Nightmares – The Paranormal Podcast 760

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Do you have nightmares? Join us to hear dream expert JM DeBord interpret our darkest dreams on this edition of The Paranormal Podcast!

You can find his new book on the subject, Nightmares: Your Guide to Interpreting Your Darkest Dreams, at Amazon:

Thanks JM!


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JM DEBORD: Most nightmares are more meaningful than that. They’re relating to situations that are going on in your life that have turned chronic. Basically, there’s something that needs to be healed or needs to be fixed. There’s something dysfunctional. And the nightmares are your warning detection system.

JIM HAROLD: That’s dream experiment JM DeBord on nightmares – next on the Paranormal Podcast.

[intro music]

This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.

JIM HAROLD: Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast. I am Jim Harold, and so glad to be with you once again. We have one of our favorite guests today. I’m talking about JM DeBord, and he is the man to go to for the subject of dreams. Now, when you think of dreams, you think of beautiful unicorns and beautiful vistas, maybe a cloud floating by. Those aren’t the kind of dreams we’re talking about today, oh, no, sir. We’re talking about Nightmares: Your Guide to Interpreting Your Darkest Dreams. That is JM’s new book.

He is so accomplished. He’s a podcaster, he’s the bestselling author of several popular books about dreams, including Visible Ink Press’s The Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Symbols, Signs, and Meanings. He is, as “RadOwl,” the resident dream expert at, and he has appeared as a featured dream expert and dream interpreter on numerous media programs, including Coast to Coast AM, Darkness Radio, The Moore Show, and the Paranormal Podcast. He has touched millions of lives with his insights and answers, gaining him international acclaim for his ability to demystify dreams and their interpretation. He has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Cincinnati (go Bearcats!) and he lives in Tucson, Arizona. JM, so good to speak with you once again.

JM DEBORD: It is great to be back, Jim. I always love talking with you and with your audience. Did you know that your show was, in a way, the catalyst for my new book?

JIM HAROLD: I only knew that a few minutes ago when you told me, but share, because I think it’s awesome. I’m so glad.

JM DEBORD: Here’s the story. Jim invited me on his show when he was doing a YouTube / StreamYard video simulcast. He wanted someone to help him get the ball rolling on this, so I said, “Hey, yeah, we’ll do a live thing, and we can just talk with your audience and see how this goes.” Well, I ended up getting asked a question – a guy shared a story about a nightmare that he’d had, and it was a recurring series of nightmares. I recognized the theme because I’d had it and I’d struggled for 30 years and ended up in the office of a shaman to have a ritual to banish this dark thing from my life.

So I shared that story for the first time publicly with you, and then I ended up getting a contract from my publisher, Visible Ink; they wanted to do a book about nightmares. I’m like, “Wow, this is the time. This is too synchronous. The time has come for me to go public and share this story.” So I ended up using that story as a way of relating to my readers and then getting into the subject of nightmares and teaching them that there really is something meaningful that they can get from the nightmares and that they can use them as a catalyst for healing and for personal growth. So thank you, Jim, for opening that door for me.

JIM HAROLD: Glad to be of service. Here’s a question I think comes up a lot. All you’ve got to do is look at Dickens, and if I’m remembering correctly, Scrooge said something like, “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than grave about you.” Definitely Scrooge, at least in the beginning, didn’t really believe in nightmares. He thought they were just some bad gravy. I think a lot of people think that. Is that sometimes the case, or is it more so the case that nightmares are meaningful?

JM DEBORD: It is sometimes the case. In fact, there used to be a parlor game of identifying what it was that you were digesting that ended up influencing your dream. People would be like, “I had this dream and there was something in it, it was a mad cow chasing me around, and I realized that that beef wellington I had was on the rare side…” So they would identify the dream content based on what they ate. And you certainly can have influences on your dreams, and if you’re having bad digestion, it can turn into dream content that’s disturbing.

But most nightmares are more meaningful than that. They’re relating to situations that are going on in your life that have turned chronic. Basically, there’s something that needs to be healed or needs to be fixed. There’s something dysfunctional. And the nightmares are your warning detection system. The nightmares are saying, “There’s something that is wrong, and you need to address it,” and the more powerful and potent the nightmares, the more chronic or dysfunctional or painful the situation that’s related to it.

