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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Precognitive Dream of Flight 370?

I often wake up remembering extremely detailed stories and images from my dreams. Last night, for example, I woke up remembering a very vivid and elaborate dream: a story of a rich man with a huge mansion who had some woman redecorate his mansion in some astonishingly colorful way.

But on about 9:00 AM EST on March 7, 2014 I awoke from a dream with the following strange thought in my mind: 6 Indian women murdered. I didn't remember any story associated with this dream, and couldn't recall any images associated with it. All I remembered was a phrase: 6 Indian women murdered.

After I ate breakfast and turned on my computer, I recorded my dream in a text file in which I occasionally record dreams I have had. I did a Google search to see whether there was any news report of six Indian women having been murdered. I found nothing, so I forgot about the matter for several days.

A few months ago I had started recording my dreams because a certain number of months before the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, I had a dream that the World Trade Center collapsed. In the dream I was an observer in the World Trade Center, and the floor gave way. I and everyone else plunged downward as the whole building collapsed. I then woke up, as I always do whenever I reach a terrifying or horrifying point in any dream I am having.

I mentioned to my wife that I had a dream that the World Trade Center collapsed, but then gave the matter no further thought until the events of September 11, 2001.

As it happens, the day I had the dream about the 6 Indian women murdered was the same day that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 mysteriously disappeared. The jet disappeared on March 8, 2014 local time, but when it disappeared the date in the United States was March 7, 2014. The jet disappeared 17:21 UTC on March 7, about 4 hours after my dream which occurred at about 13:00 UTC on March 7.

When I later realized this coincidence, I did a web search to find out how many Indian people on the jet died. According to this link there were 6 Indian people who died on the plane – 5 Indian nationals, and one Indian person from Canada.

If we assume that Flight 370 was lost because of a deliberate act of terrorism or because of a suicidal pilot, then there would be a fairly close match between my dream and the reality. I had dreamed that 6 Indian people were murdered on the same day that 6 Indian people may well have been murdered.

But I didn't quite get things exactly right – because only three of the Indian people who died were women. But presumably if precognition occurs, it is a rather hazy thing; so we wouldn't necessarily expect it to be 100% accurate.

There has been controversial research suggesting that precognition (knowledge of the future) actually occurs, most notably the “Feeling the Future” experiment done at Cornell University by Daryl Bem. Studies have been done on what is called presentiment, which is the alleged tendency of the human mind and body to start reacting to phenomena an instant before they occur. A recent meta-analysis examined 26 studies of presentiment, and concluded that there was a statistically significant effect that is unexplained (see here for a similar scientific paper). 

Some people think that precognition can occur in dreams. A writer named J. W. Dunne wrote a book called An Experiment With Time, in which he claimed that after he started recording his dreams after waking up, he found that many of them came true. 

precognitive dream

One fascinating theory is that when events occur, they create ripples in some cosmic field, rather like the ripples caused when stones are dropped in a pond. Such ripples may travel forward in time or backward in time; and the more significant the event, the larger the ripple. Somehow the human mind might be able to pick up some of these ripples coming from the future. Such a theory could make sense only in a larger philosophical framework with an enlarged concept of the relation between the human mind and nature, one that transcended the reductionist dogmas of naturalistic materialism.

Was my dream an example of precognition, or was it merely a coincidence? I have no idea. I have no proof for the tale I have told here, so you can believe it occurred as I have described it, or you can believe I am just making it up.

I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of all the people who lost their lives in Flight 370.