Have you ever had a strange feeling about something that you couldn’t explain? A sense of deja-vous or a dream that came true? I’m your host, Leah…I’m Phil…and I’m Steve. We have many strange stories to talk about today. Join us as we jump down the rabbit hole of premonitions.
A few months ago my wife and I along with my sister and brother-in-law were visiting family in the U.K. For a couple of days we were staying with a lovely couple named Adrian and Rosie Carr. They are my cousin’s son’s father and mother-in-law. They are a wonderful and gracious couple who invited us to stay in their home even though they had never met us personally. They have a beautiful home just outside of Newport, Wales on what had been a Roman Road. The area is just stunningly beautiful. We visited with the Carrs quite a bit and got to know them really well. They shared an interesting story with us concerning Adrian’s mother. She died about ten years ago. For a few months before her death, she was showing definite signs of dementia especially including one particular activity. Nearly every day she would walk outside the house and yell up into the sky, “Barack Obama, come on down and land your helicopter here. This went on for several weeks as nearly every day she was found outside the house pointing to a field and yelling for the American president to land his helicopter there. It was a real head scratcher to the family as they couldn’t figure out why she had this particular obsession. She had never been particularly interested in politics, especially American politics. As I mentioned earlier, she died about ten years ago. The family property borders a beautiful resort and country club called the Celtic Manor. About a year after her death it was announced that the Celtic Manor was going to host the G-7 Summit of NATO leaders. The significance of this happening didn’t quite dawn on the family until on September 4, 2014 they saw . . . Barack Obama’s helicopter fly over the house and land in the next field.
You know I’ve had a couple things like that happen to me as a child. Once when I was around 9 years old I think I was staying the night with my grandmother. It was late and we were watching a bit of TV before going to bed when all of a sudden I became very anxious. I had this feeling that something bad was going to happen and I had no idea why. It must have been bad for me to get to a point where I told my grandmother about it. I knew she would laugh at me for it and I was right. There was nothing else to do but to go to bed and try to sleep. I did manage to get drowsy enough to drop off to sleep for a second before being woken up by a nightmare. Well, it wasn’t really a whole nightmare, just one fleeting instance of a picture in my head. I envisioned my mom laying in her bed at home with her hand in bandages. It scared me and I got very little sleep that night.
The next day I heard that my mom was in the hospital recovering from emergency surgery. You see she had a job on the night shift as a mechanic at a certain cookie factory. I won’t name the factory because they had some serious safety violations that caused my mom to have an accident. A machine was turned off while she worked on it but there was nothing to indicate it was out of order. Someone noticed the machine was off…and turned it back on while my mom was working on it. Her hand was pulled through a very small hole and was lacerated and broken.
A couple days later she was discharged from the hospital and When I walked into her room to see her it was so eerie. It was exactly as I had dreamt it, like a strong case of deja-vu.
I only had a couple of things like that happening in my childhood but never as an adult. In fact my mom had a couple other serious medical emergencies when I was young but, I never had another premonition or bad feeling about it. I will say that I do get weird feelings about situations or people that I always listen to. Sometimes I can see later that I was right to listen but most times I never find out.
The idea of premonitions has fascinated folks for a long time. Today we are going to do a deep dive into this riveting topic. Of course, some of you may have already known that! Ha!
According to a website called spiritualityandpractice.com the word premonition is defined as coming from the Latin prae, which means 'before,' and monere, meaning 'warn', hence literally forewarning. It is a glimpse of the future, a feeling or sense that something is about to happen. They don’t involve information from prior experience, but rather, like the Obama story shared above, involve knowledge of something for no pre-known reason. As the Latin name references, a premonition may warn of something unpleasant or dangerous, but they can also preclude something positive like getting a promotion or even locating a parking spot. They can be vague or vivid and specific. They can occur in dreams but can also happen when the person is wide awake.
