Have you ever dreamt of this man?
This story has been doing the rounds on the Net for a while now. In 2006 a New York psychologist reported that one of his patients was having recurring dreams about a man she had never met and assured she did not know in her normal waking life. Since then many other people involved in dream analysis workshops have been relating independently that they encounter this same man too. He is described as having a round face, thin lips, a high hairline and very bushy eyebrows; his dress style changes regularly. In 2009 this website was established, including an artist’s impression of the individual, see: http://www.thisman.org/history.htm. He has been spotted by sleepers all around the world, from the USA, to Russia, to India to Thailand. The website contains a free download to print off, a kind of “wanted poster” in a dozen different languages; one that you can display in your local area in case other people have seen him too. I myself have never seen him in my dreams, but if I do I’ll let you know. The role This Man plays in people’s dreams is extremely varied; for one female dreamer he is very romantic and she fell in love with him, in another he helped somebody who is lost in a deserted shopping centre find their way out, in another he is dressed as Santa Claus! The most interesting case is one from Brazil in which he warns his dreamer of an impending nuclear disaster in the United States. He also claims to be the father of another dreamer. Informational exchanges on This Man have gone viral, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUkqr3glkMg.
So who is This Man? There are several theories, including that he is the Devil, or an angel of God; or that he is simply an arbitrary form that many people have latched onto after an initial coincidental cluster. No doubt there has to be some truth in the last idea; for example, I just told you I’ve never dreamt of This Man myself before, but now I’ve heard about him and have written an article about him I may well dream of him simply because I’ve heard of him and written about him. Of course there will be many other people for whom the same happens and so it will therefore become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to separate real This Man encounters from “copycat” ones. The Skeptics have naturally discredited the entire phenomenon as a hoax; they claim that This Man is simply a guerrilla marketing venture from Italy. It was launched for an upcoming film by the famous American director Bryan Bertino entitled This Man. The problem with Skeptics is that they often fall for what I call “CTCS- the Conveniently-Told Confession Story”. Whenever some kind of conspiratorial, paranormal or spiritual occurrence emerges you can bet somebody out there will simply turn in a circle, touch their nose three times and then hold their hand up and say: “It’s OK, guys! I faked it!”. When this happens Skeptics will tend to believe them without any further question or analysis. The cry will simply go out: “Case closed! Mystery solved!” and they will discuss it no further. Two recent examples are the Oliver’s Castle Crop Circle film, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMOezRBwHWo, and Bob Gimlin, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lDF-NAOraQ. I suspect that this website may well be nothing more than another Skeptic CTCS, see: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/this-man-ever-dream-this-man. This article was posted at least three years ago and provides a few sources for its information; a link to Bryan Bertino’s IMDB entry as well as the website for his studio, Ghost House Pictures. The problem is that This Man has been around for a very long time now, since at least 2009, yet Bryan Bertino’s film of that title has never been produced, in fact Bertino is best known for the 2008 horror film The Strangers and he is currently in post-production of a new movie called Mockingbird, see: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1052162/. I checked out the website of Ghost House Pictures, but it is simply an address card, see: http://www.ghosthousepictures.com/. This would not be the case if the studio was active and working. It’s possible that Bertino may have at one point begun scripting and production design for the film the Skeptics’ page said he did, but if so then the project must have been swiftly abandoned. In fact there is very little evidence indeed linking Bertino directly to This Man; here’s the only article I could find, which is dated 2010, see: http://www.movieweb.com/news/bryan-bertino-set-to-write-and-direct-this-man. In which case why is the This Man website still up? Why are people still talking about it?
Could This Man be real? In which case who is he? To answer that question we will have to explore the whole subject of dreams. Dreams are thoughts, emotions and images that people, as well as many other animals, experience while asleep. They are indicated by REM- Rapid Eye Movements, during periods of sleep which are accompanied by massive electrical activity in the brain. Dreams can be far more vivid and lucid than waking thoughts and are sometimes indistinguishable from normal awake conscious existence, hence phrases like: “pinch yourself to check and see if you’re dreaming”. Nobody knows for sure why dreams occur, but they seem to be essential for brain function. Deprive a person of REM sleep for a few nights and they’ll quickly become seriously ill. There are many theories of what dreams are. There are theories that they can predict future events, as with Moses in the Bible; also the author and researcher Anthony Peake has explored this theory, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/consciousness-beyond-individual.html. The father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, thought that they give clues to the subconscious thoughts and desires of the mind. His colleague Carl Jung thought that they were far more than just the inner workings of individual minds and saw them as connections to the “collective unconscious”, a mental process that links all minds together at a higher level. He called symbols in dreams “archetypes”; this is very interesting indeed because the website suggests that This Man is some kind of emergent Jungian archetype. Is it possible that the altered state of consciousness that occurs in our minds during dreaming contains psychic potential? I know many people who profess regular extra-sensory or precognitive dreams and this remain a legitimate field of research despite protests to the contrary, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJLOsAgTArY. In light of this information, what is This Man? Could he be a manifestation of some kind of other dimensional intelligence which is normally beyond conscious perception? He may be trying to make contact with humanity by installing himself into the dreams of various people, the same way scientists are currently trying to communicate with dolphins and whales by lowering hydrophones, underwater loudspeakers and microphones, into the sea. If so what is This Man and what does he want? He seems to have a widely diverging set of motives. For some people he is benevolent and friendly, for others he is frightening and intimidating. This may be because our minds and his are not yet in tune; I often wonder what the dolphins make of our crude attempts to say “good morning”. One thing that seems to be certain is that he is a fairly recent arrival in the human dreamscape and it may take some time for us to understand what he wants and what he is saying to us.