So by going through the nightmares and understanding the content, feeling your way through them, perhaps working with a professional, or reading my book and learning how to do it for yourself, you can go through the content of the nightmares, get the message – and get this, Jim: studies have shown that when you get the message from the nightmares, they go away. So if you want to stop nightmares, understand them.

JIM HAROLD: That’s interesting. More so reason to try to understand them. So how can you tell the difference between dreams that are of a physiological nature – I think about things like apnea and things like that – and things that are really significant, nightmares that are significant and really meaningful? How do you suss that out?

JM DEBORD: It’s through the content itself and the process of feeling your way through it. A lot of dream interpretation, people think of analysis, and you have to have a background in psychology. Well, not really. What you need is the ability to be able to register what you’re feeling. A dream is a full-body experience. Your whole nervous system is involved in it. So if you only use your brain to interpret a dream, then you’re missing out on a lot of other information that you can get through feeling your way through it and finding what it is in the dream content that relates to you and your life – usually what’s going on in your inner life. But remember that your inner life is responding to the circumstances of your outer life.

For instance, you could have a dream about sleep apnea. This is a common source of nightmares. People oftentimes will dream that they are being strangled or that they are swallowing something that gets stuck in their throat. This is because their throat is actually closing as they are in sleep, and their airway is being blocked, and then as the lack of oxygen and the CO2 builds up in the system, the alert system goes off in their body. They’re now starting to get into a panic, but they’re asleep and they’re dreaming, so they start having content that reflects that fact.

But you can also dream about being strangled because, for instance, you’re in a relationship that’s suffocating, your job is just squeezing the life out of you. You look for these things that are more metaphorical, like squeezing the life out of you. Now you dream that there’s a python wrapped around your chest and squeezing really hard, and you’re experiencing it in your whole body, that sense of panic, that sense of being stuck, you can’t get away. It’s because the situation you’re in has you in its grip.

It’s subtle, but there are ways of being able to distinguish between the stuff that’s more physical-oriented, like sleep apnea or bad digestion, and the stuff that’s coming out of your emotions and the circumstances of your life. And I do teach people how to do that in the book. I’m a teacher of dream interpretation, and I take every opportunity I can to pass on what I know. There’s a narrative and a flow to the book, and I embed the information in there so that by the time you’re done reading it, you will be able to wake up tomorrow and begin interpreting your dreams, and you’ll have very solid information and a process to follow to do that.

JIM HAROLD: Very interesting indeed. How far back do reports of nightmares go? I’ve got to believe it’s almost to the beginning of recorded history.

JM DEBORD: As far as we know, nightmares have been something that people have been experiencing going all the way back. I would suggest, even though I have no way of proving this, that they are probably becoming more frequent for people now because we are under more stress, we are more confused about things, and we are more disconnected from the inner roots of ourselves.

Carl Jung, the great doctor of the mind, is one of my inspirations. My book is full of information that I’ve gained from him. He said that nightmares, the most frequent source is conflict between the conscious mind and the unconscious. The unconscious is the original mind of mankind. Jung said that inside of all of us is a being that’s millions of years old, because that’s how long humans have been around. And all of that has been passed on to us, so modern man is standing atop an ancient structure inside of them, at least as far as their minds are created, and also their DNA too.

But people these days, we don’t have the structures and the rituals and the things that we used to have that helped to balance the relationship between the conscious mind and the unconscious. And the more that we get distracted by things like plugging us into our electronics and things that distract us from looking within ourselves, the more this relationship gets more and more dysfunctional between the conscious mind and the unconscious.

So I would theorize, Jim, that we are having more nightmares because we are more disconnected from ourselves.

JIM HAROLD: That makes a lot of sense, it certainly does. What are the most – I don’t want to say “popular,” but the most common nightmares that people report?

JM DEBORD: I based my book on this sort of a pecking order, because I have so much experience with this, especially at Reddit, where I’ve been a moderator since 2012. I’ve been a member of the largest online dream-sharing community since 2009. And that’s not just to pat myself on the back; it’s to say that I have my eyes on what people are dreaming about, and I have an idea of what their nightmares are about. I have a real good idea about that. I put that in the book.

You have things like monsters and creatures. You get a lot of creatures like vampires that show up in dreams. They tend to represent things that are draining you, and dark sides – very dark sides – of your personality. But it depends on the context of the dream. I’m not saying that all vampires are bad in dreams. It depends on the dream itself. Sometimes they can be kind of humorous, a “love at first bite” kind of humorous way that your dreams can portray them.

