Psychics are people with gifts that seem to supersede the senses. Some purport to be able to make contact with the dead, others believe they can read minds and there are those who believe they have access to future events. We often find that, after a dramatic event, the press is littered with stories about people who ‘predicted’ the event was about to take place. However, there are significantly fewer stories about those who predict the event, publicly before it takes place.
It seems that hindsight can be more powerful than second sight. Yet, there are examples, throughout history, of people making predictions in advance of a major catastrophe or event – which begs the question: how seriously should we take psychic warnings?
Predictions through history
Perhaps the earliest, most famous example of prediction comes from Ancient Greece. Cassandra was a well known psychic of these times and people were said to travel from far and wide just to hear her predictions. The most famous story involving this figure comes from the Iliad, in which Homer tells of the siege of Troy. In the final stages of the siege, Cassandra warned the Trojans to ‘beware of Greeks bearing gifts’. It was Odysseus who brought this prediction to bear, hiding his Greek army inside a giant, hollow, wooden horse. The horse was seen by the Trojans as a gift from the Greeks and it was taken inside the city walls. At this point, Odysseus and his troops jumped out and razed the city of Troy to the ground.
However, while this story remains the unconfirmed stuff of legend, there are more recent incidents of people having some form of premonition about impending disaster. Perhaps the most notorious surrounds the story of the Titanic. Once it was announced that the unsinkable ship was going to be built, there were a number of reported predictions made, each pointing towards disaster. However, the most poignant prediction came not from the hands of a psychic, but from the hands of an author. The Titanic and the Titan In 1898, a few years before the Titanic was completed, Morgan Robertson wrote a book, called ‘Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan’. His story described the first and final voyage of an ocean liner, The Titan. While it might be simpler to pass off Morgan’s tale as sheer coincidence, there are certain similarities between his work of fiction and what actually happened; similarities that make it hard to completely dismiss. The Titanic sank on April 14th, after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic. In Morgan’s book, the Titan sinks in the same month, in the same stretch of sea and under the same conditions. The Titanic was 242 metres long, while the Titan was 269 metres in length and both weighed around 70,000 tons.
In addition, both the real Titanic and its fictional counterpart had triple-screw propellers; something that was comparatively new at the time, especially on ships of that size. Both books were described as being unsinkable, yet both sank and each lost just over half their compliment of passengers. In addition, both ships carried less than half the required number of lifeboats necessary to evacuate their 3000 passengers and both ships were travelling at between 22.5 and 25 knots. As if that wasn’t enough, both vessels were sunk at 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland. Whatever your beliefs, there are so many similarities that it’s impossible to ignore them.
Events and the Public Consciousness
The build-up to 911 was anticipated by people and psychics throughout the world. There are stories of men and women who managed to persuade their partners not to go to work that day, because they had a ‘bad feeling’ about the site that day and even more who reportedly had precognitive dreams about an impending disaster. As a result, there are those who now have a more pronounced belief in the powers of premonition; people who were markedly sceptical beforehand.
These events were all huge, impactive disasters and it’s perhaps here where the key lies. With the dawn of the Titanic, the possibility of an unsinkable ship was embedded in the public consciousness. The Twin Towers were an indelible landmark on the New York skyline and there can be few people who didn’t wonder about its potential as a terrorist target. Once these energies are present in the collective unconscious, it’s hard to stop them gathering momentum.
It could also be argued that some people actually picked up on the intentions of the terrorists themselves and those energies were converted into bad dreams and feelings of apprehension. The Titanic, hailed as unsinkable, was the subject of speculation long before its launch and there must have been a great many people who thought that it was too good to be true. Just as with 911, there are stories about people who made a last-minute decision not to go, based on nothing more than gut instinct.
The Psychic Thermometer
However, it’s hard to say just how seriously we should take psychic warnings. Nostradamus, possibly the most famous augur of doom, made countless predictions, only a few of which appear to have had any substance. In addition, there seems to be little facility for psychics to make their predictions without fear of ridicule, so many remain silent until after the event. The trouble is that those who purport to have predicted something after it has happened leave themselves wide open to even more ridicule; it’s a Catch-22 situation.
The real psychic thermometer of prediction tends to lie within normal people rather than psychics, as though the ripples of psychic activity are spread throughout the population. We have all had experiences where a group of people decide not to go somewhere, leave somewhere early or avoid a person or situation, based on instinct. If those feelings become manifest over a large number of people, in a short period of time and focus on a specific event, then it might be worth giving them some consideration. However, these feelings are incredibly difficult to police or record, leaving us none the wiser. Until there are mouthpieces for people to air their beliefs and thoughts, we may remain ignorant – perhaps until it’s too late.