Falling “Into a Dreame”

Native Americans, Colonization, and Consciousness in Early New England

Ann Marie Plane

Nearly three centuries ago, in a remote Wampanoag Indian community on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, a woman lay on her sickbed, in the grips of a final illness. Abigail Kesoehtaut knew that she was likely to die. After several days of anxious struggle, she found a lasting peace when “The Spirit of God did bear witness with her Spirit, that she was a Child of God, and had a Right to the Inheritance laid up in store for his Children.”1 Abigail’s sister (unnamed in the sources), who was caring for her in her last days, was very troubled by Abigail’s impending death. She “long’d for a more full Assurance in her Sister’s Well-being,” and, in particular, she wondered whether Abigail would go “out of this World in a State of Grace.”2 One night, during the sick woman’s last hours, this caretaker fell asleep and began to dream:

as she thought, she [Abigail’s sister] plainly heard a Voice in the Air over the top of the House, saying in her own Language, Wunnantinnea Kanaanut, the same being diverse times repeated, which Words may be thus rendered in English, tho they are much more emphatical in Indian, There is Favour now extended in Canaan; there is Favour, &c. The person that in her Sleep thought she heard such a Voice, supposed it to be a Voice from Heaven by the Ministry of Angels, sent to give her Satisfaction in the Case that did distress her: and [still dreaming] she was exceeding refreshed with the good Tidings which she thought she had in this wonderful way received; but while she was transported with the Thoughts of God’s condescending Goodness thus manifested to her, and her Heart filled with unspeakable Delight, to her great Grief, some Person, as she thought, awaked her, and wake she did, but she could not find that any Person called her.3

Newly troubled by her thoughts, the woman appears to have consulted the Reverend Experience Mayhew, missionary to Martha’s Vineyard, for guidance in interpreting this remarkable occurrence. The dream report appears in his 1727 book of native biographies, Indian Converts. Mayhew appended a “Query” to the story, asking “Whether the Person that dreamed the dream now related, ought to take any other notice of it, than she should of any common Dream; or what she should think concerning it?” And he attached a further plea to his readers, that “A Solution of this Problem would greatly satisfy both the Person that had the Dream, and him that has related it.”4

This essay explores the exchange that took place between Abigail Kesoehtaut’s sister and Experience Mayhew on Martha’s Vineyard so long ago. It employs a variety of approaches drawn from cultural history, based on my interest in the interactions between colonists and natives in colonial New England. At the same time, it is rooted in literature about dreaming, which facilitates a more nuanced understanding of the interaction of psyche and culture in colonial society. Colonial New England society, of course, comprised at least two distinct cultural groups, each with its own understandings of dreams, dreaming, and dream interpretation. On the one hand were various groups of colonists—most of them radical reformed Protestants—who had arrived in the region in the 1620s and 1630s in a rapid and successful migration of families. Sharing common religio-political goals to a large extent, these immigrants/invaders aimed to reproduce much of early modern English agrarian society, although they also hoped to integrate secular governance with radical Protestant social reforms. Religious beliefs gave rise to Congregationalism, a rejection of traditional church institutions that also emphasized a legal and social order grounded in scriptural literalism. New England lands also remained home to Algonquian-speaking villagers, who, although devastated by successive waves of epidemic disease, nevertheless sought to continue longstanding cultural and subsistence practices, which they sometimes now enhanced through new exchanges, both for European material goods and for spiritual contact with the powerful Christian God.5

The colonists had many theories about dreams as a source of divine revelation. Seventeenth-century colonists reported dreams for several reasons; in particular, they were considered to have the potential to be of great religious or even predictive significance. The prominent Boston merchant Samuel Sewall always made careful notes of his dreams in his diary. In one instance, he dreamt that a small boy had made away with a special gold watch, which Sewall regained only with great effort. In his diary, Sewall noted—as would any good Puritan—“When I awaked I was much startled at it. The Lord help me to watch and pray that I may not enter into Temptation.”6 Such startling dreams warranted reflection as a part of the continuous “watchful” self-scrutiny that was in keeping with every pious person’s devotional duties. As Alan Macfarlane noted in his famous account of the seventeenth-century English Puritan minister Ralph Josselin, nothing occurred at random. Instead, the clergyman’s diary reveals that he, like Sewall, lived in “a constant state of watchfulness and worry” because “the world of phenomena [like dreams] was seen as purposeful and comprehensible; a long enough search would discern the source of almost every event.”7 Even a dream—or especially a dream—warranted scrutiny.

