Precognition: The Science of Divination

Allow me to share a personal story with you all.

For the longest time I once suspected that I might have had mental problems when I was younger. It was nothing overtly serious such as split-personality disorder or being overly violent (although I did have a reputation for having a short fuse!), rather I began to notice that I hardly ever dreamed whenever I slept. In fact I would say I had an extremely vague dream every four or five months at most, and would always dream about a specific event that was neither fantastical or implausible as most people recall their dreams being. It was always a set location I had never visited or a conversation with a person I could either not remember or could not discern a voice for.

DSC01050When I was about eight or nine years old I remember having a very vivid dream of myself standing on a formation of rocks overlooking a small waterfall, staring down into the water below. In the dream I remember an unfamiliar voice yelling out to me telling me to get away from the edge lest I fall over it and into the depths below. At the time I thought nothing of it but I never forgot that particular scene. Fast-forward four years and I was living in Whangarei, New Zealand. One day the family went out for a day trip to the local Whangarei Falls (pictured left). There I stood above the tip of the waterfall and looked down into the water below… and I completely froze, overwhelmed by an almighty sense of ‘Deja Vu’. I seemed to enter a trance-like state where someone appeared to have hit the ‘mute’ button on the world around me, a trance that I was only snapped out of when my father yelled at me to get away from the edge of the waterfall.

DSC00979After barely coming to terms with my first spiritual experience another one came less than a year later when I climbed a local mountain called Mount Mania and looked out over the surrounding region. Another rush of ‘Deja Vu’ hit me but this time I could not for the life of me recall when I dreamed about this sight, it really freaked me out. As the years went on the number of incidents such as these never abated, I can remember a handful of them off the top of my head: occasions where I supposedly saw a sight before I was there in person or an event which I had already seen unfold. I remember seeing in a dream what I thought at the time was the most bizarre museum I had ever seen only for it to turn out being the famous Weta Workshop in Wellington. I also remember dreaming about visiting someone in hospital and watching a movie with them, a person who turned out to be my brother and the movie turning out to be Troy. I’ve kept these incidents mostly to myself up until now because I feared that people might think me ill-in-the-head or flat-out lying, but I swear that these strange experiences happened.

Before I set about writing this post I decided to do some research into what my ‘Condition’ might be and as it turns out I’m not the only one who has had experiences like this. The collective term used to describe what myself and these others have experienced is called ‘Precognition‘. ‘The Inner Eye’, ‘Foresight’, ‘Premonition’, ‘Second Sight’, ‘Sixth Sense’… Precognition has been known by many other names but the main thesis is it is “a type of extrasensory perception that involves the acquisition of future information that cannot be deduced from that which is presently available”. The existence of precognition, as with other forms of extrasensory perception (otherwise known as ESP), is widely and rightfully not accepted by the mainstream scientific community because it is untestable by the ‘scientific method’. The fact that precognitive dreams are easily fabricated and have almost no material evidence available to support themselves it is hardly a shock that scientists approach the topic with some disdain but there are signs that attitudes are changing.

The following is an extract from Wikipedia.
In the particular case of precognition, belief is widespread. In one review of a U.S. case collection, submitted to Duke University’s Parapsychology Laboratory, 75% of 1777 dream-based experiences were categorized as precognitive, as were 60% of 1513 wakeful experiences. A similar distribution was identified for a separate collection of 157 cases reported by children; here, the largest category of reports was again of precognitive dreams (52%), followed by precognitive intuitions (52%). A German case collection produced a similar figure: 52% of 1,000 cases were categorized as precognitive. A British study of 300 volunteered cases showed 34% to be apparently precognitive.

Abraham_Lincoln_O-116_by_Gardner,_1865As I wrap this up I think I should mention a famous historical case of precognition. On April 11th 1865 American President Abraham Lincoln sat down with his good friend and biographer Ward Hill Lamon and recalled a nightmare he had recently.
“About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. I saw light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. ‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers, ‘The President,’ was his answer; ‘he was killed by an assassin.’ Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since.
Three days later Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

I am a stout believer of science and will be among the first to sing its’ praises and defend its’ name. I believe that the Enlightenment and subsequent development and refinement of the Scientific Method have been the two greatest achievements so far in human history. However, there are some things in the world that science just cannot explain – precognition is one of them. Maybe someday there will be a ground breaking revelation that the future is not as mysterious as we have been led to believe, just maybe…

5 comments

  1. Excellent post. Such things do happen.

  2. I had those experiences when I was a child, not so much now. In some ways, I took it to mean that things were going to happen, but it was my job to make sure they didn’t by making better choices. I always got those flashes in dreams, but I used to dream a lot so I didn’t think much of it. I don’t dream hardly at all anymore, but that is besides the point. I had Deja Vu moments when I made stupid, stupid choices and got to deal with the consequences. It sounds bizarre but a feeling of deja vu says to me “you failed”. I haven’t had them in about a year, and I don’t know why. I am a creature of habit (I always find my way back to my desk at 12:49 no matter what), usually unintentionally, but still. It would be interesting to know the explanation, but I’m equally as content with not knowing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this, and you shouldn’t feel crazy. Everyone who has had a similar thing happen to them knows you aren’t lying.

    Completely apart from the subject, those pictures are absolutely beautiful. I did some hiking and exploring in Spain but the Mediterranean is not as beautiful as those photos.

  3. Reblogged this on Writing Underdog and commented:
    This is where I got the inspiration to write my post on Divination…

  4. Second sight is kind of my thing so I had a great time reading your experiences, it’s nice to know that people out there still pay attention to those aspects of their nature’s that are larger than meets the eye. Oh and a well written post too.

  5. […] rejects the explanation of déjà vu as precognition or prophecy. Science would rather tell you that it is an anomaly of our memory. Precognition, from […]

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