Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Dreaming in the Trenches

February 23rd, 2011 · No Comments


From the 1915 paper that first legitimized the scientific study of combat-related trauma, Charles Samuel Myers’ “A Contribution to the Study of Shell Shock”:

Dec. 27th–While in hypnosis he gives the name of hte man in the same trench with him as K. He “sees” very clearly the position of the trenches, their shallowness and covering. He remembers that he had been two days in the reserve trenches before he was sent on Dec. 7th to the firing line. He says, “The explosion lifted us up and dropped us again. It seemed as if the ground underneath had been taken away. I was lying on my side, resting on my hand, when the shell came. I got my right hand loose, but my left was fixed behind a piece of fallen timber. At last I dropped off to sleep and had funny dreams of things at home. One dream in particular I have thought over many times since. I haven’t been able to make out why I should dream of the young lady playing the piano. I don’t know her name and don’t think I have see her above twice.

Many more thoughts on combat trauma to come, as I’m just now wrapping up Achilles in Vietnam. The book’s cover photo is enough to chill the blood and wound the heart.

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