Grief: Weird Dreams About the Dead

Weird Dreams About the Dead
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Dreams About the Dead

Article about Dreams About the Dead. This is a copyrighted extract from my book  Psychic Dreaming  by Craig Hamilton-Parker ( ISBN 1-4027-0474-7 Sterling Publishers 2004 )

Dreams about the dead - Craig Hamilton-ParkerAs a working medium for over 25 years it comes as no surprise to me to receive letters to my columns and TV shows from people to say that they have met a dead friend or relative in a dream. In the sleep state our skeptical, conscious mind takes the back seat for a while and we are receptive to spontaneous clairvoyance and mediumship. It is at these times we can have dreams about the dead.

I have on record many instances that tell of how the spirit of a loved one has appeared in a dream to give verification of the continuation of life after death. And sometimes they give us little help to sort out our problems. For example, a woman wrote to me to explain that she was a skeptical person but soon after her mother’s death she appeared to her in a dream.

Worrying Dream about the Dead

In her dreams about the dead the mother’s spirit looked very concerned. The dream showed her a writing desk from the parental home that the sleeping daughter had planned to dispose of. Worried by the dream, the daughter soon visited her mother’s house to check out the desk. Slipped under one of the draws she found her mother’s will. It had clear instructions about how the estate should be divided.

I have a great many cases in my files of dreams where the dead have helped the living. They have warned about illness, upcoming calamities, infidelity of a partner and suggested changes to make to avoid unpleasant situations. It is my belief that our dead loved ones do not suddenly gain insight into the future. When they pass to the other side but their ethereal place does give them a better perspective on what is happening around us. Their overview of the situation may enable them to give us wise counsel. They give guidance to help us to make the best decisions about our future. And one of the best ways for them to do this is through dreams.

Vivid Dreams

Dreams about the dead are usually vivid. They are sometimes set in a place that is a threshold between this world and the next. My files include dreams that are set at a junction in the road, upon a bridge or in front of a gate or dark passage. In some instances the dreamer is given a glimpse of the beautiful world that lies beyond life. Reports often include a symbolic barrier of some kind such as a door, wall or garden fence.  The dreamer is aware that their loved one can go through the gate or obstacle. They cannot follow, at least not yet. Nonetheless, the dream meeting may offer them a breath taking glimpse of what awaits up on the other side of life. These visions invariably bring comfort and helps them to cope with their bereavement.

Many reports about contact with spirits in dreams about the dead happen either at the time of a death or soon after. Studies by the Society for Psychical Research have shown that a time of emotional crisis is most ripe for there to be a paranormal connection between two emphatic people. There are cases in which people have seen a phantom of the living person who is experiencing a dangerous situation. Similarly at the point of death it is often reported that the spirit of the dead or dying person will connect with those they love.


For example, I have cases in my files where a person has dreamed of someone they love and been awoken in the night and noticed the time. The next morning they receive news to say that the person they dreamed about had died at the exact time of the dream. (I have posted some of these cases on my website at In some instances the alarm clock has even stopped at the exact time of the death and corresponding dream.

Dreams about the Dead

Dreams about the Dead

Signs, Stories and Symbols:

Of course not all dreams about the dead are communications from the other side. It is important to remember that dreams about the dead express anxieties and grief about a death. For example, after a death of a partner a person may dream of being abandoned or being divorced by the one they love. Dreams like this express the feeling of emotional separation of the bereaved dreamer. Similarly it is likely that a bereaved person may dream of being lost or of missing a train. Again these dreams express the feeling of being out of control after the upheavals that have happened.

When will we dream about the dead?

Most people who have suffered the loss of a loved one will dream of them within six months of the bereavement. Often the loved one will appear in the dream and then disappear. Although the rational mind knows the loved one has died, the unconscious, the emotions, must recreate the loss repeatedly. Dreams help to bring these struggling emotions into balance.

There are several stages to bereavement and these are often accompanied by dreams that express the emotions associated with each stage of emotional recovery and adjustment. Here are some of the signs of bereavement and a few of the accompanying dream symbols:


The shock of a death result in a feeling of disbelief about what has happened. This acts as a psychological buffer that permits the bereaved to gradually process the reality of loss. Other feelings may include confusion, restlessness, feelings of unreality, helplessness, and a state of alarm.

Dreams reflect emotional troubles. Dreams may include themes of helplessness. These include being at the mercy of a fierce monster or confusion such as being lost in a strange place. The shock may be expressed by sudden occurrences such as lightning strikes, loud explosions or accidents. Intertwined with these nightmares may be death and fear themes such as Zombies or exhuming the body of the dead person. A person may dream of being raped or attacked expressing their feelings of victimization and rejection. Similarly the deceased loved one may seem as uncaring or hateful.  You may dream of running from shadowy figures as your emotions attempt to remove you from the painful situation.

