Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Time I Dreamt About Air Crashes

Here’s another tale about my life that will probably be uploaded and printed out by my doctor, then added to my bulging medical file. 

I used to dream of air accidents…

… and then they’d happen in real life a few days later.

Before I go on, it is quite a common phenomenon, apparently, though – when I got in touch with a few airlines about it, they did have a good chuckle.

They were always lucid, like I was actually there.

I’d think to myself or say out loud: “This is just like the dream I had, happening for real.”

There would be an aircraft struggling, engines howling or having fallen silent, and I’d look up and watch its final descent, usually ending with a ball of flame and that ice-water splashed feeling of shock that you’re witnessing death.

Then I’d wake up…

At first, they were just bad dreams and I’m sure I didn’t make any connection. I was in my mid-teens and not a great fan of the TV news. We didn’t have the Interlands then, of course, so I was quite ignorant to the goings on of the wider world.

The first time I did match that information, it would have seemed a coincidence, but as time went on and they kept happening, I became aware and confident enough to tell others about the crashes before they happened.

You can picture some teenage kid coming up to you and telling you there’s going to be an air disaster, and you’ll probably agree that you wouldn’t give much or any credence to their proclamations.

But then it happens…

One such incident of notifying people stands out in my mind. It must have been 18 or 19 and I was in a pub, in Carlisle. I used to drink with quite a cosmopolitan bunch of people, including a religious education teacher and a policeman. I think I may have had a pony-tail then.

I’d had one of these prophetic dreams the night before and some prompter in the conversation led me to telling them about it. It was the first time I’d mentioned this to them.

The policeman got very upset about it and told me that I was sick. He was so angry at me that he actually left the pub, and then I was confided to the knowledge that he had been in the clear-up teams that picked up body parts in the wake of the Lockerbie disaster, where a bombed Pan Am Jumbo Jet landed on the small town of Lockerbie… which is about 25 miles from my home city of Carlisle. That happened about five years earlier, but it’s obviously something that stays long in the mind. I never knew about it because he didn’t talk about it.

A few days later… after the crash had actually happened… I saw the policeman again and, before I could apologise for upsetting him, he said sorry. He seemed stunned by it all, asking how I knew and if I’d told the authorities. I had sent letters (actual letters, made of paper and sent through the physical world) to a few airlines, but only one replied, saying they received a lot of such information but couldn’t really do anything about it.

Anyway, I was nicknamed Nostradamus for a while.

By that time it was like some grim party-trick. There was nothing I could do with the knowledge, but I still kept dreaming them and telling people and they still kept happening.

They were always in the same general setting, a stone’s throw from my house. I’d ‘wake up’ in the dream and look around to see the flailing aircraft…

Using my home as a perspective, I realised I could predict a general compass point direction to where the crash would happen in the world. If I was looking across the road that runs through my village, from the perspective of my house, I’d be looking east. If I was looking out the back of my house, that would be west.

I could also tell the difference between planes and helicopters, and  distinguish civilian and military aircraft by their colouring – white for civilian and green/grey for military.

Of course, it could all be some bizarre coincidence, but when you look at the timeline of major air disasters, they’re not really an everyday occurrence – so to predict them with such reliability was really pushing the odds up.

They stopped when I was 19 or 20, with a same-type dream that didn’t come true, but which was the most frightening of all of them…

Yes, it’s probably fairplay if you think I’m crazy, but a decade and a half later, with the Internet around, I had another. It was so similar to the old dreams that I even wrote it up on Facebook, as this screenshot shows (click to see full size):

The crash that occurred, ten days later, was Pakistan’s worst civilian air disaster. Another coincidence?

The dream that didn’t come true had the vantage point of the bottom of a small flight of steps on the path to the back of my house.

It was dusk, just after Sunset, with powder-blue skies on the horizon and everything framed in an indigo twilight. Something’s wrong, though, and people are outside, looking west with concern.

Then there’s this angry, churning orange and red light on the horizon, that rises until you can see it’s an approaching wall of fire, thousands of feet high, rushing up so fast that you know you don’t even have the time to turn you head to say goodbye to anyone.

Then I woke up…

I did philosophise that maybe major incidents cause some sort of ‘time shock’ – that they set off a quantum shock wave which echoed across time, both afterwards and before the event. It stood to reason, then, that if an air crash were to create a reverberation through time that could be felt a few days away, something along the lines of a global cataclysm would have created a much louder boom, so I could be picking up an echo from something decades into the future.

