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99 Interesting Facts About . . .Dreams

  1. As related in the epic Gilgamesh, dreams were highly regarded in ancient Mesopotamia as omens of the future or ways in which a dreamer could access other realities, such as the afterlife.

  2. In ancient Greece, dreams were regarded as messages from the gods. Incubation, or the practice of seeking significant dreams by sleeping in a sacred place, also was popular, particularly in the healing cult of Asclepius at Epidaurus.

  3. Female demons known as succubi (sub:under, cubare:to lie) and their male counterparts incubi (to lie upon, related to ?incubate?) are spirits that sexually molest human dreamers for evil purposes. They also provide convenient explanations for pregnancies resulting from secret affairs, as documented in Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Spenger?s 1486 text, Malleus Maleficarum (?Witch Hammer?).

  4. Falling dreams typically occur at the beginning of the night, in Stage I sleep. These dreams are often accompanied by muscle spasms, called myoclonic jerks, and are common in many mammals.

  5. Many people have made discoveries while dreaming?such as Friedrich August von Kekule (1829-1896), who dreamed of a snake biting its own tail and discovered that certain organic compounds are closed chains or rings.

  6. Vitamin B complex (B6) and St. John?s Wort have been shown to produce more vivid dreams.

  7. Flying dreams are found around the world and have existed since ancient times, even before the invention of airplanes.cThe Egyptians created the earliest document on dream interpretation ca 1350 B.C

  8. The Beatty Papyrus, written around 1350 B.C. and discovered at Thebes, is the oldest dream dictionary existing today. It describes special dream-interpreting priests called ?Masters of the Secret Things? or ?Learned Ones of the Magic Library.?

  9. After the printing press was invented, a dream dictionary called Oneirocritica (The Interpretation of Dreams) by second-century author Artemidorus Daldianus became one of the first best-sellers, comparable only to the Bible in popularity.

  10. Sigmund Freud?s (1856-1939) landmark work, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), which became a milestone in dream interpretation, sold only 415 copies in the first two years.