On 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
2. My family says I'm nuts--or spooky. What good is precognition if nobody
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.
The answer to the question seems, in fact, to be that every single one of us
has precognitive ability, and that intuition is a human characteristic.
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 Einstien, 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,
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
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.
It 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
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 happen?
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 dream?
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 5:30 a.m.
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 wrong.
End of dream. My first waking thought was, "Huh? What was that
about?" I never dream airplanes or control towers.
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 avert disaster?
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
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 are others.
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
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 drowning.
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 "mindfulness."
It is from this mindful point that I would like to make a few suggestions about
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
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 be seen.
Jean Campbell, September 21, 2001