We saw into the future...
In exclusive extracts from Colm Keane's new book, 'Forewarned', four people tell their remarkable stories
Can you look into the future and foresee events that may have a dramatic effect on your life? Colm Keane has no doubt that it is possible. The author met 70 Irish men and women who told him about their extraordinary premonitions and predictive dreams.
You can read their stories in his new book, Forewarned.
He says: "The origins of Forewarned date back to my research on near-death experiences which resulted in my first book on the topic, Going Home.
"Some of those returning from near-death journeys found they had developed a keen ability to foresee happenings that had yet to take place.
"By the time my second work on the near-death phenomenon -- The Distant Shore -- was completed it became clear that premonitions and predictive dreams are far more commonplace than is generally realised and extend way beyond the near-death phenomenon.
"An estimated one-and-a-half million Irish men and women, at some time or another, will have some sort of gut feeling about future occurrences. Many will say, 'I have a bad feeling that something will happen' or 'it doesn't feel right!' or 'something is going to go wrong'! Other times the warnings will be revealed through dreams.
"Presuming they are not connected to either prior information or past experience, these forewarnings are commonly referred to as premonitions.
"These gifts or talents are experienced by young and old. They also span all races and creeds, but are more common among women than men.
"They likewise suggest that we can somehow see ahead, feel the future and -- as the title of my book suggests -- be 'forewarned' of events to come.
"How is this possible? One theory proposes that the brain records and stores events, just like a DVD recorder, only to replay them at a later stage.
"It follows, therefore, that if we could get a sneak preview of the DVD of our lives we might spot things ahead.
"Perhaps, occasionally, some sort of jump on the tape or chemical imbalance in our brain allows this to happen.
"Another theory argues that consciousness may be universal, spanning not only all space but all time including the past, present and future.
"Should this be so, our ability to pluck insights from the immense cosmic reality that surrounds us may explain how we can occasionally see ahead.
"A further theory suggests that some premonitions may be telepathic. For example, a person may receive a telepathic communication from another person whose health is badly failing.
"The recipient then constructs a mental image of the other person lying on their deathbed and interprets this as a 'premonition'.
"One fascinating aspect of the phenomenon is the number of people who take evasive action.
"Studies show that people generally avoid travelling on boats that sink or trains and planes that crash.
"A study by American researcher William Cox concluded that, in all the cases he examined, fewer people travelled on trains that crashed than on similar trains that didn't crash.
"In one case alone, only nine passengers travelled on a train that crashed compared to a more typical complement numbering in the 60s.
"Occupancy rates on doomed aircraft have similarly been shown to be lower. Only 22pc of seats were occupied on the Boeing 757 that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. The occupancy rates for the two planes that smashed into the World Trade Center were 26pc and 19pc.
"The average occupancy rate for all four tragic planes that crashed that day was an unusually low 21pc.
"The White Star Line managed to fill only slightly more than one-half of the available passenger accommodation for its disastrous maiden voyage in April 1912.
"At least 55 people -- about 4pc of the total expected aboard -- had a change of mind and cancelled. Nineteen experiences relating to the Titanic were documented which involved premonitions consisting mostly of general hunches or dreams.
"Just coincidences? I think not."