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An induced premonition, 1929/6/4, by Miss Edith L. Willis

On June 4th 1929 I was much absorbed in trying to produce a photograph in colour on paper in a process which required my closest attention. I was held up for ten minutes or so while something had to dry. Being interested in psychic matters and remembering that the following day was the Derby I thought now was the time for an experiment. I took up a pencil and waited if perchance the name of the winner might appear. I was quite ignorant of the name of any horse and when Trigo appeared it seemed to me quite meaningless. However I then found a list of horses in the newspaper with the name Trigo among them, with the odds of thirty-two against him.

I told the members of my household and others of my experience and the following morning when a friend called who wished to back a horse I told her I was sure Trigo would win and we each put 5/- [5 shillings, one-fourth of a pound] on him, this being as far as I am concerned, the only time I have ever betted on a horse race. Trigo justified my psychic experiment by coming in first and my friend and I were each handed over £8.

I think it is of interest to note that caring nothing about horse racing I had not consciously either read or heard the names of any of the horses, not even the name of the favourite, nor should I have been likely to have heard the race discussed among my circle of acquaintances. After the event I looked up back newspapers to see if by any chance I might not have seen the name Trigo and forgotten it. This of course is not impossible but improbable, as being such an outsider his name was difficult to find anywhere. Anyhow I feel quite sure I had neither seen nor heard anything to suggest Trigo would come in first.


A pound in 1929 was worth perhaps $50 in modern dollars. Together the two friends risked the equivalent of about $25 and won about $800. Not bad for one word!

--Chris Wayan

SOURCE: Some Cases of Prediction by Dame Edith Lyttelton (1937); p.23. The book displays half a dozen brief accounts of unlikely sports or racing predictions. I found this the most intriguing, both for its automatic writing and the deliberate induction of a successful, profitable forecast--in an idle moment!

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