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We are used to ourselves, and to the way our whole bodies are marvelously engineered–the hinge, pivot, and ball-and-socket joints; the apparatus for speech that shapes sounds into words conveying abstract meaning; the brain and spinal cord commanding our little finger to move on our whim; and even the little pocket of extra flesh in our elbows that presumably allows us to bend our arms freely. These are just a few of the daily wonders we live with. Yet sometimes, our bodies behave strangely, forcing us to take more notice. For me, sleeping and dreaming is territory for the uncanny, but that’s not the only place I’ve experienced odd physical phenomena.
Nighttime Hallucinations: I remember these starting from when I was about nine or ten. They increased in my early twenties, and now seem to have mostly faded away. My best explanation is that I unluckily opened my eyes when I was dreaming, and saw characters from my dreams parading around me. I say “unluckily,” because these were mostly unpleasant creatures: bugs crawling over me, spouse with his head replaced with that of a dog, menacing canine-ish creature in the fan. Others were just creepy: A young girl in Victorian-era clothes playing on the floor of my room when I was nine, and years later, instead of a lamp, a miniature woman in a Civil-War era green dress standing on my bedside table. Whenever I witnessed these things as an adult, I’d think, “Okay, I’m really awake–my eyes are open–and it’s still there, I’m still seeing it.”