Death is probably the most common nightmare that people report. Death is often something that is asking you to change. There’s something that’s been going on too long. You’re holding on to something that needs to die.

Here’s a classic example. It was from a zombie nightmare. There was a girl who had this dream that her ex-boyfriend was a zombie, and she wanted him to bite her. What that meant was – this was the situation behind it, Jim – she wanted to get back together with him despite knowing what a stupid move it would be. He’s a zombie, he bites her and infects her, she becomes a zombie too. This is because something is taking her over from within. It’s making her not think clearly. The dream used a zombie as the creature to help to symbolize the idea that’s behind it.

The other thing I would say is disasters. Man, people have these dreams about earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and these tend to be the really deeply emotional, deeply effective dreams.

So those are the themes. I break down the book into themes, where it’s like “These are types of disasters, and this is a whole thing. There’s violence and disasters. Now we can go through that one by one and look at the specifics. Why does a dream choose a tornado over a hurricane, over a tsunami?” I explain the difference as kind of the same way as a movie director would choose to set a scene a certain way, or an author of a book would create a scene a certain way – because of the way that it impacts the reader. Your dreams are being custom-created deep in your mind based on how they’re going to impact you. Pretty cool, huh?

JIM HAROLD: Pretty cool indeed. And our guest is pretty cool. I’m talking about JM DeBord. The book is Nightmares: Your Guide to Interpreting Your Darkest Dreams, and we’ll be back right after this.

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Happy holidays, everyone! Something that’s been a favorite thing of my holidays the last few years has been our Holiday Ornament Contest here at the Spooky Studio, and we are doing it again. Our deadline is to receive all the ornaments by Wednesday, December 22nd at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, so time is drawing short.

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And then we spot some of the ornaments that we get on social media. It is so much fun. But again, that deadline to receive them is Wednesday, December 22nd, so time is wasting, and honestly, we were a little late in getting the message out this year, so I apologize for that. Again, That’s, and good luck and happy holidays!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the Spooky Studio! Now, back to the Paranormal Podcast.

JIM HAROLD: We’re back on the Paranormal Podcast. Our guest is JM DeBord. His new book is Nightmares: Your Guide to Interpreting Your Darkest Dreams.

You were very kind in talking about how that video we did a couple years back was kind of the catalyst for this whole book and this whole focus on nightmares, and you spoke about an experience that you had, a recurring nightmare. Can you give people who didn’t hear that or it’s been a while and they don’t recall, a little bit of flavor of what happened? They certainly should pick up the book to get the full menu, but just a little bit of flavor of what happened to you and why it was so impactful for you.

JM DEBORD: All right, Jim, here we go. I guess I’m going to be sharing this publicly a lot, so let’s let the cat fully out of the bag. This is something that’s hard to talk about because it started when I was nine years old. I had a nightmare that there was a man chasing me down the road, and I was trying to get away from him on my bike. Nine years old, what do I do all the time? I ride my bike around my neighborhood. So it starts off kind of ordinary, and then there’s this bad man chasing me around, and I just know that he wants my soul.

I’m a kid, and I’ve been to church and I’ve said my prayers at night and stuff, but you don’t really understand what a soul is. But I knew that it was the most important part of me, and that he was going to take it. He was going to steal it. I was going to be dead, and he was going to have my soul. The dream ends with him finding me in the back of the store where I went hiding, cowering in fear, and then the last thing is him bearing down on me. I woke up from that dream, that nightmare, and it’s the typical – your heart’s beating and you’re sweating and all that, and you take a minute to orient and go, “Oh, wait, I’m alive. I’m okay.”

Well, a few years later, I was in an enrichment class, and the teacher invited in a dream analyst who asked, “Has anyone had a nightmare that really stuck with them and they’d like to work on it?” I’m like, “Me!” [laughs] Because that dream, it did. It stuck with me, that nightmare did.

So we went through that whole regression process, and there was this – I’m just responding to his questions, and I say, “What I see is that there were these two families that are in a blood feud and they hate each other, and this has created this terrible situation, and that’s what’s behind the nightmare.” Then things got real and he asked me, “Find a way of helping them resolve this.” This is what I would do as a dream analyst now with someone who came to me with a nightmare like that. We would use it as a beginning to reshape the narrative and try to lead it towards healing and resolution. No, that was not happening. Things turned really dark and ugly real fast. He pulled me out of the hypnosis.

