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Observations placeholder

Eeden, Frederik van - A study of dreams



Type of Spiritual Experience


The term lucid dreaming was coined by Dutch author and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden in his 1913 article "A Study of Dreams" published in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research [Vol XXVI July].

A description of the experience

A study of Dreams [Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research] – F van Eeden

On September 9, 1904, I dreamed that I stood at a table before a window. On the table were different objects. I was perfectly well aware that I was dreaming and I considered what sorts of experiments I could make. I began by trying to break glass, by beating it with a stone. I put a small tablet of glass on two stones and struck it with another stone. Yet it would not break. Then I took a fine claret-glass from the table and struck it with my fist, with all my might, at the same time reflecting on how dangerous it would be to do this in waking life; yet the glass remained whole. But lo! When I looked at it again after some time, it was broken.

It broke all right, but a little too late, like an actor who misses his cue. This gave me a very curious impression of being in a fake-world, cleverly imitated, but with small failures. I took the broken glass and threw it out of the window, in order to observe whether I could hear the tinkling. I heard the noise all right and I even saw two dogs run away from it quite naturally. I thought what a good imitation this comedy-world was. Then I saw a decanter with claret and tasted it, and noted with perfect clearness of mind: "Well, we can also have voluntary impressions of taste in this dream-world; this has quite the taste of wine."

F. van Eeden – A study of dreams [Proceedings of the Society for Psychical research Vol XXVI 1913]

It often happens that I dream that I wake up and tell my lucid dream to some other person. This latter is then a dream of the common form … from this dream I wake up in the real waking world, very much amazed at the curious wanderings of my mind. The impression is as if I had been rising through spheres of different depths.

The source of the experience

Eeden, Frederik van

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Dreaming and lucid dreaming


Lucid dreaming