Premonitions are not a new phenomenon. Numerous people in the Bible managed to avoid disasters by heeding dreams or visions with forewarning messages. One of my favorites occurs in the 27th chapter of the book of Acts in the New Testament. The apostle Paul was being transported as a prisoner to Rome by Roman soldiers. The soldiers decided to catch a ride on an Egyptian ship, however upon boarding Paul spoke up and said, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of lives.” The soldiers ignored Paul and boarded the prisoners and themselves on the ship. At first things went well, but soon a severe storm struck and did not let up for two weeks. The sailors threw all of the cargo and even the tackle into the sea, but the storm still did not let up. Finally, the ship ran aground on Malta. Paul said, “You should have listened to me!”
Johnny Cash Paraphrased from his autobiography Cash published in 2003
In his autobiography Cash, the great country singer Johnny Cash shared many private and personal details about his very interesting life. One of them fits into our topic for today. It appears that one Sunday morning Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter found themselves walking down 57th Street in New York City. They happened upon a church that they hadn’t noticed before. As they heard the music playing indicating that the service was about to begin, they felt compelled to join in. They walked into the crowded chapel and noticed that the only available seats were in a pew about a third of the way down the aisle. A couple with their ten-year-old son happened to be sitting in the pew. When the boy saw Johnny Cash coming to sit down next to him, he immediately began shouting to his parents, “I told you so, I told you so, I told you so!” The minister stopped the service and walked down the aisle to where Cash and Carter were sitting. “Mr. Cash, I’d like for you to meet David. For the past three months he has been telling everyone here that one day Johnny Cash was going to come sit next to him in church and worship with him!” After the service, Cash and Carter visited with the boy’s parents. They learned that David was a special needs child. They also learned that the couple was actually Jewish, but that David had become a Christian while listening to Johnny Cash’s gospel records. Cash wrote in his autobiography, “I don’t know exactly what to make of this experience, but I sure had a lot of fun sitting there next to him and worshiping!”
Ohio Train Crash There have been many news reports about the recent train crash in Ohio. The reports are referring to the catastrophic train derailment that occurred on February 3, 2023. Just before 9pm 38 cars of a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine. This resulted in a huge chemical spill polluting area water sources and the killing of local wildlife. Authorities had to make the tough and controversial decision to start a controlled fire to burn off some of the hazardous chemicals, specifically vinyl chloride in order to prevent a more catastrophic explosion. This released a huge cloud of toxic black smoke into the atmosphere. Residents within a 2-mile radius of the accident--roughly half of the town’s 4,800 residents--were evacuated and the environmental damage done to the area is still being evaluated. Black Cloud over the city.
Several of the residents say that they had a strange sense of deja-vous when they had to evacuate. You see a similar disaster happened in the early 1980s in Bhopal, India, that killed nearly 4,000 people. But why would that deadly incident be in the minds of the Ohio evacuees? Well the Incident in India inspired author Don DeLillo to write the novel, White Noise which was published in 1985. The story follows a family affected by the pollution of an industrial accident.
The book in turn inspired a movie by the same name to be produced. The odd thing about it is that it was filmed just a couple years ago in Ohio, about 20 miles from where the train derailment was to happen. Several of the people who were evacuated from the recent toxic accident were cast as extras in the movie where they portrayed people reacting to and fleeing from nearly the same danger. The movie hit theaters in August of 2022, just 6 months before the train derailment. The book and film follow the fictional Gladney family – a couple and their four kids – as they flee an “airborne toxic event” and then return home and try to resume their normal lives.
East Palestine residents Ben Ratner and his family were cast as extras in the movie. In one scene Ratner is in a traffic jam, sitting in a line of cars trying to evacuate after a freight train collided with a tanker truck, triggering an explosion that fills the air with dangerous toxins. According to Cnn.com Ratner and his family – his wife, Lindsay, and their four kids are living the fiction they helped bring to the screen. They were ordered to evacuate their home after the February train derailment. “The first half of the movie is almost exactly what’s going on here,” Ratner told CNN. “I actually made a meme where I superimposed my face on the (movie) poster and sent it to my friends.”
