All sorts of strange phenomena happen while you sleep, and one of the most intense and fascinating things that can occur is lucid dreaming. Some people actually know they're dreaming as it unfolds, making the vivid REM cycle all the more captivating.
Since this type of dreaming offers authentic fantasies with some level of control, many people attempt to teach themselves how to lucid dream. Naturally, this leads to all sorts of hilarious, bizarre lucid dreams that people love to share on sites like Reddit.
Unfortunately, lucid dreams that turn into nightmares can occur just as frequently as any other scenario, and even the most adept lucid dreamers always run the risk of devolving into sleep paralysis. Lucid dreaming, like all great powers, comes with great responsibility.
From Redditor /u/woonboot:
It was actually a two -parter (three if you count the dream within a dream) when I was 12. It wasn't even scary as a dream, more because of the implication.
Night One: It started out normal enough. I was walking through the desert and out of nowhere my mother showed up, desperate to tell me something. I listened, and she begged me to wake up; 'This is a dream, please, open your eyes and wake up," so I did. I was confused when I actually woke up, and went back to sleep (don't remember other dreams that night).
Night Two: Same premise, I was walking through the desert, but no mother to be seen. I then remember what she told me: if you are in a dream desert, wake up. I opened my eyes and woke up in a medieval prison guarded by some sort of monsters. Naturally, I was scared, but the people in that prison were terrified. Telling me this wasn't supposed to happen, and that I should please go back to sleep and wake up in my room. It took a while for me to get to sleep (being in a prison and all) and the longer it took, the more terrified they became. Eventually I went to sleep and woke up in my room, but I still wonder if that dream was trying to tell me something.
From Redditor /u/finklemachine:
It was a dream-within-a-dream and started out as me waking up from a pretty bad nightmare. I sat up in my bed and saw something was off in my very dark room. The chair that was usually standing at the far wall of my room was instead right next to my bed. I found this odd and then realized a small porcelain doll was sitting in the chair. This freaked me the f*ck out, especially when the doll lifted its head and stared at me with its blank eyes. I immediately realized I was dreaming and tried to fly away through my room, but as I flew the room stretched along with me, then the stretching suddenly stopped and at the end of my room was a mirror.
Inside the mirror I saw myself, but not my normal self. Instead I was rather undead-looking. I don't remember exactly what I looked like but I definitely remember the rotting flesh I saw before my eyes. I pointed at myself and screamed while the mirror image pointed at me laughing.
Then I woke up and played Skyrim for the rest of the night, terrified of going back to bed.
From Redditor /u/patriotic_dysphoria:
I won't go into detail, but I've been sexually assaulted, physically beaten, and otherwise brutalized by one of my recurring dream characters. He acts like a dream guide except for his hostility and calls himself 'Face of God,' and these dreams are so brutal that I could smell my skin burning when he stuck me in a red-hot metal cage.
I found out recently it was Cymbalta causing these dreams. Slasher-film nightmares are a common side-effect of this drug, and they don't always start until later into the drug.
From Redditor /u/damnbanana:
I woke up while deployed in Iraq, and at the end of my bed was a small girl in a white dress. Harmless enough, except after a couple of seconds her face kept pulsing from large-to-small, and when it pulsed she looked like a demon. Just staring at me. I could not move, couldn't turn away or move a muscle.
Eventually I managed to break out from sheer will to kick her in the face, only my foot met thin air.