Lucrecia the Dreamer: Prophecy, Cognitive Science, and the Spanish Inquisition (2018)

Lucrecia the Dreamer: Prophecy, Cognitive Science, and the Spanish Inquisition (2018)Lucrecia the Dreamer: Prophecy, Cognitive Science, and the Spanish Inquisition

Stanford University Press, 2018

This book describes an amazing yet true historical tale of Lucrecia de Leon, a poor, uneducated young woman from 16th century Madrid whose uncanny prophetic dreams brought down the violent wrath of King Philip and the Spanish Inquisition.

“Structured like a police procedural and delightful to read, Lucrecia the Dreamer applies concepts from history and the social sciences to a broader human story about the power of dreaming. A most impressive achievement.”

Leslie Tuttle, co-editor of Dreams, Dreamers, and Visions: The Early Modern Atlantic World

“It is an excellent scholarly work, but it reads like a novel of political and religious intrigue, for the scenes are stranger than fiction—even though they are a matter of historical record. Lucrecia comes through in the book as an uncommon person to say the least… Anyone interested in dreams should read this book.”

Patrick McNamara, author of An Evolutionary Psychology of Sleep and Dream

“While Lucrecia’s personal story becomes the framework on which the fault-lines of Spanish society are displayed, Bulkeley sees a bigger picture. Lucrecia had a special psychical talent for realistic and symbolic dreaming. There is evidence that she trained herself to go further, not only improving the power and duration of her dreams but also developing some control over the act of dreaming. This is important because every culture has stories of the transformative power of intense dreams. It is this last prospect that really excited the author and he leaves us with the picture of a neglected talent – one he calls ‘future oriented dreaming’ – that may, in the future, be cultivated and put to use in ways we have yet to fully understand.”

Bob Rickard, Fortean Times, four star review (out of five)



Link to a brief post I wrote about the book on the Stanford University Press author’s blog:


Link to purchase the book on the SUP website:


Link to purchase the book on Powell’s:


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