Precognition: The Shape Of Things To Come?
What if a terrible truth awaits us at the end of the paranormal research road? What if what we learn forever alters our current perspective on birth, life and death, as well as the belief in free will versus determinism? The most important questions pondered by the human condition are; Who are we? Where did we come from, and where are we going? Are we totally free to venture forth in any direction we choose, or are there subtle, yet powerful forces at work that unconsciously guide us through time and space to a fixed future reality? Are we all but performers in a massive, cosmic play that we live in, or do we write the script every day when we set forth on our life’s trek? A line from The Time Machine (MGM, 1960) uttered by the late Rod Taylor playing H.G. Wells, speaks quite eloquently on this matter; “Can man control his destiny, can he change the shape of things to come?” What if we discover that the future is as immutable as the past is? Then what?
What you’re about to read are some stories excerpted from my book, Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown, that discuss intriguing instances of precognition that are certainly interpretable by each person who reads them, but as a whole, they suggest that the reality we live in is far stranger and more complex than we ever imagined.
It was early 1961 and the newly elected President Kennedy was being sworn into office, where our future looked positive and productive at the hands of the youngest president our nation ever had. But this didn’t stop the disturbing images that raced through my head while watching the ceremonies.
What I kept feeling, hearing and knowing was that JFK would be killed right around Thanksgiving of 1963, it was like someone kept saying that to me over and over again in my head. No matter what I did or tried to do, the feelings persisted. In fact, they grew so intense, that I told my parents who already thought I was a very strange.
My mother didn’t even want to hear what I was saying as it was very upsetting to her, but my father somewhat listened, and to prove me wrong, he bet me $50, a lot to a child of thirteen in those days. So I accepted the bet just to stop my parents looking at me like I was an alien dropped into their home.
As time move forward, my parents pretty much forgot the incident, but I did not, and when we arrived at November 22, 1963, my parents gave me the strangest look I ever saw; one of absolute distance and fear, like they didn’t even know who I was anymore. In fact, it got so strained and weird after this, the my parents really didn’t speak to me for almost three weeks, as they fearful and confused.
As a senior in college (1970) I met a beautiful girl in one of my classes named Sharon, who bared a striking resemblance to the contemporary actress Jane Krakowski. We began dating and everything seemed just fine. In many ways, Sharon was one of the better relationships I’ve ever had. She was one of the few blond women I’ve ever dated. We were compatible in almost every way and shared many interests. But then came the dreams.
In these dreams I had about Sharon, I always found myself in the backseat of a late-model car. Sharon was in the passenger seat and although I did not see myself behind the wheel, I assumed that I was the driver even though I was unable to even distinguish the car’s dashboard layout, let alone determine who was behind the wheel.
We turned down the street Sharon lived on in Northridge, and as we approached the cul-de-sac upon which her home rested, a speeding car came out of nowhere and hit us head on. The impact was extremely violent.
All I remembered about the other vehicle was that it was dark in color and medium-sized. The car Sharon and I were in suffered extensive damage, leaving Sharon’s broken and bloody body lying motionless before me.
The recurring nature of this dream was very disturbing for obvious reasons. After these recurring nightmares, I finally broached the subject with Sharon and, as expected, she was not pleased. But not for the reasons one might expect.
Unfortunately, Sharon believed that I was fabricating this dream simply as a cheap way of ending our relationship. She felt that as I lived in West Los Angeles and she lived all the way out in the northwestern San Fernando Valley, I simply didn’t want to drive all that distance to see her.
In those days, the price of gasoline here in Los Angeles was around twenty-eight cents ($0.28) per gallon for high-octane (I know, depressing, isn’t it?), so the cost of fuel was not a concern. What was of concern was Sharon’s well being as well as my own.
As this matter dragged on, Sharon became so upset that she just walked away from the relationship for what she felt were very obvious reasons. I really couldn’t blame her, could I? What would I have done if the situation were reversed? Would I have believed her any more than she believed me? Probably not.
A short time later, Sharon began dating someone else, and the dream I had did, in fact, occur, with one significant exception; I was not in he car during the accident. Sharon was badly injured and has required continuous medical care throughout her life. Her date on that evening, the driver of the car she was in, unfortunately did not survive the violent collision.
