Psychic Dreams and The MetaStory

Dreams That Come True: A Phenomenon Reconsidered

Thinking about my experiment in precognitive dreaming takes me back to a memorable period in my life, a time when I began opening up to possibilities—realities, as I see them now—I had long dismissed out of hand.

But writing a book about my dream project was fun for another reason as well. Because the farther into it I got, the more I realized that much of what I was saying was new. In a word, I suspected that Dreaming The Future would be a pretty wild ride, even for readers well-versed in the phenomenon.

For you newcomers, the experiment is one I launched in 1993, after 20 years as an adamant skeptic and materialist. Having stumbled on J.W. Dunne’s An Experiment With Time, I began documenting my own dreams, and as of today, have collected about 250 recorded examples. Remarkably, about one in four have proven to be precognitive.

And with that, here are some of the book’s key features and insights. I’ve bolded terms that are my own and will therefore be new to readers.

My book is the first, I believe, to focus on

Garden variety precognitive dreams.

Some dreams of the future are so true-to-life it’s as though the dreamer lives through an event once while sleeping, and then a second time while awake. My own experiences are of a different, and likely more common, sort. In these garden variety cases, as I call them, some of the parallels aren’t immediately obvious. So the event may not be experienced in the moment as an actual reliving. But when all the similarities are grasped, the case for precognition becomes clear. Especially given . . .

• The startling frequency of these visions.

That one in four of my documented dreams would prove to be precognitive was far from what I considered possible when I started out. So the book details the procedures I follow to make sure I’m not being deceived by a faulty protocol or sloppy thinking. For example, my rule of thumb is to record precisely those dreams that seem least likely to come true. (As the often bizarre circumstances of the book’s examples show.) And I describe seven criteria I've developed—along with a control experiment—to assure the validity of these cases.

As I got deeper into the book and grasped the combined power of its arguments, it became clear that the net effect was to show

• Why the evidence for psychic dreaming may be stronger than even “believers” think.

Here, for example, is one rarely considered point. When evaluating the strength of a case, a crucial consideration is obviously the common ground shared by dream and event. What’s less understood is that discrepancies are often less important, and may be virtually irrelevant. For example: if your dreams regularly include the next day’s winning lottery number, then no matter how otherwise fantasy-filled those dreams may be, psychic ability is clearly at work.

I call this the lottery number concept, and my book illustrates the sorts of “lottery numbers” my dreams (and perhaps the reader’s) contain. The matching sequence may not be numerical, but consist rather of a constellation of crisply defined, unexpected elements—people, objects, actions, etc.—shared by dreams and predicted events.

Note that no interpretation whatsoever is involved. The only correlations that interest me are those that apply literally to both dream and event.

• Definitive documentation.

Readers can view complete transcripts (recorded on awakening) of the dreams I share. And since the predictions chronicled are almost all media-related, I’ve been able to support their authenticity through dated, published photos and quotes.

• How precognition hides in plain sight.

To truly grasp this phenomenon, it’s important to understand why and how we—and that includes scientists—tend to miss or downplay whatever evidence for precognition turns up. Some of the reasons are straightforward, such as the fact that we simply forget most of our dreams. And of the dreams we do remember, we rarely recall enough detail to notice later correlations.

But other barriers to observing precognition are less obvious, and my book is unusual, I believe, in fitting together so many pieces of the puzzle.

• Answering the skeptic’s main objection.

The standard “scientific” explanation for precognition is this: since we have countless dreams, and virtually unlimited opportunities for linking them to waking events, odd coincidences are bound to occur. I call this the two vast pools theory, and my experiment greatly undermines it by reducing the pool of dreams to just four, since that’s what it takes, on average, for “the impossible” to turn up (in my experience).

But my book shrinks the other pool too. And it does so, in part, through

• Dreams that come true in minutes.

If (to summarize one of the cases detailed in the book) I wake up from a dream, document it, and moments later receive an unexpected email clearly predicted by the dream, what does that say about the pool of potential matching events? Obviously, it’s negligible, and the question is especially relevant because, as it turns out, a full 39% of my precognitive dreams came true within an hour.

Combine the immediacy factor with the 1-in–4 statistic, and suddenly it’s reasonable to ask: does the skeptic’s “countless dreams, endless waking experiences” really carry much weight?

Taking the argument yet a step further, the book explores a fairly common but little-discussed subset of the phenomenon:

• Dreams that come true instantly.

A lead-up dream is one whose storyline leads up to, and provides an imaginary explanation for, a real-world stimulus that awakens the dreamer. For example: a man dreams of being guillotined and is awakened by a canopy rod striking the back of his neck. The waking event thus has two meanings—one in the dream, and one in real life. Surprisingly, unmistakable “puns” (often non-verbal like the above) turn out to be a feature of many precognitive dreams.

That I’m apparently the first to have bothered coming up with a name for lead-up dreams shows how under-appreciated they are. But these experiences, or at least some of them, are almost certainly psychic, and my book explores the reasons.

As you can see . . .

