Electric Dreams

An Excerpt From The Lucid Dream Exchange


Ben Kidd

(Electric Dreams)  (Article Index)  (Search for Topic)  (View Article Options)

Gillis, Lucy (2004, Aprl). An Excerpt From The Lucid Dream Exchange:  Nightmares and Lucid Dreams by Ben Kidd. Electric Dreams 11(4).

In a way I feel that the nightmares gave me the beautiful gift of lucid dreaming. That without the adversity they provided, I would not have reached for such a powerful technique as lucid dreaming.
-- Ben Kidd

Ben Kidd has experienced nightmares from time to time throughout his life. Remarkably, he taught himself to realize when he was dreaming - and to use his lucidity to change his nightmares - at a very early age. He shares his inspirational story in the current issue of LDE (Number 30).

(c) 2004 Ben Kidd
Sydney, Australia.

I have had many nightmares that I have overcome by lucid dreaming. In fact, my lucid dreaming started that way. My lucid dreaming was initiated by a recurring nightmare that I had between the ages of about 3 and 4. From there, many of my lucid dreams were invoked during a nightmare, and were the avenue to end them. This occurred into my twenties, and can still occur today (my thirties), although the nightmares are much weaker than they once were.


1975 (three years old): The Dungeon (all occurrences pre reaching lucidity, about 8 times in total):

I am out the back of my house, playing. I accidentally drop my red woollen gloves on to the paving bricks near a storm water drain. I try to pick them up, but when I try to, I accidentally push them partially into the drain. So I get on my knees to get closer. Again I knock them further into the drain. I lie on my chest, and reach down to grab them. I knock them into the drain, and I fall in after them.

I find myself in a dungeon-like place. There are two rooms joined by an escalator. On the escalator are my family, and my extended family. The upper room is dimly lit. About thirty pairs of forearms reach out of the floor. The beings they belong to are imprisoned in the ground. They reach out to try to grab my legs, and pull me into the ground. This scares me greatly, so I go down the escalator to the lower room. I enter the lower room, which is pitch dark. I can't see my own hand in front of my face. The darkness excites my fear until I am petrified. Once I cannot handle it any more, I get back to the top room. I go back and forth between the rooms each time I can't stand the current room.

I wake up terrified.


1976 (four years old): The Dungeon and the Banished Witch:

The recurring nightmare starts and continues as it always has. This time however, it changes. I am determined to end the nightmare. When I am in the upstairs room, after going up and down a few times, I decide to end it. This is where I become lucid.

I realise that I am dreaming, and so I call forth the witch that has imprisoned me. She appears instantly. She is wearing a long black robe, had a pointy black hat, is floating on a broom, and even has a large wart on her nose.

I tell her that she has no right to imprison me here, and directly order her to set me free. Instantly she disappears, and I appear in my back yard, with my red gloves at my feet. I pick them up, and the dream ends. I never had that dream ever again.

I wake up feeling empowered, that I have control over my destiny.


1976 (four years old): The Dungeon Behind the Cupboard (had twice or three times)

I am walking to school in my dream. It is dusk, which seems strange.

There is a small building at my school which doesn't exist in real life. It's about the size of a toll booth. I go into the room, and find a cupboard. The cupboard is against the back wall of the room, which backs onto the playground (i.e., there is open space behind the wardrobe's wall).

The wardrobe slides across, to reveal a hole in the wall that leads to a dark warehouse. I am drawn into the warehouse. I am scared in the warehouse, as it is dark, large, and I cant find my way out.

I wake up feeling scared.


1976 (4 years old): The Dungeon Behind the Cupboard is Vanquished.

I am dreaming. I decide that I will not let this recent nightmare get on top of me like my first one did.

