According to Ellis and Loewenberg, visitation dreams feel distinctly different from your average, everyday dreams. For one thing, Loewenberg says, the person (or pet) probably looks great, healthy, radiant even. Ellis adds when she was visited by Shadow, his coat was shiny and he looked to be in great shape, for example.
Visitation dreams are also typically comforting in nature, as if your loved one was letting you know they're OK, and they're around, supporting you.
As Ellis tells mbg, a good litmus test for a true visitation is when the deceased tells you something you didn't already know and it turns out to be true. "For example, a woman dreamt of her great grandmother, and in the dream was told to ask her mother about the back room in her house," she says, adding, "She did so and her mother burst into tears, telling her daughter this room was filled with dress-up clothes that she and her siblings would play with every Sunday at their grandmother's house, and these were her happiest childhood memories."
Visitation dreams are also typically not very long, according to Loewenberg, who notes the dream likely won't be unusual. It's often simply communication between you and the loved one in question.