Matt – The Observer Effect in Lucid Dreaming


During a dream of wandering through a large, empty mechanical room, I spontaneously realized I was dreaming. I flew out of the building and shortly over a tropical bay. I landed on a VW bug in four feet of blue water. Off to the side of the car I caught sight of a long, gray shape in the water. Momentarily I thought that it was a big shark so I trained my attention on it.


The gray shape didn’t move as I looked at it. It was just a vague gray shape under the water. As I looked at it, I remembered a radio interview on Coast to Coast AM with Stephen LaBerge. I thought to myself, “If I’m not careful, my subconscious will turn this gray blob into a shark and it’ll try to eat me.” But as I watched it nothing happened. Then I had the thought that it would only happen if I was afraid of it happening.


After a few long seconds of nothing happening, I decided what would be would be, and I turned away from the gray blob. Right then, the gray blob morphed into a giant rat and lurched out of the water at me.


I wasn’t scared because (1) I was half-expecting it; (2) the fact that it was a Dungeons & Dragons dire rat coming out of the water, and not a shark, struck me as incongruous and slightly funny; (3) the rat was rather unconvincing: it was a cartoony, puppetlike rat.


As I reacted to it, stepping back and looking at it, it sunk back into the water and the “nightmare” ended.