Dreams of the Deceased: a Message from the ‘Other Side’ or a Trick of the Subconscious Mind?

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What do the dreams of the deceased mean? Are they actually messages from the spirit world or just a product of our subconsciousness?

Two years ago, something terrible happened in our family – my grandfather had a stroke. He fell into a coma and eventually died two days later. This profoundly shocked all of us not only because grandpa was deeply loved and respected by everybody who had the luck to know him but also because we couldn’t imagine that he would go so early and so suddenly.

Shortly after this tragic event, I started to have weird dreams. I was seeing myself visiting my grandpa at his home and feeling quite confused – I was simultaneously glad that he was there again and puzzled trying to understand how it was possible.

In my dreams, he never said a word and replied to my questions about him being there with an enigmatic smile.

My view of what happens after death

These dreams were so regular that I began to wonder whether this might be my grandpa’s soul trying to communicate. If I was a religious person, I would certainly believe that it was so. But I don’t really agree with the views on soul and afterlife as promoted by most of the world religions.

I tend to think that human consciousness – everything that makes us who we are, including our thoughts, memories and beliefs – is a kind of energy that leaves the body at the moment of death and gets dispersed in the surrounding environment. This basically means that a person’s energy can exist literally everywhere for some time after death and eventually finds itself becoming part of another, newborn creature.

You may think that this sounds quite similar to the known theory of reincarnation; however, the difference is that, in my opinion, it’s not the same soul that makes its journey through ages, traveling from one body to another, but rather a composition of different people’s energies that carries the experiences of multiple lives and individuals.

Moreover, I believe that it’s not only human energy that makes up each person’s consciousness but that all living beings on our planet participate in this eternal cycle of energy exchange. That’s why after death, a person’s soul returns to its starting point and becomes part of the environment again in order to reborn in a new body, saturated by the energies of the Mother Earth and other living creatures.

But let’s go back to the dreams of the deceased.

I wondered whether my grandfather was trying to send me a message or at least to say that he was fine and happy wherever he was.

I supposed that shortly after death, a soul might be in an intermediate state, unable to have the same strong bond with its body and the material world as before but capable of interacting with the living ones. Those who happen to have lost someone will agree that it’s much more comforting to think that your dear one continues to exist somewhere else, far from here, than to think that they have gone forever.

Analysis of the dreams of the deceased

However, after some time, when I began to get used to the fact of my grandpa’s death, I got a chance to look at those dreams in a more rational way. I realized that there was the same pattern in all of them – my grandpa being silent and me having confused feelings.

Yes, unfortunately, it was purely the work of the subconscious mind and had nothing to do with the afterlife. During the last years of my grandfather’s life, I didn’t visit him often and thus found it even more difficult to accept his death than those who were next to him till his last minute.

I refused to believe that the next time I would visit my grandparents’ home, my grandpa wouldn’t be there, and my subconscious mind was trying to show me this confrontation between my expectations (grandfather being there) and the reality (my confusion).

So, if you have recurring dreams of the deceased too, first of all, analyze the content of your dreams and try to find similar patterns in events, surroundings and your feelings. I know that the idea that your deceased friend or family member is trying to communicate with you may be exciting, but in most cases, it’s the work of your subconscious and not a message from the other side.

It is always hard to accept a less attractive truth, especially in the beginning when the pain of loss is still intense, but it’s necessary to let go of the past and find the courage to go on.

If you have had a similar experience, please share your thoughts in the comments below.


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About the Author:

Anna is the founder and lead editor of the website Learning-mind.com. She is passionate about learning new things and reflecting on thought-provoking ideas. She writes about science, psychology and other related topics. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe.


  1. JF May 22, 2018 at 1:20 am - Reply

    Hi, I wanted to talk to somebody about this because when a grandpa of mine died when I was nearly 3, I had a dream that I was with him. He had died in an airplane crash. My dream was that I was with him trying to find his airplane keys after the crash. Come to find out, later, somebody had stolen the keys from his crash site. (in real life) And, sometimes when I’m told this, I have a weird feeling in my chest and I found something that told me where you feel you emotions. It told me I would feel genetic or ancient memories in that same place I get the weird feeling. Please help me find answers to how this happens and why. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Farid Azam June 18, 2018 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    I think that the dreams of the deceased relatives or friends are not always the work of the subconscious mind. In July 1992, when my mother died, she physically appeared to with my cousin sister and even touched her shoulder. In April 2011, my deceased uncle continuously kept communicating through lucid dreams for many days till I told him to stop. Some deceased relatives appear in dreams on specific occasions to remind us. It seems that universe is a computer.

