Precognitive Dreaming: Can Dreams Predict The Future?

The Orloj. Prague’s famous astronomical clock – Photo by Unknown

In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • Dr. Stanley Krippner is a pioneer in the study of consciousness who has been conducting research in the field of psychology and parapsychology for more than 50 years.

    • A lot of his research focuses on phenomenon associated with dreams.

    • He has conducted compelling experiments suggesting that in some cases, people can have precognitive and telepathic dreams.

  • Reflect On:
    • What does this research tell us about the nature of our reality?

    • How much do we have yet to discover about ourselves and our mental abilities?

    • Is scientific exploration into topics associated with "magic" or "spirituality" discouraged to protect the status quo?

    • Can we use our for multiple purposes?

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Dr. Stanley Krippner is a pioneer in the study of consciousness who has been conducting research in the field of psychology and parapsychology for more than 50 years. One specific area of interest for him is what’s known as precognitive dreaming. He believes we are capable of precognitive dreams, and says his research backs that up.

In one of his most significant laboratory studies on the subject, each night, a study participant would go through a night of dreaming with the intention to dream about an experience they would have the following morning. The dreamer was woken up approximately 5 times throughout the night to relay their dream to an experimenter.

The following mornings, experimenters randomly selected an experience from a number of prearranged options, and then the dreamer was subjected to that experience.

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Dr. Krippner said there was no way for the participants to know what experience they would encounter before it was selected and administered.

For example, one participant had several dreams one night about birds flying everywhere. The next morning the dreamer was subjected to one of the randomly-selected experiences. The experience was to have him sit down with earphones on, and listen to bird calls being played. A video with pictures of birds was also played.

If statistically significant results arrived, this example would represent dream precognition.

At the end of the eight-night experiment, outside judges were called in to consider the participants’ dreams against the experiences they were subjected to, and determine whether the dreams matched the next day’s experience.

For each participant, the judges found a match between at least one dream and the pre selected random experience, on most nights of the experiment.

“If we were talking about any other phenomenon, you’d say this phenomenon is pretty well established. But given that there is no known physical mechanism for what these studies seem to be showing, scientists are still saying, ‘Well we don’t have a good explanation for this so we’re very suspect about these experiments.”

Dr. Patrick McNamara, associate professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and professor of psychology at Northcentral University (In an interview with VICE)

Cases of dream precognition have also been well documented in twins. There are multiple cases where one twin dreams that something is going to happen to the other twin and it does in fact happen.

“We also have very well documented cases of twins dreaming very similar dreams and knowing that they just dreamed a similar dream and being able to finish the dream of the other person. The fact that these dreams occur between biological relatives or between people with deep emotional bonds strengthens the case for the fact that something new is happening, some real cognitive or biological process is happening in these cases that is currently unknown and unchartered by science.”

Dr. Patrick McNamara

On a side note, it’s worthy to mention that an experiment from 1965 showed that the elicitation of alpha brain waves in one twin created the same effect in the other who is separated from their sibling. The researchers call it “extrasensory induction.” Some sort of biological quantum entanglement it seems. You can read more about that here.

Another interesting area of research is dream telepathy, which suggests that human beings have the ability to communicate telepathically with another person while they are dreaming. This isn’t a new concept; scientific interest in telepathy dates back to the fathers of the psychoanalytic movement.

Sigmund Freud, for example, looked at the implications of telepathy on psychoanalytic thought. He also considered dream telepathy, or the telepathic influence of thought on dreaming, on multiple occasions. Carl Jung believed in the telepathic hypothesis without question, and even developed a theoretical system to explain “paranormal” events of this nature.

Dr. Stanley Krippner, PhD, and pioneer in the field of consciousness studies explains,

“A wealth of anecdotal and clinical material exist which supports the possibility of telepathic effects occurring in dreams (Krippner, 1974). However, an experimental approach to the topic did not become possible until psycho physiological laboratory technology became available. It was discovered that sleeping research participants awakened from periods of rapid eye movement (REM) activity were frequently able to recall dream episodes. As a result, it was possible to request a “telepathic receiver” to attempt dreaming about a target stimulus that was being focused on in a distant location from a “telepathic sender.””

A Pilot Study in Dream Telepathy with the Grateful Dead

You can read more about dream telepathy and find a few examples of successful experiments that were conducted, here.