I go on into my teenage years, man, and I’m just a wounded animal. There’s this sense of something that’s pursuing me. I get into my twenties and I start dreaming about the guy again, and it’s like again and again. It wasn’t every night, but he would pop up. And the weird thing, Jim, was that there were some times that I could sense and feel him in the physical world. This is where your really start to question yourself, like, “Are things bleeding together in a way, reality and dream, that’s making me unstable? Am I no longer have a grip on reality?”

I get into my thirties and these nightmares have continued about this guy. Really dramatic, confrontational, Star Wars level stuff, like confrontation with the Dark Lord. I mean, this was epic. I went to a shaman – actually, he’s a counselor. His name’s Steve Rogat, and he’s very well-known as an energy worker, a body healer, and he’s also a shaman, a shamanic practitioner. He’s very well-trained in this stuff.

I went to him, and he said that there was something behind these nightmares that was more than just a nightmare. He said that there was this thing that had been like a man who practiced black magic many generations ago, and he used his powers against the lineage of my family to cast a curse on them.


JM DEBORD: He said that I knew this when I came into this life, and that it was my mission to end it. I’m like, whoa, goosebumps. [laughs] So he goes to work. He’s a shaman, and he’s beating on the drum and he’s doing all this stuff, and it took like 90 minutes of this ritual that he was doing, and we’re getting really tired and losing focus, but we’re almost there, and we created a metaphysical portal to find this man, wherever he was. Because he had died in the body, but his spirit was bound to the black magic that he used. Here it is centuries later, and he’s still doing what he’s doing from the other side, in this in-between space. He was like in a limbo.

I found him, and I communicated with him, telepathically, in this ritual. I’m thinking, “This isn’t going to work,” and Steve said something. He goes, “Look up. The eye wasn’t after you, it was after him.” He was referring to the nightmares that I’d had about funnel clouds that were chasing me, and they wanted to suck me up and take me off to – you know, get hit by a tornado, you’re dead, right? I had these dreams over and over again. I didn’t tell him about it. He didn’t know that I had those dreams. He was seeing my dreams as if they were his own.

I look up, and I kid you not, Jim, I look up – in my mind’s eye, and even in the room in a vague sort of way, I see the eye of Providence. It’s the eye of God, and it’s in this heart of this funnel cloud, and it’s looking down at me. I saw the funnel cloud around me, and I felt that sense of connection to the – I called him the Dark Master. Actually, the dream named him that. It named him the Dark Master. I’ve shared this story a little bit, and there are people who’ve told me they’ve also had encounters with something that was like that thing. In fact, I think it was your guest referring to his nightmare figure as the Dark Master that triggered me to share my story in the first place.

But I looked at him and I said, “In the name of me and my family and all the pain and darkness that you’ve caused, we forgive you. Now go into the light.” And I felt the whole thing, like a whole burst of energy, rising up through my spine to the crown of my head, and it went up, and it was just like a gust of wind, and it pulled his presence off of me and off of us, and then he was gone. And that was the end of it. The shaman clapped his hands one time – it was really loud, and it was denoting that this thing was done. He felt it, I felt it, the energy in the room went back to normal, and then we sat down and talked like, “Wow, man, that was the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced.”

I want to make clear that I’m trained in conventional dream interpretation. I know all the theories behind it; I’m a member of the Association for the Study of Dreams, which is a premiere academic organization for the study of dreams. We approach things that way, but I’ve learned that there’s a whole other side to approaching dreams that is, shall we say, more energetic or spiritual. And it was that experience that led me deeper into dreamwork than I’d ever been before.

And then your guest asking me and saying he was encountering this thing called the Dark Master – I’m like, “Oh, no way. No way, this couldn’t be happening.” But I knew. At that moment, I knew I had to share the story, because if I didn’t have the courage to talk about what I had experienced, then there’s no way I could – I would be violating something that feels like a sacred oath, is the best way I can put it.

I tell the whole story in the book, and at the end I explain whether or not I think that this thing was real in the objective sense or not. And it gives my take on nightmares, which is a little different, which is that I think sometimes they create an existential crisis in the same way that people who are saints and shamans and super soldiers face things, adversities, that they would never imagine they could face and conquer. It’s a do-or-die situation, because there’s a lot of saints, shamans, and super soldiers who don’t make the cut. That’s sort of what the nightmares are doing for some people: they’re forcing them to become greater, a greater person, a better person than they would ever be on their own without facing that adversity and those challenges. That’s it, Jim.