Scholars who study DeLillo’s work say they are not surprised by the collision of life and art. His work is often described as prescient, said an English professor at Maryville University in St. Louis. “The terrible spill now is, of course, a coincidence. But it plays in our minds like life imitating art, which was imitating life, and on and on.”
Another Train Premonition And speaking of train disasters, there was the case of the British Rail workhorse numbered 47299 based out of Immingham. On December 9 of 1983 the engine was hauling an oil train when it collided at low speed into the side of a local passenger train. The first carriage of the passenger train was derailed and turned over onto its side with one passenger being killed instantly.
The odd thing about this train was that it had been renumbered. Its original number had been 47216 but changed to its final number of 47299 and the reason why will surprise you.
Normally new numbers are only allocated when a machine has a major modification requiring the computer to identify it under a different classification. In the case of 47216 there was no physical change; only a psychic element. Two years earlier in 1981 the British Rail received a call from a woman claiming to be a clairvoyant. She told them she had a recurring vision of a fatal train crash involving a big blue engine hauling oil tankers. The engine in her vision was numbered 47216.
Officials at British Rail were likely not impressed with the random call and no doubt would normally have ignored it and continued business as usual except that one of the officials mentioned the woman’s name to someone who had heard about her. Apparently this particular clairvoyant or what we Americans would most likely call a psychic, was discovered to have been taken seriously by police when she helped them on at least one past case. This caused British Rail to take the phone call into serious consideration and changes were made. Not the drastic measure to retire the useful engine but the relatively simple change to just renumber it in the hopes of changing its predicted fate. It didn’t work.
[railexpress.co.uk, newrailwaymodellers.co.uk, Wikipedia]
Aberfan & Dr. John Barker
An article in theguardian.com titled The Vision Collector detailed the work of the 20th century British psychologist John Barker. Barker was, by all other means, an ordinary psychologist who worked at a small-town hospital. He had been trained at Cambridge and also at St. George’s Medical School in London. But Barker also had a keen interest in psychic research, and for some years had been interested in the problem of precognition and people who seemed to know what was going to happen to them before it actually did.
Viewers of the popular Netflix series The Crown may well remember the episode which detailed the tragic disaster in Aberfan, Wales. On the morning of October 21, 1966 an avalanche of coal waste products careened down a steep hillside and crashed into the town’s schools soon after attendance had been taken. The junior school was completely destroyed. 144 people were killed in the disaster, 116 were children mostly between the ages of 7 and 10. John Barker arrived on the scene as rescuers were still digging through the rubble.
The devastation reminded Barker of the blitz, when he had been a teenager, growing up in south London during WWII. But the loss of life in Aberfan was worse for being so concentrated and the dead so young. “Parents who had lost their children were standing in the street, looking stunned and hopeless and many were still weeping. There was hardly anybody I encountered who had not lost someone.”
One parent who Barker spoke with showed him an incredible drawing that her 8-year-old son had made the night before the disaster. It showed several people digging through a pile of rubble. Over the top of the rubble, the child had written The End.
Another student at the school named Eryl Mai Jones had been acting strangely all week. Two days before she had a terrible dream. The next morning, she told her mother that in her dream she had gone to her school but couldn't find it because something black was covering it. She also mentioned to her mother that she wasn’t afraid to die because that way she could be with Peter and June, two young classmates who had died the previous year. Sadly, Eryl was one of those killed in the tragedy.
Barker began enquiring whether others had experienced any forewarnings before the accident, even placing an advertisement in the local newspaper. Soon several replies came in. A lady named Constance Miles had a vision the night before the disaster in which she saw an old school, a Welsh coal mine, and an avalanche of coal rushing down the mountain. She told this to six of her friends who later confirmed her story. Another man had the strong feeling that a national disaster would occur on that Friday. He had been telling his workmates the whole week. That Friday morning when he arrived he told his secretary “Today is the day!”
Barker found no less than 22 respondents who had premonitions about the disaster and had shared them with other people beforehand. Several more claimed to have also had premonitions about the disaster but could not verify their experiences.
