Precognitive Dreams

A common experience

The questions of the survey mentioned informing yourself about future events in the second questions block. Many respondents started telling about dreaming the future in the first block. A total of a third of the respondents mentioned experiences involving future events. To be exact: 34 of the 104 respondents volunteered to have (had) dreams about the future. The real percentage of experienced dreamers familiar with dreams about the future may very well be higher and perhaps much higher than 33%. (See the Technicalities chapter for an explanation about underestimation).

Seven respondents seemed to be familiar with the possibility of dreams about the future though didn't mention personal experiences. Two other respondents brought the topic up to oppose the possibility of precognition. From the seven that mentioned interest in dreams about the future, some were somewhat doubting the possibility of precognition as well.

Precognition

Many people equate dreams about the future with precognition. I don't think all dreams about the future have to necessarily be supernatural. To some extent I agree with the viewpoint represented by one of the respondents:
I do think that dreaming can give you insight into future events, but only in the same way that, if you put your mind to it, you could do while awake.
J.R. Harvey
There's certainly something to say for this explanation. But this explanation does not hold up very well when e.g. a dream shows an accidents only involving strangers. Consider the two following examples by Lauri Jean Crowe and Nickname:
I also had a few experiences with what I would term precognitive dreaming, where I dreamt something and whallah it would occur a day or week later. Often these were very disturbing as I would dream of a death or accident and then it would be validated as an actual occurrence on the news or television.
Lauri Jean Crowe
i am frustrated at times when i can't do anything about some of my dreams, ie: warn someone of impending danger, as it is often not clear WHO is in harm's way and is later confirmed but by then too late. ie: have dreamed of friends suicides, accidents, earthquakes, etc.
Nickname
These have to be precognitive dreams, because there is no way that Lauri Jean Crowe and Nickname could have extrapolated all these dreams from current events.

Hard science is skeptical about the possibility of precognition. Especially the fact that precognitive dreams are not specific enough to clearly point down an event in place in time is a problem to hard science. So, what about the following dream:

The thing that made me really start believing in the power of dreams is when I accurately predicted a car accident I was in during my sophomore year in high school. I saw both automobiles, where it happened, why it happened, and the exact time when it would happen.
David Ben Rance
As a prediction, it can't get any clearer than this. Personally I have no reason to doubt this experience, but skeptics will come up with a number of objections. The first one would be that this testimonial doesn't count unless the prediction had been officially documented before it came true. That's not enough however. Plenty of accurate predictions have been documented. The next objection is that the majority of documented predictions is false. My feeling is that even if somebody were to come up with a repository of mostly good predictions, other objections will be thrown up. The possibility of precognition challenges the foundations of our society and even the strongest proof of precognition will still take generations to get fully accepted. In the meantime, dreamers will have to do without the approval of hard science.

Whether precognition exists or not, some things are clear. Dreamers are very impressed by dreams that predict the future, regardless whether dreams are extrapolating or truly precognitive. Sometimes the predictions involve events that seem rather unconnected to the personal interests of the dreamer, like the experiences quoted above. More often, the predictions involve personal events that can be very mundane. This makes more sense, because dreaming about personal future events has many advantages. It can prepare you for events and it gives the opportunity to come up with strategies to avoid unwanted experiences.

Social acceptance of precognition

To dreamers, the first precognitive dream can be quite a shock. Here's a quote from February, also notice e.g. the quote by laTone in a next chapter.
in my teen years, i had numerous prophetic dreams and always made my family mad and they wanted nothing to do with me and my weirdness.
February
Mind you, not all societies or communities are so hostile towards precognition. Tiger286 grew up in white South African, middle-class community. This sounds like a very Western society, but nonetheless it was very supportive to her experiences:
My own experiences with dreams were that they usually came true. My family believed that dreams were visions, as were the larger community I was part of during my childhood. We see dreams as visions or warnings.
Tiger286

