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Precognitive dream?

Opening today's Independent I read an article about a surf-boarder in Australia who had two fingers bitten off by a shark. I then remembered that last night I had dreamt of a man who had his nose bitten off by a shark.

There have been numerous claims for precognition in dreams. Mine would appear to be an example and I have had similar dreams in the past. But are they really precognitive? The usual counter-argument is that millions of people in Britain dream every night and by chance there will sometimes be some dreams that coincide with events. I think this must be the right explanation.

At a more trivial level, I sometimes have the radio on when I'm at the computer, and from time to time I find myself typing a word at the exact moment I hear the same word spoken on the radio. Sometimes this has been a very unusual word. These coinidences are obviously just that - concidences - and I think the same must be true of apparently precognitive dreams.

We find this difficult to accept because we tend to attach significance to dreams, even if we are not Jungians. For many dreams, like this one, there has been no identifiable precipitating event in the previous day and this makes the coincidence seem more spooky. But if I could identify some trigger for the dream in something I had experienced or read during the day, the spookiness would largely disappear. Such a trigger presumably does exist; it's just that I don't know what it is.

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Patricia on :

Read about Daryl Ben, from Cornell University, he does research on those coincidences.
And read: An experiment on time, by Dunne, he explains premonition dreams in an interesting way.

Anthony Campbell on :

I take it you mean Daryl Bem? I know he is a serious scientist but I suspect his work will join the long list of barely significant results in parapsychology which may in the end be due to chance. Chris French has an interesting account of failure to replicate these results, followed by great difficulty getting his research published because it was about replication. See The Guardian for 15 March 2012 (www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/mar/15/precognition-studies-curse-failed-replications).

At one journal the paper was rejected because of an adverse comment by a reviewer who, it turned out, was Bem himself!

The article in Wikipedia is fairly informative as well.

I have read Dunne's book, a long time ago. I think the verdict of physicists is that his theory of multiple dimensions of time doesn't work - at least, so Paul Davies told me.

But there is something deeply mysterious about time. If the respected physicist Julian Barbour is right and time doesn't exist, I supoos that might afford a basis for apparent precognition.

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