Can a dream give a forewarning of someone's death? In my post "When Dreams or Visions Foretell a Death," I cite quite a few interesting cases of people who had a dream that seemed to foretell someone's death. The interesting book "The Future Is Now" by Arthur Walter Osborn cites quite a few cases of dreams that foretold a death. On page 51 we hear of a woman who dreamed her young brother had died. She soon learned her sister had a similar dream, on the same night. In the sister's dream the brother died from drowning. Not long after, the brother did die by drowning. In his paper "Can Death-Related Dreams Predict Future Deaths? Evidence from a Dream Journal Comprising Nearly 12,000 Dreams" Andrew Paquette reports having a dream of the death of a relative named Harmony a day before learning of her death.
As related in Volume 5 of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, a man dreamed "three nights running" that his mother was dying. In one dream someone told him that his mother would last "but five weeks." Five weeks later his mother unexpectedly died. In the same volume we read of a boy who told his mother that he had a vision of a Mr. Hall (who had died five months earlier) telling the boy that he would die from a heart problem on December 5 at 3:00 PM. Despite seeming to be in good health in the morning of December 5, he died of a heart problem on that day, at 3:10 PM.
The Norwalk Gazette reported in 1873 that three boys died in a boating accident. The paper states this: "Last Friday (the day before the accident), Dr. Hays, an assistant teacher, and a man of medical attainments, remarked to a fellow-teacher, ' I have dreamed, two nights in succession, that three of our boys were drowned.' "
The following case was reported on page 224 of Volume 4 of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research:
"In November, 1884, my daughter, then 16, said to me one morning, ' Oh, mother, I had a terrible dream last night about B. I dreamt that you, she, and I were walking along the street, coming, I thought, from some musical entertainment, as I heard the music still in the distance. Suddenly B. appeared faint, and leant against some railings we were passing at the time. I tried to support her against the railings, but she gradually subsided and fell to the ground dead. I thought I ran for a doctor, but could not find one, and in the confusion I awoke.' The dream seemed to have been a peculiarly vivid one, but after mentioning it to some other members of the family we thought no more of it. Just about a week, or rather more, after the dream, we were shocked to receive news of B.'s sudden death in the street coming from an afternoon operatic performance...She had become faint close to some railings, and for a minute leant against them, then gradually fell to the ground dead."
On page 577 of Volume 11 of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, we read an account of "a dream which came... three times at long intervals, and which was at last fulfilled." The first time a female dreamed that her beloved uncle (who had raised her during her childhood) died:
"I knew in my dream that my uncle had been found dead by the side of a certain bridle-path about three miles from the house— a field-road where I had often ridden with him, and along which he often rode when going to fish in a neighbouring lake. I knew that his horse was standing by him, and that he was wearing a dark homespun suit of cloth made from the wool of a herd of black sheep which he kept. I knew that his body was being brought home in a waggon with two horses, with hay in the bottom, and that we were waiting for his body to arrive. Then in my dream the waggon came to the door ; and two men well known to me — one a gardener, the other the kennel huntsman — helped to carry the body up the stairs, which were rather narrow."
The female told the uncle about the dream, and made him promise "never to go alone by that particular road." We then read this narration by the female:
"I dreamt it again with all its details the same as before, and again with the same profoundly disturbing effect. I told my uncle, and said to him that I felt sure that he had been neglecting his promise, and riding by that field-road alone. He admitted that he had occasionally done so, 'although,' he said, 'I think I have been very good on the whole.' He renewed the promise ; and again the impression grew weaker as four years passed by, during which I married and left his home."
After having the dream a third time, the female found that the uncle had a death as in the dream:
"His guests left him in [the] greatest spirits, and two days afterwards he died, and his body had been brought back as I describe, and he had been found half sitting and half lying in that very field-road, where I had three times seen him. He was dressed in the same homespun suit in which I had seen him in my dream. ...He had evidently felt faint, and slipped from his horse. The same two men whom I had seen in my dream as helping to carry the body had in fact done so."
"After a terrific explosion, that shook the earth for a wide area, 207 men were entombed today in the Cross Mountain coal mine of the Knoxville Iron Company. Hugh Larue, a miner employed in the shaft, owes his life to a dream his wife had last night. When he arose this morning and prepared to go to his daily task Mrs. Larue refused to prepare his lunch for him to carry to the mines. She did not want him to work today. She then recited a dream she had. In her dream she saw scores of miners with their heads blown off being carried out of the mine entrance as she and her little children stood at the mine’s mouth. Larue had not missed a day from his work for many months, but he was prevailed upon to remain out of the mines. It was only a short time after Mrs. Larue told her story that the disaster occurred."
