As seen in DreamTime Magazine, Fall 2020
The Winds of Change: A PsiberDreaming Conference Retrospective
When the volunteer staff of the 2019 IASD PsiberDreaming Online Conference selected the theme “The Winds of Change” for the focus of the annual event, they did not yet know what kinds of changes the world might bring in the next year.
Now, in 2020, as we enter the September/October dates in which the PsiberDreaming Conference was generally held, two things are clear: a pandemic has forever changed the way we look at online conferences; and the PsiberDreaming Conference, held annually since 2002, will not be happening again. There are a variety of good reasons for this decision, made by the IASD Board of Directors in February of this year. They include lack of staff availability for the conference and the outdated and time-consuming format in which the conference was held. This retrospective is designed to honor a conference which ran for eighteen consecutive years and to thank the many IASD members who enthusiastically volunteered their time and resources to see it happen.
How the PDC Began
The PsiberDreaming Conference was not only the first online conference which explored psi or paranormal or extraordinary dream experiences; but was, in fact, the first online conference of any kind, running two weeks each year on a round-the-clock basis and starting in the days before social media, when the most exciting thing online was “dream circles” held by the Rev. Jeremy Taylor and his friend John Herbert in the “rooms” on (“You’ve Got Mail”) AOL.
In 2001, a group of IASD members, including the first PsiberDreaming Host Ed Kellogg, Rita Dwyer and me, noticed that there was very little talk in IASD about a subject which fascinated most of the people who came to the then-active IASD discussion forum: paranormal dreams. We decided to address that problem by creating a conference which would attract new members and be accessible to the organization’s international membership by making it a two-week, online conference. With the assistance of IASD’s Administrative Officer, Richard Wilkerson, we selected a then-new technology, a php discussion forum, and designed a place where a conference could be held online.
During the first few years, we experimented with the forum. There was a concern that if we had over seventy-five people using the forum we risked breakdowns. And in fact that was true. During those early years, there were times when the board could not handle the traffic. Posts would begin to multiply or disappear. Graphics would suddenly vanish, or other strange things would happen. Ultimately though, with perseverance and practice… not to mention improved technology… we were able to easily host the nearly 300 people who regularly attended the annual conference.
From the beginning of PsiberDreaming in 2002, we had access to some of the best-known figures in psi dream research. Dr. Stanley Krippner, who co-authored the book Dream Telepathy with Montague Ullman, M.D. and directed, with Ullman, the Maimonides Hospital’s ground-breaking research into dream telepathy, was one of the first to step up. Dr. Robert Van de Castle, one of the first Maimonides research subjects and author of the book Our Dreaming Mind, also made himself available to us. Others such as Dale Graff, who practiced Remote Viewing as head of the CIA’s Stargate Project, and popular Australian dream author Robert Moss participated along with respected IASD researchers and authors such as Jayne Gackenbach, PhD; the Rev. Jeremy Taylor; and IASD Board members Laurel Clark, Robert Hoss, Curt Hoffman and Robert Gongloff.
At a time when lucid dreaming was barely considered possible, lucid dream teachers such as Robert Waggoner, Ed Kellogg, Beverly D’Urso, Craig Webb, Ryan Hurd and others presented papers on the subject of lucidity and taught conference attendees how to improve their lucid dreaming skills.
By the time I began hosting the PsiberDreaming Conference in 2006 with the help of Rita Dwyer, we were able to gather a field of twenty-two to twenty-four presenters on subjects such as dreaming with the deceased, precognitive dreaming, shared or mutual dreams, déjà vu, dream telepathy and life-changing dreams. In 2010, building on the success of the blockbuster film Inception, we hosted filmmaker Roko Belic, who shot the introductory DVD for that film, along with filmmaker Amy Hardie, creator of the award-winning film The Edge of Dreaming.
All presentations took the work of a team of copy editors and graphics assistants, who formatted the copy and prepared it for presentation on the PsiberDreaming forum. With two presentations going up in the forum each day, presenters were asked to make time in the three days following release of their presentations to discuss the subject in bulletin board format with their audience. Many times the discussions which ensued were as interesting and informative as the presentations themselves.