The results of this study convinced Barker that precognition is not unusual among humans. He even speculated that it may be as common as left-handedness. Before Christmas that same year, Barker approached the editor of a British publication called the Evening Standard with an idea. “How about for the next year we invite people to mail us letters detailing any premonitions they might have? Then we can compare them with actual events and find out if any of the premonitions come true.” The editor thought this was a good idea, so a notice was placed in the paper. The Premonition Bureau was formed.
Over the coming months the Bureau received hundreds of premonitions, most of which turned out to be dead ends. However, two people had real staying power. A piano teacher named Kathleen and a switchboard operator named Alan. Over the course of 1967 these two accurately predicted a plane crash including almost the exact number of people killed, an oil spill, the death of a Russian cosmonaut on his re-entry, a train crash in which 49 people died, and the following year, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
Oddity Du Jour: Etiquette Mysteries From interestingfacts.com we find an article that explains those strange rules of etiquette that your mother tried to teach you. When you asked her why, she probably said, “Because I told you so.” If your mother was like mine, you didn’t dare question any further. But in the back of your mind you probably still wondered why. So let’s investigate.
If you are at a nice dinner and someone asks you to pass the salt, do you pass the pepper too? Those not in the know might think that just passing the salt is fine, but those seasoned in dining etiquette (get it?) know that you must pass both salt and pepper together. Think of salt and pepper as spouses or siblings, they should always stay together. Remember this little rhyme, “Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper always travel around the table together!” The reason is that passing them both together minimizes the disruption of the table conversation. Even if the person receiving the salt and pepper only needs the salt, the chances are that one of their dining neighbors might need both. Also, it is more appropriate to place the shakers on the table in front of the person who asks rather than in their hand. This is due to an old belief that two people who both hold the salt together will eventually get into an argument.
Now what about those elbows on the table? This one goes back to the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes which states, “Be ashamed of breaking an oath or a covenant, and of stretching your elbow at dinner.” Table manners were originally introduced to prevent mealtime fights, with the knife and fork establishing each eater’s boundary lines. Today, the elbow rule stops people from slouching or accidentally leaning their arms into food dishes. Oops! It also prevents people from blocking conversations among one’s neighbors.
Perhaps you have been at an event when a Toast is offered to one of the guests. Did you know that if the Toast is being offered to you, that it is impolite for you to drink? It would be akin to applauding your own self. Instead practice the role of a grateful recipient by just saying, “Thank you!” Also, clinking your glasses during the toast is actually not good etiquette. Knocking drinks with a tableful of people can require awkward stretching, causing spills or even broken glassware. A more dignified solution? Just hold those glasses aloft.
Now did you know that some common responses to “Thank You” can actually be considered rude? If you reply to a “Thank you” with “No problem” or “Don’t mention it” or “It was nothing” then you are hinting that your good deed was almost a hindrance or an inconvenience. Of course, texting has muddied the waters a bit here. But at least when speaking in person, etiquette authorities encourage people to try replies such as “you’re welcome,” “my pleasure,” and “of course.” Can you see the subtle differences there?
And finally this is a new rule that comes to us from The Netherlands, a country where about ¼ of the population rides bicycles. If you drive a car in this country, you are encouraged to use the Dutch Reach. This means that you open your car door with your opposite hand, not the one nearest the door. The reason for this is that it turns your head and body around slightly to better enable you to see if a bicycle is approaching. You certainly don’t want to commit the faux pas of opening your car door into the path of an oncoming cyclist. How gouache!
The Titanic We all know about the Titanic, how on April 14, 1912 the great ocean liner which had been tabbed “Unsinkable” on its maiden voyage struck an iceberg and sank within three hours, taking some 1,500 people to a watery grave. Were there premonitions about this disaster? Undoubtedly so. Numerous people reported not buying tickets because of a “funny feeling” they had. According to historycollection.com the Cardeza family bought the most expensive suite on the ship but their maid, Anne Ward, refused to board after having a premonition that tragedy would strike. Some people cited the brashness of the ship’s captain, Edward John Smith, who supposedly stated, “Even God himself cannot sink this ship,” as tempting Providence.
