Time Travel

Time Traveling In Your Dreams

In the past few weeks, I’ve had at least two dreams involving time travel.

The first, I found myself in 1995. It was that strange variety of time travel involving the human consciousness — I inhabited the body of my younger self. Most of the dream, I spent my time trying to convince everyone that I was from the future. I rattled off a few major events — 9/11, etc. — but I couldn’t remember anything specific about that time in our lives that would convince anyone of the truth.

The second, I was in 1985, trying to buy some rare video game or something at a mall. Just good, old fashioned time travel on this occasion  But oh, wait — I couldn’t buy anything, because all my money was from the year 2000+ and no one would take it. It looked weird.

And so I stumbled upon two time travel quandaries: proving you’re a time traveler from the future, and getting along with the past.

Those, of course, were just dreams (or were they?…heh). But they got me thinking about a strange story I saw on Reddit not too long ago.

It was about a man who may have traveled through time and space in his sleep.

Split Perspectives In Time

Lucid Dreaming of Time Travel
Image: DieselDemon/Flickr via CC by 2.0

About a year ago, Reddit user OutofH2G2references shared his strange experience in a post titled My father stops me from disrupting space-time when I travel back in time.

He was about seven or eight years old when it happened. “I had a bad dream about being old,” he wrote, “I went out to the living room to talk to my Dad who always used to play Legos with me when I had a bad dream.”

They got out the Legos, as always, but he quickly noticed something was wrong. “There was a man in a chair,” he wrote, “I went to introduce myself, and to my surprise my dad shooed me away, got out my Legos and proceeded to talk to the man instead of play with me.” This was doubly strange, because OutofH2G2 had always been “taught to shake hands” and introduce himself to guests.

“The man and my father talked for some time about things I didn’t understand and neither said a word to me. It was weird, but I was young and the Legos were fun and eventually I forgot the whole thing and went to bed.”

He didn’t think much more about that night, until 12 years later when he had a bizarre, though incredibly vivid, lucid dream experience. He described it in his post:

“I am sitting in a chair talking to my dad about what I have done with my life. He is happier than usual and very interested. In the distance I hear a young person calling for him. He gets up, walks out of the room, and returns a minute later with me as a child and box of legos. Young me approaches me, my dad shoos child me away, young me goes and plays with legos.”

At that point in the dream, he and his father had a very curious conversation. They spoke about the “danger of the butterfly effect,” and how the simple act of them speaking together at that moment could change everything.

He later had two more dreams, in which he saw himself “from perspectives of mysterious forgotten people and situations.” In each dream, he spoke with his father about time travel, his future, and consequences.

To Travel In Dreams

He would later ask his father about the strange dream, if it meant anything. Apparently, he didn’t remember, and had nothing to add — or maybe he was just protecting the space-time continuum. He shared this in a follow-up post five months later:

“…we could theorize that if I am a time traveler in my dreams and he is protecting me from myself, he would probably not tell me how to foil him.”

Of course, you could chalk the entire experience up to false memories, simple dreams, or something more ordinary. But it’s much more fascinating to consider the alternatives.

I, myself, have had a handful of lucid dreams. The one constant, for me, is that they’re always very difficult to move around in. Something like being underwater, and when it happens I find myself struggling to stay in the dreamworld, to not break the illusion so I can explore a bit. Never lasts for long.

At any rate, some believe that dreaming about time travel may indicate some kind of “wish-fulfillment,” a desire to relive the past. But who knows; perhaps there’s something more to our nightly dreamscapes than meets the inner eye.

Have you experienced any strange dreams, lately?


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.