Friday, September 14th, four days after the terrorist attacks on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Richard Wilkerson commented to an
Association for the Study of Dreams online group that, so far the only
dreams to be submitted to any of the online collection points seemed
to be precognitive ones.
I will admit that my background in
dealing with precognitive dreams was what sent me to the computer not
minutes after I watched a live broadcast of the second airliner
smashing into the WTC tower, even before news of the events at the
Pentagon broke. As moderator of the ASD Bulletin Board, I wanted to
broadcast the message that dreams could be posted. I was not surprised
when the first dream results turned out to be precognitive.
For thirteen years, between 1975 and
1986, as I directed a nonprofit organization dedicated to research
into consciousness, I lectured, conducted classes, spoke to dream
groups, all around the U.S. I listened to literally hundreds of dreams
involving precognition, and I heard the questions raised by
1. Why me? (Which could also be
called questions two and three in most cases.)
2. My family says I'm nuts--or spooky. What good is
precognition if nobody listens?
3. Why do I only dream about the bad things?
4. What can I do to either stop dreaming this way, or make
these dreams clear enough to be useful?
5. What does it mean if I have precognitive dreams? (This
latter questions particularly comes from lucid dreamers.)
At the time I was hearing all these
hundreds of dreams and the questions accompanying them, I was also
working on some answers, and I would like to share them with you in
light of the current situation.
Why me? If we look at the collection of
dreams presaging Tuesday's tragedy, it is easy to see that, although
some of the accounts come from people who know themselves to be
regular precognitive dreamers, many more come from people who are
shocked to discover their precognition.
answer to the question seems, in fact, to be that every single one of
us has precognitive ability, and that intuition is a human
The answers to questions number two and
three go hand in hand, and are the ones which actually prompted this
article. Although historically there have been many cultures which
welcomed dreaming and relied on the insights of their dreamers, the
last four hundred years of Western culture have been far from
welcoming toward precognition or intuition of any kind. Whereas
churches stopped persecuting citizens for witchcraft by the late
sixteen hundreds, by the early seventeen hundreds, scientism and
"rational thinking" had taken up the hunt. It is easy enough
to understand why, despite the recorded fact that some of the best
known individuals in recent history--Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain,
Buckminster Fuller, Isabel Allende, Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk--to
name just a few, have recounted precognitive dreams, still the
majority of the population refuses to believe precognition exists.
There remains, however, the question of
what to do if one has a precognitive dream, or many of them.
It appears that the stronger an event
is in emotional content, the more likely it is to be
"broadcast" in time and space, at least in some form that
catches the attention of "connected" dreamers. Although many
people who record their dreams daily talk about mundane or
inconsequential precognitions they pick up from their dreams, the
majority of precognitive dreams recounted tend to involve strong
emotion: birth, death, illness, disaster.
There are many people today who are
asking how all these precognitive dreams, recorded both before and
after the tragedy, could have happened. In a way this is a reminder to
us all that we know relatively little about the mechanics of dreaming,
let alone the mechanics of consciousness. I leave the speculation
about mechanics to others, believing (although I enjoy speculation)
that what we need to deal with is the facts. In part, because of the
presence of the Internet, that remarkable tool for communication, we
have before us possibly the greatest outpouring of precognitive dreams
and awarenesses ever recorded in history.
These precognitions exist. They are a
fact. Now, what will we do about them?
As intellectuals (and I think it is safe to say that most people who
read e-zines consider themselves to be intellectuals), we have a
tendency to want to distance ourselves from the emotions of dreams by
thinking about them. I strongly suggest that now, in these times, we
allow ourselves to feel as well as to think.
has been suggested to me that some people who posted precognitive
dreams to the Internet after Tuesday's events might have been
"making them up." I ask you, why would someone do that? What
we are dealing with here is a fact in the world psyche. There has
been/is a traumatic event, and we are all attempting to deal with it.
If we begin by accepting the fact that many, many people had
premonitions of disaster, then possibly we can do something to--I'm
almost afraid to say it--change the future.
The first issue we are looking at, I
believe, is the one which comes up in question number two. What good
is precognition if nobody believes the precognitive dreamer? Or even
ridicules or makes light of the dream?
I believe that one of the first things
that happens to a precognitive dreamer after recognizing a
precognitive dream of some magnitude is what I call precognitive
dreamer guilt. The message one gives oneself is, "If I knew about
the event (particularly if it's a disaster), and didn't report it, or
try to convince others that it was going to happen, am I guilty of
allowing the event to happen?" This question, depending upon the
dreamer, is more or less a part of conscious awareness, but the tricky
part of it, especially for those who are new to believing in this
particular take on reality, is that there is a strong element of truth
to the question.
Let me recount one of the dreams I have
heard since the terrorist attacks. You tell me what you think. This
dream occurred on Monday night, September 10/11.