Apparently, my ego and logic put me in the driver’s seat during my dream. I foolishly believed that by no longer dating Sharon I would change the course of the future, thereby preventing the accident.
All that really occurred was that I incorrectly interpreted the precognized event. A very hard dose of reality to swallow at such a young age. So much for changing the shape of things to come!
This particular event somewhat reminds me of one of the original Twilight Zone episodes (CBS, 1959-1964) wherein Russell Johnson (the professor from Gillian’s Island) travels back in time and attempts to prevent the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in April of 1865. Johnson’s character discovers that his inadequate recall of the assassination’s specifics stops him from saving Lincoln’s life at Ford’s theater.
The conclusion of this particular Twilight Zone episode, that of Rod Serling’s closing narration, is that some aspects of time are open to change while others are not. What if, in the end, we discover that future events are no different from those in the past, and that we have no more power to control our destiny than we can alter events of the past? It would be interesting to learn how such foreknowledge would alter the ways in which we currently live our lives? I wonder what we might do different or as to whether we would stubbornly attempt to alter what as to be?
While staying over my girlfriend Darlene’s apartment in West Los Angeles in 1975, I had a very disturbing dream. In my dream I’m piloting a TWA 747. The way I recognized this specific carrier was by the aircraft’s color scheme…red and white, and of course the letters TWA helped a lot.
I’m in the cockpit looking out where I was able to observe that we were starting our descent and approach for landing in South Africa. As the cruising altitude of airliners is way too low to observe such graphic continental features, it’s intriguing that I somehow knew we were approaching South Africa.
Suddenly, the drone of the four large turbofan engines ceased. The flight controls were dead and all the instruments were dark. The aircraft was losing altitude very rapidly, dropping like a stone.
I went through all the normal procedures to re-start the engines, but to no avail. Suddenly, the aircraft impacted the ground with tremendous force. The violent explosion blew the aircraft apart. The crash and resulting fire was so fierce that it figuratively and literally blew me out of bed, taking Darlene to the floor with me. I was covered in sweat.
After I told Darlene about the dream, I could immediately see the look on her face; that of worry, concern and puzzlement. When I calmed down, I did a little research and discovered that a 747 had, in fact, never before crashed as they had a perfect service record. Remember, this was 1975 and Boeing 747’s were in commercial service for only several years.
The problem from my perspective was that I had no information whatsoever as to when said crash would occur. Would it occur within days, weeks or months, and on what particular day at what time? Therefore, attempting to contact the FAA or TWA about my dream would prove to be futile and foolish, if not insane.
Five days later, the first 747 did, in fact, crash. It was a TWA and it crashed approaching South Africa. Talk about feeling helpless and overwhelmed by the forces around you. What’s the point of knowing such things if one cannot intervene to prevent them?
Can you imagine the response of the FAA or one of major airlines if such a call was placed today in the aftermath of 911? How soon to do think it would be before the FBI would be at my door with guns drawn? I wonder if such a precognitive event as this will ever be put to the test in today’s homeland security environment? How would such an event be played out given the current, overly paranoid concerns (and perhaps for good reason) of our government?
Another, even more extraordinary precognitive incident occurred in 1978 during the course of one of our psi training groups held at UCLA on Wednesday nights. These training groups, which began in 1971, applied positive feedback and reinforcement incorporating a free-verbal response (FVR) as opposed to forced-choice method, as a learning paradigm to enhance paranormal perception.
In those halcyon times, these perceptions were referred to as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and retrocognition, as opposed to the all-encompassing “remote viewing” nomenclature of today. A rose by any other name.
As we had been conducting these groups for seven years, even the continued positive results we were achieving were now boring. You know, that been there, done that, sort of feeling. More specifically, the ability of reaching into another’s mind or observing things at a distance, we now perceived as somewhat commonplace and ordinary. Hard to believe, I know. However, when there is high degree of success and continuity with such extraordinary research efforts, one tends to become jaded. I guess that this attitude is just part of being human?
In an effort to make things more interesting, we decided to attempt our first precognitive effort with this group.
We turned off the lights in the Neuropsychiatric Institutes’s C-floor observation/conference room and went through our normal progressive muscular relaxation procedure. Once we had attained this hypo-metabolic state, we mentally focused on the “target” person of the next week’s first session.
