Dreams in History

You may or may not know this, but messages received in dreams have significantly impacted history! Authors, Inventors, Entrepreneurs, Musicians, Scientists, and Politicians have all experienced dreams that have changed the course of history.

In the realm of science, invention, and enterprise, there are many examples of dreams providing formulas, answers, or blueprints for unique and necessary innovations.

  • In 1844, Elias Howe dreamed of a unique position for lock-stitching on a sewing machine, and developed the first US Patent for his innovative needle design
  • It is widely believed that Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity came to him in a dream.
  • Otto Loewi offered enormous contributions to discoveries relating to chemical transmission of nerve impulses that resulted in him winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1936 along with Sir Henry Hallett Dale.
  • The first female American self-made millionaire was a woman named Madame C.J. Walker, who had a dream about a particular formulation for a cream to prevent hair loss. The formula worked, and she built a multi-million dollar enterprise

Imagination has flourished because of the power of dreams. Authors, Painters, Filmmakers and Musicians have encountered narratives, imagery, process, and sounds that have changed our artistic landscapes.


  • Mary Shelley brainstormed the storyline for Frankenstein one evening in 1816 while visiting the poet Lord Byron.
  • Jekyll and Hyde were born in the nighttime dreams of Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • Stephen King claims that many of his stories come to him in dreams.


  • William Blake
  • Jasper Johns
  • Many of the paintings of Salvador Dali were inspired by things seen in his dreams.


  • Ingmar Bergman & Federico Fellini – considered two of the greatest directors of the 20th century
  • John Sale
  • John Cameron admits that his inspiration for the blockbuster Avatar came to him in a dream


  • Handel – “Messiah”
  • Igor Stravinsky – “Rites of Spring”
  • Paul McCartney – “Yesterday