“A Nightmarish Origin”

We’ve all had nightmares at some point in our lives. Several people are plagued with them as if they were in a film caught in some sort of terrifying loop destined to repeat itself while others are fortunate enough to hardly ever have one. Yet, we really don’t put much emphasis into the origin of the word “nightmare”. Many of us shudder at the mere thought of even considering it. So quick are we in wanting to forget such frightening visions, but the truth of the matter is that the word “nightmare” dates back from Old English times when the word “mare” referred to folkloric demons that terrorized people by sitting on their chests while the individuals slept, causing them to have haunting dreams. These so-called demons were often thought to be incubi and/or succubi. The prefix “night” was later added to articulate the dream condition.

Nightmares, as we all know, can cause us to awake abruptly in cold sweats with palpitating heartbeats. Sometimes they can be so disturbing and vivid that the horrifying dreams can linger in our minds all throughout the waking day. Studies report that they happen mostly during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and that we are more apt to remember nightmares than we are the more pleasant dreams.

It’s interesting how the mind works, how each and every one of us reacts to something that can leave such an impact like a nightmare. They can be so daunting that nightmares can even lead to insomnia. What causes such startling hallucinations in our sleep? Several things actually from living a stressful life that one’s subconsciousness can weigh heavily on the slumbering mind, drugs like antidepressants can also contribute to nightmares and many people even claim having scary dreams after eating late night snacks.

A lot of times, nightmares (or any other kind of dreams for that matter) can reflect feelings that a person subconsciously may not even be aware that exists. For example, let’s just say that an individual has a nightmare that involves a threatening storm with a huge house crashing down upon them. Does it literally mean that this will happen to them in real life? Let’s hope not! But it could possibly symbolize that there may need to be a change in the structure of their waking life. However with this subject, it taps into the discussion of dream analysis and that’s a whole other topic.

The way our subconsciousness works can certainly be full of loaded questions with “one of a kind” answers for everyone is different in their own unique way. How we all handle things can be compared to fingerprints, there are no two that are just alike. I’ve had my share of frightening dreams, but the way I’ve dealt with them was by bringing them to life with paper and pen, giving birth to the poems and stories that I’ve so happily created.


Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter @sheilarparker.



19 thoughts on ““A Nightmarish Origin”

  1. This is awesome. Personally, I love dreams of all kinds. I particularly love nightmares and wish I had more of them, and more vivid ones. Like you, they definitely help me create. I heard once that if we dream of somebody, we’ve seen them somewhere before, and that our mind can’t make a person up. Whether we’ve talked to them or just passed them on the street and caught a glimpse of them, that’s how we dream of people. I don’t put much stock into that, because I think if we can make up worlds and places that don’t exist anywhere, then we should definitely be able to come up with a person who doesn’t exist! Dreams are amazing. Sometimes I wish I could live in my dream worlds instead of this one. They’re definitely more exciting!

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    • For what it’s worth, keeping a regular dream journal is supposed to help you have more vivid dreams (and even learn to control them, to some extent), but it does mean sitting there every morning writing down everything that happened in as much detail as possible, as soon as possible… which is a bit of a pain, frankly.

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      • I’ve controlled a couple dreams in my life, but ultimately I’ve never actually “learned” how. I just got lucky in those couple. For a while I was writing them down, because I wanted to use them in a book I eventually wanted to write. That didn’t last too long, because it is indeed a pain. Honestly, I find the best dreams stick around for a long time. I still vividly remember certain dreams from years ago, some from when I was a kid. But lately, I don’t seem to dream as much anymore. Not like I used to. My wife on the other hand dreams like crazy. Sometimes I wish I had a fraction of the craziness she dreams about!

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  2. A few years ago I started keeping a dream journal, and it’s very strange to go back and read my descriptions of all the strange creatures and phenomena I encountered in my dreams/nightmares, and had completely forgotten about since. I’ve never tried making stories out of them though…

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  3. Good post. I don’t recall ever having really “scary” dreams, but I know a lot of mine leave me wondering “WTH was that all about” and “where did ta=hat come from” when I wake up. I’m going to reblog this too, since I’ve made a couple posts about dreams before.

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  4. The old German word “mar” means exactly what you describe – a demon that haunts you. I have very vivid, often recurring haunting dreams. The strange thing is that they rarely scare me. I wake up and reflect on my current musings. There is never anything paranormal about it. They just reflect my fears and feelings!

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  5. you look very familiar to me but I’m not sure why. Interesting post. Have you ever considered that some dreams (lucid) are actually Astral Travels? i don’t mean nightmares but very realistic, vivid colorful dreams. These are what I have along with quite a few paranormal experiences including OBE (out-of-body) experiences. I have been contacted by 3 deceased loved ones and have studied aligned subjects for much of my life. My mother was an empath and psychic in her own right, and I parallel these traits to a high measure. Anyway, nice meeting you. πŸ™‚

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  6. Ironically this sort of coincides with a post I made recently about a schizophrenic’s obsession with dreams. It was odd that after my psychosis, I can remember having dreams about my Dad having made me preform oral sex on him as a child. I never had dreams like that before my psychotic break and they used to really disturb me. Now, I haven’t had any bad nightmares in a long time and I thank the Spirit each night for that. Thanks for following my blog. LaVancia

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  7. When able I like look around and catch glimpses of the person and their works. Personally on subject of a nightmare was one I can not remember now. However the word intense describes it well. I wasn’t scared or don’t think so. Just at the moment I woke up. First thought damn that was intense. Only word I can use for it.

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  8. Pingback: “Spooky Random Fact: #6” | SHEILA RENEE PARKER

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