As I mention in the book, over the years, I have gotten used to members of my classes or dream groups talking about extra-sensory perception occurring in their dreams. For some people, such experiences seem to be a regular occurrence and often involve relatively trivial events, like predicting that a certain relative is going to call on the phone. For others, the experience is a once-in-a-lifetime event, usually very dramatic. Telepathic experiences are usually the most emotionally charged, such as dreaming that a loved one is in intense emotional distress and then having that turn out to be the case.
Dream sharing, in which two people report having the same or almost the same dream during the same night’s sleep, is a particular form of telepathy that is sometimes reported in dream groups. These experiences almost always seem to occur when the two people are very close and one or the other of them is going through an emotionally turbulent time.
This forum is a place to share such experiences. By way of further introduction of the topic, I would like to define a few terms.
The terms parapsychology, psychic phenomena, or extra-sensory perception are used differently by different writers. But the overlapping labels refer to phenomena that are as elusive and difficult to pin down as they are fascinating and important to study. The most common of these terms is extrasensory perception (ESP).
The term extrasensory perception describes experiences that are extra-sensory, meaning beyond our sensory capacity to perceive. For instance, our eyes, which are capable of perceiving within certain limits, cannot see through walls. Neither can they physically see what is going on 1,000 miles away. So if I claim to see something that my eyes just can’t see, I am making a claim for extrasensory perception.
There are three kinds of extra-sensory experiences that have been claimed and studied. The first, called telepathy is essentially mind-to-mind communication. There is no physical perceptual mechanism by which I can read your mind. So if I claim to do so, I am making a claim for mental telepathy. The second kind of ESP is clairvoyance, which is the perception of remote events. So if I claim that I see or have seen a train wreck that happened thousands of miles away, I am making a claim for clairvoyance. The third kind of ESP is precognition, which is the perception of events before they happen. So if I claim that I saw your car accident before it happened, I am making a claim for precognition.
Some people report all of these kinds of extrasensory experiences as being part of their dream life.
In addition, some people while asleep have the experience of their consciousness somehow leaving their body, and perceiving their body and sometimes other things in the environment, from an outside perspective. We also know that somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of patients who have experienced cardiac arrest have had some sort of near-death experience in which they leave their body and have experiences from what seems like a different level of reality.
So what are we to make of all this? My own take is that putting all of the dreamlike experiences together creates a picture of the sleeping mind as actively engaged with many levels of reality. This is clearly the experience of many people who pry open the door between waking consciousness and sleeping consciousness. And sometimes, as in the case of Francine, the connection between such an experience and the external world seems startlingly firm and accurate. Beyond that, I can’t say. But I will say that walking back and forth between these two experiential worlds enriches the lives of those who do it.
The word premonition is more commonly used than the term precognition but essentially means the same thing. There have been a number of efforts to register or document premonitions so that there would be evidence of their validity. One such effort did seem to produce some positive evidence.
In one dramatic example, the Central Premonitions Registry in New York City received a telegram predicting that President Reagan would be shot and, if there was no explosion, he would survive the assassination attempt. This prediction, which was received before the March 1981 attempt on Mr. Reagan’s life, was based on a precognitive dream which included the information that three to six shots would be fired.
As mentioned earlier, telepathy is defined as the sending or receiving of information through non-sensory means, (mind-to-mind communication). Anecdotal accounts of occurrences abound, and many of them are reported to occur during dreams. We might speculate that the mind is especially sensitive to incoming information during the attentiveness that dream sleep involves.
In the early 1970s, a team of researchers at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY conducted a number of experiments in which dreamers who had previously reported such experiences were mentally sent information by a group of senders who were staring at a photographic slide in a room some distance away. While the researchers report the results to be inconsistent, some of the dreams of receivers seemed to have been influenced by the content of the slide.
I hope that this brief introduction to the topic of dreams and extrasensory perception encourages you to share your experiences here.