In September 2018 I was a guest on the alexxcast with Alexx Bollen. We ended up discussing a number of esoteric topics, but I did show prep focusing on premonitions. I’ve had many premonitions myself as has Alexx and so thought it would be interesting to look at the phenomenon from theoretical and personal perspectives.
In the course of compiling the show notes I wrote up some of my premonitions. I present them below, followed by my notes on theory and some interesting examples of people grappling with the ideas and practice of premonitions. Any misunderstandings, ignorance or mistakes in the notes are my own.
You can listen to the alexxcast podcast here:
Steph’s Personal Precognitive Experiences:
Premonition by dream: In two instances I dreamed of birds I would see later in the day. In the first dream, i looked down to my hand to be utterly charmed at the sight of a small pirate parrot type bird laying there, kind of rolling around in my hand adorably. I’d begun seriously pursuing birdwatching not many months before this dream and did not recognize what type of bird I held, but was delighted.
That day after work my boyfriend and i were invited to our coworker’s house on the spur of the moment. I’d never been to his house before. During the course of the visit he invited us upstairs, where i saw he had a cage with two lovebirds. I commented on how beautiful they were, and our host let me know they were also quite tame. He opened the cage door and i soon found myself holding a small pirate parrot bird, rolling around contentedly in my palm.
In the other instance i dreamed of a woodpecker behaving quite strangely – it was hovering next to a bush, sipping nectar from it’s flowers like a hummingbird does. That day I saw a sapsucker while at the UC Berkeley campus. This was the first time i’d seen a sapsucker on my own, an unusual sighting on a busy campus as sapsuckers are notoriously shy birds.
Sapsuckers are woodpeckers who drill holes in trees so that they can lap their tree juice using their long tongues, like a hummingbird laps nectar from flowers with their long tongues.
Premonition by dream: In my mid thirties I decided that i would pursue volunteering as a docent at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA. The training classes only happened a couple of times a year, so once i’d made the decision I had time before beginning training. During this time I’d have a recurring dream in which i’d be auditorially impressed with a particular phone number. I’d feel an absolute compulsion to remember the phone number, and upon awakening I would be able to recall it and write it down (which is unusual for me, generally i figure if i’m asleep i’m asleep and make no efforts at dream recall, lucidity, etc. – to the dismay of my fellow esotericists).
Investigating the number while awake i’d see it was the number to Lindsay Wildlife Museum, though after a couple of times of this I’d realize it was their number upon awakening (this occurred about a half dozen times). As this was going on i also felt a sort of physically magnetic pull in the direction of Mount Diablo, a huge mountain east of the LWM. I knew something big was moving towards my field of awareness and indeed LWM is where I met my husband Anthony (we’ve now been married almost 19 years).
Premonition by dream – Chimeras of Burning Man. You can read about this premonition here:
Premonition by gnosis: In my early thirties I was living with my fiancee “MM” (who i’d been with for about 7 years), his grandmother and her Lhasa Apso Buttons. MM was a collage artist who made large constructions out of found lumber, National Geographic magazines, spontaneously mummified rat carcassi, and other flotsam and jetsam. This necessitated a large workspace in order to store all the ‘material’ he accumulated.
At the time of this experience he was looking around for a new workspace, and a fellow lady artist “AC” had expressed an interest in possibly renting with him. MM was and is a very upright, straight arrow and very motivated man and had never had a roving eye. However, one afternoon as we were talking I just knew in my bones how the next few months of my life would unfold – he and AC would find a place to rent, she would lie to my face about having no interest in MM but of course they would end up fooling around and I would have no patience for it and we’d break up. I said this to MM as it came to me, obviously he denied any of it could happen and yet it did.
The feeling of knowing exactly what would happen but not being able to do anything about it was pretty awful, but what sticks with me all these years later is how utterly MM knew he was the type of person to never betray someone he loved in that way. Yet he did. Happily he is married with a daughter now, whew!
Premonition by vision: This incident happened several years after the premonition by gnosis, when I was married to Anthony for a few years and didn’t think about MM at all (Anthony is a bit of a handful and highly entertaining haha!)
One day i sat at the computer hutch, home alone, and fell into a bit of a reverie. Suddenly it was as if that day dream had been turned up to eleven, resulting in an outsized vision of College Avenue in the Elmwood neighborhood of Berkeley, a couple of blocks from where i’d lived with MM, his grandmother and Buttons. I saw MM walking towards me and an exagerratedly cheery voice said: “Well look at who’s here!” as my vision drew closer to MM’s chest to see a baby held in his arms.
Then the vision collapsed, and i was left with my usual sketch visualization skills. The feeling that someone other had been the cause of what I had just experienced was so strong that i actually turned around to see if someone else was in the room with me. Of course i was still alone and even if someone was there it wouldn’t explain how they took over my brain to convey that scene so vividly. It was also strange to be thinking about MM as he hadn’t crossed my mind in at least a year.