  3. maria July 17, 2018 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    i was asleep but woke up cause was haveing a dream that there were black people standing in my front yard so i went to go open my door and saw all this people just standing there as if they were waiting for someone cause everytime a car would pass they would trun to look to see and when it wasnt who they were waiting for then they would look at me and smile i dont no what this means

    • Alicia July 19, 2018 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      Do some research about the state and city and the grounds that you live on. There may be some history of the area that you’re unaware of and is trying to tell you something.

  4. Gemma July 24, 2018 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    Very interesting read, my Grandad recently died (19th of May) and I didn’t get a chance to see him much before the end due to University and ever since, I have been dreaming about him. The dreams are not always the same and are quite often different but always end up with me waking myself up absolutely sodden with tears and still sobbing, with a huge ache/pain in my heart.

    Originally after the first few dreams I thought this was just part of the grieving process but it keeps happening and always results in the same way! I will keep an eye on it and analyse the content of these dreams more closely!

    Thanks for your post! 🙂

  5. Charles R Henderson August 11, 2018 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Well I had bad break up from x wife, but she want divorce me.. Last night I had dream of with 3 dead people in it, one being my cousin a male, my wife was in te dream but it didn’t look like her she was acting wierd. Then she was friends with second dead person who’s a female, over house now mind you my cousin and this female when they was alive was drug addicts.. Anyway I keep trying to get wife to tell why she’s around them and my cousin speaks up says tell him, my wife goes into another room but another female appears who is dead grabs my hand and tyies to explain to me how a piece of drugs slip down my wife throat and yelled my wifes name like are you saying she on drugs and I woke up

  6. Teresa king August 19, 2018 at 2:36 am - Reply

    Hi iv just lost my partner of 5 yrs suddenly on the 10th of aug 2018 who I loved very much and him me and the next night I dreamed of him coming to me telling me he woke up to come see me and tell me he had to go back to sleep that he didn’t have long he looked younger he looked really amazing and happy we walked about our area going into different pubs we knew in the area although was people there it was as if was just us I felt so good too see him so good he started to look tired I asked him to call his family before he went I held his face and saud u know ur really unwell he said yes I habe to go back too sleep I held him we cuddled and kissed said we loved each other then I woke up I remember saying I hope this isn’t a dream to myself..he had a brain hemerage and when he got found in house he was still breathing ambulance rushed him to hospital but after 3 hrs of working on him told us nothing could help him he was put on a life support machine and we had all rest of the night to stay with him that morning we were told after tests that it would have to be turned off I got in beside him held him in his bed and through night I felt he squeezed my hand a few times. I am hurting bad..but I never remember my dreams much and never as clear and real as this felt..what could it mean ?

  7. Christy Carter August 19, 2018 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    I dreamed of my ex spouses grandfather. she was sitting in a chair at the home we used to live and visit him and his grandmother. He had decayed teeth ( but in real life he had dentures). I never saw him again after the divorce of my ex. I was very close to him and the grandmother. The grandfather kept warning me to wait 13 days before I decide to open my business and then everything should be ok. I want yo open a preschool but dint know why he told me this. Do you have answers?

  8. Donna Brunsma August 28, 2018 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    I dreamt about my ex husband Greg and days later I learned he died on August 19th. We had not seen each other or had any contact in over ten years. I loved Greg so very much, but he had inner demons and battled alcoholism and anger issues which caused me to divorce him. Was he trying to get a message to me?

  9. Wilma Goertemiller August 30, 2018 at 5:31 am - Reply

    I constantly feel my Grandparents on my Dad’s side visiting me and watching over me, they died about 35 to 40 years. And each time they come visit me they let me know that they still love me and are protecting me and are waiting for me but to take my time about it

  10. Smarie September 17, 2018 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    My grandmother passed away when I was a teenager. We were pretty close. Shortly after she passed, I had a dream of her. I do not recall too much of the dream as it was many years ago. What I do recall is quite vivid though. I remember the actual thoughts I was having in the dream. I remember being very upset seeing my grandmother and very sad she was dead. I recall telling myself this isn’t real and I’m dreaming but later in the dream I found out it was real(in my dreaming mind anyways?) and was shocked that it was real. I remember how she smiled at me and reassured me. I felt an extreme calm suddenly when she embraced me. Then, she looked into my eyes and said I’m going to tell you something very important. She said please remember this, whatever you do, don’t forget. Then she said the phrase “Seven Stones.” I really do not recall the entire conversation but that part I recall vividly. For some reason it was very important to her that I remember. There was a seriousness and almost desperation in her eyes and tone when she told me to remember. I recall this very vividly even many years later. However I have no clue what that phrase could mean or represent.