Of course, in addition to occasioning the “private” reflections and watchfulness of diarists like Sewall, the dreams of early-modern European colonists drew public notice as well. Reports of dream-like “apparitions” were sometimes entered as evidence in court cases as part of the “spectral testimony” presented in trials for witchcraft or murder.8 Reports of predictive dreams regularly made the rounds in neighborhood gossip and in regional popular culture. Thus, in 1728 the Reverend John Comer recorded in his diary the remarkable fact that Deborah Greenman, struck dead by lightning, had dreamed of the accident two days before and had shared the dream with her sister.9

English newcomers quickly turned their attention to remarkable Indian dreams, and dreaming sometimes provoked conversation among members of the two groups about the colonial encounter, as was the case when Abigail Kesoehtaut’s sister disclosed her worries to Experience Mayhew. John Eliot’s writings about a trip to Cape Cod include an example from the 1640s. On this trip, an Indian man (perhaps a shaman?) told the English missionaries that he had long ago dreamt of a man, dressed “all in black” like a preacher. This figure had reassured the dreamer that “he and his Papooses should be safe, and that God would give unto them Mitchen, [that is,] victualls and other good things.”10

Sigmund Freud, of course, theorized that all dreams are disguised expressions of repressed wishes. In his view, the true meaning of the dream (the latent dream thoughts) undergoes an elaborate process of distortion that results in the dream as experienced (the manifest content of the dream). Various processes are employed in the “dream work.” Three fundamental transformations occur. The first is condensation (the merging of several ideas, people, locations, time frames, and so forth into one figure or element). The second is displacement (the shifting of strong feeling from the pertinent arena or individual to another person, place, or set of events apparently chosen at random). And the third is symbolization (the incorporation of personally, culturally, or, as Freud posited, universally meaningful elements). These processes are all employed to transform unacceptable or unbearable latent dream thoughts into acceptable, though often puzzling and disconnected, images. These images are then strung together into a story, a final process that Freud termed “secondary revision.” Clearly, the dream of Abigail’s sister, though its wish is relatively undisguised, is highly narrativized. It passed through several stages of revision, not only in the creation of the dream and during the dreamer’s awakening, but also again when it was related to Mayhew and later retold by him.

By gathering the dreamer’s associations (in the form of memories, thoughts, images and feelings) with different elements of the dream, Freud developed a way to trace a path “from the disguised surface to the hidden secrets [wishes] lying underneath.”11 Psychoanalysts since Freud have made many modifications to this basic theory. Most now accord great significance to the context in which the dream is reported, and especially to what the dream communicates about the dreamer’s relationship to the listener/analyst.12

Cultural anthropologists have also made important advances on early psychoanalytic theory, especially by emphasizing the ways in which culturally specific narrative forms influence the process of “secondary revision.” As Waud Kracke stresses, the sensory and visual experience of dreaming is always reshaped through language. Our understanding of dream productions is inevitably filtered “through our language-centered thought processes,” and thus, “a dream recounted ends as a narrative.”13 Hence, dream reports are embedded in cultural context in terms of imagery, in terms of emotional style, and in terms of the protocols for narration and interpretation.14 Dream images have highly specific, rather than transparent or universal, meanings. Barbara Tedlock suggests that the concept of manifest content be expanded to include indigenous “dream theory” and “[culturally prescribed] ways of sharing, including [an exploration of] the relevant discourse frames and the cultural code for interpretation.”15

