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White-Faced Mare, 29 Years Later

Dreamed 1918 by an Iowa grandmother, as reported to the Rhine Institute

Even rarer than experiences that seem to concern a person's own death or funeral are the occasional ones that seem to go well beyond the person's own lifetime for their fulfillment. One such comes from a dreamer's granddaughter, a woman now living in Iowa.

She writes that in 1918, when she was only a child about thirteen years old, her grandmother was very upset one morning about a dream she had had the night before. Her grandmother did not ordinarily believe in dreams but this one was not mixed up and "fuzzy" like most of her dreams, she said, but very clear and distinct.

"In it," recalls the granddaughter, "Grandmother had seen a black horse with a white face charge me, striking me down. It was in the orchard just north of our Iowa farmhouse. But we had no horses running loose and did not own a black one with white face.

"Grandmother died in 1934. We moved away, came back, and in 1947 I took in livestock for summer grazing, among others two black mares, one with a white face. They belonged to a bachelor and were unused to women. They usually snorted and ran when I approached. But I was never afraid of horses and Grandmother's dream had faded.

"One morning when I went into the orchard, the white-faced one snorted, then began to circle me, wide-eyed. I yelled, swung my arm, grabbed a broken branch. She squealed and rushed. I jerked off a rubber, threw it in her face. That stopped her for a moment. I whacked her with the branch which broke in several pieces but scared her long enough. I reached the gate somehow, got through it and back into the house.

"And then I remembered. Here in this kitchen Grandmother had sat, shaken, almost sick, describing her dream to us, and only a rubber and a broken bough had kept that long-ago dream from coming true. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but--"

Maybe it was just a coincidence. But if it was more, it was a precognitive experience that came true long after the end of the life of the dreamer.

Another thing about it is significant too, if it was a precognitive experience. The dream did not quite come true. The girl did escape. She was not trodden down by the white-faced mare. Such an experience could have a bearing on the question, already mentioned, of whether a precognized event can be avoided.

--Louisa E. Rhine


Before Rhine, the popular view of premonitions was "tragedy foreseen but unavoidable"--or "tragedy caused by trying to avoid it". But the accounts sent to the Rhine Institute over decades, as analyzed by Rhine's daughter Sally Rhine Feather in her 2005 book The Gift, suggest the opposite--acting on premonitions can successfully avert trouble foreseen. My own experience and the accounts sent to the World Dream Bank fit this model. How ESP can work is a mystery, but why we'd have it is a no-brainer. Like any sense, it's useful.

If we use it. Here, the dreamer warned her granddaughter, but 29 years later the warning was a dim memory. Still, it may have made her a bit warier around that mare, tipping the balance from a fatal accident to a close call. It isn't just the grandmother who couldn't know if her warning was effective--we can't be sure either. So what? Being sure is not the Darwinian point; survival is.

But "White-Faced Mare" isn't a sermon on time-theory or natural selection; I include it because it's one of the longest-term predictive dreams I've ever run across. WDB accounts also fit J.W. Dunne's model in that most predictive dreams are quite short-term. I wanted to reassure readers with truly long-term premonitions that they're not alone; it does happen.

--Chris Wayan


Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p.40-41. Account untitled and author's name witheld; White-Faced Mare and Iowa Grandmother are my additions for indexing only.

LISTS AND LINKS: parenting - nightmares - heirlooms (isn't this dream one?) - horses - violence - self-defense - predictive dreams - long-term predictions - ESP in general - more Louisa Rhine - Iowa - more long-term predictive dreams

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