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Avenue of Trees

Four dreams, July 1911?, early 1924?, 1934/3/30, & Jan. 1947, by Anonymous #34

Sometimes one can chart the way in which a dream symbol, muddy water, let us say, or a white stallion, or an avenue of trees might have developed into an omen of crisis, usually that of death. It is not necessary that the first of the series of dreams be based on ESP. That one could be an ordinary dream fantasy; but if it comes at a critical and significant time, it appears possible that it could be "stamped in" unconsciously so that later, when a comparable crisis occurs, even if it is one which can only be known through an ESP impression, the same fantasy might be repeated and thus create a symbolic ESP dream.

1: Mother (July 1911?)

On a hot July afternoon in South Carolina, a girl, then twelve years old, whose mother was very ill, was sent by the nurse out to play. She went out in the yard and fell asleep in the swing. "I dreamed I saw my mother," she says. "She was walking down a beautiful avenue of trees--going away from me. I ran as fast as I could and realized that I could never catch up with her; then I called her. She turned and put up her hand and said to me, 'Go back, my daughter, your father needs you.'

"I immediately waked up and went into the house. My father met me in the hall and took me in his arms and said, 'Daughter, I need you. Your mother just left us.' When I told him that I had seen my mother, walking fast down this avenue of trees I had never seen before, he said, 'She must have given you her last farewell.' This dream has remained with me throughout these many years, because in my sleep I have had visions of the same avenue of trees on three other occasions.

2: Brother (early 1924?)

"In the first of these my younger brother was ill in a hospital in another state. I was ill and could not be with him, but my father and brothers were by his bedside when he passed away. I dreamed the night he passed away that he too was walking down this same avenue of trees that I had seen in my dream some twelve or thirteen years before, and I tried to catch up with him and he told me not to come on but to go back. When my father brought my brother's body home for burial, I told him about the dream and the hour. He said that my brother had passed away a few minutes before the hour I had awakened.

4: Husband (Jan. 1947)

"Then in January, 1947, my husband and I had had friends in for a game of bridge. Afterward we retired and both went to sleep. I had this same dream--this time it was my husband who was walking so fast. I ran and ran and called and called for him to stop--he, too, as in these two other dreams, put up his hand and said, 'Our precious children need you--go back.' I was frightened and turning in my sleep, put my arms around him, awakening him. The first thing he said was, 'I am so sick, please call the doctor.' He died in a few minutes.

3: Friend (Mar.30, 1934)

"Then, on Good Friday, 1934, my daughters and a friend of theirs went to a dance. Before their return I dreamed that my eldest daughter and this girlfriend of hers both suffered fatal accidents in front of my home, and the same avenue of trees came into the dream. When my daughters returned home around one o'clock I told them of my dream and my relief that they had returned safely. The next evening, the Saturday before Easter, my daughters had a dance in my home. The girlfriend was killed within a block of our house on her way to her home, and the accident was just as I had dreamed it."

It sometimes appears that a personal symbol may develop in some such way. But even so the danger of assuming a connection where none exists is obvious. The development of a true dream symbol of ESP significance probably occurs very rarely.

--Louisa E. Rhine


Predictions: Three of these psychic dreams are concerned with the present; it's curious that the only predictive dream, in 1934, is also the only one that errs (the next day one girl died, but not two). Should we conclude that prediction is harder than "mere" clairvoyance or conversations with the dead? Or did telling her dream warn the girls and change the future? After all, Anonymous #34 told two teens home from a dance that she'd dreamed they died violently, and her daughter, at least, may have known the track record of her mom's 'avenue' dreams. Did this creepy warning change her behavior? Compare to the similar account in Rosemary and Frances--again, a foreseen tragedy is half-averted.

Arbitrary symbol? Louisa Rhine suggests such recurring flags that a dream is psychic might originally have been random--just the setting of a dream that was invaded by some extrasensory news bulletin, so it becomes forever associated with ESP bearing similar news. But are these four dreams a convincing example? The avenue of trees is hardly arbitrary--I can't think of a better setting for farewells on the border between life and death! Now if she dreamt of a celebrity roast or dentistry each time a loved one died, I'd call that "arbitrary" and "by association". But this avenue of trees rivals the classic Tunnel of Light. Further, it's fully developed and fits in seamlessly from the very first dream.

Over my decades of dreamwork I've acquired several dream symbols tipping me off ESP may be at work. They don't appear consistently, but often enough to be useful.

  1. Mt. Shasta, a Fuji-like volcano in Northern California. As a kid it was my private sacred mountain; but it's a mecca for cultists, with a reputation as a portal to other planes.
  2. If people in a dream mention ESP, they usually turn out to be quite right when I wake! Simple and effective.
  3. I "wake", write the dream, interpret it or discuss it with someone, and the suggestion that it was psychic pops up somehow, and then... I wake up again. So the suggestion the dream was psychic was part of the dream.
2 and 3 aren't symbols like Mt Shasta or the Avenue of Trees, but they function the same way. None are truly arbitrary in Rhine's sense. But they work for me! Look for your own.

--Chris Wayan

SOURCE: Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p. 53-54. Account untitled and author's name witheld; I added 'Avenue of Trees', 'Anonymous #34', and the numbered headings. The sequence 1-2-4-3 is correct; the book, prints her last "avenue" dream third in sequence, as shown; I assume because Anonymous #34 wrote her four accounts in this order. Dates for first two dreams are estimates and may be a year or two off, but the dreamer's just 24 or 25 when her brother dies; by 1934 she has children grown up enough to go to dances on their own, so it looks like at least a decade passed between dream 2 and 3. Curious how these dreams are so evenly spaced through her life--every dozen years or so. She must have known other deaths (her father's, for example) but evidently they didn't get the Avenue treatment. What made the difference?

LISTS AND LINKS: recurring dreams - icons & symbols - telepathy - precognition - ESP in general - kids' dreams - trees - world-doors and the astral plane - death - revenants - love and family - dream advice and warnings - accidents - more Louisa Rhine - different dance, different warning, different car crash, but again one girl lives and one dies, in Rosemary and Frances - Carolina, North

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