With a grasp of these perspectives, one may return to the dream that troubled Abigail’s sister. Written in English, by a missionary rather than the dreamer herself, the dream report is thus revealed to be a highly compromised piece of historical evidence, at least in terms of its ability to provide direct access to the dreamer’s experience. In the 1970s, historians such as Alan Macfarlane and Peter Burke observed that the historical dream narrative is “doubly censored.” It is filtered not only through the normal process of secondary revision, but also through its conversion into a fixed, written form.16 But even such a highly mediated text is useful. Sadly, historians have often failed to explore dreams in early America. A dream text like this one, however, is crucial evidence of a rich and meaning-filled cultural encounter.17

The remainder of this essay explores what I see as the communications embedded in the dream report of Abigail Kesoehtaut’s sister. First, this woman’s dream speaks clearly of great losses, those of the past and those yet to come. In this regard, it reflects the immediate concerns of Native Americans of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Even before Europeans took up residence in southern New England, contacts with fishermen, traders, and explorers had taken their toll on native communities. With no resistance to microbes common on the Eurasian landmass, American Indians suffered and died of diseases in immense numbers. Mortality rates of seventy-five to ninety percent were not uncommon. One author, Thomas Morton, described post-epidemic villages as a sort of “New-Found Golgotha,” filled with the bodies and bones of natives who died without help or hope.18 Such epidemics continued throughout the first generations of English colonization, while native vulnerability to disease was exacerbated by warfare and growing poverty.

In this context, Abigail’s impending death filled her sister with considerable anxiety about the state of their eternal souls. Prior to the dream itself, Mayhew reported that Abigail found peace only when “The Spirit of God” bore “witness with her Spirit, that she was a Child of God and had a Right to the Inheritance laid up in store for his Children.” As Abigail’s sister nodded off, ostensibly worrying for Abigail’s soul, she also anticipated a painful loss and, perhaps, discovered other complex feelings associated with the death of a sibling.

While there were “real” reasons for these women to be consumed with anxiety, their stance also accorded completely with the demands of Puritan Calvinist teachings. As Samuel Sewall’s dream report demonstrated, Puritans encouraged devout men and women to cultivate a constant anxiety about both the state of their souls and the fragility of life. Puritan New Englanders exhibited a sense of God’s fearsome judgment, particularly in their scrupulous attention to various “wonders,” including storms, unusual events, remarkable providences, and startling dreams, all of which carried important messages.19 In Mayhew’s text, then, both the ardor of the missionary’s message and the power of his orthodox teachings are at work. This makes sense, since the book—which fits squarely within the well-established literary genre of “exemplary deaths” of pious men, women, and children—was intended to convey the progress of sincere Christian conversion among the Indians.20

This concern with salvation bespeaks a still larger internal struggle between anxiety and reassurance. Consider, for example, the “Voice in the Air over the Top of the House,” which reassured Abigail’s sister. Viewed metaphorically, this voice represents a part of the dreamer’s psyche, in which a sense of safety and confidence resided. As Mayhew made clear, the woman’s longing “for a more full Assurance”—her great anxiety “in the Case that did distress her”—was, by this voice, much relieved. He reported, “she was exceeding refreshed,” and “Her Heart filled with unspeakable Delight” at this “Ministry of Angels, sent to give her Satisfaction.” In opposition to the reassuring voice (and thus the reservoir of reassurance she harbored within her), stood her fears as revealed in the latter part of the dream, when Abigail’s sister was awakened “to her great Grief” by some invisible person. This awakening plunged her back into the state of worry, anxiety, grieving, and anticipation of loss in which she had begun the night, and which she had, through the dream (Freud’s “wish fulfilled”), temporarily relieved.

The story change in the scene—a shift from the reassurance of angelic voices to the sudden urging by an unknown person to “awake”—replicated the central tension in Abigail’s sister’s life. How could she find safety in a world of tormenting worries and afflictions? The fact that the voice urged her to “awake” was no accident, of course. Just as Samuel Sewall was prodded by his dream to keep a closer “watch” on himself, Abigail’s sister appears, as would any good Puritan, to have “awakened” to the uncertain state of her soul. The dream even used exactly the same language as that of a good Puritan preacher speaking to his parishioners. The anxiety of the dream then, in its intensity and mode of expression, represents not only the psychic fruits of Puritanism, but also the precarious situation of Native Americans in the colonized society of eighteenth-century New England.

