Parapsychology: Research on Exceptional Experiences

By Jane Henry | Go to book overview

Chapter 8

Precognition and premonitions

Keith Hearne and Jane Henry

A premonition (forewarning) is an experience which appears to anticipate a future event and which could not reasonably have been inferred from information available before that later event. The premonition may consist of apparent actual detailed knowledge of a later event, or a nonspecific feeling of foreboding that something will happen. The more neutral term precognition (foreknowing) is often applied in scientific literature.

The following example of a premonition exemplifies the media-announcement variety, where it is reported that future information comes in the form of some official statement. At about noon on 1 June 1974, a woman living near Grimsby in South Humberside, England, was watching TV alone, when the word 'Newsflash' appeared on the screen and a voiceover stated that an explosion had occurred at the Flixborough chemical plant, some 40 km away. The woman knew no one who worked at the plant, and the place meant little to her. She told two reliable witnesses shortly afterwards when they came in for lunch. A few hours later, at 4.53 p.m. that same afternoon, a massive explosion at the site killed twenty-eight people and caused extensive damage, when a bypass pipe ruptured unexpectedly. According to the official report of the disaster, there was no particular technical problem at the plant when the shifts changed over at 3 p.m. that afternoon. None of the TV stations had put out a Newsflash of any kind that lunch time (Hearne 1982a).

Precognition has been a persistently recognised phenomenon throughout chronicled history (Dodds 1971). Cases were noted in the ancient civilisations of the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and others, and have continued to be reported to the present time. A dramatic example is provided by the case of Mrs Grant who having become increasingly agitated throughout the day persuaded her husband General Grant not to accompany Lincoln out on the evening he was assassinated. It subsequently emerged that Grant had been an intended victim that night (Radin 1997, pp. 112-13).

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Parapsychology: Research on Exceptional Experiences
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations viii
  • About the Authors ix
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Introduction 1
  • Parapsychology 5
  • Chapter 1 - Parapsychology 7
  • Chapter 2 - Methodology 28
  • Chapter 3 - Meta-Analyses 42
  • Chapter 4 - Psychological Factors 64
  • Chapter 5 - Scepticism 80
  • Paranormal Cognition 91
  • Chapter 6 - Second Sight 93
  • Chapter 7 - Extrasensory Perception 99
  • Chapter 8 - Precognition and Premonitions 108
  • Chapter 9 - Animal Psi 114
  • Paranormal Action 123
  • Chapter 10 - Psychokinesis 125
  • Chapter 11 - Healing 137
  • Chapter 12 - Shamanism 149
  • Anomalous Experience 165
  • Chapter 13 - Coincidence 167
  • Chapter 14 - Apparitions and Encounters 175
  • Chapter 15 - Out-Of-Body Experiences 188
  • Chapter 16 - Near-Death Experiences 196
  • Chapter 17 - Imagery 204
  • After-Life Associations 213
  • Chapter 18 - Survival 215
  • Chapter 19 - Reincarnation 224
  • Chapter 20 - Religion 233
  • Appendices 243
  • Appendix 1 245
  • Appendix 2 248
  • Index 254
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