Washington Law Review


Louise Harmon


This article presents a mosaic of interrelated meditations on how judges have dealt with the admissibility of dream talk, interspersed with short digressions on the meaning of dreams from a variety of historical and cultural perspectives. In Part I, I begin with theories about dreams from Aristotle, Hobbes, and others. I then tell the story of O.J. Simpson, wild dreamer extraordinaire, interrupted by a Freudian interlude and a speculation about the theories that the jurors may have silently applied to Simpson's dreams of killing his wife. In Part II, I present three wild dreamers from family court: a husband who dreams of his wife's car exploding, a father who dreams about the future, and a six-year-old girl who dreams of her own murder by her father. I explore how this girl would have fared under Carl Jung's theory of dreaming, or in the dreaming culture of the seventeenth century Iroquois. In Part III, I tell the story of the penultimate wild dreamer who dreamed he had killed a young woman (but had not) and ponder his confusion from the point of view of Descartes and the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zhou, ending with an interlude about what dreams mean in Tibetan Buddhism. In Part IV, I present the tale of the ultimate wild dreamer-a man who dreamed someone else had killed a young woman and ended up convicted of that crime.

First Page