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Carroll Levis and the Meaning of Dreams

Found in The World's Strangest Ghost Stories by R. Thurston Hopkins (Kingswood: The World's Work, London  1955) this piece in the preface about the American writer, TV personality and dream therapist Carroll Levis. There is much on Carroll online with Pete Waterman claiming he invented reality TV and The Beatles in their earliest form as The Quarrymen failing in the first rounds of one of his TV talent contests(1957). Paul McCartney described him as the 'Hughie Green of his day.'

Thurston Hopkins is dealing with an earlier incarnation of Levis as a radio star and before that a sort of analyser of dreams (during the depression.) At the end Hopkins even brings in our own J.B. Priestley, also in his time something of a star...The radio show where the public's dreams are re-enacted seems ripe for rebirth.

In 1931, Carroll Levis, who presented the Levis Discoveries Radio Show to eight million aficionados, published Dreams and their Meanings, which was syndicated and featured in newspapers in Canada and the United States. The same year, he wrote a radio series entitled Dream Dramas. Listeners were invited to send a description of their most vivid dreams to Levis, who rewrote them into short twelve-minute playlets. The dreams were re-enacted by  a group of actors, under the direction of Carroll Levis, and at the conclusion of the dramatized dream, a three-minute analysis and interpretation was given to the listeners.

As the result of the prominence given to this subject by the famous broadcaster and author, he soon compiled one of the largest collections of dreams in the world. He became a competent authority on this subject....

[In his earliest work as a hypnotist, vocational guide and dream analyst) he always endeavoured to give the people who came to him for advice the consultation the moral courage to face the difficult days of the early thirties in America. Levis found fortunes could be made easier in days of depression, because of the attitude of the average man. People were inclined to give up too easily. He fought on and won, and in the throes of so doing, Levis helped hundreds of less enterprising people regain their lost confidence.

"Men," says Levis, "give up quicker than women. Men are far too practical in their outlook. A woman is blessed with a natural intuition that warns her of danger and prepares her for life's battles. A woman plays her hunches and they seldom let her down. She feels there is something wrong upstairs in her home: she rushes up to find the baby has fallen out of bed.

"Women pay much more attention to dreams than men. A man wakens after a dream, turns over and falls back into a deep slumber, forgetting it next morning. A woman remembers her dream and generally succeeds in interpreting it herself.

"I know of dozens of examples of women dreaming of their spouse or lover being unfaithful. They have heeded the warning, watched and soon discovered that their dreams were quite true.

"I believe that dreams can foretell the future, warn us of the present and sometimes remind us of the past," says Levis, and in giving this opinion he seems to be in complete agreement with that famous philosopher-of-all-things J. B. Priestley, who has admitted that his dream adventures are a most important part of his life. "It is as if there were at least two extra continents added to the world, and lightning excursions running to them at any moment between midnight and breakfast," says Priestley. "And the dream life has other advantages. The dead are there, smiling and talking. The past is there, sometimes all broken and confused but occasionally as fresh as a daisy. And perhaps the future is there too, winking at us".


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