Can The Dead Visit You In Dreams?

Wendy Stokesby:


Whenever the subject of death comes up in conversation, people from all different walks of life tell me a host of what are essentially the exact same stories. They see some kind of image of their lost loved one and suddenly feel a sense of peace. They come across some reminder of the deceased that is just too coincidental for them to ignore.

The most common of all, though, is the tale of the visitation dream: one night as they sleep, they have an encounter with the deceased person so vivid that it seems just like real life. The person they’re grieving looks vibrant and happy, and fills them in on whatever bits of unfinished conversation were left hanging in the balance when they passed away. The bereaved person wakes up, they tell me, feeling absolutely certain that their loved one is out there somewhere in the universe feeling happy as a clam, and that they don’t need to be too worried about what will happen to them after their own death.

I mean, that’s a whole lot of insight for just one night’s sleep, right?

People who’ve had these dreams have told me that you’d be able to tell immediately if it were a true visit from the deceased (if you believe in such things) instead of just your subconscious messing around like it usually does, because the dream will just feel…different.

I’ve never had a visitation dream by that definition, but I’ve certainly dreamed plenty about dead peeps. Sometimes the dreams felt especially real or symbolic — I’ve seen dead people I once knew wave at me across a room, hold a door open to a white abyss in front of me, die again only this time I’m watching, tell me seemingly prophetic things like “of course you can be happy” — but they all felt like, well, dreams. They didn’t feel like real life in the slightest, which is apparently the most notable factor of a true “visit.”

A hefty chunk of people who’ve told me they’ve had these experiences are those who I’d usually classify as skeptics, or at least as people who are not particularly inclined to believe in things they can’t prove. A friend of mine lost a close friend who was only in his early twenties when he died, and one night soon afterward she looked up from her bed, half-asleep, to see what seemed to be a dude standing in her bedroom doorway. Instead of being horrified to see a random in her house like she normally might have been, she just thought “oh, it’s him,” and went back to sleep, only to realize how bizarre it was when she woke up the next morning.

A fairly skeptical family member of mine lost a friend, who was also very young when he died, in a horrible car accident years ago. He was the first person she knew close to her age to pass away, and the loss jarred her. For a long time, it was all she could think about. She told me that one afternoon some time after his death — and she struggled to find the right way to describe this to me — she saw her friend’s face, or some form of him, in her basement as she was doing laundry. He told her he was okay, and that she didn’t have to worry. This was years ago, and she’s felt a sense of calm about death ever since. We’ve all heard stories like these, and I could share countless others I’ve been told, but what strikes me so much about these in particular is that they came from people who aren’t quick to buy into things. That makes me wonder about a whole lot.

So, my burning question is whether any of you have had visitation dreams or similar experiences, or if you even believe in them. Is it just our subconscious throwing us for a loop? If you have run-of-the-mill dreams about dead people on the regular like I do, does it weird you out or do you find it comforting? I haven’t gone off the woo-woo deep end, but I’m not closed off to these kinds of ideas either. I’m just…curious. So, have you ever had one?

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