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Hit or Miss

Dreamed before 1963 by Anonymous #20 as reported by J.B. Priestley

FOREWORD

In 1963, writer J.B. Priestley put out a request on a BBC show for examples of strange experiences with time, whether waking or dreaming. Over a thousand responses came: predictive dreams and visions of varying clarity, accuracy and credibility. The following year he published many examples (though withholding most dreamers' names for privacy reasons) in his book Man and Time. This is one of the thousand.

--Chris Wayan

Hit or Miss

The most vivid and outstanding experience that has ever occurred to me, was one night I woke up in a cold sweat absolutely sure that I had knocked down a small boy with my car. This dream remained with me for two or three days afterwards, but eventually, as all things do, it was put to the back of my mind. It was only a few weeks afterwards, when driving into Manchester, that I had to swerve and brake violently to avoid an accident. I jumped out of the car, and was staggered when I immediately recognised the boy as being the same child as in my dream.... I did not hit the boy, but was only inches away from hitting him, which thankfully proved one aspect of the dream wrong.

--Anonymous #20

Three quite different comments can be made on this experience. It could be said that a man who is always driving a car might easily dream of knocking down a child, and that this man deceived himself when he immediately recognized the boy he nearly did knock down as the child in his dream. This is possible, not probable.

But if we accept the dream as being precognitive, we can still look at it in two different ways. We can say that the dreamer picked up in advance the incident of nearly hitting the boy, and then, moved by a constant anxiety about such things, carried the incident to a dramatic and perhaps tragic conclusion. So the dream is part prevision and part fiction.

But we can also say that the dream showed a possibility never actualized--that is, so far as its dreadful conclusion is concerned--because, forewarned by the dream, the driver was able to act promptly at the right moment. In short, he was able to change the future that had already been revealed to him.

--J.B.Priestley



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