The dreamer was lucid. She was visiting a family whose members she was
aware she knew, though confusingly, not in their present forms. It was
an ordinary day. The dreamer became aware that it was the day before
the attack on Pearl Harbor. Should she tell them what was going to
At some point in the dream, the mother
of the family said to the dreamer (or the self she was in the dream),
"You look a little upset. Why don't you lie down and take a
nap?" Which she did. But then awoke in the dream again, still
lucid, feeling both disoriented and concerned about whether she should
tell the family about the imminent attack on Pearl Harbor.
I chose this dream for two reasons. One
is that it comes from one of the hundreds, possibly millions, of
people who experienced precognition before the terrorist attacks, but
did not post the dream to the Internet. The other reason is because
the dream so clearly illustrates the dilemma we are all facing.
Does the dreamer cause the event to
happen? Can anything be changed by "telling" about the
I am convinced that, at some level, we
are all connected. Further, I tend to believe that we are quite
constantly dreaming the world (many worlds) into creation. But the
question of guilt is another one entirely.
There is no doubt in my mind that
people feel guilty when they have failed to report (or worse, told and
were laughed off) a dream which ultimately "comes true." I
have seen too many cases of this to believe otherwise. Precognitive
dreamers live with the question, "What would have happened
I want to tell you my own solution to
the question. As it happens, I was one of the precognitive dreamers on
the night of September 10th. I awoke from the following dream around
I am standing in the control tower of
an airport, maybe JFK International, watching a man talk somewhat
frantically into a microphone. There is a feeling of something gone
End of dream. My first waking thought
was, "Huh? What was that about?" I never dream airplanes or
Was the dream precognitive ? Most
likely. Was I aware of its connection to waking reality? Only as the
events of the day unfolded. Was there anything I could have done to
It would be easy enough to quickly
answer no. There was nothing I could have done. My dream was
fragmentary, and seemingly unrelated to my waking life.
But here is where the question of guilt steps in.
Most of the dreams reported on the
Internet as precognitive have a similarity to mine in that they became
clear only after the fact. (There are a couple of exceptions to this
which I will address later.) Should I have felt guilty that I warned
no one, or even that I dismissed the dream as irrelevant? I think not.
Yet what the global dream event
surrounding the waking event of the terrorist attacks has done for me
is to set me thinking. I believe that, as someone well versed in the
nature of precognition, I had then, and am having now, a
responsibility to the dream. And I mean that in the sense that
psychic, Edgar Cayce, explained when he talked about response-ability,
or the ability to respond.
The response I had to my own
precognitive dream was to realize how unresponsive I had become to the
storm clouds gathering around me. As a response-able dreamer, there
are many things I can do. Writing this article is one of them. There
After all, it was Cayce who, in trance
state, told the small group of people gathered for one of the early
conferences of the Association for Research and Enlightenment that
(when they asked about what could be done to stop Hitler's advance on
western Europe), the people in that room could stop Hitler. And he
went on to explain how the pure intent of many can change the
probability of future events.
When we speak of precognition, we are
speaking of probabilities. That is the fact which is most frustrating
about precognitive dreaming, and at the same time most uplifting. It
encourages the old joke about precognition that goes, "We'll
never know if we changed the future because we'll be living in
If we tell someone about the
precognition, can the disaster be averted? In three separate reported
incidents, various dreamers who posted to the Internet said they had
told someone. One woman, who had a series of dreams over the summer,
repeatedly told family members, who laughed her off as being
"weird." Another woman said she and a friend told
"authorities" about their dreams, and were similarly ignored
or indulged. And yet a third person, who was so traumatized by the
powerful dreams of the night before the attack that he woke up room
mates and told them to get out of New York, received the same,
"Go back to sleep," answer.
Not a very good track record, is it?
Nonetheless, there is plenty of recorded evidence of people changing
waking reality as the result of a dream. One of the classic cases is
Louisa Rhine's ( wife of parapsychology pioneer J.B. Rhine and a fine
researcher in her own right) dream which saved her child from
In another case, one of the students from a dream class I was
teaching, and later wrote about, averted a potential auto accident
involving his entire family. There are many other such tales.
I know, and have seen demonstrated many times, that not only dream
recall but precognitive skill improves with practice, with attention.
Many of the recent dreams, seen after the fact as precognitive, were
cloaked in imagery which, before the fact, would have been difficult
to interpret. There is always the question of how to dream
precognitively in a better, clearer manner.
I believe that no matter what the content, even precognitive dreams
have an element of information for the dreamer, an element that can be
"interpreted" if you will. And I know that, if we regularly
interpret our dreams, work with our dreams, pay attention to our
dreams, they can be a key to clearer precognition.
