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For as long as people have slept they have experienced nightmares It was a common thought in the 18th century and before that the dream anxiety attack or nightmare was caused by a demon pressing on the chest of a person during sleep Anch et al Nightmares have even been considered to be signs of black magic evil affiliation or possession Nightmares mainly consist of being chased hunted or threatened by dark characters that we fear They could also include variations of everyday activities Hadfield Nightmares have literally been around forever so how do they manage to still stir our emotions and scare us My theory is that the nightmare concept is unchanging but the content of what we find scary changes with each generation and each era During the 18th century people feared witches and demons but most of us dont believe in such characters today thus we are not scared of them However today we do fear such things as ghost and homicidal maniacs Our nightmares have managed to find our greatest fears whatever they may be and horrify us over and over again Everyone has bad dreams or nightmares but most of these bad dreams are experienced as children and they eventually go away as the individual gets older and grows out of them As children we all have bad dreams that make us wake up screaming shaking or even sweating The dreams are not only upsetting to the children who experience them but also their parents who are awakened in the middle of the night by a deathly cry for help from their precious child The adult instinct is to rationalize the nightmare and just assume that it is repressed unconscious thought this is the way Freud explained it Sometimes these dreams come without any explanation as to why and sometimes we help them to come by watching a scary movie reading a scary book or listening to a scary story
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