As a part of the human survival ability, the capacity to predict the future is a well developed everyday part of life. So much so we often fail to notice ourselves doing it. When crossing a road we quickly take in factors related to sounds, car speeds, and our own physical condition, and predict the likelihood of being able to cross the road without injury. Based on information gathered, often unconsciously, we also attempt to asses or predict the outcome of relationships, job interviews, business ventures, and any course of action important to us.
If a detailed observation were made of the habits of ten people, one could predict fairly accurately what they would be doing for the next week, perhaps even pinpointing the time and place. For instance some would never visit a pub, while others would be frequently there.
Because the unconscious is the storehouse of millions of bits of observed information, and because it has a well developed function enabling us to scan information and predict from it, some dreams forecast the future. Such predictions may occur more frequently in a dream rather than as waking insight, because few people can put aside their likes and dislikes, prejudices and hopes sufficiently to allow such information into consciousness. While asleep some of these barriers drop and allow information to be presented.
Ed. Butler’s dream is about his work scene. Each detail was real and horrifying. Shortly afterwards, Rita was burnt just as in the dream.
Example: ‘ I was startled by the muffled but unmistakable sound of a nearby explosion. While unexpected, it wasn’t entirely unusual – the high energy propellants and oxidisers being synthesised and tested in the chemistry wing were hazardously unstable. When I heard the screams I froze for an instant, recognising that they could only be coming from Rita, the one woman chemist in the all male department. I rushed to the doorway of her laboratory. Peering through the smoke and fumes I saw a foot sticking out of the surrounding flames. I was only in my shirt sleeves, unprotected, not even wearing my lab coat, but I had to go into the flames. I grabbed Rita by the foot and noticed with horror that her stockings were melting from the heat. I pulled her back into the doorway and tugged at a chain that released gallons of water on her flaming body. When satisfied the fire was quenched, even though my own clothes still smouldered, I ran for the emergency phone.’ From Dream Network Bulletin, June 1985.
Some precognitive dreams appear to go beyond this ability to predict from information already held. So far there is no theory that is commonly accepted that explains this. A not too bizarre one however, is that our unconscious has access to a collective mind. With so much more information available, it can transcend the usual limitations when predicting from personal information. The speculative side of modern physics suggests an extension to this in saying the origins of our being lie beyond space and time. It we touch this aspect of ourselves, we may transcend our usual time-bound self, and see things in new ways – one of which might be precognition.
Example: I awoke, my heart beating rapidly, heavy beads of perspiration on my face; even catching my breath was difficult. I looked around my bedroom for some trace of reality, something to tell me I was safely at home and not frantically running to catch a connecting flight at the airport. In my dream I had lost my luggage and missed my flight. I couldn’t help wonder what connection existed between the dream and my coming flight later that morning. I dismissed it as a nightmare. Several hours later, however, the nightmare became reality when I missed a connecting flight because the plane was three hours late. I had to rush to another airline, catching a flight with a minute and half to spare. As in the dream, my luggage was lost.
The next examples are all from Shirley G. Because of space, only three of the dreams are quoted. Nevertheless, they are typical of dreams that do not seem to fall into the category of precognitive dreams arising from unconscious scanning or information already known.
Example: ‘I set out to dream the winner of a horse race each day for a week.
1 - Was driving down a country road and suddenly saw a glimpse of Emmerdale Farm down a side road. Following day: chosen horse ‘Emmerdale Farm’ came in first.
2 – Was working in a room when a man popped his head around the door and shouted excitedly ‘John, John, your uncle’s here’ and disappeared. I carried on working. Chosen horse: Uncle John. Came in first.
3 - What predictive dreams deal with appears to depend a great deal upon the dreamer and their preoccupations and deeply felt interests or anxieties. We can think of this rather like someone going into a library that has every possible type of information in it. What the person chooses to look at depends upon their current attitudes, fears, fascinations, etc. The following dream show a very different result to the anxiety type dream prediction.
4 - Was walking down a road, called into a house by a friend to have a chat. On the way out she opened the door and I saw a completely empty room except for a huge black fireplace. Door closed and I left the house. Chosen horse: Black Fire – which I insisted would only be placed – due to ‘fireplace’. Came in 2nd.’
Example: I dreamt that a female friend, Liz, and her husband David, with myself and my husband were busily and happily renovating an old barn to live in, and seemed to be living away from our home towns. All was blissful until, almost suddenly David and I were in love. We decided we must be honest and tell Liz. I told her and felt an overwhelming, powerful and radiant love coming from her, She was smiling warmly and said “That’s alright Shirley, I understand.” Still the glowing love was enveloping me as the dream trailed off. The following morning I heard Liz had died after the extraction of in infected wisdom tooth. S.P.
Example: I look back and describe myself at that time as a “straight psychology professor” having no knowledge of metaphysical events or higher consciousness studies. I was always taught that dreams went backward to reveal repressed sexual and aggressive impulses. Nowhere did I ever learn of a dream going forward in time to provide glimpses of future events. In fact, when I awoke from my accident dream, I looked at the car crash symbolically and wondered why I was trying to hurt or punish myself with such a violent action. Can you imagine my surprise, when I experienced the car accident three weeks later, in exact detail, as my brakes did indeed fail? This dream was the first of many informal lessons to follow.
Weeks after this spectacular car crash, I dreamed of another accident with brakes failing. Of course, this was ridiculous since I had purchased a brand new car to replace the totalled wreck. This time, sound effects were added to the dream as I heard a snap when I put my foot down on the brake. Again, wondering about my punitive gesture toward myself, I dismissed the dream since this couldn’t possibly happen to a brand new car. Again, the inside information was correct, as the brake cable snapped just days later. Marcia Rose Emery.