Awareness of loss:

As awareness of loss sets in, the person may feel separation anxiety, internal conflicts, acting out emotional expectations and prolonged stress. Emotions that go with these things may include yearning, crying and anger. There may be a feeling of isolation and betrayal. Sometimes a bereaved person will displace his or her feelings and blame someone else, God, or the hospital for what has happened. Or they may get angry with themselves creating a sense of helplessness or guilt. Sometimes the person feels guilty for being alive because they have survived and their loved one has not. Death may be seen as a punishment and this may be accompanied by feelings of shame, vulnerability and fear of death.

All sorts of strange dreams may go with this stage of recovery. Betrayal may be expressed by a thief or cheat. Your own anger may be expressed by murder and killing themes such as hunting, war and violence. Self-punishment themes may feature in the dream to include such as hanging, torture or suicide themes. Similarly, you may dream of punishing the person who has died. Shame and vulnerability may be expressed in themes of nakedness such as dreaming of partly dressed or nude in a public place. You may dream of haunted houses, ghosts and spirits as your unconscious makes you aware of your rejected feelings of fear, uncertainty and death.

Conservation – withdrawal:

The process of bereavement  is draining and a point comes when a person becomes exhausted from all the emotional arousal it has caused them. The person may now instinctively withdraw from others to conserve energy. They will have the need to be alone yet at the same time may feel isolated and depressed. Although this time of spiritual hibernation is very difficult it is usually at this time that the person reviews what has happened and may come to accept the loss. The grief work at this stage is not easy and there may still be many preoccupations about the deceased to release. A person may stay at this stage for some time if they insist on retaining the things as they are. Eventually they may make the decision to move forward.

Dreams about the dead during this stage may express the dreamers isolation. The landscapes of your dreams may be bleak. Themes of coldness and ice are representations of the way your feelings have become frozen. You may dream of locked doors, walking through mud or cars that won’t start. These are expressions of your inability to move on. There may be depressing themes, perhaps set at night or in gloomy conditions. These occasionally feature the deceased loved one. The person we grieve over may seem in the dream as being unhappy. This is symbolic representation of your own feelings of sorrow.

Healing – the turning point:

Eventually a turning point comes and the bereaved person can make changes in their life. Sometimes this may include setting up new routines such as attending college or a different routine with different people. The person is now assuming control and gains a sense of competency. They may have believed that their own identity was enmeshed with that of the deceased and can start to become their own person. They may relinquish roles such as giving up role as daughter, parent, husband, etc

Dreams at this time are likely to include themes of transformation. They may include rebirth themes such as snakes shedding their skin, a phoenix or salamander in the fire. Your dreams may feature children or babies representing the new qualities emerging in your own personality. Similarly your dreams about the dead may be about new beginnings such as the grass during Spring time or the dawn of the Sun. Water themes as a symbol of the waters of the womb and rebirth may also feature in dreams of inner transformation.

Grand Dreams

Some dreams about the dead may include what Jung called ‘Grand Dreams’ and express philosophical ideas about the purpose of life. These dreams are likely to feature many mythical themes that may describe death, resurrection and the quest of the hero. Over this period of your life you are likely to experience recurring dream themes as your unconscious weaves allegorical stories to expresses the feelings and inner changes you have been experiencing. Periods of transition in your life are likely to bring with them many vivid dreams.


A bereaved person is not able to enjoy their good memories until they face up to the loss. Although this is a painful process it is a necessary one. Sometimes people get stuck at one of the recovery stages and it can take many years before the bereavement process is concluded. Persistently recurring dreams about death or some of the themes mentioned above are an indicator that the person has not resolved their despair and may need a little counselling to help them progress.

Nothing can ever replace someone we once loved but we do learn to pick up the pieces and move on. After the bereavement a person may gain new self-awareness and recognize that there are other options in life that can also bring happiness. They may now accept personal responsibility and self-reliance. Mediumship can help with some stages of the grieving process and reassure the person that life goes on.

Making a connection with the spirit through a medium or through mediumistic dreams is much easier once the main grief is resolved. Intense emotions of grief can act as a barrier to communication. Nonetheless if a connection to spirit is established and verified somehow it is very reassuring for the sufferer to know that their loved one is safe. It will help them to let go of the pain and move towards a new way of life. Once fully healed it is possible for their loved one to draw close to them in a dream to give message of love and hope.

References and Works Cited

This is a copyrighted extract from my book  Psychic Dreaming  by Craig Hamilton-Parker ( ISBN 1-4027-0474-7 Sterling Publishers 2004 )

This is an extract from my new book

About Post Author

Craig Hamilton-Parker

Craig is a TV medium, author and mystical teacher. I will approve and respond to comments that are short, well-written and on topic. For personal questions and experiences please post on our forums.
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