Practical use

So, what good are precognitive dreams, other than rocking the boat of our consensus reality? One of the clear results is that having a precognitive dream is nearly always mentioned as important if not critical in provoking an interest in dreams.
Soon I discovered surprising coincidences I couldn't explain-- e.g., a dream of my high school history teacher, and a letter from her the next day-- that sent me on a research mission.
Cynthia
Precognitive dreams can sometimes be very practical. Valley Reed mentions that a dream saved her life:
When I was 25, I had a dream that saved my life as a precognitive dream. Before that, I had not written down too many of my dreams. After the precognitive dream that saved my life, I paid attention to most of my dreams, and they became much more intense.
Valley Reed
Here's another - less dramatic - warning to take action. Wynn did prepare to prevent the situation as shown in the dream, but had no luck:
I had a dream about my son getting lost and felt it so important to share with my husband the next day and explained what had happened. I said that we needed to be extra careful because of the look on his face in the dream was unforgettable when we both realized that our son was missing. About 1 hr. later we were in a store and I looked at my husband and had the same look on his face and we new that our son was gone. He was lost in a store but was found within a few minutes. I know now that I need to share my dreams with other people even if it is to make them more aware of their daily events.
Wynn
Here's an example of a long term warning about a future personal crisis:
I had a dream just before I started graduate school which made no sense to me, but it was so vivid, I wrote it down. Four years later, when I experienced a crisis, I realized the dream exactly described what happened to me in advance of it happening. This somehow brought relief, but although I have always been very spiritually oriented, I couldn't quite believe that I wasn't reading something into it.
Martha DiChristi
As mentioned before, precognitive dream often are very mundane. Here's a good example of exactly how mundane:
Between the ages of 9-11 I used to have dreams, that I thought were precognitive dreams, about very mundane events: like the movement of a plastic carrier bag across a playground, or a particular moment that a friend threw me a ball. This raised interest in dreams too.
Hobbes
Apparently mundane events can be very important to the dreamer. It's hard to guess about this from the examples given by Hobbes, but the event in the following dream from Nicole was considered highly relevant to the dreamer.
Started writing down my dreams around the age of 10, starting with a dream of Mom having baked bread and me being disappointed at not being given the option to participate. I wrote it down because the very next day, Mom did indeed bake bread.
Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
A last possible explanation is that precognitive dreams can soften the blow of future bad news. I can imagine that the precognitive dream may have helped Cyndi to emotionally prepare for the future, but I don't know if she would agree:
The turning point that changed the way I looked at dreams was around the time when my grandmother died. A week before she died I dreamed of exactly where she was to be buried, only in the dream it was myself that died. Our family had been told years previously that my grandparents had purchased burial plots in a cemetery that was different than the one in my dream, so I dismissed it. I found out during the funeral procession that we were going to the cemetery in my dream, and as we got closer a feeling of complete uncanny certainty came over me and I *knew* without a shadow of a doubt exactly where she would be buried, and she was.
Cyndi
According to the Seth books written by Jane Roberts, precognitive dreams do not only offer an opportunity to prepare for an event but more importantly are somehow part of the preparation of that event. This would explain all precognitive experiences, and especially those were other explanations just don't cut it:
While a child I had repetitive dreams, also I dreamed about a boy who the next day started school with us. This frightened me and I told no one. I felt no one would believe me.
laTone

Conclusions

Precognitive dreams often make a tremendous impression. In fact, if there is one reason why people develop a strong interest in dreams, it would be a precognitive dream.

Others: Patricia Grace, VJ, Seer, Anne, Hobbes, Charles Nazareth, Marnie, Ophelia5, Sage, Jade Aurora, Eily, Laalaa, Robert Grillo, Bhakti, Natosha, KStep, Simon M., Dreamer, Kardm, Gaia, RAA, The Solar Monk, Crysaxed.





Email Harry Bosma for any comments or questions.

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