So I purposefully walk to school. When I get there the small building is there as expected. I go inside to find the cupboard. I walk straight up to the cupboard and push it across. I find the hole in the wall, and the large space behind it. I make my intentions to rid my dream of this nightmare strong in my mind, and walk into the dark area behind the cupboard. I find it lighter than last time. I have a look around, finding old school desks, dusty chairs, clocks and the like. I find that it is not scary at all, rather an old dusty place. I overcome my fear of the place, and leave it. Once I have left, I look behind the cupboard, and can no longer see the hole that leads to the large dark place.

I wake up feeling empowered.


1990 (18 years old): The Giant Axeman

I am in the country. It is dry, with low brown grass, open fields, and wire fencing. There is a dirt road. I am in a house with a friend. There is a rowing boat (an eight) outside on trestles (to hold it up off the ground). A car pulls up out the front. Four men get out of the car. The have axes. One of them walks up to the boat and rocks it until it falls to the ground causing much damage. They leave, for now.

I am feeling distressed by this. I am wondering how I can defend myself, and notice two axes in the house. My friend and I grab the axes to defend ourselves.

The car pulls up again. Again, it has the same four men in it, but there is also a giant man, about 8 feet tall. He too has an axe. They start walking towards the house. I am getting terrified by now, and so I am wondering what have I done to deserve this?

The men approach and enter the house. I am still thinking, why do I deserve this? What have I done? The giant slowly walks towards me with his axe. I realise I must defeat him, or I will die. I suddenly realise that I don't deserve this. That I haven't done anything wrong. I then realise that I am dreaming. A triumphant feeling follows, where I realise I can make the walls fall outwards allowing my escape. However, I am still too close to this giant, and worried, so I take my axe and hit him again and again with it in the chest trying to stop him. The huge emotion associated with this stops my dream.

I feel relieved to have gotten out of the nightmare, and empowered that I have had a lucid dream, but disappointed that I ended it in a violent way rather than a supernatural way.


1992 (20 years old) Rolling the Paddle Steamer onto the Beach

In the dream I am on the deck of a paddle steamer. The paddle steamer happens to be steaming along a footpath that runs along a long beach. The paddle steamer approaches a left hand turn, about 45 degrees. As it turns the corner it rolls over onto it's side. It is now lying on the beach.

I realise that I am in trouble. There is a lot of financial damage to the vessel, and they are holding me accountable. However I realise that I wasn't driving the boat, so I realise that it's not my fault. I then realise that I am dreaming! Such relief! It's not my fault.

Then, amusingly, I manage to convince myself that it's not a dream after all, and the nightmare continues until I awake.

I wake up feeling a mix of frustration, and happiness with realising it was a dream.


During my childhood I've had many falling dreams. When I was 16 I fell off an 8 metre high cliff, where I found out that falling in a dream feels just like falling in real life, very scary. I'll move onto when things started to change.

1988 (16 years old) Feather Falling

I am in a dream, on the beach. Out to sea is a large green skyscraper. I go out to the skyscraper, and climb to the top. Instead of having normal fire stairs, there is a large central stair well, with stairs running on all four sides. The stairwell has a central open area about 15 metres by 15 metres (45 feet by 45 feet).

I start to walk down the stairs, and slip. I find myself falling through the air, and feel that classic falling feeling deep in my stomach. However, instead of plummeting to the ground, I am falling more like a feather, slowly, drifting. I land on a stairway clear across the gap at the centre of the stairs. I realise that this isn't normal, so I must be dreaming.

I then practice this feather falling again and again, in the hope that I will remember this skill for future falling dreams.

1989 (17 years old) Lucid Falling

I am on the top of an 8-storey building. I am not lucid. In the dream I approach the edge of the building. It is scarily tall. I fall off the edge. I land on the ground, but find I am not hurt in any way. I realise I am dreaming.

I go to the top of another building, this time 10 storeys tall. I realise that I want to practice falling so that I can overcome my fear. I jump off the edge, and free fall to the ground. I land on my feet, but as I am falling so fast I end up very quickly in the squat position. The deceleration is so fast it scares me.

