I don’t know about you guys, but I get some of my best ideas when I’m asleep or at least trying to fall asleep. Of course, remembering the ideas or what made them so great in the first place when you actually wake up is another story, but it is possible. In fact, here are a few people who created amazing things thanks to their dreams.
One of the Most Famous Songs In the World
While The Beatles had dozens of hits throughout their career, it’s “Yesterday” that holds the Guinness Book of Records title for having the most cover versions of any song ever written. Perhaps the reason for the song’s success is that it is just so dreamy –and with good reason, Paul McCartney came up with the song in a dream.
He was asleep in a small attic room at a house in London when he heard a classical string ensemble playing a beautiful song. He immediately woke up and went to the piano in the room and recreated the melody he heard in his sleep, which eventually became the tune for “Yesterday.”
While it would be easy for someone to hear a song in their sleep and then suddenly think they created it, McCartney went out of his way to make sure he didn’t subconsciously plagiarize the song. He went to dozens of people in the music industry throughout the next month asking them if they had ever heard the song before. Decades later, no one has ever claimed the song as their own, so I think it’s safe to say that he certainly did hear the music in his dream and not just from someone playing the song while he was asleep.
One of the Most Famous Monsters in History
You’ve probably already heard that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was first created as part of a challenge by Lord Byron when he and his guests, including Shelley, were all stuck indoors during a lengthy storm. But what you might not know is that it wasn’t just the challenge, but also a dream that inspired Shelley’s creature.
After the challenge was laid out, Mary laid down and in her own words, “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous Creator of the world…The idea so possessed my mind, that a thrill of fear ran through me, and I wished to exchange the ghastly image of my fancy for the realities around. ...I could not so easily get rid of my hideous phantom…O! if I could only contrive one which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night!”
That’s when she knew she had found the two stars of her story that would soon evolve into one of the most famous novels of all time.
The Sewing Machine
While Elias Howe was not the first person to create a sewing machine, his design was the first one to feature a lockstitch design and an automatic feed, making it the first true predecessor to the modern sewing machine. The secret to his success was the lockstitch, but he may never have come up with a way to get the idea to work if it weren’t for a dream he had while trying to get the machine to work properly.
The biggest challenge he had was that he kept thinking that the eye of the needle should be at the back end, like it is in a traditional sewing needle. But one night he dreamed that he had to fix the design for the king of a savage country and that if he didn’t fix the design within 24 hours, he would be executed. Just like in real life, he kept having issues as to where the needle’s eye should go to make the prototype work. He finally gave up, but when he was being dragged out to the execution block, he noticed that the village warriors carried spears that were pierced at the pointy end. Immediately, he realized the solution and begged the king to free him so he could fix the design. Right then, he woke up.
Howe immediately went to his workshop and within a few hours, he modified the needle based on what he saw in his dream and got the machine working.
Lee Hadwin is a nurse during the daytime hours, but when he’s asleep, he’s an artist. He draws amazing artworks while sleep walking and has no recollection of his creations when he wakes up. Oddly, he claims to have no artistic talent while awake, nor does he have any interest in art.
Hadwin has been sleepwalking since he was only four, but he only started creating artwork in his sleep when he was a teenager –and originally he would doodle right on his bedroom walls. In his twenties, he started finding that everything in his apartment could be covered in drawings the next morning when he woke up, so he finally started leaving out artist materials before bed so his sleepwalking self would be able to better focus his artistic ability. The technique has worked and now he completes drawings exclusively in sketchbooks, which he leaves around the house every day.
Galleries have been asking Hadwin for pieces of his work, hoping they can sell it not only for its artistic value, but also for its novelty.
A Spoken Word Album
Dion McGregor was a songwriter during the day, even writing a song for Barbara Streisand, but his best known album is a recording of him talking in his sleep. While most sleep talkers merely mumble, McGregor was very unique in that he would actually narrate his dreams at a conversational volume. Eventually, he and a friend started recording his bizarre nighttime tales of hot air balloon trips to the moon, tattooing a woman’s tongue, travels through New York and more.
The recordings were eventually released on an LP titled The Dream World of Dion McGregor, and a book of the same name was also released featuring transcripts of many of his dreams paired with illustrations by Edward Gorey. A second album, called Dion McGregor Dreams Again, was released posthumously in 1994 and in 2004, even more of his recordings were released as The Further Somniloquies of Dion McGregor. Much of the later albums are very vulgar, which is why they weren’t released with the first album back in the sixties when the narrative was considered too risqué.
I’ve had many amazing lucid dreams where I can control the action –almost Inception style, but I’ve never had a dream that actually had the potential to make me rich in the real world. Have any of you ever had dreams like these?