The PDC Art Gallery
The PsiberDreaming conference was far more than a series of presentations, though. The first of the PDC Art Shows was hosted in 2003 by a remarkable artist who called himself Sao. With the help of artists like web designer Laura Atkinson, and later German artist Christine Metz, IASD created the first online dream art galleries. Unlike the art shows developed for IASD’s international conferences, these shows were not juried shows and no prizes were awarded. But dream artists of all ages were invited to submit their work, along with the dream that inspired it, providing a wide range of powerful images for discussion. Many of these art pieces can still be seen online at https://www.asdreams.org/conferences-and-events-archive/
Games and Contests
Just as at conferences in the non-virtual world, there were activities aside from the lectures and seminars. The PsiberDreaming Conference provided, from the beginning, its share of diversions. In this case it began with contests: a Telepathy Contest, a Precognitive Dreaming Contest, and sometimes a Remote Viewing Contest. Ed Kellogg quite rightly argued that these contests gave participants a chance to practice and hone their own psi abilities. There are myriad examples of what could be seen as extraordinary abilities which came from these contests. In 2005, Ed created the Right/Wrong Award when one of the participants in the Precognitive Dreaming Contest, Gloria Sturzenacker, did the impossible.
Targets for the contest were randomly selected from previous covers on the New Yorker Magazine. The random number generator would select a number and the corresponding online cover would be used as the target. Nobody saw the target picture until it was posted to the PDC forum. But in this particular year, the cover which originally would have been the selection was switched in its order online so another graphic became the target. Gloria, however, dreamed the original target picture. Right graphic, wrong number!
A few years ago, participants in several of these contests asked themselves what might happen if, rather than competing with one another for prizes, they were to collaborate on their choices. Thus was created the popular Group Psi Game, in which participants worked together to dream and select the target picture.
The Outer Inn
In order to provide a welcoming environment for the conference, in 2006 we created The Outer Inn, which began as a quiet place where conference attendees could order up a virtual room or sit down for a virtual drink.
However, as conference attendance grew, Hostess Dolores Nurss (also known as Dreamdeer) found a wonderful way to welcome those attending from around the world. The Inn took on a second shift of hostesses from Australia. Natalie Bejin, Metka Cuk, Delia Puiatti and others would come online just as Dolores and Outer Inn staff from the USA were signing off. Each group of hosts at the Inn would prepare rooms made to order for new guests, fix up meals with magical graphics, and provide music for dancing until it was morning in other parts of the world. These same rules applied at The Place for Dreams, as hostess Rachel Silvini from Australia was replaced by Janet Mast or others from the US or Europe. This arrangement was particularly useful in recent years when Professor Loren Goodman began bringing groups of students from his writing classes at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. There was always something going on at the PsiberDreaming Conference. In fact, some people began to take vacation time during the PDC, just as they would for a physical reality conference, and we advertised it as “The only conference you can attend in your pajamas.”
Where Will the Winds of Change Take Us?
All of us will certainly miss the PsiberDreaming Conference, but in a time of great change we cannot believe all change will be bad. There are other great IASD creations coming. One only has to look here in DreamTime to see that, between October 31 and November 14, 2020, Robert Waggoner and Ed Kellogg will host a new online conference, “The Many Worlds of Lucid Dreaming.” Similarly, the second session of the new IASD Dream Study Group Program began in September and has been a big attraction.
Thank you to the many volunteers who made IASD’s eighteen years of PsiberDreaming a conference to be proud of. Eighteen years is a pretty good run!
Jean Campbell is an IASD Board member and Editor of IASD’s DreamTime Magazine. She began hosting the annual IASD PsiberDreaming Conference in 2006. Her book, Group Dreaming: Dreams to the Tenth Power (The Donning Company, 2006) is a classic in the field of psi research.
PsiberDreaming Conferences & Art Galleries
You can view past conference details and the art galleries via the index links provided below.
- 2019 Psi Conference
- 2018 Psi Conference
- 2017 Psi Conference
- 2016 Psi Conference (pending)
- 2015 Psi Conference (summary only)
- 2014 Psi Conference (summary only)
- 2013 Psi Conference (summary only)
- 2012 Psi Conference (summary only)
- 2011 Psi Conference
- 2010 Psi Conference
- 2009 Psi Conference
- 2008 Psi Conference
- 2007 Psi Conference
- 2006 Psi Conference
- 2005 Psi Conference
- 2004 Psi Conference
- 2003 Psi Conference
- 2002 Psi Conference___________________
- 2019 Psi-Art (pending)
- 2018 Psi-Art (pending)
- 2017 Psi-Art (pending)
- 2016 Psi-Art (pending)
- 2015 Psi-Art
- 2014 Psi-Art
- 2013 Psi-Art
- 2012 Psi-Art (coming soon)
- 2011 Psi-Art
- 2010 Psi-Art
- 2009 Psi-Art
- 2008 Psi-Art (coming soon)
- 2007 Psi-Art (available in a .pdf downloadable file)
- 2006 Psi-Art (available in a .pdf downloadable file)
- 2005 Psi-Art
- 2004 Psi-Art
- 2003 Psi-Art
- 2002 Psi-Art
- 2002-2005 Grouped by Artist