I watched the film, Knowing, with Nicholas Cage, about a young girl who predicts the end of the world and all the disasters running up to it – and was honestly quite creeped out at the end (Spoiler alert!) because I’d seen it happen before.

Although I prefer the comfort of calling them ‘just dreams’ and believing in the coincidence, I have to admit, I do take too much interest when there’s news of an incoming solar flare. If one happens on 18th December, 2012, it will really freak me out for a few days.

The weirdest thing about this is that you could wire me up to a lie detector and find all of this is the truth. Not that it is the truth, but that all of this actually happened. I’d welcome the comfort that it was just a bizarre series of coincidence, because that means the last dream won’t ever come true.


  1. So would you avoid a flight you are scheduled on, if a dream of yours pointed that way?

    As an air traffic controller, I wonder how I would deal with this type of information/knowing? A challenge to be sure...are preventative measures morally wrong? The whole playing "God" thing starts to loom above.

    Having experienced a fatal crash while I've been on the job, I have a perspective of "afterwards" second guessing, etc.

    An interesting post.

  2. I probably would, Dean, yeah. The dreams were that 'reliable'.

    Unless someone was actually seeing flight numbers in the dreams, passing them on and they tallied with actual flights, I don't think the air industry could do anything about it.

    I did start looking for flight markings, within the dreams, but I never brought any back to the waking world.

    It must be very tough to have that happen while working. It seems a very tough job in general.

  3. Interesting. You see, you are definitely here for a purpose. :)

  4. That sort of knowledge without any possibility of doing something about it is enough to send a person crazy!
    This wall of flame dream, was that before the Twin Towers disaster?

  5. Well if it's coming from the West i'll shout 'Bye!' as I get got, my voice might carry to you ;p

    I've watched 'Knowing' I fell asleep before that bit I think...don't remember it. But then apparently i went to see the midnight showing of Revenge of the Sith and I have no recollection!

    For the past three nights I have woken every hour, on the half hour from 12:30am to 5:30am. I can fall straight back asleep but it's rather creepy.....brains are creepy!

  6. Les, I also have had similar dreams! In the first one I saw a plane go down in a body of water near a bridge on the left. I also saw a helicopter hovering above. A few days later on January 19, 1982 Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the Potomac River. As I watched the news on TV and saw them using a helicopter to pull victims from the water beside the bridge, I nearly felt sick to my stomach. In the second one I saw a plane go down in a big open field a few days before the crash on September 1,1983 of Koren Airlines Flight 007 shot down by Soviet Fighter planes after straying into Soviet airspace. The last one I had was a dream about a terrorist attack in The United States! Although the details did not match up, I had this dream in the early weeks of August 2001. The dream was so real & scary I told everyone at work about it. I was always confused as to why I would have such dreams if I can not do anything about it. Now I reach out to God in prayer after these type dreams. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I had a similar incident with 9/11. A few days before it happened, I looked up at an airplane and thought "what a horribe weapon it could be if it flew into buildings" - why did I have that thought? I have no idea! But I did have the thought and it was unlike any other thought I have ever had about watching an airplane. I often wondered if I was picking up on something.

  8. A timely post so close to the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

    Knowledge without the power to do anything about it is just that — knowledge. Perhaps it's simply an indication of other strengths you have that can be nurtured.


  9. I'm not sure it would be very good if that was my purpose, luerai, since I never stopped any actual crashes. :-(

  10. It was around 17 years ago, Gladys, so well before 9/11 - but the wall of flame wasn't like an isolated explosion. It was the whole horizon.

  11. Maybe your house is haunted by a clock maker, Paula? :-S

  12. That's extraordinary detail, Katherine. I guess the comfort is that this does apparently happen to a lot of people and - unless there are some secret, government departments that deal with this sort of thing - nobody has learnt how to stop them.

    With all the flights in the world, each day, it would be almost impossible to take action unless there were specific flight numbers.

    Perhaps their purpose is to show people that there's more than just this world of the five senses?

  13. That's chilling, Anon. It must have been a very eerie when those planes hit. :-S

  14. haha yeah...A one that can only work the with the number 6 and the big hand!

    Oi rubbish clock maker! get out my house!!

