Sunday, October 12, 2008


Photo: S. Banos; Badlands, SD
I used to have these very strong deja vu episodes. Most of the times I'd just tell myself that I'd done similar things before, in similar places, under similar circumstances- and I'd be right. Other times it just felt a whole lot stronger, a whole lot stranger, and not quite so easily explained away. Once passing through Glasgow, a barfly approached me and as soon she started to speak, I had the overwhelming sensation that I had this conversation before with this very same person who I somehow, very much recognized. It spooked me enough to hastily finish my drink and run out the bar. Still, though I had never been in that particular city before, I had definitely been in enough bars in arguably similar circumstances to hastily file away the episode in the over active imagination file...

One summer however, the aforementioned ambivalence would give way to quite another level of discovery, uncertainty and wonder. It started in spring with a dream in which I met two young college students, one a thin male, the other a short female. We all get into a car and after a brief ride emerge to find ourselves flanked on either side by long thin figures in earthen colored robes. The three of us all walk down the middle of a long alley, the robed figures walking silently along adobe like walls. The male student then exclaims, "Jeez, aint this fun!?" And I reply, "Fun my ass, they could all be marching us to our death!" End of dream. Unusual in itself for my actually remembering it.

That summer I went to Spain and gradually made my way southward one tinto de verano at a time. Having reached the appropriately named La Linea, I proceeded directly across to that most famous of grand British rocks; and while peering across the Strait of Gibraltar decided, all spur of the moment like, to hop a quick plane to Marrakesh, just so I'd be able to claim that I had, in fact, stepped upon the great continent of Africa.

Once there, I jumped into a taxi with a couple of other passengers who were also looking for a place to stay near the center of the old town. Emerging from the taxi we were immediately surrounded by... you guessed it- numerous, lean, brown robed figures that would supposedly guide us to a hotel. And there I was walking down a long, narrow alleyway with two young college students, one a thin male, the other a shorter female, and flanked on either side by the aforementioned, now silently pacing, robed figures. Needless to say, I was growing a tad apprehensive surrounded in a nightmare labyrinth where even street signs would be useless, had they existed. I also sensed another wayward presence, vaguely familiar but equally foreign all the same- the very strong feeling of deja vu. And when the male student cried out, "Jeez, aint this fun," it literally felt as if I was walking into some interdimensional portal, a living, breathing, three dimensional photograph of my own making- as I found myself mouthing my preordained reply.

Somehow, someway, I had been allowed a very short glimpse into my future, purpose and reason unknown. Probably not the first time, but definitely the first time I had actual "proof" (if unverifiable to anyone save myself) that deja vu wasn't always just some weird vague combination of familiarity and imagination.


Tom White said...

You're not alone there! Dreams are extremely valuable things.

Anonymous said...

I've had enough similar instances to convince myself that some dreams are akin to land mines - free-floating associations without an anchor which, when the mind receives the proper stimuli, manifest as a reinterpretation of what is presently going on.

Unless you wrote your dream down (something which I, curiously enough for someone who experiences deja vu every few months, never have done) I'd chalk it up to an artifact of how we remember.

Look up Elizabeth Loftus' research if this theory seems to hold some merit (and start writing down your dreams in any case).

Stan B. said...

Perhaps there's something to the theory that consciousness is not something we create individually with our own grey matter, but something we tune into- not unlike like a great cosmic radio tuner dialing unto our selected frequency in the great collective consciousness.

I guess sometimes the signal can get crossed or disrupted, it sure would explain a lot- and open up even more questions.