Everyone dreams. We spend a large portion of our lives in a strange realm complete with its own characters, plotlines, conflicts, and broken physics. Yet we still don't really understand dreams. There are theories, of course. One common explanation is that dreams are nothing more than your short-term memories integrating with your long-term memories. That seems to make sense, but it doesn't explain why 15 to 30 percent of people say they have experienced precognitive dreams, dreaming about future events before they happen. That statistic comes courtesy of Dr Julia Mossbridge, a neuroscientist whose work at Northwestern University over the last 15 years has led her to conclude that precognition and precognitive dreams are not only real, but will inevitably become an accepted part of 21st century society.
In an article written by Dr Mossbridge for the Daily Mail, she lays out a brief history of her precognition studies and her own personal experiences with precognition. According to Mossbridge, she and a team of researchers at Northwestern University analyzed 26 experiments in future prediction that had been published over the last 32 years that all asked whether it was possible for human physiology to predict the future. According to Dr Mossbridge:
The answer, our research concluded, is ‘yes’. When you add all these experiments together, it became clear the human body goes through changes in advance of future important events — alerting our non-conscious minds seconds earlier to what is likely to happen.
One experiment analyzed tested whether people responded to stressful images before they were shown them. Using a random number generator, participants were shown "emotionally neutral" pictures like flowers and then shown a "stressful picture" of someone pointing a gun at them. The experiment found that participants' stress signals activated before the random number generator chose to show them the picture of the gun.
Mossbridge says she believes this happens because time doesn't work the way we think it does:
According to our everyday experience, it seems like events in the past are the only things that can cause something to happen in the future — the cause always precedes the effect. But some experts believe there is good evidence that, if causality exists at all, future events can cause things in the past.
Remember, the actual operational definition of time is, I kid you not, "what a clock reads." Time is weird.
Dr Mossbridge believes that important future events can cause what she calls "pulls" that reach out to the past and impact human physiology and consciousness, and she says these pulls most commonly reach people in their dreams:
These pulls, for most people, happen in the form of the brain’s night-time activity — a dream. Precognitive dreams are the most commonly reported psychic experience, with research suggesting 15-30 per cent of people have experienced them. Events predicted in them seem to happen about 40 per cent of the time the day after the dream.
Mossbridge goes on to relate a precognitive dream of her own which exactly predicted an experience she would have when she was looking for an apartment for her and her son during her divorce.
At the time I was looking for an apartment for my son and me, and I dreamed that my neighbour, Maureen, was renting out a ground-floor flat she owned. In the dream she even let me choose the paint colours. So the next day I asked Maureen if she knew of any flats for rent.
We’d barely spoken before, but just as predicted, she did have a ground-floor apartment and, as it was being refurbished, I could pick the colours if I signed the lease straight away.
Dr Mossbridge also says that she believes this ability can get stronger with practice, just like any other skill, and that as this phenomenon becomes more accepted there will likely be a "precog economy," where those with precognitive abilities will have careers predicting future events from the large to the mundane.
Which isn't that far fetched, even if you don't believe any of this. Divination was a real, if not respectable, vocation throughout the ages, and as everything old becomes new again we could very well see scryers with computer monitors and data-analytics software instead of crystal balls. Who knows what the future will bring? I'll have to sleep on it.