Why was I in the "control
tower" during my particular precognitive dream, watching someone
else try to avert disaster? This was, on the one hand, quite probably
a "remote viewing" of something already taking place or
about to take place. But why did my dreaming self choose this
particular thing to see? The image has a personal message.
Part of that message is a reminder to me that I am "in
control" of particular aspects of my life, not only the present
moment, but all of the moments extending from it. I do not need to
stand by and watch. This is what the Buddhists call
It is from this mindful point that I would like to make a few
suggestions about precognitive dreaming.
1. Even though the events of
September 11th were traumatic and provoked an outpouring of dreams,
events did not stop there. We all, particularly those of us with
developed dreaming skills, need to be more mindful.
2. We need to encourage, not discourage in any way, the dreamer
in ourselves and the dreams of others.
3. We need to encourage not guilt but response-ability.
4. Part of being response-able is to connect with one another,
to tell each other our dreams and premonitions, to conduct
"reality checks," not just assume that post trauma
nightmares (of which there may be many) are predictive. Many practiced
dreamers can tell by the "tone quality" of the dream whether
it was predictive or not.
5. We can work to develop our precognitive skills and also our
interpretive skills. This involves not an inflated idea of ourselves
as seers, or a guilty avoiding of possible futures, but a deep,
honest, ongoing look at ourselves and our world.
6. And most of all, we need to be kind to one another and to
ourselves, in the sense that every act of kindness, every act of
listening to one another and to our dreams of probable futures, is, in
itself, the creation of a new and different reality. There are many
places on the Internet now to record and discuss dreams: psychic dream
registries, the Dream Wheels of Electric Dreams, the ASD Bulletin
Board and e-groups.
Since the terrorist attacks, I have
committed myself more fully than ever to the dream. We, all of us, can
spare ourselves the guilt of precognition by recognizing that what
happened in dream reality around the September 11th disasters may
have, in fact, been a wake up call. What we do, once awake, remains to
Jean Campbell, September 21,
For questions about dreaming,
the ASD Bulletin Board
Campbell, J. "Dealing with
Precognitive Dreamer Guilt," Electric Dreams, 8(10), 2001.
About Jean Campbell
|From Jean's ASD
One Sunday morning, when I was four years old, I
excitedly said to my family at the breakfast table, "Last
night, I flew all the way to the bottom of the stairs, and I
didn't even hurt myself."
"Ohh," they laughed. "That was just a
Just a dream, I thought sadly and, taking my cue from them,
neglected my dreams for the next twenty years. Fortunately,
before I reached thirty, my dreaming self woke me up. I have
spent the rest of my life trying to recapture and understand the
magic of that early dream, somewhat successfully.
In 1984, when ASD was formed, I was one of its first members,
and one of its first conference presenters. How exciting it was
to meet other people with goals similar to mine. At the time, I
was director of a consciousness research organization, Poseidia
Institute, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Among other things, I
conducted dream research.
Although I left the field of dreams shortly after that, to
pursue doctoral studies at The American University in
Washington, D.C., I was lured back to ASD in the early '90s for
the same reason the organization attracted me in the first
place: people who were as curious about dreams as I was. I
became the Public
Bulletin Board host on the ASD web site <asdreams.org>in
A particular interest I have pursued is the ability of people
to dream together. Several different group dreaming experiments
were conducted over a period of ten years. Some of the results
of this research have been published in articles, but I am
currently writing a book about the project: Group Dreaming:
Dreams to the Tenth Power.
More recently, since training in Energetic Metatherapy with
Dr. Hector Curi-Kano, my interest has turned to teaching people
how to utilize body consciousness while working with dreams. And
I have begun to conduct individual sessions and workshops in
My all-time favorite dream book, though not entirely a dream
book, is Jane Roberts' The Nature of Personal Reality.
And my favorite dream course, the one that started it all, is
List of dream-related
publications and/or web sites where my work is featured.
Campbell, J. "Dealing with Precognitive Dreamer
Guilt," Electric Dreams, 8(10), 2001. [Online]
Dreaming," Dream Craft, 1/1,1-2.
__________. Dreams Beyond Dreaming.
Norfolk VA: Donning, 1980.
__________. "Dreams and the Creative
Self." Electric Dreams, 6/9 (September, 1999).
[Online] Available: http://www.dreamgate.com/dream/ed-backissues/ed6-9.txt
__________. "Group Dreaming Research
Report." Dream Craft, 2/2,1,3-4.
Garfield,P., J.Malamud, J.Campbell, A.S.
Wiseman, and G. Halliday. "Mental Health Applications
(of Dreams): A Panel Discussion. Presented at ASDII, 1984.
[Online] Available: http://www.sawka.com/spiritwatch/mental_health_applications.htm
Zweig,C. "See you in my dreams' test
works." Brain/Mind Bulletin, 10/1 (Oct. 1984),3.