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Mind of a Murderer

Dreamed between 1910-1920 by Mary Arnold-Forster

I was sitting in an arm-chair turning over the leaves of a largish book... It contained three stories--"All rather morbid subjects," I thought--and as I read on my dream changed and I became one of the characters in the first story. It was about a husband and a wife and was rather a prosy narrative, but I remember little of the events of it or of the part I played in it, for I thought it dull, and in my capacity as reader I turned over the pages to read the second story.

This was concerned with a murder--a murder that had taken place before the story opened. The man who had committed it was convinced, for reasons that seemed to him wholly adequate, that he was guiltless, and merited no blame for what he had done. I slipped then and there into the person of this man. I remember passionately justifying to myself and to God the righteousness of the act that I had committed. I never felt more certain of anything in my life than I felt then, that my conscience was clear of guilt, and that the dreadful deed that I had done had been right. It was all intensely real to me. I remembered the murderer's haunted journey described in Oliver Twist. "People who write about a murderer's mind can know very little about it," I thought.

Again I turned over a page--"Oh, but these stories are very morbid," I was saying when I woke.

SOURCE: Mary Arnold-Forster, Studies in Dreams (1921)

LISTS AND LINKS: books - crime - guilt - delusion, blindness & denial - dream humor - more Mary Arnold-Forster - Charles Dickens dreams of the 'morbidest' thing in the world: a Toasting Fork - half a century later, Jerry Wayan dreams he committed The Murders, while Dusan Makajevic finds he is the Murderer

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