JIM HAROLD: It had to be validating for you – whether I’m talking to psychics or dream analysts or whatever the area of expertise is – when either they’ve had an experience or they’ve had an experience that someone else validated – I don’t know, I think about, what is it, the shoemaker doesn’t have any shoes. I’ve got to think as a dream analyst, you look at this as a professional, and certainly you have a personal connection, but I have to think that that experience and having someone say, “Yeah, I experienced the same thing” – that had to bring it to an even higher level for you, right?

JM DEBORD: Yeah, it did. And at Reddit, too, I’ve encountered people – it’s not all the time, but I’ve encountered people who have experienced this. That’s what I wanted to do for your listener, because he bared his heart and he shared something that was so personal and traumatizing and very unreal. It’s very hard to find people who can relate to you.

I was sitting there as we were talking – and I’m on video too, so I’ve got to control my emotional response to this because I’m really feeling this guy – and I felt like I needed to share my story to validate him. I didn’t want him to feel like there wasn’t anyone out there in the world who could relate to him. I knew I could relate to it in a very personal sort of way. So yeah, having that validation really did help.

It’s taken me further into realizing that the reality that we have – reality is something that we create for ourselves. Even our brains have to use what we know in order to be able to perceive something in its environment. And if you perceive something you’ve never encountered before – let’s say it’s like a cryptid or a UFO or something like that – it just blows the circuits of your brain because it doesn’t have anything to refer to, to help you to understand what it is that you’re actually encountering.

In the same sort of way we are creating reality, the dreams are asking you to figure out, what is really reality? Because when you’re in a dream, Jim, you are in a reality you created for yourself, and it’s completely believable. Most people can’t realize that they’re dreaming. They fully participate in the dream, thinking that it is reality. And then they wake up and they go, “Oh, wait a minute, I’m in my bed, I’m in my bedroom. This is reality. But I just came out of another reality. So which is the true reality?”

This is I think sometimes what nightmares and other types of dreams are asking you to do. It’s asking you to really think about this because otherwise, you live your life based on your programming. You learn what reality is from the time that you’re an infant and you start perceiving things in your environment, and by the time you’re five or six years old, that’s the programming. The software is installed and you’re now operating under that system that you learned as a child. As you get to be an adult, you need to start figuring out reality for yourself, and I think that’s what my nightmare did for me, and I think that’s what it does for other people too – and dreams in general. They’re asking you, especially the ones that are mind-bending, what really is reality, and how do you tell the difference?

JIM HAROLD: Absolutely fascinating discussion today with JM DeBord about nightmares, and we’ll be back with more right after this.

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If you love the Paranormal Podcast, be sure to check out Jim Harold’s Campfire, where ordinary people share their extraordinary stories of ghosts, UFOs, cryptids, and terrifying encounters. Find it for free wherever you listen to this podcast. Tune in to Jim Harold’s Campfire today. Now, we return to the Paranormal Podcast.

JIM HAROLD: We’re back on the Paranormal Podcast. Our guest is JM DeBord, and we are talking about nightmares. Right before we broke off, JM was talking about reality, and then I abruptly went to a commercial break, which is indeed reality but we’re very thankful for our sponsors.

But JM, what I want to ask you about next – we’re talking about nightmares; I’ve always been fascinated about premonitions. It’s kind of like what I believe about ghosts. Every time an EMF meter, for example, goes off, I don’t think it’s a ghost. It could be bad electricity. But sometimes it probably is a ghost. Similarly, when people have what seem like premonition dreams, those kind of things, sometimes it may signify something else, as you’ve been talking about. It’s symbolic for some other struggle in life.

But I am interested about people who have had premonitions that have come true. I think of Abraham Lincoln supposedly dreamed of his own death before the assassination by John Wilkes Booth. What is your thought – I’m sure you have many – on the subject of premonition nightmares?

JM DEBORD: Wow, Jim. [laughs] Okay, we’ll go there. This is something I talk about a bit in this book, and also in my other books and other writings, because I get a lot of people who ask about this, especially in live settings, like, “Oh, here’s JM. He’s the dream expert. I had this incredible premonition dream and it ended up becoming true.” People hear those stories and they go, “I had a dream about a plane crash and I’ve got a flight coming up. Should I not get on that flight?” They need to know how to differentiate, and I do teach this.

