Can a dream give a forewarning of someone's death? In my post "When Dreams or Visions Foretell a Death," I cite quite a few interesting cases of people who had a dream that seemed to foretell someone's death. For example, in 1812 John Williams had a dream three times in one night, a dream of the death of Prime Minister Spencer Percival by assassination. Eight days later Percival was killed, and several aspects of his death matched the details in the dream Williams had.
The interesting book "The Future Is Now" by Arthur Walter Osborn cites quite a few cases of dreams that foretold a death. On page 51 we hear of a woman who dreamed her young brother had died. She soon learned her sister had a similar dream, on the same night. In the sister's dream the brother died from drowning. Not long after, the brother did die by drowning.
In his paper "Can Death-Related Dreams Predict Future Deaths? Evidence from a Dream Journal Comprising Nearly 12,000 Dreams" Andrew Paquette analyzed death references in a dream journal he kept for many years, finding all dreams of the death of a person thought to be alive at the time. He reported this: "The mean time interval between death-related dreams and the person’s subsequent death was significantly shorter than the time interval between non-death-related dreams and his or her death." He reports having a dream of the death of a relative named Harmony a day before learning of her death.
One of the few scientific papers relevant to this topic is the 2014 paper "End-of-Life Dreams and Visions: A Longitudinal Study of Hospice Patients' Experiences." The paper described a study that examined the dreams of 59 patients at a hospice. We read this:
"Many patients reported dreams/visions of past meaningful experiences (28%) and reunions with deceased loved ones(72%) who often provided reassurance or guidance. Others reported themes of preparing to go somewhere (59%)."
A graph in the paper shows that in this group of 59 people, dreams or visions about deceased persons reached a total level of 16 per week at 9 weeks before death, and then fell to 0 at about 6 weeks before death, and then rose sharply in the last 6 weeks of life, rising to 24 per week at 2 weeks before death. Such numbers are totals for the group of 59 people. If we use an average per person, this corresponds to about 1 in 5 having a dream or vision of the deceased at 9 weeks before death, and almost 1 in 2 having a dream or vision of the deceased at two weeks before death. In an interview years later, one of the authors of the paper said that dreams of travel or packing for travel were common in hospice patients in the weeks before they died.
In recent months I have been logging my dreams. I have noticed some interesting thematic recurrences that are listed in the table below.
|Explicit mention of||Indirect death reference||Travel or packing||Reference|
|death or immortality||such as lights turning off||theme||to Deceased|
The explicit references to death or immortality included things such as (1) a dream of a burning crashing airplane; (2) a dream in which someone said he believed in life after death; (3) a dream in which someone said, "This is like one of those movie scenes where someone dies;" (4) a dream in which I was working for a company working on an immortality drug; (5) a dream of seeing a tombstone. The indirect references to death include things such as (1) a dream of losing electricity in a home (sudden cardiac death is often a similar "electrical failure"); (2) a dream of fingers snuffing out a candle; (3) a dream of a driver's license expiration (expiration being a synonym for death). The references to the deceased I refer to are mostly dreams in which my deceased mother, father or sister appear, or dreams of me phoning them, as well as dreams in which they are referred to by word or writing.