I dreamt this man was in my mirror watching me, saying nothing, and he was wearing glasses. He never moved the entire time I saw him, he was like a statue, so still.”

This is one of the recorded dreams of a patient who has “seen” the ‘this man’.

Now, who the hell is ‘this man’? The story of ‘this man’ begins when a psychiatrist sketches a face of a stout man with a receding hairline and a pug-ish nose. ‘This man’ has been a recurring character in his dreams. The situations and place may change but this creepy looking dude kept following him in his dreams. It would have gone unnoticed had it not been for another one of his patients, who instantly recognised him as the man of her dreams!

It may be due to the joy of striking a new phenomenon or just plain boredom that the doctor sent this portrait to his colleagues. Within a period of 2 months, he got 4 positive results. What started as a joke among patients and psychiatrists alike, as “Who is this man?’ gave him the name of ‘THIS MAN’.

All the people who have recognised ‘this man’ to be a recurring theme in their dreams are confident that he is not someone who they have met in the humdrum of their everyday life. Also, the dreamers have superficially nothing in common; they come from different backgrounds different lifestyles, different places of origin even. This has become an international phenomenon – at least 2,000 people around the world in cities such as Los Angeles, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Tehran, Beijing, Rome, Barcelona, Stockholm, Paris, New Delhi, Moscow etc. have identified ‘this man’ as the one who comes in their dreams.

Though it’s the same man appearing in all of their dreams, he doesn’t fail to show diversity in his appearances. To some, he is a sexual partner, finding new and unusual ways to satisfy them sexually in bed. In some dreams he takes the role of a silent observer, visible to the dreamer but not playing a role in the dream whatsoever and to others, he is a guardian angel who helps them in difficult situations in their dreams.

Another and the most common is the mystic and manipulative nature of ‘this man’, is where he taunts the dreamer with his cryptic puzzles and problems and entraps them in their dilemmas, playing a ‘Riddler’ of sorts. Sometimes, he is also portrayed as a cold-hearted murderer in a few dreams, chasing them and leading to their ultimate peril before they wake up.

Scientists and pseudo-intellectuals all over the planet have devised various possible theories to explain this phenomenon.

Archetype Theory: This man is said to be the archetype of the unconscious mind that appears during stressful times.

Religious Theory: Some say he is God himself and his words must be taken as law.

Dream surfer Theory: This theory was probably made by someone who has a mind-set similar to mine. According to this theory, he is the Dr. Destiny of our world. For all the non-JLA fans, the Freddy Kruger or Dom Cobb of our times. A man or machine that is capable of entering human dreams and manipulating them. The next possible theory would be that this is an undercover project of the Umbrella Corporation.

Dream Imitation Theory: This is probably the most logical theory (according to yours truly). You spends days reading about some guy, it’s natural for your subconscious mind to think about him too. Hence the dream.

Daytime Recognition Theory: Dreams are always unclear and hazy. So human        nature tends to believe that the theory is true and hence tend to identify a random prototype person as this man.

As there are always two sides to the coin, people have also come up saying it is nothing more than a hoax and that it is part of a major marketing stunt by Andrea Natella, the owner of the domain ‘thisman.org’, who is known for her unconventional methods in marketing like creating fictions events within legal limits in other words ‘fuck the market in order to enter it’.

Well fact or fiction, the story of ‘this man’ makes a good movie plot or so says Bryan Bertino, the director of The Stranger. Well all I can say is that this is one place where ‘seeing need not be believing’