In one of the many TikToks to take the internet by storm this week, a woman living in New York City discovered a sinister hidden passageway through her bathroom mirror. In a four-part video, user @samanthartsoe showed TikTokers her discovery and her exploration of what appeared to be an entire secret, possibly abandoned apartment on the other side of her wall.
If this sounds like something out of a nightmare to you, that's because it often is one. During a Slack discussion about the cursed TikToks, a full 20% of people in my channel copped to dreaming about uncovering hidden corridors or finding surprise rooms in their homes. And after poking around a little, I found that these dreams are far more common than you might think — and they usually mean something.
"Our dreams are mirrors that can help us to live our dream life," says Stephanie Gailing, dream analyst and author of The Complete Book of Dreams. "They serve as a magnifying glass, highlighting thoughts and feelings that may not be clearly visible to our waking mind." Gailing says that once we're able to identify what our dream are revealing, we can navigate our lives with more clarity.
Finding a secret passageway or room in your house can be interpreted as an invitation to explore an unexplored part of yourself, or of someone around you, and to be open to new experiences coming your way, Gailing says. "If I had that dream, especially if I had that dream numerous times, I'd ask, 'What am I not looking at? What can I explore, what's behind the wall?'"
How you feel while you're dreaming and after you wake up can also point to different meanings. If you feel upbeat, the dream is probably about an area of your life that you feel eager to learn more about. You may be taking on a new role at work that you're excited about, for instance. If the secret room theme comes to you in a nightmare, though, that can indicate that you're afraid something in your real life is being hidden from you; or that you're nervous about what you might find out when you start digging around.
The dream is likely about something that's been on your mind anyway. In the context of a relationship, for instance, dreaming about a secret room might be a sign that your partner is helping you learn more about yourself or just offering you the space to grow — or, if the imagery has been coming up in a more nightmare-ish way, that you want to grow but feel confined by your partner.
Gailing says that other questions that might be helpful in interpreting a secret space dream include: Where does this new passageway take you? What were the details of the room, or did it lead to somewhere else? Did you stop yourself from going through the door? Did you feel scared or excited or resourceful enough to go through it? Again, you're looking for signals that might indicate where in your life you're uncovering fears, learning more about your own desires, or aching to grow and expand, she explains.
Where you're finding this hidden room matters, too. "If you're in your own home, maybe it would say that there's something in your own turf or the places that feel more close to you that you can discover something is hidden," she says. "If it's in some foreign or unknown place, then it may be a more generic concern or focus, rather than something more internal and more emotional."
Gailing watched the viral TikTok video, and has some thoughts if your dreams have had a similar vibe (or similar uncovered passage). "Let's say you have a dream where you're curious what's on the other side but there's a lot of energy around squeezing yourself into this space to get there, and then maybe in that moment there's a question, it's a choice — can I do it?" she says, referring to video three, in which @samanthartsoe crawls through the hole in her wall. "Like that girl in the video, she still went for it and figured out a way to maneuver that." If a similar event happened in your dream, it could be a sign that you feel obstructed by something in your real life — and that your psyche is trying to use your knowledge, passion, or know-how to navigate through the barrier.
Dream analysis is somewhat subjective, so everyone's secret room vision likely means something a little different and personal to them. Interpreting dreams is also not a science. Nevertheless, many find that it's a useful way to tune into their subconscious and intuit guidance that can help them in their waking lives. The next time you find yourself uncovering a hidden passageway in your dreams, consider taking a cue from @samanthartsoe and diving in — you never know what you might learn about yourself.