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Bread Chess

Dreamed between 1930 and 1933 by Helen's fiancé as reported to the Rhine Institute

A Russian now in the U.S.A., who formerly lived in Kharkov, U.S.S.R., recalled:

In 1930-33 many people were arrested and charged with participation in the anti-Stalin underground movement. Among the people arrested was my fiancée, Helen. We were very much in love and there was a great mutual understanding and sympathy between us.

About five months after her arrest I had a dream of unusual brilliancy in which I was invisibly present in her cell where she was jailed with another girl whom I did not know. I clearly saw Helen and this girl sitting on the bed and playing some kind of chess which I could not see clearly. I saw the exact location of the beds and a small table in the cell. I also saw a window, half closed by an iron sheet. When I climbed one of the chairs I was able to see the top of the city cathedral, about three miles away. The jail was located about six miles from my home. There was no communication between us during the nine months of her confinement, for the secret police, NKVD, did not allow any letters or gifts to be sent to her, since she was not willing to sign a false confession to crimes she never did.

Later, being unable to break her resistance, NKVD released the poor girl and after we met again, Helen told me about all her misfortunes. During the conversation she mentioned the fact that, about five months before, she had been transferred from solitary confinement to another cell where another girl was jailed.

At this moment, listening to her words, my dream came clearly into my mind and I interrupted her conversation and described to her the content of my dream, the configuration of the cell, the objects in it. She was completely astonished, for all of it was true. Helen told me also that the game which I could not understand in my dream was the chess game they organized, using a handmade cardboard and the chess figures were made from the soft parts of black bread.

SOURCE: Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p.89-90. Account untitled, author's name witheld; title & byline added to aid searching & indexing.

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