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Riverbank Bliss

Dreamed c. 1920 by Anonymous #11 as reported by J.B. Priestley

FOREWORD

In 1963, writer J.B. Priestley put out a request on a BBC show for examples of strange experiences with time, whether waking or dreaming. Over a thousand responses came: predictive dreams and visions of varying clarity, accuracy and credibility. The following year he published many examples (though withholding most dreamers' names for privacy reasons) in his book Man and Time. This is one of the thousand.

It's striking not just because it foresaw a colorful scene on a day fully ten years in the future (the dreamer was an artist after all) but because it accurately caught a peculiar mood, too; though experienced dreamworkers and parapsychologists will not be surprised to notice it omitted the cause.

--Chris Wayan

THE DREAM

...a "very vivid dream" when the writer was a schoolgirl just after the First War. She described it to her parents and the art mistress at school.

She dreamed she was on a grass-covered terrace above a river, and there were round rustic tables under the trees. "There was," she says, "a quite extraordinary quality about the feeling of light and happiness in the dream." Also, she knew she was wearing a green frock, whereas up to that time she had never been allowed to wear green, because her mother had a superstitious objection to it.

Now 10 or 11 years later, at Easter 1931 when she was convalescent after a serious illness, she went with four friends to spend a day in the forest of St. Germain. "The day," she continues, "had a not unpleasant sensation of waiting-for-something about it but I was still enough of an invalid to be quite willing to drift through the hours. Finally, the one French member of the party suggested our going to the river. So we went--and there was my dream scene--the tables, the trees--my green dress--and above all, the light and slightly floating sensation I had had in the dream."

She insists that the two scenes were not "something like" but really the same; and that, being an artist, she has a very good and trained visual memory. "But it was more than visual," she concludes, "there was the emotional quality too." Quite so; and as "the slightly floating sensation" was part of her convalescent state in 1931, it is all the more remarkable that this sensation, not something seen but something felt, should have been there in the dream.

--J.B.Priestley



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