In a way, the verbal reinforcements given during this part of this session were similar to what Christopher Reeve as Richard Collier in Somewhere In Time (Universal, 1980) verbalized when attempting to physically transport himself back through time. Except of course, we didn’t expect to physically travel in time, and obviously we weren’t producing a fantasy film at the time either.
We began describing the “target” person as a tall, beautifully statuesque, blue-eyed blond girl dressed in a tan business suit. We continued our verbalizations into the centrally placed, amplified, microphone within the otherwise sensory-deprived room as we clearly saw the specific number on the chair in which she was sitting (there were twenty-four chairs in this conference room, each of which was numbered).
As the session continued, we “saw” a very large mansion-like home, within which was a large baby-grand piano. Numerous bits of varying types of personal information continued to flow from our mouths for quite some time. And then, silence.
Vocally piercing the darkened conference room, we all abruptly began describing a tall man wearing all black, with a black hat, black mask, a flowing black cape and an imposing sword. I remember thinking, what kind of crap are we uttering? The session ended and we didn’t give much thought to what we had just said because it wasn’t relevant yet.
It was now one week later and another group was about to begin. However, on this particular evening, no guest member from the prior week was allowed to bring a visitor. Any new participants on this night could only arrive through third parties who had not been in attendance for the last several weeks, i.e., through independent means.
When each new person arrived they were handed a sealed envelope with a number from one through twelve written on a piece of paper within it. Once in the conference room, we rolled the dice and then asked all new visitors to open their sealed envelopes. Whichever person’s number fit the dice roll was the randomly chosen target person for the first session.
We had all pretty much forgotten what we had said a week earlier, so when a statuesque blue-eyed, blond girl’s number matched the dice roll, we didn’t give it second thought.
I asked this stunning 19-yr old woman, named Toni, to replay the audiotape from the week before and if she heard any statements that directly related to her, stop the tape and comment on them. If the statements were incorrect, let the tape run without interruption. Toni didn’t immediately understand what I just said, forcing me clarify this protocol again.
Toni listens, as voices clearly describe her appearance and clothing in detail as well as the exact number of the chair she is seated in. Her look is one of astonishment, although the best was yet to come. When she hears the specific description of the mansion in the hills with the baby grand piano, her eyes open even wider, as those data points were also correct. But those could have been coincidence, couldn’t they?
However, then came what I believe to be one of the most fascinating pieces of precognized information that has ever been documented? Let’s see if you agree.
When we finished our discourse on the black costumed man with the mask and sword, Toni let out a somewhat muffled scream. There was hesitation in her voice and for good reason.
Toni looked at me and said: “How do you know who I am?” My immediate response was to look at her while shrugging my shoulders, “What do you mean, who you are?” Toni tells our group that her full name is “Toni Williams”. We all looked at Toni with blank, expressionless faces, as we did not understand what she was referring to. Who was Toni Williams?
Realizing that our group really didn’t know who “Toni Williams” was, she connected the dots for us. Apparently, Toni knew all too well exactly who the masked, darkly dressed, swordsman was. In fact, she knew him for her entire life.
The ornately costumed man turned out to be her father, Guy Williams, the actor who played Zorro in the Disney television series from the late fifties and early sixties. You might better remember Guy Williams from another TV series in the mid-sixties, where he played Professor John Robinson in CBS’s Lost In Space.
Toni was speechless and just a little frightened. She looked at all of us as though we were beings from another reality. She sheepishly asked when this tape was made and we told her exactly one week earlier. However, Toni did not even know of, or that she was even coming to our group until several hours earlier that very day!
Toni’s question was a simple one. How could we have so accurately described her and her surroundings seven days earlier when she wasn’t even aware of us, or of our group?
Indeed, how could we have perceived such an event unless the information pertaining to it already existed? What are the odds of us accurately describing such state specific information about an event one hundred and sixty-eight hours before it occurred?
What’s the probability of our precisely describing the Zorro character as related to his daughter one week prior to her random appearance and selection as a target in our group? A million-to-one? A billion-to-one? A trillion-to-one? Okay, let’s just say astronomical and leave it at that! Does this event sound like we were randomly guessing as to the shape of things to come? Believe it or not, there have been those individuals over the decades that actually believed that we somehow deduced or logically inferred the information described herein. What do you think?