There is a second key communication buried in this dream narrative. It is significant that this dream offered an opportunity for communication and collaboration between the dreamer and Mayhew himself. In this sense, Abigail’s sister may have been continuing a practice common among Native Americans of this region, a sort of “performative” dreaming.21 In seeking out someone to listen to her dream, she was acting upon the dream experience to fulfill or complete the dream’s message, a widespread approach to dreaming that, in many cultures, can require the performance of particular rituals. The connection of dreams to ritual practice is well documented among the seventeenth-century Iroquois to the west of New England, and similar observances took place among southern New England Algonquians as well, though here the evidence is considerably more sketchy.22 Dreams were clearly seen as meaning-filled, and New England natives assiduously sought to read those meanings. Thus Roger Williams noted in 1643, “When they have a bad Dreame, which they conceive to be a threatning from God, they fall to prayer at all times of the night, especially early before day.”23

Shamans paid particular heed; dreaming enabled them to make contact with powerful forces, or “manitous,” which allied with them to effect healing or harm. Individuals seem to have acquired shamanic status through important dream experiences, and many healing ceremonies depended upon a shaman’s success in battling malignant forces in supernatural contests that sometimes took place during sleep-like trances or periods of unconsciousness.24 Thus, in 1647, two Christian Indian youths reported that “if any of the Indians fall into any strange dreame wherein Chepian [“the devil”] appeares unto them as a serpent, then the next day they tell the other Indians of it, and for two dayes after[ward] the rest of the Indians dance and rejoyce for what they tell them about this Serpent, and so they become their Pawwaws.”25

Insofar as it has been possible to reconstruct indigenous dream theories, scholars have posited that southern New England Algonquians conceptualized the self as containing a “dream soul” that traveled outside the sleeping body during dreams.26 As such, neither thought (whether waking or sleeping) nor the self were necessarily conceptualized as being contained within the body.27 Because of these beliefs, early Christian missionaries fielded questions from Indians puzzled about the status of dreams and, more particularly, from those concerned about their personal accountability for thoughts and actions that had occurred during dreams. Thomas Shepard reported that during an early meeting between English missionaries and potential converts, “the Indians were serious” and asked many questions, including “Whether they should beleeve Dreames?”28 On another occasion, the Indians seemed in their questions to be much concerned about “the evill of thoughts and dreames.”29

But if Puritans and natives shared a belief in dreams as filled with meaning, New England Algonquians chose to act upon those meanings in ways that seemed strange to English observers. Once again, it was that careful observer, Roger Williams, who recorded the details of a ceremony that followed one particularly powerful dream event. In his famous account of the Narragansett people of Rhode Island, Williams described his visit “to an Iland of the wildest [people or places] in our parts.” Here “in the night an Indian (as he said) had a vision or dream of the Sun (whom they worship for a God) darting a Beame into his Breast.” The man “conceived [this dream] to be the Messenger of his Death: this poore Native call’d his Friends and neighbours, and prepared some little refreshing for them, but himselfe was kept waking and fasting in great Humiliations and Invocations for 10. dayes and nights.”30 Williams had trouble communicating with these people: “little could I speake to them to their understandings, especially because of the change of their Dialect, or manner of Speech from our neighbours.”31 Yet he did try to convey the basics of Christian belief to them, and “at parting many burst forth, Oh when will you come againe, to bring us some more newes of this God?”32 Clearly, although Williams may have shared the natives’ notions about the predictive power of dreams, especially as portents of death, he worked to disabuse them of their faith in the efficacy of such rituals as “waking and Fasting” and “Humiliations and Invocations,” at least as associated with particular dream events.33