But perhaps the most interesting possible premonition came from the pen of author Morgan Robertson. According to Wikipedia, Robertson was born in 1861 in Lake Oswego, N.Y. His father was a ship’s captain on the Great Lakes. Robertson began working as a cabin boy when he was fifteen and spent the next 23 years working as a merchant marine, eventually rising to the rank of first mate.
In the 1890s Robertson began making extra money writing short stories and selling them to newspapers, magazines, and other publications. In 1898 he published a short novel called Futility. This story featured an enormous British passenger liner called the Titan which was the largest vessel of its time just like the Titanic. The Titan was just 25 meters shorter than the Titanic and was also considered to be unsinkable. Both ships carried far too few lifeboats to accommodate the some 2,000 passengers. Just like the Titanic, the Titan was capable of traveling over 20 knots per hour. On an April voyage across the North Atlantic the Titan hits an iceberg and sinks resulting in the loss of almost everyone on board.
So this story was published fourteen years before the actual sinking of the Titanic, but it has so many similarities that most people assumed that Roberson must have had a strong premonition about the disaster. But Robertson was not one of them. He was still alive in 1912 and was aware that people were discussing the uncanny similarities between his story and the disaster. However Robertson claimed that this was not the result of any premonition. Rather, Robertson pointed out that he was an experienced sailor. He knew that the tendency was for ocean liners to get larger and larger. He also knew that icebergs would pose a serious threat to ships traveling at high speeds. He threw in the lack of lifeboats just for some dramatic tension. Still, you must admit that the similarities are quite remarkable.
Edgar Allen Poe
Speaking of stories that seemingly predicted future events, consider the novel of Edgar Allen Poe titled The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket which was published in 1838. In this story the four man crew of a ship called the Grampus found themselves shipwrecked on a deserted island. They found a tortoise and ate it, but they were still hungry. As Poe frequently leans toward the macabre, you can guess where this is going. The crew decided to draw straws. Whoever drew the short straw would be killed and eaten by the other three. Richard Parker, a former mutineer, draws the short straw and is brutally murdered. His feet, hands, and head are tossed into the sea. Two of the remaining members of the crew manage to survive after their act of cannibalism and are eventually rescued. Poe didn’t particularly like this story, in fact he referred to it as somewhat silly, though it did appear to have influenced Jules Verne and Herman Melville who used elements from this story into their own writings.
Now fast forward 46 years to 1884. A small ship called the Mignonette with a crew of four sailed from London heading toward Sydney, Australia. Somewhere along the way the ship sprang a bad leak and sank. The four crew members managed to get on a lifeboat. Soon they ran out of food and water. They managed to capture a tortoise and eat it, but they were still hungry. One crew member, Richard Parker, became so thirsty that he took a big swallow of ocean water which made him very sick. The other three members decided not to wait until he died, otherwise his blood might be bad, so they killed poor Richard and survived by eating him. When they were rescued and taken back to England the three surviving members of the crew were given life prison sentences, but at a retrial their sentence was reduced to six months.
So was Poe’s writing based on some kind of premonition? We will never know, as Poe died 1849 some 35 years before the incident on the Mignonette. Still the coincidence is quite alarming.
Mark Twain I have to tell you that when I was putting our separate research together for this episode I had strong deja-vu. I really thought we had covered that story about Poe before. I mean, I remember covering the trial of the men that killed poor Richard Parker but try as I might I couldn’t find any of our research or writing on it. So if any of our listeners happens to remember hearing us talk about it, please send us a message and tell me I’m not crazy! In the meantime I have a story of another famous author and his prediction.
I think if you asked people to name a comet most would name Halley’s Comet even though several comets have been seen in our skies since Halley’s last fly by in 1986. Arguably the most famous comet, it was discovered by English astronomer Edmond Halley as he examined reports of a comet approaching Earth in 1531, 1607 and 1682. He concluded that these three comets were actually the same comet returning over and over again every 75 years. Halley's calculations showed that at least some comets orbit the sun and their approach to the Earth can be scientifically predicted. Halley unfortunately didn’t live long enough to see that his prediction of the comet’s return in 1758 was correct.