Needless to say, Toni never again returned to participate in one of our research groups, as her one experience with us was more than enough. I can certainly understand how unsettling such an unusual experience can be. But then, as I think about it, maybe I can’t.
As we were all very impressed with our first foray into the future, we attempted to replicate our results several months later, little knowing what the full emotional effects of such accurately precognized information would have on some of us.
During this second attempt things went very differently though. All any of us could “sense” was fire, and more fire. We didn’t know why this was, but it certainly wasn’t worth getting all that upset over. Well, at least, not until the next day.
On that following Thursday, while up in the lab on 2-South of the NPI, I heard the arrival of many fire engines. Racing down to the C-Floor, I discovered that our conference room had apparently caught fire due to a shorting socket that sparked the drapes covering the room’s west-facing wall. What a coincidence and shock (oops, there’s another pun). And no, I did not start the fire myself to produce a self-fulfilling prophecy.
After these two successful treks into the future, several of our regular group members became depressed and starting having anxiety attacks about the possibility that the future is as immutable as the past, and that free will may be little more than an illusion.
My response to these reactions was simple, “Who cares! We’re still going to live out our lives making daily judgments and choices without knowing the shape of things to come whether the future is random and open to change or predestined.” For some reason, my attitude regarding such matters doesn’t seem to be shared by many others. Why is that?
For some reason, I cannot as yet fathom the belief that reality is random and chaotic. To me personally, my experiences and research strongly suggest that reality is finely ordered and predetermined, and this belief gives me a sense of inner peace.
Maybe I just can’t accept the notion that anything as vast and extraordinarily intricate and complex as the universe could be the result of random, chaotic energy. No way! Or perhaps, I’ve had way too many precognitive experiences growing up, both in and out of the lab environment to believe otherwise?
In this regard, there is another precognitive event from my past at the UCLA lab that I believe is worthy of consideration.
In early 1978 and I had a very vivid dream about the parapsychology lab I worked in at UCLA. In this dream, we’re all at the lab, Dr. Moss, Kerry, John and Francis as well as this author.
Suddenly, the head of the NPI, Dr. West, walked in and began talking about his dislike of the work we were doing. In the midst of his ranting, the entire room began to violently shake, as though we were suffering a major earthquake.
As the shaking continued, the room felt as though it was falling and the entire building was collapsing beneath us. We all attempted to grab onto something in response. Then, the shaking and falling sensations abruptly ceased. These motions were now replaced by others, that of moving horizontally.
All of our attention was immediately drawn to the lab’s windows facing west. We were indeed moving horizontally. However, there was an odd wooden plank of sorts upon which sat the rotted corpse of a woman. To her right, was the rotted and mangled corpse of a large German Shepard.
Upon seeing these bizarre “corpses”, Dr. West let out a loud scream. He told us that the woman sitting upon the plank was his dead sister and that the dog was her old German Shepard that was also dead.
Then the room’s motion entirely ceased. I opened the only door the lab had and stepped out into what should have been the hallway. Surprise! No hallway, no building.
The image we were presented with was right out a horror movie. We were now outdoors. Under a brilliant full moon, the ground appeared as moist, dark, freshly turned earth, with a subtle shrouding of fog hanging over it. Immediately before me were crude wooden steps that led down towards the ground.
Once upon the ground, I turned back and was shocked to discover that our lab’s room had turned into a early to mid 19th century funeral coach with glass walls with candled lights at each corner. Sitting atop the driver’s bench was the rotted corpse-like woman with the mangled German Shepard.
I asked our “corpse driver” what all this was. She or it, immediately answered, “I’ve brought you here to bury you because you’re dead.” How nice of her to inform me of such.
I immediately awoke covered in sweat with a feeling that my heart was about to explode out of chest. Can you say high anxiety night terror?
Words cannot convey my emotional reaction to this dream. It goes without saying that my first thought was that perhaps there would be a major earthquake and the entire NPI would collapse causing all of our deaths. Not a pleasant thought.
After I had some time to logically and rationally think about the dream, there was a far more likely possibility that what I perceived was a horror-laden, melodramatic metaphor of our lab dying.