  15. Thanks, Eden! Yep, I don't think any of the information I could have passed on would have actually prevented anything. To do that would have taken flight numbers or aircraft markings, so the rest of the detail was like some grim virtual reality experience.

    Quite a lot of time has passed since - though it seemed strange I had one within months of the awakening, after about 15 years of nothing.

    I'd rather nurture things within my control. :-)

    Les xoxox

  16. Perhaps look through the 1901 census documents for a clock-maker with one too many fingers?

  17. one from West Cumbria then? :D

    It was all farmland round here then...moooo!

    Maybe its the ghost of a confused cockerel! ;p

  18. I saw your tweet about this and had to come over and read. I, too have experienced plane crash dreams off and on since age 13 or so (I am now 45). None of mine have come true (that I know of) but like you, I would simply be watching as the plane would crash into a ball of flame on the ground. I had not had one of these dreams for many years and the night before last, I had one that was unlike all the others. It has left me wondering if something is going to happen.

    Thank you for writing about your dreams. It has made me feel less like a freak.

  19. Interesting. I have dreams occasionally as well. My senior year of High School, I saw a nuclear explosion. I heard three words as clear as a bell. "India," "and," "Pakistan." (Spring 1986)

    Then about 10 years ago, I, again in a dream, witnessed a massive earthquake. I heard another word, "Tennessee." I later learned that one of America's major fault lines runs, I believe, if I heard the Professor correctly through the Tennessee Valley.

  20. 100% Agree with you on this. My mom has this all the time, even down to presidential assasinations. its a hundred percent legit and i even know for a fact that its hereditary sometimes!

    Unfo I dont exactly have that gift. My dream ability is symbolism. Where weird stuff happens in my dream which are actually symbols of something else. Funny thing is I can interpret them, and often for others dreams like Joseph in the Bible.

    - Dave

  21. Glad to hear there's someone else like me! I once 'dreamed' of a plane crash 3 days before I was scheduled to fly. Everyone thought I was crazy when I paid an extra $100 to change my flight based on a dream. The plane I should have been on crashed and most of the passengers died. Seems I paid $100 to save my life! Stuff like this happens to me all the time (fortunately it's mostly good) I've come to realize it's my 'psychic-ness' that formulates my dreams.

  22. I tend to tune in to natural disasters, earthquakes and volcanos in particular, possibly because I've experienced several earthquakes and witnessed one volcanic eruption.

    A few examples.

    Two days before Mount St Helens erupted, I told my best friend that a volcano was going to "blow it's top" (my exact turn of phrase).

    In the summer of 2004, I had a series repeating dreams about a tsunami. Each time there was an a-bomb type cloud in the images. The came the Indian ocean tsunami and I thought "that was it", but in hindsight it's clear that the dreams matched the March 2011 Japanese tsunami and the fukushima meltdowns.

    In the spring of 2005, I had a very vivid dream of being at a waterfront with palm trees being battered by a hurricane. Like your dreams, it was as though I was there, experiencing it first hand. And along came hurricane Katrina and the devastation of New Orleans.

    In the mid-80s, when I was living in Somerset, I had a very vivid dream about climate change. Sections of the M5 motorway were under water, and people were travelling using horses and carts, not a car to be seen. That scenario corresponds to at least 6 metres of sea level rise, probably more.

    Viva the apocalypse!

  23. Hello,
    Great stories of your life.I have one similar story myself but when I told it to a few people they just laughed.Maybe mine was a coincidence.
    I don't know if it's right or wrong to live with this but you have no choice:).
    Sweet dreams:)!

  24. Never knew anyone else dreamed about air disasters. And yes, I wouldn't get on a plane if I thought there was going to be a disaster. I dreamt about the Twin Towers for years before it happened. Saw the people, their faces, the people falling from the buildings and the buildings crashing to the ground. Smelled the fuel burning and all the horror that went along with it. I didn't know which building it was, but I knew it would happen one day.

    The twin towers disaster wasn't the only one I've dreamed about, there have been about 60 or so more disaster dreams. I just know when they are going to happen and no I don't call them in to the authorities because I really don't want my life turned inside out because of an "Investigation." The police wouldn't know what to do anyways.

    I've spent a lot of sleepless nights thinking about the people and praying for them. At the risk of sounding crazy air crashes aren't the only foretelling I dream about. There's hundreds of things throughout my life that I've know about before it happened, the only thing I don't dream about is lottery numbers and which stocks to pick.