The comet has inspired people throughout the ages. According to the Britannica encyclopedia it’s thought that the 1301 appearance of the comet could have inspired Italian painter Giotto's rendering of the Star of Bethlehem in his painting "The Adoration of the Magi.”
Halley's most famous appearance occurred shortly before the 1066 invasion of England by William the Conqueror. It is said that William believed the comet heralded his success. In any case, the comet was put on the beautiful Bayeux Tapestry — which chronicles the invasion. This was done in William's honor.
In 1600, just 105 years before Edmond Halley’s observations of the comet, Shakespeare wrote his play "Julius Caesar.” In it he wrote of comets as heralds saying, "When beggars die there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes."
It’s no surprise that those who watch the sky would see comets--something entirely different than the usual constellations and moving very differently to them--as a sign or a prediction of things to come or as a herald of things that have passed. But it's impossible to prove that any of the predictions of man were due to the appearance of Halley's comet. But…
Author Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, took note of the famous comet most likely because he was born in 1835 when Halley’s comet was close and visible in the skies. In 1909 he was quoted as predicting his own death by saying, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.”
In 1910, the year after Clemens’ prediction Halley’s Comet came around again as expected. It was at its brightest on April 20th. Samuel Clemens died of a heart attack the very next day on April 21st.
[www.space.com, todayifoundout.com, Wikipedia]
A GOLDEN DREAM This next story isn’t quite so dark, it refers to one of the more colorful times in American history.
Approximately 300,000 people from across the United States and around the world flocked to California during the California Gold Rush. It all started on January 24, 1848 when James W. Marshall arrived to make his customary inspection of a sawmill he was building for John Sutter. The night before, Marshall had diverted water through the newly constructed mill. In the early morning sun Marshall saw shining flecks of metal in the water. As Marshall later recalled of his historic discovery: “It made my heart thump, for I was certain it was gold.”
Just days after Marshall’s discovery at Sutter’s Mill, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ending the Mexican-American War and putting California squarely in the hands of the United States. This was a remarkable twist of fate with important ramifications for an America eager for westward expansion.
But did you know that Marshall was not the first to discover gold in California? Just 6 years earlier in 1842 a premonition in the form of a dream led to the first discovery when mineralist Francisco Lopez was a bit sleepy and decided to take a siesta beneath the shade of an expansive oak tree. While asleep he had a dream of gently floating down a river of pure gold. When he awoke Lopez was hungry so he located some wild onions to snack on. When he pulled them from the ground he found flecks of gold (some say it was nuggets of gold) clinging to the roots of the onions. This prophetic find became the first documented discovery of gold in California.
The tree became known as The Oak of the Golden Dream and is now an official California Historic Landmark and its gnarled trunk can still be visited in the Placerita County Natural Area. The article in Atlas Obscura invites you to “Come sleepy and you may just walk away rich.”
[ Atlas Obscura / history.com / scvhistory.com]
World Trade Center
Alfred Naylor is a Wall Street executive. On February 26, 1993 he was on his way to work at the World Trade Center when he had a very strong urge to return to his home. Not being able to ignore this feeling he thought maybe something was wrong at his house, so he got off of his train at Grand Central Station and caught the next one going in the reverse direction. When he reached home, it didn’t appear that anything was wrong, so he turned on the TV local news. Shortly after noon there was an interruption in the regular news to bring an update about a bombing at the World Trade Center. Terrorists had parked a powerful car bomb near one of the supporting pillars of the tower. Six people were killed and more than a thousand were injured. The terrorists were hoping to topple Tower 1 into Tower 2, but their blast did not substantially damage the tower. Alfred Naylor was happy that he listened to that strong urge.
