From A 200-Year-Old Book On Dreams And Their Meanings: “Finding Treasure Is A Bad Omen” and Other Dream Interpretations That Are Peculiar

A Sample Of 20 Dreams And What They Mean From A 200-Year-Old Book

“If You Dream Of Cain, The First Born Son of Man, I Would Advise The Dreamer To Travel Into Another Part of The Country, And Form New Connections” – The Complete Dream Book 1817

For thousands of years, humans have tried to understand and derive meaning from dreams.

Oneirology, the interpretation of dreams is still popular today.

Early in the 19th century a do-it-yourself book was published to enlighten the general public on what their dreams meant. The 1817 version of The New and Complete Fortune Teller Being A Treatise on the Art of Foretelling Future Events by Dreams, Moles, Cards, &c. &c. &c. Carefully done from the Arabic Manuscripts of Ibraham Ali Mohamed Hafez published by Richard Scott in New York contains about 100 pages of dream interpretations, many of them bizarre.

What is the worst dream you can have according to the book? This one stood out:

“Altar – To dream you are at the altar and receiving the holy sacrament, is a very unfavourable omen and denotes many heavy and severe afflictions, and that you will be very unsuccessful in your pursuits, and have much trouble in overcoming your difficulties. If you are in love, your sweetheart will die before you marry, or else be removed very far from you forever — if you are in business, heavy losses will attend you, and you will with great difficulty keep from going to prison — you will lose many friends by death— sickness will come upon you and your family, and your children will be undutiful and turn out bad.”

That sounds pretty bad!

Many of the interpretations are strange. What would seem to be good dreams or about innocuous items will lead to bad outcomes for you or your family and friends. Yet nightmarish dreams involving things like beheading and the hangman’s gallows are good omens. Go figure.

While you might laugh at some of these outlandish dream interpretations, are they really any sillier than modern beliefs in fortunetelling, tarot card reading, astrology or any pseudoscience that can predict the future?

How many of the following things have you dreamed about?

Let’s have a look at some of these dream interpretations from 1817: (editor’s note – we have retained the original spelling and punctuation as it is in the book.)

“Squirrels – To dream of a squirrel, shews that  enemies are endeavoring to slander your reputation ; to the lover it shews your sweetheart is of a bad temper and much given to drinking ; if you have a lawsuit, it will surely be decided against you; if you are in trade, sharpers will endeavour to defraud you, and you will quarrel with your principal creditor.”

“Death – To dream you see this grim looking bundle of bones denotes happiness and long life- — that you will either be speedily married yourself, or else assist at a wedding. To dream that you are dead also denotes a speedy marriage and that you will be successful in all your undertakings– -to those who are married it foretels young children, and that they will be dutiful, and give you great comfort. To dream you see another person dead, denotes ill usage from friends- -if you are in love, your sweetheart will prove false- -if you are in a trade, sharpers will take you in— if you are a farmer, you will lose money by horses, and be waylaid as you return from market.”

“Cats. – To dream of these domestic animals, is indicative of much trouble and vexation; it denotes to the lover, that your sweetheart is trecherous; if you keep servants, they are unfaithful and will rob you. To dream you kill a cat, denotes that you will discover a thief, and prosecute him to conviction ; expect also to lose your own liberty through the insincerity of some pretended friend.”

“Nakedness – To dream you see a naked woman is very lucky, it foretells that some unexpected
honors await you ; that you will become very rich, and be successful in most of your undertakings:  To dream you see a naked man is indicative of trouble and attack by thieves, loss of goods and reputation. For a maid to dream she sees a naked man, shews that she will quickly fall in love and be married, and that. she will have many male children, who will be great cowards.”

“Coal Pit -To dream you are in a coal pit, foretels that you will shortly lead a widow to the hymeneal altar; to a maid it denotes a speedy marriage with her sweetheart, who will become rich and rise to honors in the state; to the trader, it indicates that he will shortly be tricked out of a quantity of goods.”

Treasure – To dream you find a treasure in the earth is very ominous; it shews that you will be
betrayed by some one whom you make your become friend ; that your sweetheart is unfaithful. and grossly deceives you ; if you should not be able to carry it away, then it denotes that you will have some very heavy loss; that if you have a lawsuit it will go against you by the treachery of your attorney ; and that you will be waylaid by robbers who will ill treat you.”

“Cain – To dream of the first born son of man, who was Adam’s eldest son, is a very unfavorable
omen; it denotes much grief through the misconduct of children, and that you will be in danger
of losing; your liberty , if you are in love it foretells that your sweetheart is deceiving you; that if
you marry the present one you will never be happy; and that sour children will be undutiful, and lead you to many troubles and difficulties. After such a dream, i would advise the dreamer to travel into another part of the country, and form new connections.”

