Q: What's the scientific proof that premonitions exist?
Dossey: There are several categories of proof:
- Presentiment experiments, which have been replicated by many researchers around the world. In these controlled, computer-based studies, a person unconsciously demonstrates exaggerated bodily changes before the computer shows a certain type of randomly selected image.
- Remote viewing experiments, in which a "receiver" "gets" detailed information hours or days before it is sent by a receiver, and before the image that will be sent has even been selected by a computer.
- Various online experiments in which hundreds of thousands of individuals, in millions of trials, are able to select ahead of time certain random behaviors of the computer, as in computer-based card-guessing experiments.
- There are countless uncontrolled, spontaneous experiences of people worldwide attesting to one's ability to know the future. Anecdotes aren't science, but they reveal how lab-based evidence favoring premonitions are translated into real life.
- Controlled studies in which individuals specify who is going to call them on phones.
- Controlled studies in which animals demonstrate behaviors that indicate that they know when their owners are returning home.
Q: Is there a connection between premonitions and ESP?
Dossey: Premonitions are indistinguishable from precognition, one of the major categories of ESP. I use "premonitions" and "precognition" interchangeably.
Q: Is there a connection to human emotion?
Dossey:Yes. Empathy, love and compassion between people make premonitions more likely. The classic example is the mother-child connection, as when a mother "just knows" her child is in danger and acts immediately to prevent injury or death. I provide several examples in The Power of Premonitions of this sort.
Q: What should people do with their premonitions if they believe they are important?
Dossey: The important thing is to decide if the premonition is valid or not. There is no sure-fire way to know whether any single premonition is valid, but there are some very helpful guides in knowing which premonitions to act on and which to ignore:
- If the premonition involves death or injury, take it seriously because, as the psychologist Carl Jung said, you may not get a second chance.
- If the premonition is recurrent - a dream, say, that returns night after night, as if demanding to be noticed - pay serious attention.
- If the dream premonition or waking intuition is extraordinarily vivid - "realer than real," as some put it - pay attention.
- If a premonition is shared by someone else - a spouse or partner who reports the same dream premonition without being cued - consider this a warning that deserves your attention.
Q: Can a person develop his or her ability to have premonitions?
Dossey: Yes. The two best ways of becoming more premonition prone are:
- To keep a dream diary, in which you immediately record your premonitory dream on awakening. This does two things: it makes it more likely you'll recognize your premonition when and if it comes true, and your premonitions will likely become more frequent as you consciously make a place for them in your experience.
- Develop a meditation practice. This may be the best way known to enhance one's premonitions. Meditation helps us tune in. It helps us be in touch with the reservoirs of unconscious thought and feeling that often surface in the form of premonitions.
Larry Dossey, M.D. is also author of the best-selling books The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things, Recovering the Soul, The Power of Meditation and Prayer, among others. Visit his website.