The Magazine

Perchance to Dream

Night visions of Americans, and what to make of them

Jul 28, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 43 • By JUDY BACHRACH
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And the shame of it is, that is what some dreams (the more interesting and lively ones anyway) really are: precursors of the future. Sawmills and sightings aside, Burstein’s is simply an account of hints and insinuations. He never quite makes the connection. And he should have. After all, he quotes Mark Twain (who indulged in a long and fervent fondness for the psychic) in his lovely description of dreams and what they project: “Everything in a dream is more deep and strong and sharp and real than is ever its pale imitation in the unreal life which is ours .  .  . in this vague and dull-tinted artificial world.” When we die, he added with considerable authority, we will “go abroad in Dreamland clothed in our real selves.”

Judy Bachrach, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, is the author of Glimpsing Heaven: The Stories and Science of Life After Death