1999 Dream Telepathy Contest
THE ARTISTS STORY:
I volunteered initially to select the images for the contest because I was quite disturbed by the selection and dream response to the Frieda Khalo image in 1995. I don't remember who 'won' but I do remember that the poor 'winner' had the worst nightmare night of her life in "receiving" the horrific picture of a painfully tortured self portrait of Frieda!
Over the years I’ve attended quite a few ASD conferences, and at each one I’ve always looked forward to the Dream Telepathy Contest held the night before the final event of the "Dream Ball". Now I usually have quite good dream recall - 3- 5 fairly detailed dreams on an average night - but towards the end of a conference packed with interesting events from dawn until late at night I usually find myself so sleep deprived that I can only recall fragments of dreams. This made it difficult to participate in the contest, where good dream recall seems a requirement.
Craftily, I decided that this year I would try a different approach - precognition. I incubated for dreams of the telepathy target the night of July 2nd, and had detailed recall of 6 dreams when I awoke the next morning. Because I worked on a mutual dreaming project at the time, and because one of the members of the project group had showed up in a dream, I e-mailed a note that morning to Richard Wilkerson, Robert Waggoner, and Linda Magallon. I wrote:
"Last night I decided to try incubating the dream telepathy target for next Friday by precognition while I could do so at my leisure. <g> I had a number of dreams that may relate to it, but I want to briefly mention a moving formation/ sacred circle (that later became square in shape) of many robed people participating in a metaphysical ritual (felt somewhat Druidic) in an outdoors grassy park like setting. (For the record, other dreams featured large open in the center square tables with many people sitting around it, which reminded me in a way of the Last Supper by daVinci - in fact I even talked about daVinci as an example of actualized human potential in dinner conversation).
The group/ritual dream took place between 3-4 AM PDT, so at 5-6 AM PST. I mention it here, because I distinctly saw Robert in the group, which included many men and women, perhaps at a pre-ASD metaphysical warm-up session. I do not have any day residue that would account for it.
Did any of you have a dream similar in theme to this at about this time that you recall? If so , do you remember any details? I ask this for curiosities sake, not as an attempt to gather evidence for mutuality. This dream had a particularly benign group feel to it, and I just wondered if any of you participated in something similar as well."
However, none of them had dreamed anything similar, so I put the dreams aside for future consideration after the contest. Aside from the dream elements listed above, other dreams confirmed and repeated other elements - in particular square shapes open in the middle looking like large picture frames (in dreams 1, 2, 4, & 6), and a beautiful young woman priestess / goddess with dark hair (in dreams 1, 2, 3, 4,& 6). Aside form these elements, my fourth dream of the night most resembled the target. It seems worthwhile quoting what I wrote down in its entirety:
"In my "apartment house", I notice an alcove with a curtain and old dresser I’ve never looked at. Behind the curtain I find an altar - a blue carved goddess, and other objects, pyramids, etc. carved out of precious stones, I look in the dresser - it has crystals etc. in the drawers. Later I tell a young woman about this, who acts jealous that I get $10 million worth of a windfall. I tell her perhaps $1 million - but of metaphysical, not physical value".
My predominant impressions of the dream apartment and alcove seemed of old wood - wood walls, an old wood dresser, and a wood altar. In the dream the blue carved goddess reminded me of Kali. A look at the actual target picture reveals many structural similarities between what I dreamed and the scene in the picture, but the scale has changed - the theatre with curtains becomes an alcove with curtains, the stage, becomes an altar. A close look at the curtains on the upper right reveals Aphrodite flying, in a mirror image pose to that of the young woman who floats above the theatre. In relation to the ‘gigantic figure’ of the young woman /goddess in this collage, the stage does in fact look about the size of the alcove relative to the size of the young woman who showed up in my dream. Kali, known as the "Devourer", found on the altar in my dream has her metaphorical counterpart in the enormous open mouth of a geisha eating that fills the stage in the target picture. Other elements related to the target that showed up in other dreams included a scene that reminded me of a marching band, a formal Christmas dinner ( "I wear a suit or tux") with an open in the center rectangular table, with bright yellow ornaments hanging overhead, and my final dream of another party, (with another open in the center rectangular table!), in which all of the partygoers look bizarre and oddly dressed. In fact, the dreams had so many different yet prominent elements, that I thought that my effort at precognition had failed - as my experience in previous contests had led me to expect a simple target picture with only one predominant theme. As it turned out however, this years target picture in fact seemed far more complicated - and as a collage, it allowed the artist to juxtapose objects of greatly different sizes and themes in improbable and unexpected ways.