The author of the book Dreams and Premonitions reports getting this account from an acquaintaince:
“I rarely dream, but several weeks before my husband passed on I dreamed of his death. I seemed to be taken into our living room where the casket was placed and saw him surrounded by floral pieces bearing the customary cards. As my husband was a splendid type of physical strength and had never been ill, except for an occasional cold, the dream made little impression upon me. I had no confidence in the reality of any kind of dreams and, after casually mentioning it to an intimate friend, I thought no more about it. Some weeks later my husband contracted pneumonia and died suddenly. My dream came vividly before me then, for every floral piece, every card, and the arrangement of the room, was identical with the dream.”
Later in the same book we read that a Dr. L. H. Henley had a dream about a choking death of his sister, which was followed by a dream suggesting the death of his sister and his sister's wife: "Again at about 3 a. m., January 10, I awakened, and told Mrs. Henley that my sister was dying, sitting in a willow rocking chair, and that her husband Henry W. Parker, was near death in the adjoining room." He soon learned by letter that his sister and his sister's wife had both died of pneumonia, which often produces a kind of choking death.
On page 153 of the book "Some Cases of Prediction" by Edith Littleton, we read of a woman who had a vision of her young's son death:
"In the spring of 1920 while busy with my household duties, I had a vision like a flash of lightning of my little son, aged 9, in a coffin. Some weeks elapsed and again I had the same experience. In both cases I had a consciousness of the large size of the coffin."
Tragically the next summer the child did die after being hit by a car. The mother was brought to a room which had her son in a coffin, a coffin much bigger than his body.
In the same book we read of a woman who had a dream about her husband's death, which closely matched the actual events. Here is the narrative:
"In 1922 I had a very vivid dream which I told many people. I thought that my husband died whilst preaching and that I made my way through a great crowd to find him lying dead behind velvet curtains. The dream made a great impression on me, and many times when he was preaching I felt anxious, but I never could understand the velvet curtains. On November 9th 1924 my husband was asked to give the address at the Armistice Service in the Pier Pavilion - there were 2500 present and I sat with my step-daughter right at the back of the hall. I had never heard him more eloquent. As I was finding the last hymn someone said 'Your husband has fainted.' I looked up and saw him being carried from the platform. We made our way through the crowd and when I got on to the platform I found him lying dead behind the green velvet drop curtains."
On page 126 of the same book we read of a dream a woman had of an air disaster. The account by J. S. Wright is below:
"On two occasions, weeks before the ill fated disaster to the British Airship R.101 at Beauvais - I dreamed of this terrible happening. The clarity of vision was astounding, every detail could be seen. I saw the huge ship plunge in flames, followed by a terrific explosion, almost frightening. Strange enough, the dream was repeated about a week after. "
Sometimes a mere feeling (rather than a vision or death) may seem to foretell a death. In the book "Some Cases of Prediction" by Edith Littleton, we read of a woman who watched a newsreel showing people who would compete in a flying competition. Here is her account (confirmed by two other people):
"The Schneider Trophy race has, however, interested me very much always, I find it almost terribly exciting. The team that year consisted of R.A.F. men with the addition of one single Naval flying man, he stood out in the group by reason of his different uniform; when the group photograph was shown I noticed nothing except that he seemed very young and rather good-looking. Then we were shewn each man singly. As the photograph of this young naval man was thrown on the screen (it is his name I have forgotten) I received a sudden terrific sensation of shock, the shock of violent physical impact. I started so violently in my seat that my friend sitting next me whispered 'what's the matter?' I answered in great distress 'he's going to be killed, he's going to crash.' That was all. But either two, or three weeks later the newspapers came out with headlines 'Schneider Trophy Fatality,' the only Naval member of the team had crashed into the sea and had been killed instantly while on a practice flight."
On page 148 we read the account of a woman who suddenly became convinced, for no known reason, that something dreadful was about to soon happen, and that she would soon hear a "terrrible cry." She told this to someone she met at a train station. A few minutes after returning to her home, she saw a woman come out of a house, her body on fire. The scream came from a man witnessing this horror. The woman died horribly.