There are dreams that have come true. This has been documented throughout history. It has been studied academically. Dr. Julia Mossbridge is an expert on precognition. If you’ve not had her on your show, you’ll love Julia.

JIM HAROLD: She has been. She’s great, but I’d love to have her back on again.

JM DEBORD: Well, she gets my endorsement, and one of the reasons why is because she’s one of the few high-level academics who’ve dared to really dig into this subject. We call it precognition when we want to study it, we want to take it out of the realm of mystical or paranormal. It’s kind of like “psi.” We say psi instead of talking about telepathy or telekinesis or something. It brings it into the realm where we can study this using the techniques and methods of science.

There are precognitive dreams. Everyone has them, by the way. This is a natural ability of the mind. Julia gave the best explanation for this I’ve ever heard; she said if time is like a river, precognition is sensing the flow of the water, or the time, when it is about to encounter something ahead that is affecting the flow before it has reached there, the same way that a boulder in a river will affect the flow of the water before the water actually gets to the boulder. So there are points in time that are coming up that are creating a ripple effect that’s stretching back in time to where you are presently.

The way to be able to tell the difference, the main way, is the vividness and intensity of the dream, the realism of it. Most dreams have kind of a surreal aspect to them. They’ll take reality and they’ll play with it, they’ll bend it around a bit. It would be like if I have a dream that I’m in a car crash, am I in my car? Am I on a road that I know of? Is this located in a place where I’m familiar with or I could be at some point in the future? If you’re driving on top of Mount Everest, the dream put you there and it seems real at the time because you’re playing along with it – you’re never going to find yourself driving on top of Mount Everest, so you know that it’s a symbolic dream. It’s not a premonition.

But if you have a dream that you get in a crash and it’s on a street that you know and you’re driving the car that you normally drive, then yeah, it could be a premonition. But here’s the difference. I had a guy – I think I shared this on your show a long time ago – there was a guy who had this dream that he was up in the mountains, he was driving along, he was in an unfamiliar car, there was an unfamiliar girl next to him. It’s dark, he’s weaving around, he doesn’t feel right, and he ends up driving off the side of the mountain.

Guess what? A few weeks later, he’s up in the mountains with his friends. They’re all drinking beers, camping, having a good time. They run out of beer. Someone says, “Hey, we need to go on a beer run.” There’s a girl that has an SUV, and he’s like, “Oh yeah, okay, I’ll drive.” He knows he’s had too much drink, but he wants the party to continue. He gets in the car, he’s about to drive away, and a friend he told about the dream walks up to him and says, “Dude, get out of that car. Remember that dream you had?” He looks over at the girl. He goes, “That’s the same girl from the dream.” He looks at the car and goes, “It’s the same car from the dream.” And he had to disappoint his friends and say, “I’m sorry, we’re not going on a beer run,” because he knew from his dream how things were going to end up. He was going to die.

People have had these dreams. You mentioned Abe Lincoln. There was also the boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, who had a dream that he knocked out and killed Jimmy Doyle, and he tried to back out of the fight. And guess what? They convinced him, “It was just a dream. You should go ahead with the fight. It’s not going to come true.” They even had a priest come in to convince him of that.


JM DEBORD: And then he knocked the guy out, and he said in his autobiography, “I knew better, but I did it anyway. I ended up killing Jimmy Doyle.” He didn’t mean to do it. Sugar Ray was an honorable man. He spent the rest of his life sending payments to the man’s mother and widow. But he said that he was convinced by other people that it was just a dream.

You need to know this for yourself, and I do have, at, if you search there and you go “ordinary dream or precognitive,” use that as a search term, it should take you to Or use the site search function to search that. I just recently redid it and the search box isn’t working. [laughs] I’ll try to get that in the meantime, but I want people to have this information because I give a checklist of things to follow to tell the difference between ordinary symbolic dream and one that is precognitive or a premonition.

JIM HAROLD: Any time somebody does a major project like this, even if they’ve been doing whatever they do for 10, 20, 30 years, I think they learn something, or they take something from it that maybe they didn’t have before. What was that for you in this project?

JM DEBORD: It made me question what is really reality, and how it is that we create reality, and how so much of it is through our perceptions of things because of the ways that dreams, and especially nightmares, can play with our perceptions. But it goes into something deeper, which is: what are we here for? We live these lives, and we can go through a lot of our lives without really questioning what is the most valuable thing that you can experience, or things, and waking up every day going “That is what my priority is today.”

