is.

Also, no more than six months ago I saw a science show about trying to understand dreams. It seems some scientists had drilled a very thin wire into the skull of a mouse and repeatidly ran the mouse through the same maze while recording electrical impulses from the mouse brain. They then continued monitoring impulses while the mouse slept and discovered that when the mouse brain was active(I assume dreaming) the same impulses were recorded. I can't recall, but it is possible the impulses were REVERSED. I think the scientists hypothesis was that dreams are the brains way of processing information. I don't recall the name of the show, but the mice were very strange looking with a giant, upside down "dunce cap" taped to their heads.

I have recently had the honor of overseeing the completion of a 96 room 3 story hotel. My duties included "punch-lists" from the architect, the owners, the hotel staff and the General Contractor (whom I worked for).
Needless to say, there was alot of overtime and alot of going from room to room to room to room with different information about each room. The peculiar part of all this is the running gag between myself and my co-workers that "as soon as my head hits the pillow, I'm back here!". Now this was not a joke towards the lack of free time or the lack of sleep or even the feeling that the next day comes too quick, this was in direct reference to our DREAMS, up to and including discusion of these dreams. As it happened, we all found ourselves roaming the halls, searching the rooms, and "working" with a sense of urgency in our dreams. Some of these dreams felt so real to me because I COULD READ in these dreams, thus unable to know I was dreaming.

I am currently trying spicy food for a later dinner on occasion, and have moved a notebook and pen beside my bed.

posted on Jun, 9 2009 @ 07:11 PM
I sincerely hope this thread continues.

Reading written words in dreams

I woke this morning able to remember several written words in my dream. I was on a crowded bus with adults, but felt like I was going to school. I started a conversation with another rider that ultimately led to me showing them an extensive criminal history "rap sheet" on my I-pod. I feel I could read it all because I did not wake or become lucid, however, I cannot recall it now.

When the bus came to a stop ( not our destination ), I recall a billboard with a business man ( or perhaps a politician ) somewhat smiling with a white circle with a white diagonal line from upper left to lower right around and over him and the words "I spit on your face" to the imediate left.

Having the reputation of a criminal, I commented to my traveling companion "I bet I could hit his face from here" and proceded to clear my throat yet did not spit at the image.

The dream continued, but I cannot recall it.

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