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Psychoanal Q. 2012 Jul;81(3):713-25.

The uncanny in a dream.

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Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons, USA.


In previous publications, the author has focused on particular types of inclusions in dreams (Mahon 2002a, 2002b, 2005a, 2007). In this paper, the author explores an instance of the uncanny in a dream and speculates on the particular function such an inclusion might have served. A patient dreamed about the name of an author, Thomas B. Costain, which he believed at first to be a fictitious dream concoction. In fact, all his initial associations dealt with this dream inclusion as if it had no connection to reality. When he later Googled the name, he was surprised to uncannily discover that the "fictitious" name was in fact the real name of a moderately well-known author. His subsequent discovery-that one of the author's books, The Silver Chalice, "re-minded" him of silver paper chalices that his father used to make for him as a child-jolted him further. This revived repression of not only the author's name, but also of its significant connection to repressed genetic memories, filled him with a sense of awe, as though he had suddenly been awakened from a hypnotic spell. If dream experience in general can be considered uncanny, the dream work deployed this particular inclusion of an uncanny, "fictitious" representation of reality for complex dynamic reasons, the author maintains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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