Occlumency for Sleep Talkers

May 12, 2013 by Jen

“Occlumency, Potter. The magical defense of the mind against external penetration. An obscure branch of magic, but a highly useful one.”
–Professor Snape (Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)

One ominous night in fourth grade, I confronted my mother at 3a.m. to demand why my guinea pig was not on the bookshelf next to the radio, where everyone knows that guinea pigs belong.

I was fast asleep then, and I have been amusing friends and family with my sleep-talking antics ever since.

In college, my poor roommates and traveling companions were subjected to late-night no-blinking contests for which only one participant was awake. I moved pillows into the bathroom, dangled upside-down over bunk beds to give them the evil (sleeping) eye, searched for invisible pencils in the middle of the area rug, sang, and spoke in French with greater fluency than I could demonstrate on my best oral exam.

Last week, I roomed with several of my coworkers during an annual team meeting, and my subconscious struck again. While I attempted to gain a restful night’s sleep, my sleeping mind babbled aloud about all things work related.

The real issue is that I have no way of knowing what I have and have not said as a result of my restless dreams. Awake, I tend to be a relatively private person, but, clearly, my subconscious does not share my reticence for divulging information. The subject might be refrigeration, recitations of Shakespeare, tasting room etiquette, or middle school crushes, for all I know. Well, this particular vulnerability has gone on long enough. It’s time to bring in the big guns.


Professor Snape.

Occlumency lessons.

We’re starting on Monday.

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