  11. Jacqueline September 30, 2018 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Here’s a mind blower:
    I just woke up and it was 6:45am here in Arkansas. It’s now 7:13am. I am baffled. My dream last night.

    I was laying in bed with my ex husband and got up started going about our day. Went to use the restroom and there wasn’t a toilet in the house besides the portable potty. Use the portable potty. Started heading back into the living room and there was a drive by shooting. My ex had gotten grazed on his neck but was fine. I floated off but came back to almost like I had fainted. So I’m sitting in my moms mom’s living room when my father’s mom ( never got to meet this woman) calls me and I have a tear rolling down my cheeck. Happy tears. She tells me she is flying in from Washington state and wants to meet the great grandkids. You would think I woke up by this point but nope. She arrives and we hug and talk. Now it goes back to my ex husband and his apparent need to be with other women. A woman shows up with her husband and 2yr old son. The guys get into a fight. After the fight, the other guy beats his old lady and leaned her there without hesitation and takes her kid. I tend to her as a nurture type of mom like thing and fix her crooked nose and helps her to the couch.

    I am awake and the only thing that baffles me is my dad’s mom calling and showing up. I got her message but I’m still like wowd.

  12. Joni Janes October 1, 2018 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    My brother has been gone 25 years. I do not have a bit of guilt as i was devoted to him as he was to me. He hasn’t come often but each time he is in total peace. I see his dream visits as spiritual because they have been at some of my darkest hours. One time he sat beside me as i slept and it sermed as though he was there. He looked at me lovingly and said everything will be okay. Last night or rather very early as i was waking he came again. He looked so peaceful and content and was holding a baby. He didn’t say anything and his head slowly disappeared- I don’t know what the baby means but i would like to interpret it as new beginnings. I was in so much emotional pain and I believe he cane to comfort me. Do you think so?

    • Joni Janes October 1, 2018 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      My name is Joni James. I made a typo. Sorry.

  13. Francis October 3, 2018 at 11:58 am - Reply

    I do believe in a mix of unciousness feelings in dreams but believe defenitely in the deceased visiting us,either to say goodbye or just to be with us for a while.
    I think in the last case it doesn t happen to often but if it does , the dream itself has a different “aura” , normally, dreams are surrounded in a bit of a hazy , foggy light, and one forgets oten details the moment one wakes up, which is sometimes very irritable but that is just the way dreams are and yes, often a reflexion of our( psycological )events of our daily lives,(thats the way i see it, iam not saying it is like that..)
    but the dreams inwhich the deceased appear are made of such a strong light, stronger than the sun and still one can look into this light without wearing sunglasses, without blinking,
    and when one wakes up, the memory of these dreams stays ingraved in the brain, till every detail, for ever.At least that is my experience, for me it is a sign of the spirit world, and one has to see it as a good good thing, that the place where they are is really a very happy place,again i see that way , and will not claim i m right.What i do know there is the difference between the “normal dream” and the “exceptional one” and it only happened twice to me to have a dream about a deceased loved one in that quality.
    I believe the foggy ones, although it sounds funny, are the ones who reach back to our unconciousness,and yes one can always relate them back, maybe to guilt, one s fobia s,control on life etc.

  14. Val November 1, 2018 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    I had a dream of my dead Aunt. She was hugging me with joy, we were laughing like we use to. Then she kissed me on the lips, what does that mean?

  15. Nancy November 9, 2018 at 10:21 am - Reply

    I have a loved one is needed who passed away with a brain aneurysm two years ago. I have dream of him twice both times were completely differences. One he an I were among several other people, I didn’t know anyone. In my dream he was call luster. In life he was called mark. In my dream we walked an I told him I loved him he said he knows an he loved me . . He told me he was always with me no matter what . He wants me to be happy . I told him I wanted him with me . We kissed . I woke up crying . A hard cry .

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