Terror Attacks Our Dreams

911For quite some time after the terror attacks on September 11th, 2001, nightmares were definitely on the rise.  These days we all have an underlying sense of anxiety, stress and insecurity, the three major building blocks for nightmares.  Below are just a few of the hundreds of nightmares that were reported to me since that horrible day.

“Exploding Computer”

I was playing games with my son on the PC when suddenly the screen went out and then flashed writing in some foreign language. The PC then exploded and I was caught in a blinding light and heard a ringing in my ears and was unable to find my son. I was trying to call to my wife to get my son but I was unable to move or see anything.    – Frank 35, Staten Island, New York

The personal computer games symbolize the game of life.  Frank, being the concerned and caring parent that he is, is teaching his son the rules of life and how to compete and win in this game.  The computer screen goes blank and flashes a foreign language indicating that something that is beyond Frank’s understanding (the terror attacks) is suddenly interfering with his “personal” world. Then the PC explodes.  Explosions usually mean a burst of pent up frustration may be on the way but they can also mean there is a major shift going on in one’s thinking… and these days the latter is usually the case as we are all rethinking our priorities.  But for Frank, his shift in thinking was related to the fact that a new child was on the way at a time when he was no longer sure he wanted to bring more children into such a chaotic world.  This nightmare is warning Frank not to “lose sight” of the needs of his son who has been drawing burning buildings almost everyday since the terror attacks.   It is also urging him to not let the fact that there are some things beyond his control keep him from “moving” forward in life.

“Satan’s Mission”

My room was hell and the hallway was the stairway to Heaven.  All of these people were going by on their way to Heaven, while I was stuck in this dark room.  Satan was in there with me.  He was trying to get me riled up over the unfairness of this.  We began making plans for a war.  I was “enlisted” to go on a mission but I had to be disguised.  He started talking about removing my skin and putting something ELSE there.  I asked him if it would hurt. He said it wouldn’t and that I just needed to relax.  I woke up with my heart pounding.   – Ruschia 27, Hertford, North Carolina

This nightmare reflects Ruschia’s struggle to understand the mindset of those that have waged war on the free world.  Satan naturally symbolizes the evil forces that manipulate and rile up the minds of those that are easily influenced into becoming terrorists by telling them that they will be able to go to Heaven or “Paradise” if they “fight the infidels.”  Ruschia is enlisted to go on a mission and her skin is removed just as the terrorists are “stripped” of their independent thinking and are enlisted to go on homicidal missions.  After this nightmare, Ruschia decided to take a break from the twenty-four hour news channels.


“This seems to be the strangest thing, but the night of the terror attacks, my husband and I both dreamt of someone being beheaded.  Is it normal for two people to have the same dream, or nightmare in this case, on the same night?”     – Barbara 41, Sydney, Australia

Barbara and her husband experienced a fascinating phenomenon called “Shared Dreaming.” That is when two people have the same dream, or a similar dream, on the same night. Shared Dreaming definitely occurs and probably does so more often than we know because so many of us don’t always remember our dreams nor report them to others. Nonetheless, the reason it happens is because the two people who shared the same dream are also sharing the same issue that caused the dream and react to the issue, subconsciously, in the same or a similar manner.

In Barbara’s and her husband’s case, they both had been watching the terrible events of 9/11 unfold all day, went to bed with it on their minds and tried to sort it out while dreaming in a very similar mind set.  They are husband and wife after all, so naturally they are on the same wavelength.

Interesting, isn’t it, that they dreamed of beheadings not knowing what a frequent occurrence it would become on the news in the coming months?  Even more interesting, is that they are not the only ones who reported dreaming of beheadings after that day.  From a Dream Psychology standpoint, I can understand why.  If you look at the New York skyline before the attacks, the Twin Towers stood “heads” above the rest of the buildings.  Plus, New York is the financial “head” of the world.  It makes sense that watching those towers come down was very much like watching a beheading.  Sigh.

Do you remember any dreams you had after 9/11? Leave them in the comments below.