Recently, a friend called to tell me about a dream she’d had which seemed to foretell of a subsequent, traumatic event. She had dreamt about a co-worker who she had known for years – and who she considered to be an extremely close friend. In the dream, she and the co-worker were walking in a forest that was brilliantly green and lush with trees (trees and the color green are classic symbols for life). At the end of the forest, there was a very high hill—and at the top of this hill, there was an intensely bright light shining down. She emphasized that it was a “shockingly bright light.” After a moment of being distracted by the intensity of this light, she turned to see her friend walking up the hill. She called to him, “Don’t go! Don’t go! Wait for me! Wait for me! We have to go together!” He replied calmly, “No, I have to go. I have to go. You have to stay here.” Then, the co-worker walked over the hill and disappeared – and my friend woke up, feeling extremely unsettled. Less than two days later, the co-worker – who she dreamed had gone into the bright light over the hill – had a massive heart attack at work. Although they desperately tried to save him, he died minutes later—cradled in her lap. Understandably shaken by all that had occurred, she wanted to know if I had ever heard of anyone who’d had a similar experience. I then went on to relate to her my own encounter with what could be called the “prophetic” dream experience.

In July of 2001, a close friend came to my home because he was extremely disturbed about a terrifying dream which he could not stop reliving. Images from this “night terror” consumed his waking thoughts and haunted his dreaming world, and he was hoping that an analysis of this dream would help to put this horrifying dream to rest. After spending over two hours trying to decipher and analyze the possible symbolism in his dream, we seemed to come to a weary resolution about its overall meaning. However, as he left, I could sense that he did not feel at all at peace with the outcome of our session – and, later, he revealed that the dream continued to haunt him in both his waking and his dreaming worlds. Two months later, on September 11, 2001, I saw his “dream” being re-enacted on the television news, as I viewed camera footage that was taken of the attack on the World Trade Center. Everything that he described as having occurred in his dream two months prior was now being played out in reality, and in vivid, accurate detail. Was this just a bizarre and inexplicable coincidence? Or did my friend have a prophetic dream?

From Biblical examples to other famous and historical accounts, there is a great deal of documented information supporting the notion of dreams which foretell of future events. For example, the renowned American author Mark Twain dreamt of his brother laying in a casket and, days later, received the message of his brother’s passing. When Twain attended the funeral, he reported that his brother was laid out exactly as he had seen him in his dream. Harriett Tubman was said to have dreamt about taking certain pathways to help others escape slavery, and then was able to successfully follow these pathways to safety in the North. The prolific author Charles Dickens was said to have had a vivid dream about a woman wearing a red shawl. In the dream, the woman spoke to him, saying, “I am Miss Napier.” Later, at a social event, a woman in a red shawl was introduced to Dickens. Just as his dream foretold, her name was Miss Napier. However, probably one of the most detailed and documented examples in history is that of Abraham Lincoln’s dream which foretold of his assassination. He dreamt of seeing a funeral in the East Room of the White House. There were soldiers guarding the body, while crowds of people stood in grief, some “weeping pitifully.” Lincoln asked one of the soldier guards, “Who is dead in the White House?” The soldier answered, “The President. He was killed by an assassin.” After Lincoln’s assassination, his body was laid out in the exact same manner, in the East Room of the White House – and, just as Lincoln’s dream depicted, crowds of people wept and grieved while guards stood watch.

Were all of the above examples just freakishly coincidental occurrences? Mere anecdotal evidence which cannot be verified? In the end, that is a conclusion which everyone must make for him/herself. However, if dreams which seem to predict future events are ever, somehow, made known to us–or if dreams which appear to have information that could guide and assist us start to dominate our sleeping world–it would probably be advisable to “err on the side of the angels” and take notice of it.

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