Last year, I wrote about an international team of researchers that were able to achieve real-time dialogues with people in the midst of lucid dreams, a phenomenon that is called “interactive dreaming,” according to a study published recently in Current Biology.  

The fact that lucid dreamers were able to communicate with the researchers, who weren’t dreaming, was fascinating, especially reading about how that communication manifested within the dreams of the dreamers. You can read more about that here.

Here is an interesting lecture from Dale Graff. He has a scientific background in the aerospace industries and in technical intelligence assignments for the Department of Defense. He was also a director of the STARGATE program, a program designed to study parapsychological phenomenon and its effectiveness for intelligence gathering purposes.

In the lecture Graff answers the following questions: What is Psi dreaming? How can individuals experience Psi dreams? How can Psi dreaming be researched and evaluated scientifically? What can we do with Psi dreaming?

I’d like to leave you with the post below that was sent to us by Dr. Teresa DeCicco. She is a Professor of Psychology at Trent University in Canada. She is also a Research Associate at the Centre for National Research in Italy and is an author who has published numerous scientific papers on dreams, dreaming and spiritual psychology. 

“As a professor, researcher, and author I was fortuitously teaching an evening class on Dreams and Dreaming the night of September 10, 2001 at a university near Toronto, Canada. This particular class was one where the students had to hand in an assignment with a recorded dream from the previous week. As such, they handed in a recent dream they had had on the evening just prior to September 11th. Upon grading the papers I came upon one assignment that was particularly fascinating.

One student recorded a dream she had had just a few nights before September 10th. The dream imagery was of an airplane hitting the CN Tower in Toronto (this is a major monument in the city). The plane then hit the tower again, and she recalled seeing great gouts of smoke and fire. This dream scene was followed by one with her father who was hiding up in the attic of their home. He was running in the dark attic trying to avoid anyone seeing him, as he was being incriminated for the planes hitting the tower. The dream was so powerful and emotional that it woke the student from her sleep.

Of course, the next day a version of the story came alive in the news, with similar detailsunfolding in the weeks and even years to come. Had this student predicted what would be broadcast all over the world with a similar story in her dream? Do dreams provide information about the future, and if so, how does this happen?

Judging from both research studies and anecdotal evidence, it seems that dreaming about the future is not an uncommon phenomenon. Just as the student saw images similar to the upcoming events of 9/11, people have reported these types of dreams from the beginning of recorded history. Often there can be distortion of details, as the tower was in Toronto rather than in New York and the main character was represented by her father. However, the imagery in dreams is very salient to the dreamer. She lived near Toronto and therefore incorporated imagery that was relevant in her own daily waking life while telling herself a story of what was to come. This seems to be a common theme with dreams in general. We dream about important events that are told within the story of our own day-to-day existence. Key figures in waking life are our dream characters and familiar surroundings become the vista for the dream story to play out. Nonetheless, important information is being portrayed in the dream story, and sometimes it’s a glimpse at the future.

So if dreams about the future are fairly common and have been recounted for many years, why are they not discussed more often and more openly? It turns out that in some cultures these dreams are considered a very helpful and well-known experience. In North American culture we have distanced ourselves from our own dreaming mind and so these are considered coincidental or of non-importance. This stems mostly from a mistranslation of the bible by a biblical scholar, St. Jerome. This scholar replaced the word “dream” for “witchcraft” throughout the bible, which resulted in dreams becoming associated with the occult from then on. At this point in history, the course of dreams was changed for centuries. Any and all discussion surrounding dreams became forbidden and was quickly ignored.

The truth is, if we pay attention to the imagery we have during sleep it will reveal much about waking life. Research shows that dreams reflect illness in the body, relationship issues, financial concerns, problems we or other people may be having, and events yet to be experienced. They  offer a plethora of information for anyone who is willing to pay attention. It’s a part of the self that, when given consideration, will pay back one million-fold.

We have yet to come to an understanding of how this is possible, but the marriage of psychology and physics is attempting to shed some light onto this incredible experience. Perhaps more importantly, people who are willing to pay attention to their nocturnal thinking patterns will gain rich and vital information that is truly helpful in the waking day. Furthermore, this is a whole new frontier of human consciousness that can be explored if one hasn’t begun the expedition already – a frontier that is vast and uncultivated, but waiting patiently to reveal its secrets.”

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