Thanks to Lawrence Brennan for this post about some recent precognitive dreams.
I am not psychic. I take that word to imply believing oneself to have a controllable or even vaguely useful power of some kind. However I've experienced enough odd things to be convinced that psi is real. Recently precognitive dreams (PDs) have been to the fore. I can't add much to the sum of knowledge on the subject, but can maybe make a few useful observations.
In my case, at least, the idea that PDs are movie-style visions of exactly what is going to happen is completely untrue. Likewise the idea that they are warnings of disaster is a popular fantasy. They are, by and large, completely trivial. I can't of course assume that the limits of my experiences are a rule that must apply to everyone else. But my suspicion is that the headline grabbing cases of foreseeing assassinations are distinguishable from the trivia only by virtue of their box office value...and no divine forewarning is intended.
In a 2011 Guardian article Richard Wiseman relies heavily on the idea of a Law of Large Numbers to explain away seeming PDs . . . putting a "once-in-a-lifetime" coincidence in the context of millions of dreams. This would only be a persuasive argument if they were remotely as rare as he imagines.
I found my dreams were precognitive, sometimes, when I started recording them into a bedside dictaphone, whenever I stirred in the night. Listening back to my sleepy mutterings after a day or two, some of the dreams I was reporting matched incidents which had subsequently occurred. This happened too often to dismiss.
On one recording I described a low flying aerial view of a city which I decided was Berlin, as the attention was drawn to a specific point below, which my dream self identified as the spot where Hitler was born. I would have no conscious memory of this dream if it were not on the recording. Four or five nights later a new TV documentary about Hitler is broadcast and begins with low flying aerial footage of an Austrian town, seeming to hone in on a particular building, as the narrator points out this was where Hitler was born. You can imagine how startled I was.
Last Monday night, 6 May: I dreamt of the Queen at a Commonwealth gathering and the (genuine) plot of a movie in which a missing girl had been abducted and kept alive below ground.
In the morning I noted down the dreams, then checked the news. Stories included Amanda Berry, the kidnapped woman who escaped from her captor's basement and the Queen to miss the Commonwealth Conference for the first time.
You'll see that my report of both dreams appear to be direct hits. And I consider them so. But it's worth pointing out that your agreement - if I have it - was partly won by my summarising the tale and referring only to the matching imagery itself. If I included more detail of the dream - it was the Queen at a Commonwealth Games opening ceremony . . . not a dream about her not attending a heads of government meeting; and in the other dream I carefully chose to say "kept alive under ground" instead of "buried alive" to draw out the comparisons with Amanda Berry - then you might be drawn to the differences and denounce my observation of a link as tenuous. This in fact is what Wiseman does in his article. And this fallacy strikes me as important to correct.
It is the imagery in the dream, not its plot, which appears precognitive. Though one might use the Law of Large Numbers here to acknowledge that, by chance alone, sometimes for some people the sleeping brain's dream factory must re-assemble the images that go into it in very close to the "correct" order.
This point was evidenced on Thursday night, 9th May. I thought my recording attempts were a complete washout, as the second I tried recalling each dream it vanished. So the first 3 or 4 recordings consisted of no more than random images, without the accompanying plot details.
Exact transcript of the first recording, 2-3am, Friday morning:
There was . . . oh god I can't remember it's so . . . I'm going to say some words to try and remind myself . . . Linda Bellingham . . . cameras . . . Ian? Not 'that' Ian . . . I'll get back to you in a second . . . no hold on . . . mmm . . . will get back to you in a minute.
Lunchtime 12.30pm, I switch on the television show Loose Women (for the first time in 3 weeks):
Today's guests are Linda Bellingham and Ian Kelsey.
Deprived of its actual plot, the dream - whatever it was, for I've no idea - appears undeniably precognitive.
In Wiseman's article he composes a hypothetical dream sequence (about a fictional rock star in a car crash) and suggests there is something silly in connecting it to certain equally hypothetical "real" events, given the numerous differences between them. This is a convincing sounding yet irrational argument. He is - in the proper sense of the phrase - begging the question. That is, his conclusion - that dreaming the future is not possible - can only be reached by starting with the premise that perceiving the future is not possible!
Well consider if you had a dream in which Peter O'Toole turned up as your window cleaner. Afterwards you scratch your head as to why on earth it should be him of all people. Then you recall that in the day preceding the dream you'd caught a glimpse of Lawrence of Arabia while flicking between television channels. Aha! But following Wiseman's logic your "explanation" would be tenuous and faintly laughable because, after all, O'Toole did not play your window cleaner in Lawrence of Arabia! Such an argument for a 'no connection', where one is so self-evident, would doubtless be considered bizarre.
But if it is, it must also be bizarre to make this "tenuous connection" argument if O'Toole were seen not before the dream, but rather on the day after, perhaps being interviewed on a magazine programme which also later features an item on streak free window cleaning. You can only reasonably treat the logic of the "tenuous connection" argument applying in one case but not the other as rational if you start from the point of view that of course one cannot ever perceive the future!
Record your dreams. You'll be surprised how often one can.