Thus, when Abigail Kesoehtaut’s sister sat down with Experience Mayhew to discuss her unusual dream, she brought to the table a repertoire of imagery, interpretation, and ritual through which to make sense of this meaning-filled event. For his part, the missionary brought a long tradition of wonder-lore, of anxious Puritan self-scrutiny, and of deathbed observation with which to interpret the message of this Indian woman’s dream. By the eighteenth century, Wampanoags would have been thoroughly exposed to such Puritan and English ideas. Mayhew, as a fully bilingual and fairly bi-cultural individual, would have had some understanding of traditional Wampanoag dream sharing and dream interpretation. To what extent each of these cultural traditions contributed to the conversation that emerged must remain anyone’s guess, although clearly these different understandings had become fully entangled over the previous two generations of intimate colonial contact. Perhaps the conversation between this Wampanoag woman and the English missionary constituted a sort of “middle ground,” a cultural terrain of dream interpretation that neither individual fully owned or understood.34

Of course, Mayhew himself did not dare to represent the full syncretism of this encounter. Instead, he recast the conversation as an orthodox Christian examination of a powerful dream event—a sign of his exemplary efforts on behalf of Indian Christians, and further evidence of the successful conversion of a pious Indian family. Significantly, he shied away from venturing an opinion about the dream’s worth, and instead invited his more learned readers to posit their views of whether this dream was to be believed, or even deserved “any other notice” than “any common Dream.” Thus, in his report, the dangers of the middle ground were covered over, and the potential exposure of syncretic deviation was again recast as evidence of orthodox, modest, and exemplary piety.

But there is a third message in this dream, one that pushes the modern reader well beyond the territory Mayhew chose to map. For while clearly his discussion of this dream suggests the growing dominance of English culture, it also contains hints of the Wampanoags’ distinctive experiences as a colonized people. Dreaming and dream sharing may have provided important avenues of release for aggressive resistance to English colonization. Just as dreams can provide a modern analysand with the means to explore difficult, embarrassing, or potentially dangerous materials, dreams could have enabled Wampanoags to explore, both internally and in conversation with colonizers like Mayhew, an assertion of native presence and native self-worth despite Christian teachings and English dominance.

Consider once again the Voice in the Air. In this respect, the dream and its context speak to the much larger question of the Indians’ place in eighteenth-century social hierarchies and assert the value, worth, and equality of all souls before God. The Voice offered its words of comfort not in English but in Massachusett. Its message was translated only through Mayhew’s intervention. The Voice said, “Wunnantinnea Kanaanut,” repeating these words several times. As Mayhew admitted, he toned down their meaning, rendering them “in English, tho they are much more emphatical in Indian,” as “‘There is Favour now extended in Canaan.’” Canaan, in this sense, is God’s Promised Land, God’s reward for the saved (i.e., heaven). Abigail’s sister dreamt of this Christian redemption in the Massachusett language. This by itself was not so remarkable—quite likely the entire dream report represented Mayhew’s translation of an experience told to him in Massachusett. Yet it is significant in that he left this one phrase in the original words: God apparently spoke the language of the Wampanoags with considerable fluency.

Abigail herself had found deathbed assurance that she, an Indian and (like every human) a sinner, would, at death, still be “a Child of God.” God’s Massachusett utterances in Abigail’s sister’s dream now hammered home to an English audience that the assurance of a place in heaven—communicated via a wondrous angelic “Voice”—could be achieved by Indians as well as by Englishmen. The political power of this Christian egalitarianism would have fairly leapt off the page for Mayhew’s contemporaries. Yet how could they have denied a communication that seemed to have come from God’s own messenger?

Though Abigail’s sister reported a dream that, in every way, seemed to echo orthodox Puritan practices, the strange Voice, as reported, taught Mayhew and his readers that natives might be both fully Christian and fully native. Moreover, unlike earlier seventeenth-century missionaries, who had focused on translating Christian texts into Massachusett, eighteenth-century missionaries had focused on getting Indians to use English instead of Massachusett, thus obviating the need for costly and time-consuming translations. The Voice spoke, however, in a defiant embrace of Massachusett, speaking its Christian message with more vigor than could be found in English translation. In this way, the narration of Abigail’s sister’s dream expressed resistance to colonial hegemony. The use of dream reports to counter European cultural dominance is found in other colonial contexts as well. For example, in studies of colonial South Africa, anthropologists John and Jean Comaroff have argued that dreams, dream narration, and various forms of ritual action constitute truly counter-hegemonic communications even when the dominance of the colonizer is apparently seamless. The puzzling nature of such communications indicates a refusal “to answer to the voice of the dominant, or in the spoken voice at all,” suggesting that such rare counter-hegemonic communications “frequently seek out alternate modes of expression.”35 Taking a slightly different approach and emphasizing the psychodynamics of racism, Méchal Sobel has argued that dreams can provide individuals with “a protected place for negotiations with the other,” including parts of themselves constellated as “other” and frequently (as she demonstrates) symbolized through racially “other” figures.36

