Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Have You Ever Died in a Dream?

A blog posting by Simcha Fisher got me thinking about this.

Of course, everyone has heard the old saw that if you die in a dream, you die in real life.  The thing is, I actually did die in a dream; I was fighting in Italy in World War II, and I was killed by a hand grenade.  I woke up just after dying, not just before.  I don't really remember anything else from that dream, though.

F1 grenade

Interestingly enough, though, I had another WW2 in Italy dream that I remember in much more detail.

We were fighting in a city just a little south of Rome, and had made it into a building that the German army was using as a local headquarters.  The building had long halls, and the rooms off the halls had deeply recessed doorways, which both the Germans and we used for cover.  However, most of the Germans in this building were little more than clerks with side arms, and we made pretty short work of them. 

Then, from around a corner, came a pretty blond young woman, wearing the feldgrau uniform of the German army and carrying a pistol in her left hand (she seemed to be left-handed) and a box in her right hand.  (It was quite significant to me that she was in the German army, not the SS.) 

At this point, the dream got sort of fuzzy.  I'm pretty sure that I dreamed and re-dreamed the next few seconds until I got an acceptable outcome, because on the one hand my upbringing really ingrained into me not to hurt a woman, but on the other hand she had a gun.  My shot hit her in the shoulder, and she had to drop her pistol.

I took her in custody back to our headquarters, which were unrealistically nearby.  She was taken away to be processed as a POW, but I knew the box was probably important.  It was about one foot square and six inches high, with a fastener through the center.  In the dream I knew that this was a message box, designed to protect important papers; once it was locked, anyone opening it the wrong way would set off explosive charges, destroying both the papers and the person trying to get to them.  I strongly suspected that this was what we were looking for:  information about tanks in Yugoslavia that were being brought up to support German positions in Italy.

Back in our headquarters, though, there was a serious problem.  There was a general in nominal command, but his mind was not in the game; he expected to be given a high position in the OSS and thought of nothing but the politics.  The man effectively in command was both a colonel and an idiot. 

"Now, you see how this thing fastens through the top?  They don't want us to just force it open.  That tells me it's what we should do,"  he said.   

I was unconvinced.  "I don't think so.  Maybe we should send for the girl who was carrying it?  She might know how to get it open." 

"Son," he said, "Do you think I got all this rank without knowing how to defuse a Nazi bomb?"  (He pronounced it "Nazzy".)

When I heard that and saw he was about to pry the lid off, I started running.  I just made it out of the building when the charges blew.

Then I woke up.


  1. I don't think I have ever died in a dream but one time, I visited my own grave in a dream...

  2. That's got to be creepy. You must have been feeling really down at the time. I don't think I was -- I probably had been watching war movies.