“Ever dream this man?” asks website http://www.thisman.org. It is not uncommon for someone resembling this gentleman to appear in people’s dreams, apparently. Story goes, a psychiatric patient drew the face of a man who kept appearing in her dreams, giving her advice. It was someone she claimed not to recognise or to have ever met.
Another patient happened to see the drawing of the man on the desk of the psychiatrist treating the woman. This patient recognised the man as someone who often visited him in dreams – again, someone whom the patient had never met in everyday life.
So the psychiatrist decided to pass the drawing on to some colleagues. Turns out some of them had patients who saw the man in their dreams, too. In fact, since 2006, some 2000-odd people – from places like Los Angeles, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Tehran, Beijing, Rome, Barcelona, Stockholm, Paris, New Dehli and Moscow – claim to have seen the man in their dreams.
There are a few theories, of course, according to the website. Strap yourself in:
• He could be an ‘archetype’: an image that lives within everyone’s unconscious that rises to the surface during times of hardship.
• He could be a modern manifestation of God.
• He could be a real person who enters people's dreams – possibly as part of a mental conditioning plan developed by a major corporation.
• Perhaps the phenomenon is a result of people being exposed to the theory. (Well, it is only 2000-odd, in so many big cities of the world!)
Of course, I know exactly where the image comes from and why it appears in so many peoples’ psyche – it is actually the grown-up version of a similarly widespread archetype. If his hair hadn’t thinned out, if he’d smile to show you his missing tooth, if he hadn’t lost his freckles – as some people do – with age, you’d see all too well he is the grown-up version of the archetype adopted as mascot by Mad magazine and christened ‘Alfred E. Neuman’. (Neuman pre-existed Mad and turns up in a lot of cultures – often as an inbred idiot!)
And of course the man in everyone’s dream offers everyone advice during time of hardship. What was his catchphrase as an immature lad? It was, “What, me worry?”