Strange Dreams in Botswana and Prayer
Brightly colored feathers in oranges, reds and vivid yellows framed the menacing, dark-skinned face. His eyes seemed hollow recesses designed to devour the soul at a glance. His lips moved, chanting words I could not hear with intensity. Sometimes he spoke, sometimes his mouth opened as to shout. The whole time those dark, evil eyes never left off piercing me, vaulting singing attacks at me as though his gaze could mortally wound. He wanted to draw me in and terrify me.
I’d just settled into my sleeping bag inside of the large, rugged canvas tent I shared with a tour-mate. We’d finally turned in for the night at a Rhino preserve in Botswana after crossing the South Africa/Botswana border and driving for at least eight hours, preparing/eating dinner and then jumping into open-air seating in the back of a safari truck and going “on safari” for two hours on the preserve. The temperatures were ridiculously low – our bus driver warned us to “get in your sleeping bag, guys, seriously,” while on the safari truck, but no one listened. I did, thankfully, grab the very heavy blanket I’d purchased earlier that day and bundled up. But by the time we got back to the camp nearly everyone was nearly frozen through. At this point I chose to forgo showering, simply changed my socks and buried myself in the recesses of my sleeping bag, hoping I’d warm up and sleep would come quickly.
As soon as I began to relax and drift off the feathered man appeared.
My eyes burst wide open in alarm and I shot up, sitting and breathing deeply, reassuring myself that it was just a weird dream. Maybe drug induced. After all, I’d begun the anti-malaria regime of tablets the day before and there were warnings about crazy dreams from those things. I’d read them in the drug information sheet.
“Mefloquine frequently produces side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and dizziness. Several associations with neurological events have been made, namely affective and anxiety disorders, hallucinations, sleep disturbances, psychosis, toxic encephalopathy, convulsions and delirium” (Wikipedia)
Thus (somewhat) having reasoned my way through the weirdness I lay back down. But again, as soon as I began to relax and drift, the dream interrupted my peaceful slumber, the ill-intentioned being barreling his way into my thoughts with all the force of a freight train at high speed. I opened my eyes again and looked around the dark tent. My tent-buddy was fast asleep, totally oblivious to anything I was experiencing. Wanting to test the situation again, thinking certainly if it were a Malaria-med thing the dream would shift and change, as dreams do. I closed my eyes a third time.
This time the man wasted no time in appearing. And his efforts had redoubled, as though whatever he chanted would bind my very soul to him, as though he could gain some advantage over me. I knew then it was no mere dream. And it wasn’t the malaria drugs. It felt… real. Like I’d stumbled into some kind of voodoo ritual. I closed my eyes again and began to pray and mentally sang the hymn ‘I Am a Child of God’ to myself. Everything calmed. The man simply stopped appearing. I dropped off to sleep and didn’t wake until the next morning.
That night would be only the first night of strange dreams in Africa for me. The other instances involved a series of very different people, whom I felt must be somehow connected to the place I was staying. They were never the same, but all clearly had some kind of intent to harm. And every time it happened the visions ceased when I prayed to my Heavenly Father for his help. I’ve always had faith in prayer, but until then I’d never experienced anything like that.
I’m sure science would owe it all to medicine or the great unknown of the mind. My faith tells me that the experience was wholly Spiritual. And I’m grateful to know my Father in Heaven will always deliver me from dangers if I but ask.
Have you ever had a powerful prayer experience?