The next day our mutual friend “SC” called to tell me that MM and his wife were expecting a child. Now, I never had children due to all my medical problems, and friends and family thus have generally fretted about telling me of any pregnancies. My sense is that I was picking up on my friend SC fretting about breaking this news to me. The sense of another person’s awareness intruding on one’s own field of awareness becomes very familiar after a certain amount of practice (decades in my case, slow learner haha), and SC is a very talented visual artist which would help explain the vividness of the scene.
Premonition by media: After MM and I broke up I lived for a couple of years at a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center. A year or so before i moved there, I was reading/flipping through a Smithsonian Magazine when suddenly my attention was very much struck by a young Navajo man in a small picture accompanying an article. It was a boring picture of 3 people in a public health clinic or something, but i was just this side of mesmerized by this one guy. He was nice looking i suppose but no great shakes but again I was somewhat transfixed.
So transfixed that i hung onto this magazine for over a year and mentioned this guy to my best friend at the time. I never felt an impulse to try and figure out who that guy was (this was before the internet haha), it was more like being mesmerized by a small shiny object.
Anyways, after i’d been living at the TBMC for the better part of a year, His Holiness the Sakya Trizin came to stay and do teachings and empowerments. He brought a few people with him, including a youngish monk, “Lama Z”, who took a shine to me, and I to him. After they groups was around for a couple of days i realized Lama Z looked very like the young Navajo man in the Smithsonian Magazine.
Show Notes on Theory and Practice of Premonitions:
DEFINITIONS of Premonition, Prophecy, Divination and Precognition
- a strong feeling that something is about to happen, especially something unpleasant
1 : an inspired utterance of a prophet
2 : the function or vocation of a prophet; specifically : the inspired declaration of divine will and purpose
3 : a prediction of something to come
1 : the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers
2 : unusual insight : intuitive perception
So it seems to me that we have spontaneous future knowledge versus intentional pursuit of same – additionally there’s the presence or absence of spirits or god(ess)(e)s being the source of such knowledge. Having read a number of definitions and contemplating all this over the last week or so I’m still not quite sure how this pie is divided up. Also add to the mix:
foreknowledge of an event, especially foreknowledge of a paranormal kind.
OVERVIEW OF PRECOGNITIVE EXPERIENCES – Summary of Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s encyclopaedia entry on The Mystica
Precognition is the most frequently reported paranormal experience
60-70% of precognitive experiences take place while the experiencer is dreaming however spontaneous precog may also take place through:
Flashing thoughts/impressions in the mind
Sense of knowing
Precognitive information may also be obtained deliberately through:
The vast majority of precognitive experiences occur 24-48 hours before the event foreseen; rarely the premonitions may occur months or even years prior to the event.
By a ratio of 4-1 precognitive events refer to unhappy events.
80-85% involve spouses, family or close friends
Disasters are also ‘popular’
Parapsychological researchers (who in particular? I have no clue! Let’s just go with it) estimate that 30-50% of precognitions contain information which could be used to avert disaster/involvement in heinous B.S.
THEORIES, OR HOW CAN This BE IN A SANE UNIVERSE
“This apparent ability to alter the perceived future makes precognition difficult to understand. If precognition is a glimpse of the true or real future, then the effects are witnessed before the causes. Such conditions do occur in quantum physics. The most popular theory holds that precognition is a glimpse of a possible future that is based upon present conditions and existing information, and which may be altered depending upon acts of free will. That theory implies the future can cause the past, a phenomenon called “backward causality” or “retro-causality.””
J.A. Barker studied precognitive experiences in relation to disasters – starting with the Coal Slide Disaster in WAles in 1966 which killed 144 people (28 adults and 116 children). Coal waste broke its bounds and covered a school in session.
Three surveys performed after the event found a number of premonitions or precognitive experiences foreshadowing the disaster. These experiences ran the gamut from specific (some pinpointed the day, other experiences sensations of choking and gasping for breath, visions of clouds of black dust and children in extremis) to general sensations of uneasiness, foreboding, or ‘something bad is going to happen’.
These reports demonstrate some of the big problems with premonitions and precognitions – much of the accurate information still wasn’t of a form to be useful in preventing the disaster from happening. Thinking about this disaster and the many premonitions before it happened, J. A. Barker set out to see if the power of precognition could be harnessed somehow to try and prevent disasters.
To this end, he founded the British Premonition Bureau in 1967. SAdly, the BPB experienced the same problems with premonitions that the Alberfan Coal Disaster demonstrated – lack of actionable intelligence.
In 1968 the Central Premonitions Bureau was founded in New York City. Both bureaus were hampered by low budgets and PR woes. The CPB again found that most tips never amounted to anything, the others were so often inaccurate as to time as to also be useless in prevention. For example, both bureaus collected numerous premonitions of the PSA and American Airlines flight 191 disasters but – they happened anyway. From Rosemary Ellen Guiley, “Dreamwork for Visionary Living”, “Barker succeeded in finding a number of “human seismographs” who tuned in regularly to disasters but were unable to accurately pinpoint the times.”
