Lurch of a Bus
Dreamed before 1963 by Anonymous #16 as reported by J.B. Priestley
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.
A woman dreamed she was traveling with her dog on top of a bus, the older type of London bus that had a curved stairway. As she was going down to get off the bus, it suddenly started moving, and she was thrown forward, cracking her skull.
She remembered the dream on waking but dismissed it because she had no intention of going out. But that morning, finding a large inflamed swelling in her dog's ear, she decided to take him to the animal clinic, going by bus. As she was about to get off, descending the stairs, she remembered the dream and so hung on tightly to the rail. The bus suddenly moved off sharply. She was swung forward and strained her hand, clinging on as she was twisted round, but saved her skull.
As JB Priestley points out in his analysis of a similar dream Umbrella, usefulness and the strict definition of 'prediction' clash in dreams like these. One can argue that the dream's prediction didn't come true; but commonsense argues that the whole point of seeing danger is so you can avoid it. One view essentially assumes there is a fixed future to see (accurately or not); the other requires either a mutable future or many futures. Yet if the skull-cracking can be changed, aren't billions of us altering the future with every dream, every breath? And if we are, how can so precise a danger as one particular lurching bus be predicted at all? Such precise predictions seem to conflict with both a fixed future AND a constantly renegotiated one. Despite the triviality of the incident, Priestley is right that with such dreams "we are already in deep waters."
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