Moreover, when Abigail’s sister hurried to Mayhew to explore this wondrous voice, she “performed” her dream and carried this explicit (and defiant) message to his very chamber. God has laid up a store in heaven for those who have bravely endured the grossest earthly inequities. God’s Massachusett fluency opens, in metaphor, a place in heaven for all natives who seriously seek “Kanaanut.”

Did her message get through? Apparently enough of it did to leave Mayhew himself worried by this curious dream. His final queries to the reader made this puzzlement quite clear. When he asked for guidance from his fellow ministers and other men of experience who might judge the significance of God’s speech, he made it plain that the dreamer would not be the only person relieved to find an answer. As Mayhew noted, “A Solution of this Problem would greatly satisfy” he “that has related” her dream in writing, that is to say, Mayhew himself.

Of course, the report we have before us is Mayhew’s text, not that of the dreamer herself. And, as such, it is perhaps not surprising that it reveals at least as much about the anxious position of English missionaries in relation to exemplary Indian converts as it does about the cultural syncretism of eighteenth-century Wampanoag Christianity. Experience Mayhew long hoped to obtain his own sort of “Favour” in “Canaan”—a settled ministry. But neither Indians nor Englishmen would ever call him to a congregation, and he would instead content himself with peripatetic preaching to the Indians and administration of charity among the Wampanoags of Martha’s Vineyard.37 There is also profound cultural insecurity mingled with Mayhew’s personal concerns. As I have argued in the second chapter of my recent book, missionary literature quite predictably lauded notable successes among the so-called “praying Indians.” But missionary authors were also surprisingly vociferous in expressing their insecurities—including their fear that corrupt Englishmen had forever lost God’s favor, and that they performed only the final errand of bringing Christianity into the wilderness. Perhaps, they feared, they were just the vessels by which the true Israelites—the Indians—would be delivered from a spiritual enslavement in sin and ignorance unto a new Canaan.38

Surely one can now understand why Abigail Kesoehtaut’s sister experienced a restless night. Her dream report reveals the complex, painful, and anxious situation of Native Americans and English colonizers in this eighteenth-century colonial society. By reading attentively in both a psychologically and a culturally sensitive manner, one can recapture to at least some degree how dreams might have changed dreamers, hearers, and the colonial conversations of eighteenth-century New England. English colonists and Native Americans each brought their own assumptions about the meaningful nature of dreams to their encounters. Moments of collaborative interpretation and public narration as recorded by Mayhew and others allow us to eavesdrop on an unusual conversation between Englishmen and Native Americans about the meanings of their dreams. Such careful attention makes it possible to explore some of the connections between consciousness and colonization. The unconscious productions of a particular dreamer conveyed religious, cultural, and personal preoccupations, but they also betrayed continuing simmering resentment and resistance. The resulting dream narrative was shaped both by pre-existing cultural/linguistic models and by anxious conversation with the other before it entered into cultural discourse as a new narrative. Such dream narratives expressed both acquiescence and resistance to English colonization, and, at the same time, they allowed a mutual exploration of the growing English dominance over New England’s Native American peoples.


I am grateful for the assistance of the Stoller Foundation for Research in Psychoanalysis and Culture and for the support of many individuals, especially the psychoanalysts who have so generously given their time to answer my questions and to comment upon this work in progress. Any errors or misreadings remain mine alone. I acknowledge Gerry Aronson, David James Fisher, Jill Anne Kowalik, Peter Loewenberg, Joseph Natterson, and Richard Weiss, with special thanks to James E. Bews, Allen E. Bishop, Edward English, Carol Lansing, Maggie Magee, Ursula Mahlendorf, and Diana C. Miller.

