I awoke terrified, unable to breathe…not quite true. Once I realized where I was, I also realized I was holding my breath and was more than a little congested. Because of my allergies, I was sleeping upright in my recliner and had had the “DREAM”. Thank goodness I had not awakened the house screaming. Seeing puppy dog Tilly looking at me made me wonder if that had been the case. At least there was no movement upstairs.
My first lucid thought was of an old “THRILLER” episode from the Sixties…the early Sixties. June of 1961 to be exact. When it comes to exactness, I might be a bit anal retentive, so I looked it up. I would have been a month or so past my eleventh birthday when I watched “Pigeons from Hell”, adapted from a short story written by Robert E. Howard in 1934. THRILLER was hosted by Boris Karloff of “FRANKENSTEIN” fame and I could hear his distinctive lisp echoing in my head.
My first lucid thought is always about “Pigeons from Hell” after the dream. A car stuck in the mud on a lonely, Southern road. A bright, darkness casting scary shadows as two young brothers approach an old mansion surrounded by pigeons. A decision to spend the night that leads to a hatchet splitting the skull of one…I won’t bore you…but if you are interested you can YouTube the old black and white episode…I did. Despite its age and knowing the outcome, it is still quite good.
I won’t bore you because my dream has nothing to do with pigeons from anywhere, hatchets splitting skulls or being stuck in the mud…there are close friends who might disagree with the last assertion. Instead, I will bore you with my dream…my terrifying, very mundane dream. An old mansion that I have lost…somewhere in the fog time and the fog obscuring the dream.
In this dream, reoccurring since entering early adult life, I’m lying on the steps outside an old mansion. A mansion I am quite familiar with for reasons I don’t understand. The faded-white, lap boarded mansion is being renovated, I clearly see the spider webbing of scaffolding along the sides of the two-story building. Above me, between the ivy-covered columns is a sign. It flutters slightly in the breeze, fog swirling about it, obscuring its message…a message I know I don’t want to read. Why? I have no idea, I just know I don’t.
As if being levitated, I move closer to the sign, it’s message becoming clearer, and am filled with fear…no I’m terrified despite knowing “it is just a dream” and begin to scream myself awake. So far, I’ve been successful, I’ve never read the sign. I’ve also been successful scaring the bejesus out of my wife as I transition from screaming in my head to screaming out loud.
I knew exactly where that old mansion was. I knew I had ridden by it dozens of times it seemed, the memory etched sharply in my remembrances. On a trip home during the decade of my twenties, I decided to look at the renovations and drove to where I knew the mansion was…but it wasn’t. I drove around searching, my mind in turmoil. It is not where I knew it to be on a street corner occupied by a small cottage, my heart sinking into my feet.
The dream has taken on a new spirit, the mansion my “holy grail.” Every time I have the dream I rack my memories trying to figure out where the mansion exists…other than in my mind. The memory is just too clear to be a dream…and what of the dream? What does it mean? What might Freud have said? If “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”, a dream is but a dream? The dream is just too real…but then so was “Pigeons from Hell” when I watched it in 1961.
I wonder if I will ever understand it…will I ever read the letters etched on the swinging board? My adult brain tells me I will never find the mansion in my dreams and for some reason, I am saddened. A sense of loss? Maybe that is the message in the dream.
Further insights into Don Miller’s craziness may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM
If you are interested in “Pigeon’s from Hell” the following link will get you there.