Abstract Details

New evidence for precognition through dreams  Paul Kalas (Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA )   C21

Throughout human history healthy individuals have reported autobiographical precognition through their dreams; an event that they personally experience in the present time is recognized as a unique memory of a past dream. Even though these experiences are perceived as truly precognitive to the dreamer, such a phenomenon contradicts a central tenet about reality--observing a future event must be impossible because it does not exist at the present time in the physical universe. However, our understanding of spacetime is non-intuitive and defined by discoveries and measurements of phenomena in nature. A hypothesis of precognitive dreaming is seemingly simple to test empirically: Does a record of a dream uniquely match a future event or not? Here we present new evidence that a dream record from 1995 uniquely matches a 2004 discovery of a previously unknown and theoretically unanticipated astronomical phenomenon--a geometrically offset comet belt detected with the Hubble Space Telescope around the nearby star Fomalhaut. We show that this discovery was novel to human knowledge and could not have been anticipated at the dream epoch. We review skeptical approaches such as cryptomnesia, pareidolia, confirmation bias, and chance, concluding that these explanations are highly unlikely. The most likely explanation is that this astronomical discovery, along with 331 similar experiences, comprise sufficient empirical evidence for a natural mechanism that episodically shares a few seconds of autobiographical information between the future self and the past self.

We interpret precognitive dreams as emerging from the biochemistry of memory and learning because most of the 332 precognitive experiences involve novel events, cognitive puzzles, and location cues. We speculate that the medial temporal lobe (e.g., hippocampus and entorhinal cortex) may contain the neural correlates to the phenomenon since this brain tissue is essential for memory, learning, and navigation. We reason that cognitive models of the external world, including the anticipation of future events, provide an evolutionary advantage, which means that an intrinsic natural drive exists to find ways to sense future information. If nature permits information time travel, it should be evident in how organisms interact with their environment. One key function (or consequence) of sleep and dreaming may be to nurture instincts in animals or intuition for humans by perceiving future information. Precognitive dreams could be viewed as a stimulus repetition that primes the organism to optimally respond to future events. We also propose that personal identity and consciousness are shaped by the autobiographical events of both our past and our possible future life experiences briefly encountered in dreams. Future work should empirically verify precognitive dreams via longitudinal studies of multiple test subjects that have shared future experiences. This experimental design tackles the current problem that the dream reports of one subject are contaminated by their personal semantic associations with respect to a future event that only they experience. If multiple individuals are exposed to the same novel, cognitively puzzling event, this will facilitate the isolation of the objective qualities of the event from the subjective factors contained in the ensemble of dream reports.