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The word premonition comes from the Latin pramonere, meaning ‘to warn in advance'. In the scientific community the term "precognition” was coined to describe this type of "sixth sense.” Dr. Richard Broughton has dedicated his career to studying this kind of anomalous phenomena: "In the collection of cases we find there are natural groupings. And of course the largest grouping is dreams, the dreams that are frightening. They have really rather dramatic characteristics that people recognize as being unusual, and they portray something that the person thinks is going to happen to them. And often it does. Often this changes behavior. People will alter their plans and it turns out to be a very beneficial decision.” Physicist Dean Radin has tried to understand how precognition might work, "There are two ways of thinking about it. One way is that the future is actually fixed – there is destiny – there is no way you can change it…The other way of thinking is that the future is probabilistic…that there are almost an infinite number of possibilities playing out each instant.”

The notion of seeing events before they happen has fascinated us for a long time, not only because it's a nerve-inducing idea, but because it seems to keep happening to people from all walks of life. Tales of everything from disasters dreamed ahead of time to the solving of puzzling crimes to pre-envisioned stock market fluctuations have kept scientists, psychologists, dream analysts, law enforcement officials and a riveted, open-minded populace in the thrall of this seemingly unexplainable phenomenon. Below are a few real-life stories:

A young sales executive named Sunna Roulston had booked a trip to Thailand when she began having terrible premonitions, including the image of herself in a refugee camp surrounded by starved, soaked, and exhausted people. Although she went on the trip anyway, she left her family with a goodbye letter. It was while Sunna was on a small wooden boat off Thailand's coast that the devastating tsunami of 2004 hit. After surviving an initial couple of waves, a large fishing boat arrived to take them back to shore. When a voice told her to refuse the offer, to stay in their smaller boat, she demanded she and her friend not get on board. It sounded crazy, but the friend acquiesced to her seemingly crazy whim. The larger vessel left them behind, and as it pulled away an enormous wave capsized it, drowning everyone onboard.

David Booth has had many dreams of airplane crashes, a number of which came true. This former pilot's ability to see the future came to a climax in the late 1980's when he had 10 days of recurring, vivid dreams in which an American Airlines flight flipped over, flew upside down over low buildings, and crashed into flames at an airport. These terrifying dreams prompted him to call American Airlines, who referred him to the FAA. The FAA documented the details of his dreams, but were unable to take preventive measures because he didn't have a flight number. Three days later, an American Airlines DC-10 jet, taking off from Chicago's O'Hare Airport, lost an engine, flipped upside down, flew over low buildings and exploded on the runway killing all 271 passengers. It was one of the worst air disasters in American aviation history.


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