Lucid Dreaming

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Lucid Dreaming

Preferred modern term for "dreaming true," indicating the experience of dreaming with consciousness that one is dreaming, i.e., experiencing a dream with waking consciousness. The condition is often associated with out-of-the-body travel, as it often happens that some incongruity in a dream stimulates the dreamer to conclude "Why, I must be dreaming!" and this awareness sometimes precedes an out-of-the-body event.

The term "lucid dreaming" was introduced by Frederick van Eeden in 1913 and was subsequently used by Celia E. Green in her study Lucid Dreams (1968). Early classic studies on out-of-the-body experience, such as S. J. Muldoon 's and Hereward Carrington 's The Projection of the Astral Body (1929), relied upon anecdotal evidence by dreamers of the lucid state, after awakening. In modern times, parapsychologists have endeavored to clarify the lucid state and its relationship to extrasensory perception by controlled experiments.

In his work on lucid dreams, Keith M. T. Hearne of the Department of Psychology of the University of Liverpool described a technique of identifying the lucid dream in a poly-graphic record by instructing the subject to signal information by predetermined ocular movements. This avoided the massive bodily paralysis of Stage REM sleep, which affects the rest of the musculature. The ocular signaling technique provided a channel of communication from the sleeping and dreaming subject to the outer world, by means of which physiological and psychological information on the dreams was obtained. The general investigation included simple testing of the subject, in a lucid dream state, for any ESP ability.

Another promising method of investigating lucid dreams that has been tried by other experimenters is the artificial inducing of lucidity and control of the dream through guided instruction on the part of the experimenter. This involves verbal communication with the dreamer to ascertain the nature of the dream imagery and the making of suggestions to guide the course of the dream.

Sleep researcher Stephen LaBerge had lucid dreams from an early age, and in 1977 started a dream journal, continued over a number of years, covering over 900 lucid dreams. In his own research at Stanford University, he concluded that the ability to dream lucidly could be important to humanity and a tool in solving problems of waking life.

The Lucidity Association, concerned with education and research into lucid dreaming and related phenomena, may be contacted c/o Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614.


Green, Celia E. Lucid Dreams. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1968.

Hearne, Keith M. T. "'Lucid' Dreams and ESP: An Initial Experiment Using One Subject." Journal of the Society for Psychic Research 51, no. 787 (1981).

Kelzer, Kenneth. The Sun and the Shadow: My Experiment with Lucid Dreaming. Virginia Beach, Va.: A.R.E. Press, 1987.

LaBerge, Steven. Lucid Dreaming: The Power of Being Awake and Aware in Your Dreams. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1987.

Muldoon, Sylvan J., and Hereward Carrington. The Projection of the Astral Body. London: Rider, 1929. Reprint, New York: Samuel Weiser, 1967.

Ullman, Montague, Stanley Krippner, and Alan Vaughan. Dream Telepathy. London: Turnstone Books, 1973. New York: Macmillan, 1973.

van Eeden, Frederick. "A Study of Dreams." Proceedings of the Society for Psychic Research 26 (1913).