The following dream interview with “CQ” was generously submitted to Dream Doctor by Jan Janssens. Research on dreams of the blind is surprisingly scarce. Our thanks to Jan for sharing the results of his valuable work!
Dreams of the Blind
JJ: When you dream, actually, what’s going on? What do you see, feel, hear? Anything special?
CQ: Well, I’ve been blind you can say all my life. I never did see in the first place, except light and dark. So, when I dream I don’t see things. For example, when I dream about work, I just know I’m at work and hear the surrounding sounds you know. I talk to and I hear people talking and I reach out and touch things like that…But one of the things that I want to make sure you understand, is that if a person has never seen in life, you know, when they dream they don’t see either in that dream.
JJ: I was reading that if you lose your eye-sight before the age of 5, then you don’t visualize at all. And if you lose your eye-sight after seven, then you regularly have images in your dreams. Between these two ages, it’s variable. So there’s a difference. You were blind from the very beginning?
CQ: Well, yes. I could see night, but never objects, or never colors or anything like that. I mean I could see the sunlight. I told you that I used to go to my cousin’s house. Of course I liked to play outside and it was cold and the sun warmed me up and I could see that brightness. But then it would get dark and cold and I didn’t like that! And I remember waking up in the night and seeing this big light by my window. And I used to tell my mother: “What’s that big light?” And she used to tell me: “The Moon.” But that was light. Between dark and light, I couldn’t see anything.
As far as they know, I could see when I was born, because my eyes were clear. But when I was about 2 or 3 weeks old, I started getting pink eye. They took me to a doctor. And of course, he was just a doctor, not an eye-specialist, so he gave me these eye-drops. The eye-drops really hurt my eyes. Because after they put in those eye-drops, I much later got these white spots in my eyes, and they did cover the vision you know.
JJ: How old are you now?
CQ: I’m 62.
JJ: Do you have in dreams a kind of priority - in which your hearing, your smelling, your tasting, and your touching appear in a certain order? What sense do you use the most?
CQ: In my dreams, I use mostly my hearing. And then my touch.
JJ: And then exceptionally your smell and your taste?
CQ: [Very seldom] They may be, but it’s especially my hearing and my touch.
—CQ, Age 62, USA