I’ve experienced in the last five or six years – I’ve had two in-laws who died after living in my home, and I’ve had seven pets die. It really took me into a new phase of my life of going, “This is what’s most important. It’s the family, it’s the relationships, it’s the friends, it’s the things that I can contribute through what I can bring that’s positive into other people’s lives.” I don’t want to sound cliché, Jim, but when you lose people who are precious to you – my pets were very precious to me, and to have one after another after another, to lose them all – and we’ve had illness with all the COVID stuff – I really reordered my priorities.

And I think that it shows in my book because there’s a lot of me that’s in that book. Yeah, I do share the personal story about the nightmare guy who tried to claim my soul. [laughs] But the soul is the most innermost important thing that you have. That’s what it is. I don’t know if it’s an eternal being or not, but I know that there’s something inside of me that’s asking me to focus on it and to connect with it. And that has really changed me. Before, my life was very externally oriented, and I was determined, “I’m going to make my mark on the world.” Even as a dream expert, a lot of it was driven by what was going on in my head and my desires and my ego, and I’ve had to drop a lot of that because I’ve found that it’s not worth the time. You need to connect to people through your heart, so that’s what I’m trying to do now.

JIM HAROLD: That’s a powerful, powerful message. I’m sure that after hearing this, people are going to be interested in the book, interested in your website, your podcast – which we didn’t even talk about – and of course, your presence over on Reddit. So tell people, how can they connect in all these various ways?

JM DEBORD: Let’s start with That branches out into everything else that I do. It has my books. I have websites at and The .com is my entire system of dream interpretation.

Then there’s The Dreams That Shape Us with my co-host, Steve Ernenwein. We wanted to interview people who’ve had these life-shaping, life-changing dreams and show that dreams can be powerfully effective and meaningful. So we go into these in-depth interviews. Steve is also a fabulous composer and musician, so he custom-creates music and soundscapes and stuff for the podcast. So as the interviews are going on, he’s coming in with what he’s doing, tickling the keys on the keyboard. It’s very beautifully done. We only put out about one episode a month because we really spend time to get the interviews done right and to create all the music and the commentary and stuff to really package it all together.

So The Dreams That Shake Us is the podcast. is the website. From there, you can go off to the other things that I offer, the online courses that I recorded. We’ve got the whole deal going here, Jim. There’s a lot of content there.

And I’ll just give a plug for Reddit real quick: It’s the largest, most popular dream sharing site in the world. I’m RadOwl there. That’s my username. More people know me by RadOwl than know me as JM DeBord. [laughs] The irony of this is that Reddit has become this huge platform for helping me to share my work, and a lot of it has been through one-on-one, talking with people about their dreams, and then thousands or tens of thousands of people come in and read those comments and posts, so now they’re participating in it too. I’m really proud of what we’ve done there, so I invite everybody out there to come and join the community. We’re 200,000 strong now.

JIM HAROLD: Amazing.

JM DEBORD: It’s a very big community, yeah.

JIM HAROLD: Well, the book is Nightmares: Your Guide to Interpreting Your Darkest Dream, and as we said, that’s just scratching the surface of everything he does. I’m speaking of JM DeBord, and I hope you check the book and everything else out. JM, thank you for joining us today on the program. Always a delight to speak with you.

JM DEBORD: It is, Jim. Thank you so much. You are the Prince of Podcasting, the OG, and it’s always been a pleasure. And I will say, your listeners, when they come and find me on social media, it has always been really good interactions with them. You have really cultivated a great listening audience, so I want to give a shoutout to you and to them.

JIM HAROLD: Well, they deserve all the credit. They are fabulous. Thank you for the kudos, and audience – spooktators, as I sometimes call you – thank you so much for everything you do. And thanks again, JM.

JM DEBORD: My pleasure, Jim.

JIM HAROLD: Always great to catch up with JM DeBord. He always has such interesting insight to the world of dreams. And even though today we talked about nightmares, I hope you have very sweet dreams, particularly this time of year. Hope you’re having the greatest holiday season ever.

In addition to our Holiday Ornament Contest, I hope you’ll also join us for our livestream party that we do for the holidays, very similar to what we did for Halloween. That will be at, and that will be this Saturday, December 17th, at 7 p.m. Eastern. I hope to see you there. We’ll be doing some fun giveaways and just having a generally very nice holiday time.

Thank you so much. We’ll talk to you next time. Stay safe, happy holidays, and stay spooky. Bye-bye.

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