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Dreams for a Dead Man


Does a vampire or any other "dead" mythical being dream? ‍What do they dream of? What does sleep look like for them? Do the die when the rest or are they sleepless?

Eduardo Letavia

If we get down to the technicalities, a vampire and similar creatures are alive but through other (usually magical or arcane) means. In particular, their brains work as usual so to speak, so I'm quite sure they very much dream. Now, since they're not humans, or not completely, you can make them dream slightly different things, more weird or just related to their nature, like dreaming of blood in the case of vampires. On the other hand, this depends on how you set up the biology of mythical creatures on your worldbuilding. If you want them not able to dream, you can make up a justification for it like "their souls wander in the void beyond while their bodies rest" or some stuff like that.
The dead tell tales, so it shouldn't be too much of a stretch them for to dream. And dream big. Maybe conquer the world big. Or the universe. And the one next door.
Naturally, this is more of just a hypothetical/in your opinion question.

The assumption in the original question seems to be that the process of dreaming and life-as-we-know-it are somehow intimately connected. Do androids dream of electric sheep?

I suppose human electrochemical processes in the brain lead to dreaming; these processes occur as a result of being alive and having a human brain; so...Do vampires and other "undead" creatures have the same or equivalent processes occurring in their brains? But this question would be equally germane when the undead are awake. Right? Why is sleeping being compared to, oh, I don't know, a computer being put into sleep mode? I.e., why would the sleeping state "turn off" whatever is happening in an undead creature's brain when it is awake?

As I said before, you can do whatever you like with this.

If you set up the reality that a vampire must somehow keep its brain active, consciously, while awake—or else it would keel over and be dead, heh—then you might be able to say that it is unable to do this while in a state resembling human sleep and so can't dream.

If, as Eduardo Letavia said, you determine that a vampire's brain functions in a way much like a human's, and therefore there's no significantly different sleep state compared to the waking state for the brain—it's autonomic in either state—then the vampire may dream while in the sleep state.

Dream what?

I'd guess these decisions depend on the theme of the story. Perhaps even, the plot.

You could have a vampire in a medieval setting dream of a sci-fi setting, some highly technologically developed world. Maybe this confuses him. But perhaps there's a plot reason for that, heh. Or maybe the theme is that he can never be certain of his own nature and the nature of his world; perhaps being undead confers some sort of timeless quality, becoming untethered to the natural flow of time or to spacetime itself.

Or maybe he's like Neo. He's actually in cryo storage in that future world, dreaming he's living in the medieval ages, only this twist isn't revealed until the end of the novel.

Or you could have the vampire dream exclusively of his youth, when he was human and still had a family. Or, of his teenage years, when he had a human lover—as compared to now, when he is utterly alone. What's the theme?


I'd suggest: If you spend time mentioning dreams, they would probably need to have some sort of relation to the theme, at least. Even if the dreams are nothing but random things—well, that would tie into a theme as well, right?

Maybe in their no longer beating hearts they remember what it was like to be truly alive - and so if and when they sleep that's what they dream of. Isn't that said to be one of the reasons that vampires drink living blood - for the taste of life? Maybe zombies eat brains for the same reason?

Cheers, Greg.


This is a very interesting question. I feel like vampires would totally dream maybe not their own but have dreams from the perspective of the victims they feed off of. Like they take their energy from their blood and their minds thoughts.