Of course, I had no way of knowing which of these interpretations was correct, although the second one seemed more likely. I discussed my dream with Thelma, and she too thought it was little more than my insecurities about the lab’s future producing a fearful dream.
While this may have been partially correct, all of us in the lab were well aware of how Dr. West, the NPI’s officials and UCLA’ administrators in general, felt about our work.
Even in those early years, there was the formal, academic concern over political correctness. Therefore, we all knew that we, and the lab, were living on borrowed time so to speak, as we had access to all the facilities and services of a conventional lab without any funding whatsoever.
I did not totally subscribe to Thelma’s belief that my dream was nothing more than my subconscious fears regarding the lab’s inevitable demise, as it was common knowledge to all concerned that the lab’s days were numbered. The possibility of our lab’s imminent death was no more on my mind at that moment in time that at any other.
After the passage of several days and then weeks, I pretty much forgot about this bizarre dream, and perhaps for good reason. Several weeks’ later Dr. West made an unexpected visit to the lab. I’ll bet you can guess what happened next?
Dr. West proceeded to tell us that our lab would be shut down and its space given to others who had funding available that would pay for the requisite facilities and services we were getting free of charge. Well, I guess nothing lasts forever, does it?
As Dr. West was leaving the lab I asked him if I could speak with him for a moment and he agreed. I do not know what gave me the courage to ask Dr. West if he has a sister, but I did. His reply was very enlightening.
Apparently, he did have a sister. Naturally, given the content of my dream, I had to ask, “What do you mean, did? He said that she died some time ago. My immediate follow up to his reply was, “May I inquire as to what caused her death?” “She suffered a protracted death from cancer which wasted most of her body”, the doctor said. My immediate reply to Dr. West was to give my condolences. He thanked me, but then asked why I asked about his sister and I told him that someone had mentioned it to me some time ago and I was curious.
As I might never again have an opportunity to speak with Dr. West in such a casual manner, I quickly asked him one last question. “Did your sister have a dog?” West looked at me very strangely, cocking his head to one side, probably trying to figure out why I was asking such obscure questions of him.
He thought for a moment, finally answering. “Why yes, she used to have a dog.” I immediately followed up with, “What breed of dog?”, “A German Shepard, he responded. “What happened to that dog?” I asked. Again, Dr. West looked at me as though I was a police detective conducting an intense interrogation of a suspect.
However, the good doctor answered my final question in saying that his sister’s German Shepard was killed in a violent auto accident many years before she herself passed.
I thanked Dr. West for his time and he walked away, never suspecting the real reason I asked such bizarre questions of a literal stranger. Had I told him of my dream, he very likely would have thought that I belonged in the NPI as an inpatient, as he was extremely skeptical about such matters.
Having learned what I just did, it was obvious that my dream had a very common form of distortion called “primary process”. In laymen’s terms, this is a method by which our subconscious mind colors or modifies information going to our conscious mind that might otherwise be too painful or difficult to deal with. Primary process distortion could be looked at as the noise as related to the signal.
Obviously, the thought of our lab closing was one that was far too painful for my conscious mind to deal with, so my unconscious cleverly cloaked it with the melodrama of a low-budget, Roger Corman horror movie. This is certainly preferable to dying during an earthquake while in the lab, isn’t it? This type of distortion is extremely common when dealing with paranormal perception. In fact, it’s very rare when such does not occur.
So in the end, how many coincidences make a fact? Hundreds, thousands, millions, or none at all?
Do we live in a closed, predetermined reality where we are all simply acting out our daily lives in some gigantic play, or are all these precognitions no more than coincidences or synchronicities? Or is it a combination of both, or neither? Is free will real or an illusion? In the end, we may never know because we’re in the middle of it all. Or could it be that we can think anything we please, but once we act upon it, it becomes real?
And in closing it’s important that we remember that the only real. viable theory of psi and consciousness has distinctive holonomic aspects to it, strongly suggesting that all information is equally distributed throughout space and time. Therefore, the past’s information still exists and the future’s information already exists, as does information remote from your brain and body, hence the term remote viewing.
The more we learn and the more data that is collected on this matter, the less we seem to grasp and understand. But it’s always been most difficult to examine one’s own reality by looking from the inside out. We really need to be on the outside looking in. The problem here is how to achieve such.
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