The following is a recently discovered fragment of an introduction to the history of a neglected era by an intrepid academic at the turn of the century, who to this day remains anonymous.
History records roughly two thirds of what we know to have happened. The other third consists of when people were asleep. The textbooks are strangely silent on that period.
To be fair to historians, it is more difficult to keep track of the many changes occurring during sleep. One person has often changed into another; many have combined into one; one has split off into many. Locations and times have shifted suddenly and wildly. The dead frequently reappeared, and people were known to flap their arms and fly through the air to escape danger, or just to impress others of their acquaintance.
The frequency of embarrassing and even scandalous occurrences was remarkable. Many went to work or school in their underwear, or without any clothes at all. Society was correspondingly more tolerant of these lapses in etiquette during sleep. During this period, most people acted as if a naked person walking down the street was, if not a completely normal event, at least an understandable one, whereas in waking history it usually led to an arrest. This phenomenon seems ripe for sociological study.
Despite the loosening of moral standards, this historical timeframe seemed to be, on the average, fraught with considerable fear and anxiety. Reports of people searching frantically for lost items were very frequent. There were very many incidents of people being late for appointments, classes, work, or even major events. Many others forgot the names of their family and best friends, while having intense and intimate encounters with complete strangers, or people whose identity is at best obscure.
Magical powers or occult abilities of one sort or another were considered routine, which is fortunate, since violent attacks by others were a constant threat. On the one hand, a person might have been able to slay an opponent by firing bullets out of his hand; on the other, he may have suffered a bout of slow motion when attempting to flee. The need for constant vigilance was countered by a persistent vagueness and confusion of mental outlook.
As to sexuality, the range of practices seems to have been incredibly wide, with voyeurism, paraphilic infantilism, coprophilia, urophagia, and numerous other fetishistic behavor being extremely common. Incest, rape, and other forms of sexual assault appear to have been so popular as to be considered almost normal. It is difficult for the objective historian to credit this, yet virtually all available testimony confirms the startling fact of complete sexual chaos as characteristic of the time.
What accounts there are of governments, treaties, wars, and political arrangements are so various and complex as to challenge the abilities of the most skilled researchers. Democracy would appear to have been almost unknown. Dictatorship was the most common political arrangement, yet there were so many autocrats that they seem to have actually outnumbered the subjects under their rule. In truth, the political situation during sleep came closest to the concept of anarchy as this is popularly termed, and many scholars find it both puzzling and significant that society survived the period relatively intact.
More matter for the cream of the scholiasts has no doubt dripped from the statue of the hearse in barns of square. We have reported again soon how in fact unreliable fists of fancy dress preponder the food they ate. Leaders of sexual insurpency coffin contradict the delusions we have run to, and I would not deign to outrage this steaming crowd with more toots than it can fester. Pending verification to continue and
Here the manuscript breaks off. Is est optimus nos permissum lemma somnus.