A little over 8 years later Alfred was again about to leave his house when he felt the same urge that he needed to stay home. You guessed it, this was September 11, 2001 the day that terrorists crashed airplanes into the WTC. The loss of life totaled 2,996 with several thousand more injured. And once again Alfred Naylor was not one of them. To this day, he is grateful that he received the premonitions but also feels guilty that he was unable to help others. To be fair, had he told people about his premonition, would they have believed him enough to go home? Maybe not then, but I bet they would now!
One day President Abraham Lincoln was walking through the White House when he passed by a mirror. In the mirror he saw his reflection, but he also saw a shadow of his reflection. He wrote to his wife that he thought this meant that he would survive his first term in office, but not the second. Lincoln suffered from frequent headaches and body aches. Some modern physicians believe that Lincoln suffered from Marfan’s Syndrome which particularly affects tall people. Of course, being president during the Civil War also took a toll on his health, so he may have had in mind that he would die of some illness.
This, however, may not have been the only premonition Lincoln had about his death. Of course we now know that Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865 while watching a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington. His assassination was part of a plot concocted by John Wilkes Booth who was attempting to restore the Confederacy. His accomplices were supposed to also kill Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward. Seward was attacked and stabbed in his home but did not die. Johnson’s assailant got cold feet and didn’t follow through with the plan.
According to his friend and bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln told him a few days before the assassination that he had a dream in which he walked into the East Room of the White House and found a body in a casket being guarded by soldiers and attended by mourners. He asked one of the soldiers who was dead. “The President, he was killed by an assassin,” came the reply. Some have disputed this story as Lamon did not write about it publicly for some twenty years. Also, if he was the bodyguard and he knew this, then why didn’t he do more to try to protect Lincoln?
Flight 191 One more instance of a disaster foretold is the story of David Booth. Booth was an office manager of a car rental agency at Cincinnati Airport in 1979 when he started having nightmares. Actually David only had one nightmare about a horrific airplane crash.
But everyone has a nightmare every once in a while and it’s no big deal. Well that’s true except this nightmare was experienced by David over and over again always with the same very specific details. It was an American Airlines plane that shortly after takeoff had one of its engines fall off. The plane then flips over and narrowly misses a low building. It crashes to the ground killing everyone on board.
David could not seem to escape this nightmare, he had it every night, ten nights in a row. He just couldn’t ignore it and became convinced that it was a prophecy and that he had to do all he could to prevent the crash from happening.
That’s when David Booth called the Federal Aviation Administration. He was directed to Jack Barker, the public affairs officer of the FAA. Jack Barker says that to him, David sounded perfectly rational, that he was upset about the dream but other than that was calm and explained the string of events that played every night in his nightmare. David was relieved that Jack took him seriously but the relief was short lived. In spite of the horrifyingly real details of the dream, there was no way to tell what flight was supposed to crash. Jack Barker explains, “There was no city, no flight number, nothing relating directly to the accident other than a description of what happened.”
There was nothing else David could do. He continued to have the same nightmare many times over and on May 25th, 1979 David became desperate. He called and spoke to Jack Barker at the FAA again. But there still wasn’t anything anyone could do short of grounding all the planes.
Then just a few hours after that phone call David’s nightmare became a tragedy. At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. American Airlines Flight 191 lost an engine right after takeoff.It was just as David had dreamed. There were 273 people killed with no survivors.
Jack Barker says that David’s premonition about the crash is the only one ever recorded by the FAA. He’s quoted as saying, “I’ve been involved in a lot of strange incidents, accidents, hijackings, etc. this thing with David Booth is the strangest of anything I've ever handled.”
The tragedy would haunt David for the rest of his life.
I got my information from Wikipedia and from a Youtube video from S3E7 of “Weird or What” with William Shatner. That video included an interview with Jack Barker.
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Remnant Stew is part of Rook & Raven Ventures and is created by me, Leah Lamp. Dr. Steven Meeker and I research, write and host each episode along with commentary by our audio producer, Phillip Sinquefield. Special thanks to the rest of our team, Brandy Nichols, Judy Meeker, and Harbin Gould.
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