1. Experience Mayhew, Indian Converts, or, some Accounts of the Lives and Dying Speeches of a considerable number of the Christianized Indians of Martha’s Vineyard, in New England (London: Samuel Gerrish, 1727), 146.

2. Mayhew, Indian Converts, 147.

3. Mayhew, Indian Converts, 147–48.

4. Mayhew, Indian Converts, 148.

5. Some important recent works on Indian persistence in New England include: Colin G. Calloway, ed., After King Philip’s War: Presence and Persistence in Indian New England (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1997); Daniel R. Mandell, Behind the Frontier: Indians in Eighteenth-Century Eastern Massachusetts (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996); Jean M. O’Brien, Dispossession by Degrees: Indian Land Holding and Identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650–1790 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997); William S. Simmons, Spirit of the New England Tribes: Indian History and Folklore, 1620–1984 (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1986).

6. Samuel Sewall, The Diary of Samuel Sewall, 1674–1729, 2 vols., ed. M. Halsey Thomas (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1973), 2: 1062–63.

7. Alan Macfarlane, The Family Life of Ralph Josselin, a Seventeenth-Century Clergyman (1970; repr. New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1977), 193.

8. Cf. Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, eds., Salem Village Witchcraft: A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co. [1972]). John Putnam Demos, Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 192; on dreams of witches (as distinct from actual “spectral appearances,” see p. 186. See also sources on dreams and religious controversy in medieval and early modern European contexts, esp. Carlo Ginsberg, Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, trans. John and Anne Tedeschi ([1966 Ital. ed.] New York: Penguin Books, 1986). One example involved a Rhode Island murder case in which John Brigs testified that his slain sister visited him as a nighttime apparition: See Deposition of John Brigs, May 12, 1673, in R. v. Thomas Cornell, Superior Court of Judicature, Book A, p. 13, Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

9. John Comer, May 31, 1728, “The Diary of John Comer [1704–1734],” ed. C. Edwin Barrows with James W. Willmarth, Collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society 8 (1893): 54. The English minister Ralph Josselin hoped that he “‘might even forseeingly dream,’” and quoted a woman “who was warned of her death in a dream.” Macfarlane, Family Life, 183.

10. For a full discussion, see my Colonial Intimacies: Indian Marriage in Early New England (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000), 45–47.

11. Stephen A. Mitchell and Margaret A. Black, Freud and Beyond: A History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought (New York: Basic Books, 1995), 8–9.

12. Mitchell and Black, Freud and Beyond, 261, n. 5.

13. Waud Kracke, “Myths in Dreams, Thoughts in Images,” in Barbara Tedlock, ed., Dreaming: Anthropological and Psychological Interpretations, A School of American Research Book (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 34–37, quotation p. 36.

14. Gilbert Herdt, “Selfhood and Discourse in Sambia Dream Sharing,” in Tedlock, ed., Dreaming: Anthropological and Psychological Interpretations, 59–64.

15. Barbara Tedlock, “Dreaming and Dream Research,” in Tedlock, ed., Dreaming: Anthropological and Psychological Interpretations, 25.

16. See Macfarlane, Family Life, 183; Peter Burke, “L’histoire Sociale des Rêves,” Annales: Économie, Sociétés, Civilisations 28 (1973): 333.

17. The best recent psychoanalytically-informed study of dreaming in early America is Méchal Sobel, Teach Me Dreams: The Search for Self in the Revolutionary Era (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999). Earlier studies mostly reject or ignore psychoanalytic explanations. See, for example, Susan Sleeper-Smith, “The Dream as a Tool for Historical Research: Reexamining Life in Eighteenth-Century Virginia Through the Dreams of a Gentleman: William Byrd, II, 1674–1744,” Dreaming 3 (1993): 49–68; William H. McGowan, “The Dream of Ezra Stiles: Bishop Berkeley’s Haunting of New England,” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, vol. 11, ed. Harry C. Payne (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982), 181–98. As Peter Gay has noted, “It is interesting, though a little disheartening, to see how little some historians have done with Freud.” Peter Gay, Freud for Historians (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 33.