I go to the top of another building. This time more like 20 storeys tall. The landing area is so small, I find it hard to see it. I jump off the building, and free fall. Again the landing is so fast that it's a bit of a shock, and wakes me up this time.

I feel happy that I have started to overcome my fear of falling.


1994 (22 years old) Flying out of Adversity

I am having a nightmare. I am being chased by an infinite number of criminals. They are trying to kill me. I have a gun though, which I am using to defend myself. The gun takes 6 very fat bullets. They are about as fat as a thick sausage.

I am running. As I am running I am trying to load my gun. Once I get the sixth bullet in the gun, I close it up, and turn and fire. By this time there is one enemy at most 2 metres from me. I kill him, and five others that are very close. Then the running starts again.

More running, more shooting, more running, more shooting. The whole time the same old thoughts come up. "What have I done to deserve this? What karma do I have that I deserve to be killed like this?" And so on.

Eventually I have the realisation that I don't deserve that. I am not a murderer or criminal, and thus realise that I am dreaming!

With this realisation I realise I have supernatural powers. I instantly fly upwards very fast. I reach orbit in a matter of seconds. The experience is so strong that I wake up.

I feel incredibly energised by the dream. Not only because I became lucid, but because I have continued to get out of nightmares using lucid dreaming.


2003 (31 years old) Group Flight

I am having a low-level nightmare (my nightmares are now generally like this, if they occur at all). I am in an outdoor setting. There is an island surrounded by a moat. There are a few bridges leading from the island in the middle to the land (bank) surrounding the moat. Each of the bridges had a landing in the middle on it's own smaller island that is located in the moat, not touching either the bank or the main island. There is a large crowd in a grandstand to one side.

There is some sort of sport going on. However the sport is like chasey, and I am being chased. I am finding this situation uncomfortable, as I don't want to be chased. There is a group of three other people with me.

I realise that I am dreaming. I am not sure what triggers that, but I expect it is the usual understanding that I don't deserve to be chased like this, as has happened many times before.

I decide that I want to get off the main island to the bank on the other side. I want to take my three friends with me, as I am protecting them. So I decide to fly myself and them off the island. I will myself and them into the air. There is no physical contact between the three of us. As I fly over the bridge, I notice that it rises up and down as it heads across the moat. I find that as I reach a high point, and start to fly over the low point, that I and the three other people start to fall towards the bridge. I remember that the fear itself will cause this to happen, so I strengthen my resolve, and continue to fly to the other side. We land safely, and the dream ends.

I awake greatly charged and excited. It's the first time I have made others fly with me just using my will.


I find that the common thing that initiates a lucid dream in a nightmare is my intrinsic understanding that I don't deserve the bad events that are occurring to me; that I haven't done something horrible that has brought it upon myself. This seems to bring up "justified anger" towards the situation. This results in a very strong resolve to end the situation, crossed with the innate knowledge that I can end the situation by my will alone. I end up like a bulletproof superhero.

I feel that this result is partly created through my waking life, where I feel unsatisfied with being stuck at night in nightmares (first learnt from the recurring nightmares of my early years). I find that if I convert the dissatisfaction into a challenge to reject the nightmare, and carry that resolve with me to strengthen it, that the chances of me overcoming a nightmare by lucid means are greatly increased.

This effect snowballs. After I first beat the nightmare when I was four years old, it made it easier to repeat that when I was five, and so on. Now I find that the power of my nightmares are greatly diminished, as I know that I can beat them with will alone.

In a way I feel that the nightmares gave me the beautiful gift of lucid dreaming. That without the adversity they provided, I would not have reached for such a powerful technique as lucid dreaming.

As the Buddhist saying goes (approximately), rubbing a block of rough wood with silk will not smooth it, rubbing it with sandpaper will.

The Lucid Dream Exchange is a quarterly newsletter featuring lucid dreams and lucid dream related articles and interviews. To subscribe to The Lucid Dream Exchange send a blank email to: TheLucidDreamExchange-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

You can also check us out at www.dreaminglucid.com