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Dreams of Famous People

Abraham Lincoln reported a dream to his friend, Ward Hill Lamon, which predicted the circumstances of Lincoln's own death: " About ten days ago, I retired very late. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room. No living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds met me as I passed alone. I was puzzled and alarmed. Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room. Before me was a ... corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng or people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. "Who is dead in the White House?" I demanded of one of the soldiers. "The president," was his answer. "He was killed by an assassin." (Excerpted from the Presidents and the Paranormal web page.)

Click the link to go to another web site to learn more about Abraham Lincoln.

Click the link to go to another web site to learn more about Fredrich August von Kekule.

Fredrich August von Kekule (German chemist) said that he discovered the ring-shaped chemical structure of benzene because of a strange, reptilian dream he had in 1865: "I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. ... My mental eye... could not distinguish larger structures, of manifold conformation; long rows, sometimes more closely fitted together; all twining and twisting in snakelike motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lighting I awoke... " ( From "Creativity, Beyond the Myth of Genius" by Robert Weisberg published by W. H. Freeman 1992 .)  Although some scholars now believe that Kekule's dream was a hoax to avoid sharing credit for the discovery of the hexagonal shape of benzene, it still makes a wonderful story. 

Click the link to go to another web site to learn more about Giuseppe Tartini.

Guiseppe Tartini (Italian violinnist & composer) composed one of his greatest works, "The Devil's Trill", as a result of a dream he had in 1713. In the dream, he handed his violin to the devil himself, who began to "play with consummate skill a sonata of such exquisite beauty as surpassed the boldest flights of my imagination. I felt enraptured, transported, enchanted; my breath was taken away, and I awoke. Seizing my violin I tried to retain the sounds I had heard. But it was in vain. The piece I then composed ... was the best I ever wrote, but how far below the one I heard in my dream!" (From The World of Dreams by Havelock Ellis, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1911.)

Click the link to go to another web site and learn more about Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (English author) Coleridge's famous poem, Kubla Khan, was written upon awakening from an opium-affected dream. 

Here is another web site's list of some other dreams attributed to famous historical figures.

Many famous writers and artists have used their own dreams and nightmares as sources of inspiration. (The following links take you to other web sites.) Naomi Epel has interviewed writers about their dreams, and how they use dreams in their own creative process. Her book is called Writers Dreaming (click the last link to read excerpts from the book).