RECENTLY I had an interesting conversation with a reader of this column who had a story to tell – and a question to ask.
I’m happy to relate her tale, but I’m not sure I can offer a satisfactory explanation for it.
It just seemed too much of a coincidence that we were given a movie called Jason and the Argonauts which had belonged to someone called Eric, and in my dream I saw a book called Eric and the Argonauts!Jean Foster
Jean Foster told me that, some years ago, she’d had a dream: “I was standing in a large room ... a library.
“There was a small table with a lamp on it and several old armchairs.
“They looked old-fashioned and were worn a bit, but still in good repair.
“What I noticed most of all were the books ... every wall was lined with shelves from floor to ceiling.
“There must have been thousands of books in that room.
“There was no one else in the room, but I felt a bit nervous, as if I shouldn’t have been there.
“I walked over to one of the shelves and started looking at the spines of the books.
“I noticed that most of them were old detective novels.
“All of them looked as if they’d been read many times.
“One book in particular caught my attention.
“It was a novel, and I can still remember the title. It was called Eric and the Argonauts.
“In my dream I remember laughing and thinking, ‘What a stupid title ... It’s supposed to be Jason and the Argonauts, not Eric!’ Then I woke up.”
“I didn’t think too much about the dream for a couple of days, but then something strange happened.
“My husband’s friend brought a bag full of VHS tapes over and asked if we wanted them. They’d belonged to his brother, but he had no use for them.
“My husband’s friend didn’t want them either, so that’s why he gave them to us.
“After he left I looked through the tapes, and I noticed that one of them was a movie called Jason and the Argonauts.
“Straight away I remembered my dream about that funny book called Eric and the Argonauts, and I told my husband about it.
“He laughed and said, ‘That’s weird ... my mate’s brother is called Eric. Those tapes belonged to him!’
“What I’d like to know is whether this dream was significant in any way.
“It just seemed too much of a coincidence that we were given a movie called Jason and the Argonauts which had belonged to someone called Eric, and in my dream I saw a book called Eric and the Argonauts!”
Well, it’s an intriguing story to say the least, but how can we explain it?
Was it all merely coincidence, or was something stranger at work?
To be honest, it’s hard to say. Sceptics would argue that there are over six billion people on this planet, and all of them dream every night.
Inevitably, then, a good number of them will have dreams that seem to be precognitive, but are in reality nothing more than coincidental.
I’d have to agree with them, to be honest.
But let’s look at the other side of the coin, so to speak.
The specific details of the dream match reality to such a degree that some will feel “coincidence” doesn’t really cut it as a valid explanation.
Of all the books in the world, why should she dream of one called Eric and the Argonauts?
And of all the movies in the world, why should she be given one called Jason and the Argonauts just two days later?
And was it really just coincidence that the movie had belonged to someone called Eric?
I can sympathise with the sceptics – and also with those who think something weird and precognitive had happened.
We can’t be sure, of course, but if I’m pushed I’d have to go with the more mundane explanation.
Billions of dreams are created every night, and it’s inevitable that some – even if only a tiny fraction – will match future reality to an extraordinary degree.
Still, it’s a fascinating story all the same...
• Had a strange experience? Tell Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org