Over the years I have read quite a bit on psychical research and one element that comes up quite a lot is precognition. It seems to be one of those things that relates to many aspects of the paranormal.
The term itself, from the Cambridge Dictionary, means to have knowledge of a future event, especially when it comes from a direct message to the mind, such as a dream, rather than by reason. Think about that for a moment; to have knowledge of future events. This always throws me somewhat because it begins to play with our concept of time and future events. If its possible to have knowledge of those future events, then are they already set out for us and we are just following some predefined path? That possibility really destroys the concept of freewill, which I am not keen on.
However, I personally think that freewill is intact and the future events we may see in our minds could be changed; something achieved through choice.
This is where it gets slightly odd. Say we have a precognitive dream that provides information on a series of events that will happen in two days time. These events may lead you to receive serious injury. So, with knowledge of them you clearly wish to prevent them from occurring. The paradox here is that you do not really know how you arrive at these events and more so the consequences of changing them. For example, if you do change them it could result in fatal injuries rather than just serious injuries. You do not really know which action to take in order to prevent the injuries. In fact your preventative action may be the one thing that causes your injuries.
I see this a little like there are multiple possible timelines available, each defined by the choices we make and the choices that others make that impact us. Each choice changing the direction of the timeline laid out before us.
What is strange about some of these precognitive dreams is that they provide information on events that are several choices in the future. Almost as if its defined based on our probable choices ahead of us. Which could mean that our own minds comprehend the choices we have in front of us and then provide that information in the form of say a precognitive dream or vision.
The problem with this is that my little idea does not conform for all instances. Some people have had visions of potential disasters or events that are occurring to others and not them at all. My answer to this falls into the realms of collective consciousness, where the events impact so many people and are often covered by the media, that they will impact us individually at some point. Even if that is just us catching them on the news. Good examples being the 9-11 attack, Princess Diana’s tragic death and similar events that play out on a world stage. Perhaps we perceive their possibility as they grow close and others equally have similar events on their minds.
Psychical research has long discussed these concepts and will likely continue to do so. One such area is Remote Viewing, an area in which the participant describes a remote object or location. Some research that I have read has suggested that potentially rather than seeing the object or location in realtime, the participant actually taps into precognitive information regarding the target. As in they actually see the information on the target that will be shown to them in the future part of the experiment. This once again fits into the concept of choices aligning the individuals timeline to future events. However, often in these experiments the targets are randomly selected; which could suggest true visions of the future, rather than our minds making informed decisions.
So, if it is possible to see the future or at least for our minds to supply information on a potential future; then we may too be able to believe we see that during a ghost hunt in the form of an apparition. As in, if we capture a glimpse of someone, it may not be a ghost of someone that has passed away. It could actually be a precognitive vision of another ghost hunter walking through the location in the future.
What about all those ghost sightings of spirits in period dress, I hear you all shout?
There are two possible answers here, maybe three. The first is that its an hallucination you have created in your mind due to some knowledge of the location. The second is that its still precognition, but the person you see has dressed up in period dress for some reason. The third is retrocognition where the individual is now having visions of the actual past. Which sounds a little more possible than a ghost hunter wandering around dressed in victorian clothes.
The point here is that there are other possibilities out there in the world of psychical research that could provide us with answers. The simple belief in a spirit or ghost trying to communicate by showing itself to ghost hunters; is somewhat dated these days. We need to be considering more possibilities and presenting data or information to support them. Simply playing about with uncalibrated gadgets, capturing inaudible EVPs and videoing our every move is not enough. We need to start presenting detailed balanced cases that are thorough not weak.
“I saw a ghost;” is not enough to call somewhere haunted; we need more robust cases to support. Technology has advanced greatly, but in reality many are still performing variations of a seance.
Ghosts could simply be precognitive visions of the future ghost hunters or possibly retrocognitive visions of those that came before.
What are your thoughts on precognition and retrocognition?
Have you ever had a precognitive dream?