Point by point and dream by dream, Dreaming The Future demonstrates the reality and logic of precognition, until the conscientious reader, in my view, is forced to one of two conclusions: either I’m misrepresenting my data—essentially lying about it—or the phenomenon is a fact of life.

Only then do I venture into psychic dreaming’s

• Spiritual implications. If some part of our being can “travel” to the future, what does that say about our status in the universe, and what light might it shed on matters of life and death? As I share the profound effect my dreams have had on my own worldview (I’m now spiritual but not at all religious), I touch on these questions.

And since my goal is to bring precognition into the mainstream—not just as a point of information, but as first-hand experience—I provide detailed

• Instructions for experimenters. There are tips on recalling dreams, documenting them, and on being alert to the sorts of events dreams are likely to predict. And I explain how to avoid time-wasting errors, such as documenting dreams that haven’t even the potential to provide compelling proof.

Also included are suggestions to help readers boost their success rate using meditation; a strategy for increasing the likelihood of (those especially persuasive) “instant” matches; and a control experiment that, in my experience, leaves no doubt as to the legitimacy of the phenomenon.

The book ends with a . . .

• Guide to research and resources. This section explores related contributions to the larger field of consciousness studies. (For as the title of one chapter says, the real subject here is consciousness.) In particular, I discuss near-death experiences, which confirm key aspects of precognition, and I explain how the two phenomena in combination speak volumes about the ultimate mysteries of our existence.

In short . . .

Dreaming The Future is a fresh take on a phenomenon that challenges conventional assumptions about who and what we are. Written in a down-to-earth style anyone can understand and enjoy, it offers plenty to chew on, even for veteran explorers of the paranormal. Most importantly, by focusing on garden variety psychic dreams, it acquaints readers with precisely the sort of evidence they’re most likely to encounter.

If you’re skeptical about psychic ability, the book welcomes you with open arms, and may give you reason to re-consider your stance.

And if, as I did, you feel a need to get past the maybe’s, the probably’s, and the second-hand stories about hard-to-believe happenings, I’ll show you how to prove “the impossible,” once and for all, to yourself.

Now available on Amazon in paperback and digital editions.


  1. Simran on September 2, 2017 at 1:14 am

    I am Simran and i read blog about intuitions and Precognitive dreams. I am pursuing M.Sc. in Clinical Psychology and also doing a research on which type of personalities are more vulnerable to have supernatural or paranormal experiences like intuitions and precognitive dreams. It would be great if I could contact you and get some literature on the same matter. I would also like you could share some of your experiences of precognitive dreams and intuitions. I assure that the information would be kept confidential. You could contact me on my mail id:

    Thank You

    • Bruce on September 2, 2017 at 11:44 am

      Hi Simran!

      “which type of personalities are more vulnerable to have supernatural or paranormal experiences like intuitions and precognitive dreams.”

      I’m no expert on that, but I often hear that artists and creative types are more prone to these experiences. For what it’s worth, the psychically-talented people I’ve run across personally are a mix: a dentist, nurse, teacher, office worker (to name just a few). And lots of kids!

      “could you share some of your experiences of precognitive dreams and intuitions.”

      Describing these experiences in a truly meaningful way takes a little time, Simran. When I get a chance, I’ll put some on this blog. In the meantime, if you’re interested, a number of my dreams are detailed in my book.

    • Elizabeth on November 7, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      If I may, I’d suggest you look up the concept of overexcitabilities (and the theory of positive disintegration, which provides a framework for it) by Kazimierz Dabrowski, and also, related, transliminality — essentially a different name for (certain forms of) overexcitability. People endowed with these traits are more prone to psychic experiences (and creativity, and various mental maladies).

      • Bruce on November 7, 2017 at 8:47 pm

        Thanks, Elizabeth. I think you’re right, and base my opinion on the fact that psi researchers like to include artists of all categories in their experiments, because they’re known to have enhanced psychic abilities. Not that Dabrowski (like most psychologists) takes the paranormal seriously. Sounds like you do, though. Am I right?

        • Elizabeth on November 7, 2017 at 9:08 pm

          Yes. We should stop calling these phenomena paranormal, methinks. They are entirely normal, it’s just that we have been miseducated by the purveyors of materialist reductionism into not believing our own experiences. Luckily, many manage to escape this false paradigm.

  2. Elizabeth on November 7, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Fascinating, Bruce!

    Edgar Cayce stated that no major life event happens without being foreshadowed in a dream. And he knew this well. I’d also say it applies to minor-ish event too.

    Knowing this has profound implications for our understanding of reality, doesn’t it. We are after all spiritual beings having largely pre-destined physical experiences on this planet.

    • Elizabeth on November 7, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      “minor-ish events,” plural

      Did not dream that typo in time, obviously. 🙂

    • Bruce on November 7, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      “We are after all spiritual beings having largely pre-destined physical experiences on this planet.”

      I’m glad you added “largely.” As I see it, before incarnating, we plan major aspects of our life-to-come, but leave open for improvisation much of our earthly experience. Otherwise, what’s the point of even coming here? Sounds like we’re in agreement on that.

