Atlas Obscura asked readers to share their worst nightmares. The ones that stuck out in people's minds, that they remembered years later, are pretty strange. The unconscious mind can come up with scenarios and plots that easily outdo popular fiction. Here's a sample.
Walked into my house and about half a dozen hairy black spiders the size of dishwashers were arguing (in English) over the remote control. TV was on in the dark room casting blue light over everything. It also wasn’t anything like my actual house. They chased me out and just as one was about to catch me I woke up.... I think that means I died. —Rosie Bright
Scariest dream I ever had happened in my 40s. I walked into a grocery store, bought some stupid thing (not important), and went to the cashier to pay for it. They looked at me and said they needed exact change. I smiled, said, “No problem,” and pulled a shotgun out from under my long coat and pulled the trigger. When it went off I woke up in a pool of sweat. I could still feel the recoil of the shotgun in my shoulder and hands.
Someone wheeled a metal gurney onto a stone bridge in a park. My body had been barbecued, and it was laid out on its back on the gurney. My skin was crispy and covered with BBQ sauce. I was told to carve up my body as the main course for a catered picnic in the park. I hesitated for a minute, and someone whispered over my shoulder, “It’s much easier after you remove the hands and head.” So I cut off my own hands and my own head. The advice was right. It was much easier to carve up the rest of my body after that. I served up the slices to the people at the picnic but I didn’t eat any of it.
Read a bunch more of these memorable and/or persistent nightmares at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: Neal Fox)