"Dark Man" dream

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"Dark Man" dream is a dream experience where a dark predator is present in one's environment and a warning that it is about to rob the dreamer of something precious. Generally, the "Dark Man" dreams are wake-up calls for the soul and can reveal what predicament the dreamer is facing.

A typical "dark man" experience is described in Deborah Wells' The Dark Man:[1]

Generally speaking, a dark man experience begins when a dark character suddenly appears in our dreams, in the hypnogogic state between waking and sleeping, in our reverie, in our daydreams or before our fully awake conscious mind. The darkness might be an aspect of his appearance, such as his skin tone ("swarthy" is a term that is often used to describe him) and/or his clothing, or, perhaps more tellingly, the aura or atmosphere which surrounds him. He (for this character is always recognisable as male even when there are no obvious signs of gender), is usually described as disturbing, chilling, or frightening. And although he usually appears at night, especially midnight or three o'clock in the morning, in actuality he can appear at any time and it may simply be that we are less distracted by other things in the hours of darkness. It does seem, though, that the guise the dark man takes varies according to the perceptions, expectations and experiences of the individuals concerned; but a predatory assailant, such as intruder, stalker, attacker, murderer, incubus, vampiric seducer or lady killer, is common, as is the Devil, Death or "filth". The dark man is also said to take the form of, or be accompanied by, a large dark animal, typically a dog or a wolf. And he is almost always silent, seldom speaking, at least in words. So, taken together, these elements amount to what we might call a "classic" dark man experience. But it is also possible to experience just one or two of them in isolation. Indeed, very often the only sign of the dark man that we have is a shadowy, dark (often ominous) presence that we sense somewhere around us or that we catch slipping from our peripheral view as we turn our heads or enter a room.


Furthermore, meeting the dark man can be a disturbing or frighting experience, particularly as we know so little about him, and especially since the little that we do know has probably been gleaned from the guff which has been promulgated about him for so long. Anyhow, dark man experiences tend to be a tad unnerving and consequently, when we do meet him, we typically react by dropping into one of the several defence mechanism - the most common of which is to run, fast, in the opposite direction - or by drawing on superstition, folk magic and other protective devices - such as sleeping with the light on - in an attempt to ward off the dark stranger.

The "Dark Man" imagery appears to be as old as time, and there are several interpretations for it (Joseph Campbell, Robert Graves, etc.) but the general consensus is that this type of dream appears in one's life when a time of changes is occuring. The FotCM refers to the description of the "Dark Man" by the Jungian analyst and storyteller Clarissa Pinkola Estés through her analysis of women's dreams and the story of the "Bluebeard" in Women Who Run With The Wolves:[2]

The natural predator of the psyche is not only found in fairy tales but also in dreams. There is a universal initiatory dream, one so common that it is remarkable if a person has reached age twenty-five without having had such a dream. The dream usually causes the person to jolt awake, striving and anxious.

The dream usually involves being in a house with danger outside or darkness outside. The dreamer is frightened and frantically tries to obtain assistance. Suddenly, they realize the danger is virtually on top of them, or right with them, or cannot be overcome or avoided, or that they have lost. The dreamer awakens instantly, breathing hard, heart pounding.

There is a strong physical aspect to having a dream of the predator. The dream is often accompanied by sweats, struggles, hoarse breathing, heart pounding, and sometimes crying and moans of fear. We could say the dream-maker has dispensed with subtle messages to the dreamer and now sends images that shake the neurological and autonomic nervous system of the dreamer, thereby communicating the urgency of the matter.

The antagonists of the "dark dream" are, in people's own words, "terrorists, rapists, thugs, concentration camp Nazis, marauders, murderers, criminals, creeps, bad men, and thieves." There are several levels to the interpretation of the dream...

Often such a dream is a reliable indicator that a person's consciousness is just beginning to gain awareness of the innate psychic predator...

The dream is a harbinger; the dreamer has just discovered or is about to discover and begin liberating a forgotten and captive function of the psyche.

The dark man dream tells a person what predicament they are facing. The dream tells about a cruel attitude toward the dreamer. Like Bluebeard’s wife, the dreamer can consciously gain hold of the "key" question about this matter and answer it honestly, and can then be set free...

The dark man appears in dreams when an initiation — a psychic change from one level of knowing and behavior to another more energetic level of knowledge and action is imminent. The initiation creates an archway that one prepares to pass through to a new manner of knowing and being...

Dreams are portales, entrances, preparations, and practices for the next step in consciousness.

Dark man dreams are wake-up calls. They say: Pay attention! Something has gone radically amiss in the outer world...The threat of the "dark man dreams" serves as a warning to all of us — if you don’t pay attention, something will be stolen from you! The dreamer needs to be initiated so that whatever has been robbing her can be recognized, apprehended, and dealt with.

In the Bluebeard story, we see how a woman who falls under the spell of the predator rouses herself and escapes him, wiser for the experience. The story is about transformation through knowledge, insight, voice, and decisive action. We must unlock the secrets and use our abilities to be able to stand what we see. And then, we must use our voice and our wits to do what needs to be done about what we see. When instincts are strong, we intuitively recognize the innate predator by scent, sight, and hearing...we anticipate its presence, hear it approaching, and take steps to turn it away. In the instinct-injured (i.e., nuts and bolts person) the predator is upon them before they register its presence. We have been taught to be nice, to behave, to be blind, and to be misused. [Laura Knight-Jadczyk‎‎’s note: We have been hypnotized to give up our flesh and skins.]

The young and the injured are uninitiated. Neither knows much about the dark predator and are, therefore, credulous. But, fortunately, when the predator is on the move, it leaves behind unmistakable tracks in dreams. These tracks eventually lead to its discovery, capture and containment.

Wild Ways teaches people when not to act "nice" about protecting their souls. The instinctive nature knows that being "sweet" in these instances only makes the predator smile. When the soul is being threatened, it is not only acceptable to draw the line and mean it, it is required.

A "Dark Man" dream can be experienced not only by the presence of an innate psychic predator, but can be caused by HAARP activities or any negative energies trying to invade one's psyche.

Further information


  1. Wells, Deborah. The Dark Man: The shadow that follows us all, p. 9-11. Washington: O-Books, 2010.
  2. Laura Knight-Jadczyk‎‎’s modified quote from: Estés, Clarissa Pinkola. Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, 66-73. New York : Ballantine Books, 1992.