      • Elizabeth on November 7, 2017 at 9:09 pm

        Free will is part of the design.

  3. Guy Inchbald on April 15, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Just found this blog. Your book has gone straight onto my reading list.
    I agree with both you and Dunne that the paranormal/psi concept is unhelpful. Either these phenomena are a genuine aspect of the physical brain and the information it processes, in which case they are open to scientific verification, or they are figments of our minds, in which case they are open to scientific falsification. The old term “psychic” was much better, as it did not second-guess the cause.
    However I am not as confident as Dunne and some others that our subjective experience of these brain phenomena embraces some kind of independent reality. It may be that we just don’t know enough physics or information theory yet.
    FYI I have almost finished a 170,000 word biography of Dunne and hope to start looking for a publisher this summer. For more about him, see

    • Bruce on April 15, 2019 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Guy,

      Thanks for commenting! Very cool that you’re writing a biography of Dunne. What an amazing man.

      You said:

      ” Either these phenomena are a genuine aspect of the physical brain and the information it processes, in which case they are open to scientific verification, or they are figments of our minds”

      Actually, there’s another possibility, a theory to which I myself subscribe. I see precognition as an ability not of our physical brains, but of our spiritual selves. When we sleep, our brains are less active, enabling psychic abilities such as precognition to come to the forefront.

      The near-death experience, which I discuss in my book, is particularly relevant. During normal conscious states, the brain acts as a filter serving to disable our natural psychic abilities. This encourages us to focus on the “Earth game,” which is why we come here. But when the brain ceases to function (as EKG readings prove happens during NDE’s), we find ourselves functioning with all our spiritual abilities intact, including being able to experience the past, present, and future simultaneously.

      In such states, we shatter the illusion of linear time.

      My guess is that you see things differently. Am I right?

  4. Guy Inchbald on April 24, 2019 at 3:34 am

    I do see things a little differently. Although I am far from a materialist, I remain equally sceptical of traditional dualist ideas about separation of body and soul. Precognition adequately demonstrates that modern physics has no grasp of the key phenomena involved, but that does not enforce a dualist understanding. It may prove a better model to wait until physics gains sufficient sophistication, but my current working hypothesis is that information is the key to many of the riddles. It is not the physical brain which experiences consciousness, it is the symbolic or semantic information carried by the brain activity (just as your computer is feeding a certain bit pattern to your screen right now, but it has no inking as to what information that bit pattern is carrying to you). It has been said that “consciousness is what information feels like when it reaches a certain level of complexity.” Whether our self or soul is anything more than a dynamic information complex remains to be seen. For example in the Buddhist view the self is just the information complex of the moment, accompanied by something mysterious and ineffable referred to as our dharma or Buddha nature. The self is understood as an illusion but, when asked “what is it that is being deluded into thinking it is a self?” the present Dalai Lama remarked cheerfully, “I don’t know”. It may be that this mystical quality is inherent in information itself. But for now I distinguish three levels of being, with the proviso that the whole thing may collapse down into fewer.
    Dunne himself was a firm dualist, a committed Anglican Christian. His posthumous autobiographical study “Intrusions?” reveals that many of his most significant dreams were accompanied by more overtly spiritual visions. The tensions between his scientific and religious beliefs form the main backbone to his story. It too makes one stop and think, I can thoroughly recommend it.
    By the way, I remain unconvinced about NDE, OOB and the like. The parapsychologist and writer Dr. Susan Blackmore (of “The Meme Machine” fame) had an out-of-body experience while a student and dedicated her life to understanding it. She followed the opposite path from yourself, from believer to sceptic, and I also strongly recommend her recent book “Seeing Myself”. While I am far from the relatively hard sceptic that she has become, it is an object lesson in who is fooling who here.

    • Bruce on April 25, 2019 at 12:30 pm

      Guy, I was interested in your comments about Dunne’s spiritual visions, and did some googling to find out more. And I ended up on your excellent page (though it wasn’t until 10 minutes into reading it that I realized it was yours).

      “As he grew up, the boy began to have ecstatic visions . . . It was these dreams, shorn of the clamouring voices, which form the first part of his best-known book.”

      I don’t remember him describing any of his dreams as ecstatic in EWT. Did I miss something?

      Thanks for recommending Dunne’s posthumous book, “Intrusions”. I’ve been reading parts of it. I particularly like this:

      “We are shareholders in the great space-filling Universal Mind.”

      That’s the subject of my post, The Big Picture

      I’ve read Blackmore’s “Dying to Live”. My copy is heavily marked up with my thoughts on its many weaknesses.

      Remember: Susan Blackmore recognizes NO psychic phenomena, not even precognition. Shouldn’t that tell you something about whether she’s truly open to looking at evidence that conflicts with mainstream science?

      Finally, you talk about “who’s fooling who.” For yet another perspective on this, please read Robert McLuhan’s “Randi’s Prize”.

      It’s an indispensable reference for those tempted to take Blackmore and her colleagues seriously. I’d love to hear what you think about it.

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