When I had my May 17th, 1990 dream of a disaster in lower Manhattan, I knew it would really happen. I didn't know when, but was confident that someday, I would see it occur. It was such a strong dream that I took out extra insurance, made copies of my journal entry for the day and sent them to friends, and took my wife out of town for vacation, just in case. I thought it was imminent, but I was wrong. That dream convincingly correlated with the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11, 2001, over eleven years later.
Most of my dreams of the future, at least of the ones I know about, are confirmed within twenty-four hours. A smaller number are confirmed within a few days. A very small number are confirmed years later. Some of these take so long to happen that if I didn't have my dream journal to remind me, I may have forgotten them otherwise. The problem that arises from the fact that one never knows whether a dream is of the near future, the far future, or something else, is that it is difficult to ever know how many dreams are related to real events and how many may be simple fantasies.
I had a very powerful dream that I call my "Book" dream, because a book is featured prominently in it. For years, I looked at it as a very interesting dream, but not because it was a dream of the future. Indeed, I never imagined that it could be a dream of the future. Admittedly, it had some material at the beginning and end that I couldn't account for, but this could have been a way to introduce the primary subject matter of the dream, which was spiritual in nature. As it turned out, those elements were of the future, but a future that made no sense because they required me to move to a medieval European village. I couldn't imagine doing something like that, and this failure of imagination prevented me from understanding that part of the dream for what it was.
When I look through the 2,836 records I have in my dream journals, certain dreams leap out as potentially quite interesting, but as yet unrealized visions of future events. A few years ago, I made an early attempt at writing a book about my dreams, and had an agent. This agent saw an early draft of the manuscript that included a dream that was interesting to me and innocuous to her, until after Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans. When I reminded her of the record of that dream, she was surprised to have had an early heads-up. The reason she was surprised is that before the hurricane, it would have been difficult to predict that event from the dream, yet after the fact, the relationship was clear.
Many other dreams in the journal may be like this, but it is hard to know for sure. I am tempted to publish them, despite knowing that until they are realized, they will seem too mysterious to be useful. One from 2007 can be boiled down to a simple prediction, though it is something that many people have already guessed. In this dream, I am told emphatically that President Ahmadinajad of Iran will successfully launch nuclear missiles from submarines at Israel and the US, regardless of all efforts to stop him.
It is rare for a dream of the future to be as clear as that, at least for me. More often, I see something in the dream, then have to puzzle out what it was after waking. This creates some uncertainty and that makes me less comfortable about making predictions. I'm thinking about this right now because I am contemplating publishing a group of as yet unrealized dreams. I don't want to get in the habit, but have enough of sufficient merit that it is probably worth the effort. Watch this space for some of these dreams, though do keep in mind that they aren't usually so detailed that a specific event or its causes can be identified in advance.