“Lice – To dream that you are lousy, and that you are killing a great many of them, is a very
good omen ; it denotes great riches to the dreamer after many severe misfortunes and much sickness ; they also portend deliverance from enemies, and that you will overcome much slander and malice; that in love you will succeed and be very happy, after a long and tedious courtship.”

“Butchers – To dream of seeing butchers, is in general a very unlucky omen; it always foretels some injury to the dreamer; if you are in love, it denotes disappointment ; if you are in trade, some sharper will defraud you ; if you are a farmer, distempers will break out amongst your cattle ; if you are sick, it foretels speedy death ; if you see them cutting up meat some of your friends will be hanged, and you will experience much misery and poverty.”

“Beheading – To dream you see any one beheaded, is a good omen ; if you are in love, you will marry the object of our affections ; if you are in prison you will speedily gain your liberty ; if you are in trouble of any kind, it will speedily vanish ; it denotes also that you will see some friend who has long been absent, and that he will be in good health.”

“Owl – To dream of this bird of night is a very bad omen, it foretells sickness, poverty, imprisonment, and want of success in your undertakings ; it also forewarns you that some male friend will turn out perfidious, and endeavour to do you a very great injury, in which without the utmost caution on your part he will succeed.”

“Marriage – To dream you are married is ominous of death, and very unfavorable to the dreamer ; it denotes poverty, a prion, and misfortunes. To dream you assist at a wedding, is the forerunner of some pleasing news and great success. To dream of lying with your newly married husband or wife, threatens danger and sudden misfortunes, and also that you will lose a part of your property ; to the sailor, it denotes storms and shipwreck, with a narrow escape from death.”

“Comets – To dream you see one of these extraordinary ethereal substauces, is ominous of war, plague, famine and death ; to the lover it forebodes an entire frustration of his hopes ; to the farmer, failure of crops, and to the seaman, storms and shipwreck ; after such a dream, change, if possible your present place of residence.”

“Bagpipes – To dream of this instrument of Scottish music, indicates, that the dreamer will experience great trouble, and that he will labour hard to little purpose; in love, it denotes that the marriage state will be full of cares, and that you will in it experience much poverty and distress ; it also denotes bad success at sea, and forebodes shipwreck, and a narrow escape from death.”

“Snow – To dream you see the ground covered with snow, or that it is snowing, is a very favorable dream ; to a young man, it shews he will shortly marry a virgin, who is very fond of him, and that he will have children by her, chiefly girls ; to a young woman, it foretels she will marry a rich man, that he will have children by her who will become very affluent, and rise to honors in the state ; to the farmer, it shews plentiful crops and increase of live stock ; to the tradesman, it argues great increase of business ; to the sailor, a pleasant and very lucrative voyage, and a rich sweetheart in a foreign port. If you are soliciting a place, this dream presages that you will obtain it ; if you have lottery tickets they will be prizes ; if you have a lawsuit you will gain it.”

“Pit – To dream of falling into a deep pit, shews that some very heavy misfortune is about to attend you : that your sweetheart is false and prefers another : to a sailor, it forebodes some sad disaster at the next port you touch at. To dream you are in a pit, and that you climb out of it without much trouble, foreshews that you will have many enemies, and experience much trouble, but that you will overcome them and surmount your difficulties, marry well, and will become rich ; to a sailor, it denotes that he will experience shipwreck, and be cast on a foreign shore, where he will be hospitably received, fall in love, and marry a rich and handsome wife, quit sea, and live at ease, onshore.”

“Quarrelling – To dream you are quarrelling, denotes that some unexpected news will reach you, and that your sweetheart is about to be married to another ; it shews success in business, aIthough you are opposed by many enemies who pass for your friends.”

“Gallows – To dream of the gallows, is a most fortunate omen; it shews that the dreamer will become rich and arrive at great honours: to the lover it shews the consummation of his most sanguine wishes, and that by marriage you will become rich and happy, have many children, particularly a son, who will become a great man, and be the founder of his family’s honour : for a woman mill child to dream of a gallows, signifies that she is pregnant of a son^will have a good time, and that the then fruit of her womb will become very rich, and have a great employment in the state.”

“To dream your clothes do not fit you, and that they are not suitable to the season, denotes the
death of some friend, and a loss by fire — if you are in love, the person who is your lover is not
the one intended to marry you — it also denotes the place you live in is not calculated for your
prosperity and happiness, and is a warning for you to quit it — if you have children, some one
of them will shortly be in great affliction ; if they are grown up, one of them is near losing its liberty ; if they are young, then expect sickness to afflict one of them severely.”

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