I barely slept on Monday night; I woke up from a nightmare. Twice. In the morning, I was exhausted and drenched in sweat—even less refreshed than usual.

It doesn’t require advanced psychoanalytic skills to work out that my nightmares were a manifestation of my lack of desire to go back to work after a long weekend. In the second dream, I lost my way walking from the station to school and wandered around in increasing confusion and desperation for a few hours.

The first dream, however, was particularly interesting. It was very weird:

The main character was a metal tube, a little over a metre long and about 10cm in diameter. The tube could speak, although it wasn’t clear how, and it received widespread fame and TV coverage for its abilities as an impressionist, imitating famous characters.

The tube befriended me. In my dream, I was very proud to have the attention of such a famous friend.

However, I found out that the tube was possessed by the soul of Shoko Asahara (head of the Aum cult responsible for the Tokyo subway sarin attacks) and had homicidal tendencies. The tube had killed several young men already; I was shown the crime scene photographs. However, the tube did not have the ability to kill people on its own. Instead, it used suggestions and demands to encourage the victim to act in a particular way and thus lure him to his death.

Forewarned, I surreptitiously alerted the authorities, and the tube was apprehended. I escaped.

I did say it was weird. It was so strange that I made a conscious effort to remember the details after waking up. I remembered it after seeing a couple of news items yesterday and today about another strange cult.

The Panawave cult believe that the world will end on 15th May. That’s a week today, by the way. They predict that the Earth’s poles will flip, causing a massive earthquake and widespread devastation. It’s far fetched, but not entirely incredible. After all, the Earth’s poles have switched ends in the past.

However, they undermine any hope of pseudoscientific credibility with their other beliefs. They seem to think that wearing white will protect them from harmful electromagnetic radiation. Well, at least it’ll keep the sun off, I guess.

Most unbelievably of all, they apparently believe that rescuing Tama-chan, the celebrity seal now living in a river in Saitama, will save the world. I don’t profess to understand the mechanism by which pole shifting might occur, but I very much doubt that seals are involved.

Someone tried to induct me into a cult when I was a student in Japan before. It didn’t work. I’m a very cynical person, and when they handed me the pamphlet full of miracle stories ("I had cancer, and the doctors gave me a week to live. But after praying to the leader and giving lots of money to the cult, I was magically healed.") my cynicism didn’t abate. Maybe I should write some more about that another time.