With everything else going on, I had pretty much forgotten about my precognition experiment when the day of the contest arrived. However on Friday, July 9, while having lunch with Beverly D’Urso, Rita Dwyer came over and asked me if I would like to act as the sender in this years telepathy contest. If I agreed, she would discuss it with Chuck Coburn and see if she could set it up. I felt a bit ambiguous about acting as the sender - after all, I enjoyed participating - but I agreed to do it if Chuck did not want someone else. After Rita left I remembered about my precognition experiment, and felt greatly amused - perhaps I could act as both the sender and as a receiver! However, I did not realize that I would actually serve as the sender until about 10 minutes or so before the introductory meeting when I met Rita outside. I suddenly realized that as the sender I could not enter my dreams later, so I took Rita aside and gave her the gist of the main elements of my dreams before the meeting began.
I knew that something special had begun to happen when the meeting began in a large outdoor courtyard, when everyone spontaneously formed into an open circle, just as I had experienced it in a dream the week before. However, in this case Rita and Chuck, the event organizers, played the parts of the "high priestess and priest"! My first two dreams of a week before closely modeled the waking physical reality event. In these dreams it looked overcast and before sunrise, but somehow lighted - at the event it seemed foggy and light also - but this time I saw that the illumination came from overhead artificial lights. And when I saw Robert Waggoner across from me in the circle, just as I’d seen him in a dream the week before, I knew that something extraordinary had begun to happen, and I commented to Rita that my dreams already seemed precognitive - and I had not even opened the envelope yet!
When I went back to my room and opened the envelope at 11 PM, I found out that indeed I had won a ‘10 million dollar lottery’ the week before. The target picture had a black rectangular frame, a shape which the picture itself repeated as a rectangular shape with an open center made by the stage. The young woman / goddess showed up in a preeminent role, and the bizarre clothing I’d seen in another dream showed up on a clown. I knew that I had scored a massive precognitive hit, and I must have sat there, greatly amused and chuckling for at least ten minutes.
However, I did not know exactly how I could send such a complicated picture - so I decided to first just send the image for about a half hour, after which I decided to sleep on it. When I awakened about two hours later, I reflected on the picture, and on how best to try sending it. I finally titled the picture The Goddess at Play, which I used as a keynote for sending. Because the target picture seemed so complex, I prioritized the different elements in the picture for my sending. Because I had already tuned into the picture precognitively, I focused on sending - what I had already received - a week in the past! A sort of ‘distilled’ sending, if you see what I mean. (I know this sounds confusing ... it reminds me of the paradox of the Ourobouros, the snake that eats its own tail.) The general impressions/feelings I attempted to convey telepathically consisted of a playful goddess/woman, wild party/circus, theatre of the absurd, and culture clash (circus, opera, and geisha). I also outlined as well major object elements from the picture, predominant structures ( that open rectangle), predominant colors, predominant feelings and predominant characters. I sent fairly continuously from about 2 AM until 6:30 AM at which point I went outside for a morning run.
Later that morning, when I showed the target picture to Rita, she at first felt that with such complicated images, with so many overlapping elements, that both participants and contest judges would have difficulty on deciding where their dreams should go. And indeed, later events did show some confusion in this respect, with perhaps the most accurate entry - Pat Kampmeier’s - only earned second place through "a special dispensation", because she placed her dreams in the wrong envelope! However, so many succeeded so well, that despite my considered judgment that I myself had achieved a first class hit on the target, that even if the protocol had somehow allowed me to enter my own dreams into the contest with myself as the judge, I could have only awarded myself an honorable mention!
What accounted for the amazing numbers of successes? Well, as I mentioned earlier, one could describe my telepathic sending as uniquely "distilled", in that to a large extent I focused on sending - what I had apparently already received from the sending of my future self - through precognition. Another factor that may account for the large number of successes by receivers may lie in the fact that I had very little ego involvement in the sending - my ego already felt fully satisfied at having picked out the target successfully in advance, so that I did not feel that I had anything to prove. One person asked me if I focused on sending the image with a positive affect. Yes, I did focus on sending the image with a positive affect - in fact I could not help it! The 'vibes' accompanying my sending basically consisted of my own feeling of happiness and amusement at having succeeded so well in my precognitive dream task, along with a genuine well-wishing on my part that all of those involved would achieve the very best of success with no strings attached. Interestingly enough, many of the dreams submitted for the contest had positive affects, and I do not recall any dreams that had a negative affect.
The amazing success of the ASD99 dream telepathy contest may derive from a combination of unique and unexpectedly synergistic circumstances that may prove difficult, (if not impossible!) to duplicate at future events. But even so, perhaps the unique elements of this years event can in themselves has reveal some valuable clues as to the nature of ‘telepathic’ or ‘paranormal’ dreaming that may help us to, (to paraphrase Rita Dwyer) "figure out this phenomenon that never ceases to amaze us!"
Ed Kellogg, Ph.D.
©1999 Association for the Study of Dreams. All Rights Reserved