It is generally recognized that the Nightmare has exercised a greater influence on waking phantasy than any other dream.
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Clodd, 3 for in- stance, speaks of 'the intensified form of dreaming called "nightmare", when hideous spectres sit upon the breast, stopping breath and paralysing motion, and to which is largely due the creation of the vast army of nocturnal demons that fill the folk-lore of the world, and that, under infinite variety of repellent form, have had place 1 L. Laistner, Das Rdtsel der Sphinx.
Meyer, Germdnische Mythologie, , S. Clodd, Myths and Dreams. Some mythologists even trace the belief in spirits in general to the experiences of the Nightmare. Thus Golther 1 states: Erst allmahlich entstand weiterhin der Glaube an Geister, die den Menschen nicht nur qualten und driickten.
Only as a gradual exten- sion of this did the belief arise in spirits that displayed other activities than torturing and oppressing. The degree of consciousness during a paroxysm of Nightmare is so much greater than ever happens in a dream, that the person who has had a vision of this kind cannot easily bring himself to acknow- ledge the deceit. The illusions which occur are perhaps the most extraordinary phenomena of night- mare; and so strongly are they often impressed upon the mind, that, even on awaking, we find it impossible not to believe them real.
The three cardinal features of a typical Nightmare are: Golther, Handbuch der germanischen Mythologie, , S.
Waller, A Treatise on the Incubus, or Nightmare, , pp. Macnish, The Philosophy of Sleep, , p, Less conspicuous features are an outbreak of cold sweat, convulsive palpitation of the heart, and sometimes a flow of seminal or vaginal secretion, or even a paralysis of the sphincters. The explanations of this condition still current in medical circles, and which ascribe it to digestive or circulatory disturbances, are probably farther from the truth than any other medical views, and show as little knowledge of the pathogenesis of the condition as was shown in regard to the infection of wounds before Lister's day, or to tuberculosis before Koch's.
This is all the stranger since medical practitioners of earlier centuries were well-informed about the sexual origin of the condition. It is one more illustration of how the advance of medicine in the material field during the past century or two has led to the forgetting of much valuable knowledge in the psychopathological field; the sexual origin of Nightmares had to be re-discovered anew in the twentieth century just as did that of Hysteria.
These factors can therefore at most be operative as incitements, not as the cause itself; the latter one reaches by concentrating on the central symptom of deathly fear. After pointing out how Freud had demonstrated the essential dependence of morbid anxiety on repressed Libido I summarized the con- clusions of the essay in the statement that Nightmare is a form of anxiety attack, that it is essentially due to an intense mental conflict centreing around some repressed component of the psycho-sexual instinct, characteristi- 1 'On the Nightmare', American Journal of Insanity, [Part I.
I added that repression of the feminine, masochistic component of the sexual instinct rather than that of the more masculine is apt to engender the typical Nightmare, a view to which Adler 1 has also subscribed. The latent content of a Nightmare consists of a representation of a normal act of sexual intercourse, particularly in the form characteristic for women; the pressure on the breast, the self-surrender portrayed by the feeling of paralysis, and the genital secretion directly indicate its sexual nature, and the other symptoms, the palpitation, sweating, sense of suffocation, etc.
Special emphasis should be laid on the circumstance that wishes fulfilled in this way always belong to the most powerfully repressed ones. This explains two signi- ficant facts: This depends principally on the ob- ject of the wish, so that with a Nightmare the object is always a person whom the inhibiting forces of morality exclude from the erotic sphere. It is therefore compre- hensible that the psycho-analysis of such dreams regu- larly shows them to relate to a near relative, most usually a parent.
In the second place, as I have else- where 2 illustrated, an important matter constantly over- looked by modern physicians in discussing the patho- genesis of the Nightmare is that clinically all gradations may be observed between the most extreme form of this on the one hand and erotic dreams on the other.
II THE NIGHTMARE 77 the repression is slight, so that its effect is practically nullified by the inhibition of the endopsychic censorship that occurs during sleep, an erotic desire, perhaps one which would be suppressed in waking moments, can come to imaginary fulfilment in a dream.
When the re- pression is greater the dream contains a mixture of pleasurable sensation and of discomfort or fear. When the repression is greater still the fear may overshadow the voluptuous feeling, and in the extreme case of the typical Nightmare it entirely replaces it. This circum- stance, that an admixture of erotic and apprehensive emotions may be found in all degrees, we shall see to be extensively paralleled by the various myths and super- stitious beliefs connected with the Nightmare theme.