  25. Interesting! I have never dreamt major disasters in advance, but family deaths certainly, and reading back through my dream-diaries recently I discovered that a huge proportion of my dreams have predicted events in my personal life. I believe predictive dreams are so common that their existence means we should be extra-wary about seeking psychological interpretations. Readers who like dreams might care to take a look at my dreaming-and-writing blog

  26. Les you are not alone - nor are any of the other people here. Lots of people have these 'dreams'. I have decided that they aren't really dreams - for some reason we are just connected to what is going to happen. I have 'dreamed' about 9/11 6 months prior, about the Indian Ocean tsunami (although in my dream it was ICE, no clue why) and a few other major and minor events. People I told also said I was crazy - but when I proved it to someone at work a couple years ago he was amazed. I have never tried to contact authorities because really what will they do? None of us really can give much information. We just know after it happens that THAT was the event. I'm not sure we are really meant to DO anything about the event, other than to know it's going to happen, even if we are or aren't going to be involved. I think it's just one of those things some people 'have' as an ability and others don't. It's just unfortunate that ones who don't find those who do crazy. I have kind of decided NOT to have these dreams any more. Every once in a while I will still have one, but not so often. They scared me, too many times I would wake up physically FEELING the pain, of a fire or bullet etc. I was physically hurting and since I couldn't do anything to stop the event, I saw no point in seeing it beforehand. I can't stop them, and even if I knew when it would happen, what would I do? I just decided I needed to live life and not worry. We all die someday and worrying myself about it wouldn't do me (or anyone else) any good. It's good to be prepared - but being terrified is not going to help!

  27. There is a part of each of us that has access to everything if only the barriers are removed. Some of us have more access to this, some less. I have not yet figured why I am more attuned sometimes than others- except that periods of intensive meditation definately enhance this ability (call it intuition). I have had important people in my life come to say goodbye to me in dreams- only to be notified within a day or 2 that they have died, or are terminally ill. I have sensed unexpected deaths of patients, family and friends from distances near and far- to have these senses later confirmed.
    Interesting, that your focus of intuition appears to be on plane crashes... i am sure there is a reason for this, though i do not know enough about you to know that reason

  28. You had a ponytail? ;-) But seriously: I do know for a fact there is more than science can tell us. Although I never had dreams like yours (Although I had dozens about the world coming to an end and finding the love of my life at that exact moment!) I know of several people havind these kind of dreams. Growing up with the Indonesian "Goona Goona" I know there's more...

  29. Ac:2:17: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

  30. Hi, I have to believe you because I too have had many a dream that has come true the next day or on a certain date. Mine have never been about disasters (thankfully) though one was about the forthcoming death of Peter Cook. (No inside knowledge, honestly). It is a fascinating subject and always makes me wonder at the little we really know about our selves and the world around us. I have related my dreams to my husband sometimes as soon as I wake up, because otherwise, he would never believe me as they unfold before his eyes. I was told I was 'being silly' many a time as a child and learnt to ignore those words. I always try and logically explain these experiences as I bet you do but the only explanation I can think of right now is that perhaps we are more in-tune with the natural world than we realise and we only need listen to know an great deal lot more. As an aside, as a child, I always thought I had been born knowing everything but had slowly lost that knowledge as the real world intruded. I am a writer after all! LOL!
    Great post, found you through twitter.
    Having problems comment via WordPress on here, (I saw that coming) ;-)

  31. Did you have dreams predicting other events or was it always plane crash disasters?

  32. An enjoyable read, a disturbing occurrence for a teenager I am sure.The more perplexing question would be 'why you'. If indeed it is some gift of prophecy, and I believe such things occur, what does it mean for your future and possible dream and prevention. One never knows how such gifts are to be used. Thank you for sharing you experience.

  33. I talked with a psychic once who has the same ability. She said she always felt disturbed and helpless having the dreams until she decided to pray for those on board. She prays that those who can be saved are and for those who can not be saved to pass over quickly. This made her feel like she was contributing a higher good to a devastating event.

    I also asked her why she thought some people were given this ability when they obviously have no power to stop it. She still has no idea. Maybe that's just part of being able to read energy. I love the way you explained it as a wave in time. It seems reasonable to me, as reasonable as any of this stuff can be.