I was reminded of study sessions in college for a philosophy seminar dealing with Descartes in which it we discovered that it is impossible to conclusively prove your own existence to another person. (Although beer helps) We can only be convinced ourselves that we (by virtue of the fact that we perceive that we are, in fact, thinking) exist. Everything and everyone else could be a dream.
Although they come from two entirely different schools of thought, both Quantum Physics and the Paranormal come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as an objective “reality.” This concept is also expressed in the Buddhist theory of “emptiness”—that all things lack intrinsic reality. That doesn’t mean that they don’t exist; just that everything is relative to perception. Reality is what you perceive through your senses. It is not the same “reality” as what the person beside you perceives. Both are equally real. Even time is not real—it is merely a framework that we utilize.
This story is like that---we have the internal reality of the main character and the ostensibly external reality of the doctor who is growing more and more alarmed at his inability to explain what is happening to his patient. If her night journeys are, as he believes, all in her mind, then why do the other patients see her walking and why do the orderlies report her bed empty?
Lines are blurred. Reality is slippery.
Perhaps danger is real and the scraping noise behind us that draws closer is actually something that is coming for us. Should we turn around? Does it help to refuse to believe until we feel the hook sink in?