Intuitive flash, 1955/4/20, by Nina's Clown, as reported to the Rhine Institute
...it may be impossible to tell whether a future situation or one already in existence is the cause of the [ESP] experience. If the latter, it would be a case of clairvoyance, rather than of precognition.
For example, a circus clown once had an impression of danger which he felt would occur the next day. However, a defect in the structure of the apparatus could already have been in existence and it, rather than the next day's accident, could have been the basis of his hunch.
"One of the circus numbers is known as the 'Aerial Ladders' " he says. "In this number, twelve girls climb up to individual ladders and to the music of the band are swung back and forth by the clowns. The ladders are swung as high as possible, during which the girls do acrobatic work on them. These ladders are hung on steel rings from the 'quarter-poles' in the tent.EDITOR'S NOTES
"On the night of April 20, 1955, while we were going through the act, and I was swinging a young girl, Nina, suddenly I saw in a flash a mental picture of her ladder breaking loose from the poles and I felt that there would be an accident to my ladder the next day. It was a strong mental picture.
"Not wanting to appear foolish or to be laughed at, I said nothing about my warning, but I did not forget it and when on the following day at the matinee Nina climbed up to her ladder, I kept a sharp watch for trouble.
"Sure enough, I had hardly swung her back and forth a minute when a loud crack from above the pole was heard by all who were near. One of the supporting rings gave way, and the next instant the ladder swung crazily on one rope back toward me.
"Being forewarned, I was enabled to pull hard on the net that is used to swing the ladder and I kept the girl clear of the pole in the rear until the momentum had died down a little, otherwise she would have struck this rear pole violently and been either killed or seriously injured. She was helped down and, with the exception of a few bruised ribs, was unharmed.
"But--I feel sure, for whatever reason this warning was given me, it did save this girl from serious injury."
I'd go further than Rhine's assessment that this might not be prediction but clairvoyance; it might not be ESP at all. Subliminal sensing of a changed vibration in the pole with the bad ring could account for it. But so what? That only matters if the proof of ESP rested on this single case; there are, of course, thousands. Proving the existence of ESP is easy; explaining it in any way consistent with current physics is not so easy. But that's physics' problem. In real life, the question is whether to act on strong intuitive warnings--regardless of theories around their origins.
Louisa Rhine's daughter has surveyed the Rhine Institute's archives and come up with a statistical answer: acting on predictive dreams and intuitive flashes like this generally paid off yet a majority failed to act, to their cost! (See The Gift, Sally Rhine Feather, 2005).
Of course, as the man above points out, it's often fear of mockery that keeps us from acting, at least openly. Even clowns hate to be laughed at.
SOURCE: Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p. 183-4. Account untitled, author's name witheld; title & byline added to aid searching & indexing.
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