18. Thomas Morton, New English Canaan, or New Canaan. Containing an Abstract of New England (Amsterdam: Jacob Frederick Stam, 1637), 132–33. On epidemics, see Neal Salisbury, Manitou and Providence: Indians, Europeans, and the Making of New England, 1500–1643 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 101–5.

19. See David D. Hall, World of Wonders, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989), chap. 2, esp. 71–75

20. Hall, World of Wonders, Days of Judgment, 56–57.

21. Barbara Tedlock, “Zuni and Quiche Dream Sharing and Interpreting,” in Tedlock, ed., Dreaming: Anthropological and Psychological Interpretations, 116–123.

22. During the Ononharoia, or “Feast of Fools,” “men and women ran madly from cabin to cabin, acting out their dreams in charades and demanding the dream be guessed and satisfied.” Anthony F. C. Wallace, “Dreams and Wishes of the Soul: A Type of Psychoanalytic Theory among the Seventeenth Century Iroquois,” American Anthropologist 60 (1958): 240. Iroquoian theory posited that each dream expressed a wish or Ondinnonk (“secret desire of the soul”) and held that the best thing to do with these wishes was to satisfy them, either literally or through symbolic actions; see “Relations of Father Ragueneau, 1647–1648,” cited in Wallace, “Dreams and Wishes,” 237–38.

23. Roger Williams, A Key into the language of America, ed. John J. Teunissen and Evelyn J. Hinz (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1973), 107–8.

24. Kathleen Bragdon, Native People of Southern New England, 1500–1650 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996), 20 1–5.

25. The Pawwaws “cure the sick by certaine odd gestures and beatings of themselves, and then they pull out the sicknesse by applying their hands to the sick person and so blow it away: so that their Pawwaws are great witches, having fellowship with the old Serpent, to whom they preay, and by whose meanes they heale sicke persons, and (as they said also) will dew [?] many strange juglings to the wonderment of the Indins. They affirmed also that if they did not cure the sick party (as very often they did not) that then they were reviled, and sometime killed by some of the dead mans friends, especially if they could not get their mony againe out of their hands, which they receive afterhand for their care.” [Thomas Shepard], The Day-Breaking if Not the Sun-Rising of the Gospell with the Indians in New-England (London: Richard Cotes for Fulk Clifton, 1647), 21–22.

26. Bragdon, Native People, 190–91; Simmons, Spirit of the New England Tribes, 44–45.

27. Peter Nabokov, “Native Views of History,” in The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, vol. 1: North America, ed. Bruce G. Trigger and Wilcomb E. Washburn (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996). Pt. 1, 1–59.

28. [Shepard], Day-Breaking, 18.

29. Edward Winslow, The Glorious Progress if the Gospel amongst the Indians in New England (London: for Hannah Allen, 1649), 25.

30. Williams, Key into the Language, 108.

31. Williams, Key into the Language, 108.

32. Williams, Key into the Language, 108.

33. Williams, Key into the Language, 108.

34. See Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991).

35. See John Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, Ethnography and the Historical Imagination, Studies in the Ethnographic Imagination, ser. eds. John Comaroff, Pierre Bourdieu, and Maurice Bloch (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), 257.

36. Méchal Sobel, “The Revolution in Inner Selves: Black and White Inner Aliens,” in Through a Glass Darkly: Reflections on Personal Identity in Early America, ed. Ronald Hoffman, Medial Sobel and Fredrika J. Teute, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, for the Omohundro Institute in Early American History and Culture, 1997), 166, 170–77, quotation p. 188. See also her more recent book, Teach Me Dreams, cited above.

37. Bragdon, Native People, 10, 11–12. See also William Kellaway, The New England Company: 1649–1776, Missionary Society to the American Indians (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1961), 240–41.

38. Plane, Colonial Intimacies, chap. 2, passim.