In 2010, I began writing down my dreams, and this led to my publishing my book in 2020, Dreams: Exploring Uncharted Depths of Consciousness.
Allison Dubois - the Dreaming Mom
I am delighted to see that the CBS Reality channel (available in UK on the Freeview service) is re-running that engaging series from a decade ago, Medium. It stars the glorious Patricia Arquette as Allison DuBois, a character who appears to be the ordinary Mom at the centre of a typical American family. But Allison nurses a dark secret. She dreams constantly and in her dreams lie the identities of wanted criminals, knowledge that she strives to impart to a sceptical police force. Intriguingly, Allison DuBois is a real person and the books she has written about her extraordinary life, inspired the series.
Her Life in Profile
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Dubois worked as an intern at a district attorney’s office before gaining a BA in political science at Arizona State University. Long before then, when she was only six years old, in fact, she was aware that she had the ability to communicate with people departed this life. On her first meeting with Gary Schwartz, the director of a research project on psychic phenomena at the university, he claims that she described a friend of his that had just died. Consequently, he published his findings in his book, The Truth About The Medium.
Unmasking the Villain
Subsequently, DuBois published her own book, Don’t Kiss Them Goodbye, on which the television series is based. The majority of episodes of Medium are formulaic. Following a vivid dream, Allison wakes up beside her husband, wondering about the imagery that she has experienced. Later on that same day, she either hears or reads about an event that connects with the dream, and that makes sense of it. Working closely with the district attorney of her local police department, the sequence of the dream eventually throws light upon what really happened and in all cases, the villain is unmasked.
Medium Family Life
At another level, Medium is the story of family life. Engineer husband Joe – he whom she wakes up constantly with her dreams - is ever supportive of her. And the pair are in possession of three beautiful daughters, the eldest Ariel (Sofia Vassilieva), Bridgette (Maria Lark) and the youngest Marie (played in turn by the Carabello twins). These young actors grew up around the developing series and the screenwriter(s), aware that what we colloquially call “second sight” is quite often inherited, sensitively assigns occasional psychic episodes to one of the daughters. In one very amusing episode, little Marie begins showing problems with her vision. But when Allison and Joe take her to the optician, she reads the alphabet charts without flaw. It takes several very amusing instances to figure out that Marie is divining the figures on the chart using her developing powers. But eventually, she is outfitted with a pair of stunning spectacles.
In reality, Allison Dubois is not without the baggage that attaches itself to practitioners of all esoteric activity. For instance, she does not wish to be known as a “psychic” because of the negative connotations attached to that word. What is more, a number of prominent scholars have denied that Allison actually has such powers. These include the secular humanist Paul Kurz, and another descrier of parapsychology, Ray Hyman, who is also a critic of Gary Schwartz. The late James Randi, a one-time magician who had spent much of his time challenging the antics of popular performers such as Uri Geller, claimed that Allison’s divinations were down to cold readings.
The Truth Behind Cold Readings
What exactly are these? A cold reading involves the psychic or reader processing the verbal and non-verbal signals given off by the subject that he or she is channelling. There is nothing of the supernatural about this; humans are more alike than unalike and the majority of us have no problem understanding squirming and blenching, nodding, head-shaking and shrugging, in the people that we talk to. A cold reader simply raises the bar, interpreting reactions to innocuous statements, such as “it’s going to be a sunny day.” One person might whoop with glee to this statement while another groans in contemplation of the eventual heat and bother. On a darker note, fairground fortune-tellers and variety hall performers have made much use of this technique to raise interest – and hard cash.
Seeing the Future
But if cold-reading, as described above, can help identify criminals, then who can deny its power? My interest in Allison Dubois was engendered by those amazing dream experiences and as I watched the first round of the series, now over ten years ago, I wondered if my own dreams did not, in a small way at least, allow me entry into the world of esoteric knowledge. It was this musing that, in part, led to my keeping a dream diary that eventually, led to writing my book, Dreams: Exploring Uncharted Depths of Consciousness, now published by Mandrake of Oxford. In it, I describe how collecting and analysing dreams is actually a way to access brain power that is already in place. Alas, I have yet to catch a criminal but my admiration for Allison Dubois is ongoing and I will follow her career for the foreseeable future.