Dream telepathy is the name for the ability to communicate telepathically with another person whilst one is dreaming. Deborah Erickson describes telepathic dreaming as telepathic communication facilitated through meditation, a quiet mind, and a consciousness level outside of time and space. Some examples of dream telepathy can also be predictive dreaming or psychological dreaming. The first person in modern times to recognize and record scientific findings on telepathic dreaming was Sigmund Freud. Since then, many experiments have been conducted in order to learn more about dream telepathy. In the 1940s it was the subject of the Eisenbud-Pederson-Krag-Fodor-Ellis controversy, the full detailed history of which can be found in Devereux 1953. The controversy is named after the preeminent psychoanalysts of the time who were involved in it: Jule Eisenbud, Geraldine Pederson-Krag, Nandor Fodor, and Albert Ellis.
The notion and speculation of communication via dreaming was first mooted in psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud in 1921. He produced a model to express his ideas about telepathic dreaming. His 1922 paper Dreams and Telepathy is reproduced in Devereux 1953., and was intended to be a lecture to the Vienna Psycho-Analytical Society, although he never delivered it. Freud considered that a connection between telepathy and dreams could be neither proven nor disproven. He was distinctly suspicious of the whole idea, noting that he himself had never had a telepathic dream. (His two dreams that were potentially telepathic, where he dreamed of the deaths of a son and of a sister-in-law, he labelled as “purely subjective anticipations”.) His ideas were not widely accepted at the time, but he continued to publically express his interest and findings about telepathic dreaming. He also observed that he had not encountered any evidence of dream telepathy in his patients. Freud started to collect telepathic experiences from second hand sources to gather more information in order to further his research and complete many writings on the subject. Other researchers have since expanded Freud’s findings.
Ellis regarded the conclusions of Eisenbud, Pederson-Krag, and Fodor to have been based upon flimsy evidence, and that they could be better explained by bias and coincidence than by dream telepathy. He also accused them of an emotional involvement in the notion, resulting in their observations and judgement being clouded. They, in their turn, asserted that Ellis was dismissing the idea because it did not fit with his preconceived notions of what dream telepathy was, rather than treating the evidence before him with an open mind.
According to Jungian psychotherapy, Jung considered telepathic dreams (communications between individuals within an unconscious state) fit within the concepts of dream transference.
Researchers have been exploring the powers of dreams and how separate our dreams are from the world that we as humans can control. Once people are in a dreaming state, they no longer have control of their bodies or minds. People oftentimes experience dreams that they cannot explain because of the seemingly random nature of the dream. Researchers say that some people experience switches in personality while dreaming. For example, a normally calm person will experience dreams full of anxiety and fear. There are also records of people dreaming up what become world famous musical compositions or poetry. Some mathematicians are able to solve problems in their sleep that they could not while awake. Many people also experience rapid eye movements (REM) while dreaming which tend to lead to a better chance of recalling the dream. This discovery created a perfect opportunity for a dream experiment. There are some criteria that are used to identify telepathic dreams. Some correlation between the dream and reality must be unusual or unordinary. The dream must also contain knowledge that the patient could not normally have known. Another indicator is being intrusive. If the patient feels a sense of strange or intrusive elements to a dream, it is also considered telepathic. Oftentimes, the dreamer will have dreams coinciding with events in his or her therapist’s life. There have been some instances where the patient is able to dream up telepathic events that the therapist has described or that exposes the therapist’s weaknesses or vulnerabilities.
Shared dreaming (also known as mutual dreaming) refers to the concept of linking one’s dream experience with another dreamer. The concept was popularized in the 2010 movie Inception, where lucid dreamers could all roam around the subconscious of a single dreamer. When the experience is shared between more than two people, it is known as mass dreaming. Just like with lucid dreaming, shared dreaming is said to occur spontaneously or alternatively, it can be induced deliberately. Many people have claimed to have experienced this phenomenon.
There have been many experiments done to test the validity of dream telepathy and its effectiveness. It has always been difficult to research and do experiments for dream telepathy because of its complicated nature. Many test subjects find ways to communicate with others to make it look like telepathic communication. Experiments were done to prove the subjects’ powers by cutting off communication between the agent, sender, and receiver of information, but people found ways to get around blindfolds no matter how intricate and covering they were. Dr. Krippner lead the studies at the Miamonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York in 1964. Patients were monitored and awakened after a period of REM then separated to study the ability to communicate telepathically. Many different studies were done in a series to ensure there weren’t any tarnished variables. According to the results from the Child Experiment of 1985, nonrandom results were gathered that support the possibility of ESP. Many experiments have proved that stimuli from outside the conscious awareness can result in illusions and have an effect on problem solving activities.
Author Jeffry Palmer recalls a very vivid example in which he shared an identical dream with his grandmother and a best friend about being in a park type environment that felt very artificial and foreboding. He believes that shared dreams of this type might be much more common than some believe.