We have mentioned above the vividness and the im- pression of reality characteristic of the Nightmare. It is therefore not astonishing that in all countries and in all ages except the present it has been attributed to the presence of actual strange beings. A striking confirma- tion of the conclusions enunciated above is the circum- stance that all these oppressing spirits are character- istically lewd demons. Even the scientific terms used to designate the Nightmare, namely Incubus and Ephi- altes, originally signified a lewd demon.
Lenormant, Chaldean Magic, English translation, , p. Swettenham, Malay Sketches, , p. West, The History of Tasmania, , vol. Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, Pt. We have seen that this folk belief had a certain justification.
The view that the process is essentially a sexual one was quite correct; but the unconscious wishes giving rise to it were pro- jected from the subject on to the outer world, as Freud 1 has shown characteristically happens in superstitions. Science, therefore, in setting aside the popular belief re- jected the truth as well as the error; the observations of the people were, as usual, correct, but their explanations, as usual, false.
The reason why the object seen in a Nightmare is frightful or hideous is simply that the representation of the underlying wish is not permitted in its naked form, so that the dream is a compromise of the wish on the one hand, and on the other of the intense fear be- longing to the inhibition. Maury 2 remarks with but little exaggeration: The table of our hart is turned to an index of iniquities, and all our thoughts are nothing but texts to condemn us.
The rest we take in our beds is such another kinde of rest as the weerie traveller taketh in the coole soft grasse in summer, who thinking there to 1 Sigm. Alfred Maury; La magie et I'astrologie, , p.
The Works of Thomas Nashe, , edited by R. It is therefore necessary to say something about this rela- tionship. The Nightmare is only one variety of anxiety dream, and the features it has in common with the other kinds dreams of grimacing beings, dreams of being ex- amined, pursued, etc. The essential difference is that its latent content is highly specific and stereotyped. In all cases of anxiety dreams the latent content represents the fulfil- ment of a repressed sexual wish, usually an incestuous one, but, whereas in the Nightmare this always relates to the normal sexual act, various perverse sexual wishes come to expression in the other forms of anxiety dream.
An example of the latter would be a dream of a frightful attacking animal, expressing the algolagnic combina- tion of lust with brutality or cruelty. This group of ideas is very extensive. In the 1 See, for example, Meyer, op. Gould, Mythical Monsters, Then the occurrence of transformation, especially from human into animal form, makes it very probable that the ideas have their source in anxiety dreams.
This is notably so when we find the transforma- tion of a very attractive into an extremely repellent ob- ject, a situation frequently met with in both myths and dreams. This combination of the two extremes of attrac- tion and repulsion, of beauty and hideousness, natur- ally represent the two conflicting forces of wish and inhibition.
The inadequacy of the view that refers such dream experiences to variations in gastric activity is here particularly evident; as Fiske 1 well says, 'indigestion doesn't account for beautiful women in key-holes'.
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Finally, the combination of anxiety with incestuous themes would lead one to suspect a relationship of the ideas with the experiences of Nightmares, since these contain little else. The sadistic view of sexual functions which so many children hold explains why the parent so often appears in the dream in the symbolic guise of an aggressive animal or monster.
The remarkably close con- nection, mentioned earlier, between totemism and ancestor-worship, between the ideas of animal descent and the interchangeability of human and animal person- alities becomes more comprehensible through psycho- analytical knowledge of the symbolism of unconscious repressed wishes.
Fiske, Myths and Myth-Makers, , p. As it runs in Caxton's Crony cle Descrypcion of Wales 1: That fende that goth a nyght, Wymmen full oft to gyle, Incubus is named by ryght: And gyleth men other whyle, Succubus is that wyght. The historical roots of this particular conception are too numerous to allow of their being traced here.
It must suffice to say that the central idea itself, the belief that sexual intercourse can occur between mortals and super- natural beings, is one of the most widespread of human beliefs. Various renowned people, such as Robert, the father of William the Conqueror, Luther, Merlin born from an incubus and a nun, the daughter of Charlemagne , Caesar, Alexander the Great, Plato, Scipio Africanus, and the whole race of Huns were supposed to have been born from such unions, 3 and the whole island of Cyprus 1 Quoted from J.
Dalyell, The Darker Superstitions of Scotland, , p. Freimark, Okkultismus und Sexualitdt, S. Gener, La Mort et le Diable, , p.
Latham, A Dictionary of the English Language, , p. Sinistrari, Demoniality or Incubi and Succubi seventeenth century , English translation, , p. In certain mystical 3 and spirit- istic 4 circles, particularly in France and America, it has received a new lease of life; the most modern form of it would appear to be the notion of conception from the fourth dimension.
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