Dream question: “I dream about long lost friends and relatives only to see them or hear from them the next day. This has happened to me on several occasions and it occurred that is is more than mere coincidence. Are there are any other cases and is there any science behind it?”
The subject of predictive dreaming is fascinating. Like most unexplained phenomenon, it would be great if we could prove its existence with hard evidence under a controlled study. That said, it’s happened to you, it’s happened to me and many, many people I’ve met over the years.
One study I know about, carried out in 1980 by a well known newspaper, showed that 42% of people felt they’d had at least one dream which then came true. When I appeared on a well known TV show, the producer did a similar survey with very similar results. This certainly suggests that the ability to predict the future in a dream is more common than some may think.
The International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) acknowledges from research there are many impressive accounts from reliable sources which relate specifically to unlikely or unexpected events which have been dreamt about and then taken place. Those that have these types of dream often report that the dream itself simply “feels” different.
Are all predictive dreams the same?
We can put this type of dreams into categories:
Precognitive: These are essentially dreams where you may have had a thought prior to the dream which influenced the events which then happen or, as a result of the dream the thought became possible. An example of this would be you had a thought the milkman would deliver the milk tomorrow (as he or she always does), you dream this happens and indeed it does. Technically, this is a dream predicting the future but it’s based on the fact that you knew it would happen. In the same way, you may have a dream that you speak to an old friend and over the course of the next few days you set about, perhaps even subconsciously, putting various steps in place to make that possible. It may surprise you when they call you, but it may be that in some way you’ve been inadvertently sending out messages for them to get in touch.
Prophetic: These are the ones that can really blow the mind. You have a dream about something, perhaps a natural disaster or global event, only to discover that it then comes true. Many people cancelled their tickets aboard the R.M.S. Titanic on the strength of the fact that they dreamt it would sink. Sometimes known as ‘Omen Dreams’ thankfully, they’re not all doom and gloom. Prophecies in dreams can take the form of dreaming of a friend’s pregnancy or engagement, even though you haven’t spoken to them (or anyone they know) in weeks.
Prodromal (or prognostic): Psychiatrist Dr Robin Royston, suggested in an article which appeared in the Times in 2004 that dreams can also highlight signs of illness within the body through their symbolised content and the language we use to describe them.
Then there are suggestions that some dreams may predict events which could be prevented and those events which could not. The frustration is that you can only know for certain if a dream predicts the future if it does then come true – unless you really know how when your dreams predict the future.
The frustration is that you can only know for certain if a dream predicts the future if it does then come true
Is it possible to spot a predictive dream?
Over the course of my career so far, there have been some ‘tells’ people have described about predictive dreams. However, this by no mean suggests that if you experience the following, your dream is about to come true. If you’re dreaming of the death of a loved one this can just as easily represent your fear it may happen (rather than the reality of it).
Here are some of the signs people have told me:
- They simply ‘know’ their dreams are predictive;
- Recreating rituals/using herbs to induce a predictive dream based on stories from ancient civilisations (not recommended);
- It’s like watching a movie;
- One lady I spoke with said whenever she dreamed in sepia (the old black-and-white-style photograph) she knew her dreams would come true. (Note: dreaming in black and white can also suggest you’re disconnected from some area of your life);
- Around a specific time of the moon’s cycle.
Keeping a dream diary is a great way of recording your dreams, and you may notice over time your dreams have predicted an event. You can download a free guide on keeping a dream diary when you subscribe to my newsletter. I’m sure more research will bring this to life over the coming years – watch this space.
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