J.A. Barker did develop a theory of premonitions after all of his research into the topic. His theory is that the precognitive experience itself releases a huge amount of powerful PK energy. The force of this PK thus brings the envisioned event to fruition in the future. Barker studied this type of event in the case of people who received predictions of their imminent death from fortune tellers. He wrote a book about this research called: “Scared to Death”, published in 1958.
J.W. Dunne “An Experiment with Time” published 1927
Very influential in wider culture – his ideas on the nature of time influenced writing by Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, H. G. Wells, Graham Greene, and J. B. Priestley. The incomparable Nabokov performed his own experiment with time in 1964, this experience informed his book “Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle”.
Dunne noticed that in his own precognitive experiences he was ‘seeing’ not a particular disaster but the moment when he himself learned of the disaster:
“Dunne had been bewildered by a series of precognitive dreams. In one of them, he had dreamt of the eruption of a volcano on a French island and the death of 4000 islanders. When the newspaper arrived, it headlined the eruption of Mount Pelée on Martinique and a death-toll of 40,000. Seemingly, the horrifying dream had been prompted by his later reading of the newspaper account. Of his predictive dreams, this one was the most dramatic; but all were perplexing.”
Dunne thus theorized the percipient’s emotional state/reaction was central to precipitating the precognitive experience.
THREE AND A HALF:
Dunne (deceased) and currently alive writer Eric Wargo (blogging at “The Nightshirt”) both feel it’s imperative to keep a dream journal in order to properly investigate precognition. Both authors find that they recognize many more instances of precognition through review of recorded dreams than by simply relying on recall or identification of precognitive dreams at the time of awakening. Both also feel that it is the ‘juice’ of emotional reaction upon recognizing the precognitive material in one’s waking life which reaches back in time to spark the precognitive dream.
The Nightshirt chronicles Wargo’s current exploration of Dunne’s ideas. Lots of interesting articles on the topic of ‘time loops’, Wargo’s theory of precognitive events. Plus Lacanian enjoyment, ‘jouissance’, and plenty of other concepts about which my understanding is nil.
HOWEVER ALEXX – as of this writing, Wargo’s most recent article is entitled “Look Back in Amber: Dream Paleontology as a New Gnosis” and concerns a precognitive dream he had involving dinosaurs which was apparently pre-viewing his receipt of a magazine about all things dino including toy dinosaurs.
I have to say that Wargo and Dunne’s theories do not square with my own experience, bar one or two dreams about birds I saw the day after the dream. I tend to recognize a precog experience as a “big deal” right away – the most typical feeling being that something major is moving into my field of awareness and I’m doomed, or a strong recognition that something is attracting my rapt attention. When I finally recognize what this feeling is pointing towards i generally feel a sense of relaxation and release. I also tend to precog happier events (if you consider a romantic interest happy, one can make an argument either way 😉 and these precog events have happened years before the events foretold.
I suspect there’s a number of different mechanisms by which these experiences unfold, and that some people have a knack for certain mechanisms and not others.
Precognitive Stock Market Dreamers
A group started by Walt Stover, whose interest in precognitive dreams was spurred by a lecture on dreams which he attended in 1973. In the early 1980’s Stover began to have spontaneous dreams accurately predicting changes in the stock market. This attracted his attention and curiosity until he decided to form his Stock Market Dreamers group in 1998.
A number of the group reported making lots of money by acting on the information contained in their dreams.However, each member had to spend significant time and attention on learning how to interpret their own particular precognitive dream patterns.
As psychic Ingo Swann puts it, like any mundane skill, precognition will be developed only through many years of diligent practice.
A Psychic Influencing Experiment Performed on Radio Misterioso Two fans of RM (Steve and Steph) decided to try to psychically influence the host (Greg Bishop) and guests on live RM shows for several months in 2014-2015. We chose a target word prior to each live show and would try to make that target word ‘show up’ in the field of the show either literally, metaphorically, or etc. (what that ‘etc.’ is supposed to be composed of i have no idea, maybe you might Alexx?) During the course of the experiment we told no one of our activities and communicated solely via electronic means (email, facebook messenger) so all communications were date and time stamped.
Our most blatant positive result came during the ‘heat’ live show, when the car parked next to the host’s out front of the studio caught on fire during the show. (sorry Greg)
The question here obviously is: were we showing precognition by choosing target words which would be fulfilled on the show or did our intention somehow influence the minds of the show participants? Interestingly, regarding the role of emotions and the primacy of the subconscious in ESP results, the one show where we came up absolutely empty handed was a review of Project Core, a very deliberately left brained, scientific approach to looking at UFO experiencers.