Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dream Town

Bishop--Dream Town
Photo by  Chris DellaMea at
         Nearly a month has passed since my last post here as my wife and I took a three week road trip across the United States.   That trip included over 6000 miles in ten full days of driving with some visiting family between stretches of travel.  There was still plenty of time for sleep and that meant plenty of dreams and fodder for future dreams.  Traveling is an amazing way of filling one's memory banks with visual stimuli that can inspire dream imagery.

         A phenomena that has lingered and haunted my thoughts occurred on Sunday July 28th after visiting my son in the remote local of Pocahontas, Virginia.  This is Appalachia coal mining country.  Many of the mines have shut down and now the communities seem to be trapped in another time.  I was mesmerized by what I saw there.   And we were somewhat lost as I tried to find my way back to the highway that would continue us on our trip.

         At one point after traveling on an amazingly twisting mountain road we emerged into a community that immediately caught my attention.  It could have been a town from dreams that I have had.  Large older houses lined the highway and continued down a couple of side streets.  The community seemed like a ghost town though there were obviously people living there.  In fact numbers of them could be seen in yards or on front porches.  But an aura of eeriness prevailed.  If I had seen this in a dream I would have accepted it as perfectly normal.   It was not a dream, but later my memory of what I saw here seemed much like dream memory.

        Since I was somewhat "lost" and a bit anxious to be on my way, and more importantly, get some lunch for us two now famished sojourners, I rushed through the place.  However I was haunted by what I had seen.  I wanted to know what that strange "dream town" was.   I told my wife that I surmised that it had been an old mining town since all of the large houses were similar in construction and laid out in what appeared to be a carefully planned community.  For the rest of that day's journey my thoughts continued to return to the Dream Town.

        At the motel that evening I tried to research the town on the internet, but to no avail.  I was tired from the day's travels and gave up the search.  The place nagged my thoughts for the next two weeks.  Then with the help of Google maps I found it.  The street view Google function confirmed that the community that we had passed through was the community of Bishop which sits partly in West Virginia and partly in Virginia. As I had surmised, Bishop had once been a busy coal community with most of the houses having been built in the 1930's.   The current inhabitants were most likely what remained of the former coal mining families.  The area is apparently quite impoverished.

       The town of Bishop has been stuck in my memory since we passed through it.  I haven't dreamed about it yet as far as I am aware, but it reminds me of a place that I have dreamed about in the past.  That's probably what struck me about the place.  It all seemed so familiar to me.

        Have you ever been in a place or situation that you feel as though you've dreamed about before?   Do the places in your dreams that you don't recognize actually exist beyond your realm of experience?

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  1. Interesting questions there at the end. I often have visited a place that seems so familiar to me and yet I KNOW I have never been there before. Could it be that I have dreamed it? Or, been there in another lifetime? or just someplace similar? I'm not really sure.

  2. Can't say I have but then there is that time you visit a place and could have sworn you know it from somewhere but just can't think where.

  3. Shades of deja vu? I have been in certain spots on the road when traveling that look like other places or that look very familiar.

    Whether it's misfirings of the brain, or my fertile imagination, not sure. But remember, aren't we told that we don't use all or our brains - perhaps this comes from that unused part?

  4. When I saw Bishop, I thought of Bishop, CA. But one look at the photo and I knew it wasn't.

    I have had deja vu many, many times. It always feels like I dreamed the situation before experiencing it.

  5. Yes that happens to me a lot and it freaks me out when it does. When I have that 'omg I dreamt of this exact place' feeling, it's a little unnerving.

  6. Faraway -- The mind probably just makes connections for convenience sake, but it is one of those mysteries that can leave us wondering.

    Bill -- It's happened to me often. A mind trick I suppose.

    DG-- There are probably many places that look very much alike. We store so much brain data that it can get confusing.

    Liz-- It's a long way from Bishop, CA. Deja vu can make the mind give long pause trying to delve into memory.

    JoJo -- The fact that the experience is so unnerving is probably why mine stuck with me for so long. I wanted to remember something that I couldn't.


  7. Hi, I have had weird dreams about towns under water. I know we have one in our area. When they build a dam, the had to relocate the town because the lake covered it. Thanks for stopping by. Glad to reconnect. :)

  8. Wow, what an interesting small town. I like small towns, hope this one is healthy - and by that I mean not going down the road to a ghost town. My brain is too fried to think of specifics, but yes I've had those feelings too. Let us know if this one comes back in a dream.

  9. Mary -- Towns underwater is an interesting concept filled with great story possibilities. I can understand having dreams about them.

    Yolanda - I wouldn't necessarily call the town of Bishop "healthy", but I don't think it will go away soon. The people there looked to be entrenched, but then again I was just rapidly passing by and don't know what was going on there.



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The Dreamer