Are precognitive dreams real? Andy Paquette is a dream researcher who has compiled more than anyone in history.
Dreaming of someone death is scary enough, but finding out you’re right…
When Andy Paquette left his job as a leading Hollywood film animator he had no idea he would wind up compiling the largest database of precognitive paranormal dreams in history, but that’s what happened.
Andy, who is currently finishing up his PhD at King’s College, London is the author of Dreamer: 20 years of psychic dreams and how they changed my life has just published groundbreaking paper in the Journal of Scientific Exploration that examines precognitive dreams about death: A New Approach to Veridicality in Dream Psi Studies; Vol. 26, No. 3
I recently had a chance to talk to Andy about the implications of his research into psychic of death dreams. Here are some excerpts and a link to the full interview.
Over the years of researching and documenting his dreams, Andy has had some significant dreams involving death. His latest research asks whether dreams allow us to cross the veil of the afterlife:
Alex Tsakiris: Walk us through some examples and really nail down when you say, you had a dream about them and then you found out that they had died two weeks earlier. People are going to immediately say, you could have known somehow, some way that they were dead. Walk us through how you verify that you really have something.
Andy Paquette: I had one dream where a woman came to me and was telling me a person that I knew who happened to be a clerk at a store I’d been to maybe five times in my life had a person close to him–a relative had just died and that he was really despondent about this. As a result he was abusing drugs and alcohol and she warned me that he would die if he continued abusing these things. And she told me that she wanted me to go talk to him and give him this warning that she was giving me.
Alex Tsakiris: So this is more or less a complete stranger?
Andy Paquette: I have talked to the guy [before]. I bought a couple of things from him, and I did know his first name but we really hadn’t talked about anything other than is this paint available and where is it? That was the extent of our couple of conversations. And it was in a new city, I had just moved to Phoenix so it’s not like I knew the area very well either. Anyway, I went upstairs and I told my wife about the dream and she says, are you going to go talk to him and I said, are you kidding me? Go up to this guy I don’t know and [tell] him this weird dream? What if he hasn’t had a relative that died? That’s going to be really embarrassing. And she really insisted and said you have to do this. She was so insistent that finally I said fine. But it was a pain because this store was 45 minutes from where I live by car and [it’s] expensive gas-wise. So I drove all the way down there, I get to the store and I see this guy behind the counter and I’m [thinking], oh great, how do I do this? So I said to him, and I don’t want to use his real name so I’ll just call him Frank. I said, Frank, and I gave him the name of some shipment that he might’ve had. He said, oh yeah they’re in the back. So we get to the back of the store and I said you know, it’s kind of a funny thing, I had a dream about you last night. And he looked at me kind of quizzically like he was wondering what that meant and he said, “Nothing bad I hope…”
So I said, “Let me put it to you this way, have you had a very close relative die recently?” And he said, “Yes, I did.” And I said I had this young woman come to me in this dream, and I described her to him, and only at this point did it occur to me that the person who came to me in the dream was the person who died. This oftentimes doesn’t hit me until later. So [I said] she told me that you were very upset about this and you were abusing alcohol because of it and that you were going to die as a result. I did not mention the drugs because I didn’t want him to feel like maybe my next call was going to be to the police to have him arrested, so I just mentioned the alcohol. And I said does this make any sense to you? And he said, “It’s true. My sister-in-law who I was very close to got killed in a car crash.” It wasn’t two weeks earlier…I think it was like 10 days earlier or something like that. She was parked at a stoplight and a police car involved in a high-speed car chase rammed the back of her car and she was killed instantly. And he was despondent and he said he was abusing alcohol a lot. He didn’t say anything about drugs. And then he said something that kind of surprised me–he said that he had a dream of her also earlier in the week and that she had given him the exact same message. She’d said if you don’t get over this, if you don’t stop abusing this stuff, you will die. You need to stop. So she told him the same thing that she told me. To me that was the real validation.
[easy-tweet tweet=”New Age stuff drives me bananas because it’s not evidence-based — Andy Paquette” via=”no” usehashtags=”no”]
While some of Andy’s conclusions about spiritual dreams and encounters with those who have passed may sound like “new age” blather, Andy has substantiated his conclusions with the most rigorous scientific examination of paranormal dreams on record:
Alex Tsakiris: Let’s talk about the spiritual aspect. When you enter that realm, that dimension, whatever we want to call it…where do you think you are? Are you in the same place that we all are when we dream? Are you in a different place? Can we all access that spiritual realm that you access through dreaming?
Andy Paquette: I think some of us are–this is going to sound kind of weird–but I think some of us are permitted to, and some of us, it’s not part of the plan for our life. It gets in the way of other things we’re trying to accomplish with our life and so that kind of thing is blocked off. But I think a lot of people probably do this without realizing it. When they sleep they’re essentially freed of their physical constraints and then they do these things, which they tend to forget when they wake up. And I think there’s a reason for forgetting. It’s because if they remember in a lot of cases it would affect the decisions they make while they’re awake, and that would change the experience they have in their waking state which may interfere with or ruin experiences that they’re supposed to have. For instance, in the skeptic-believer debate that you have on psychic things, I do feel that some people are really meant to remain skeptical because if they don’t then it affects how they go through their life and other things they’re supposed to learn from it. Other people are supposed to produce this kind of information so that it’s there for those who are ready to accept it.
Alex Tsakiris: That’s the kind of, almost New Agey kind of stuff that drives folks nuts but here’s what so cool about you–you went ahead and did the research. You can share these opinions and form these opinions but then when someone pushes you, you can say, okay, here’s the research. Here’s what I did to record it. Here’s not only the 12,000 dreams in my journal but here’s the database breakdown of all of them. So at some point we should probably transition into picking up on this story: you start recording these dreams; you start having this amazing dream journal; you realize it’s an amazing dream journal; you realize these dreams are completely out of this world. Literally. You’re in this other dimension; you’re meeting these spirit beings…But at the same time the scientist in you is trying to figure out how to catalogue this stuff and make it somewhat understandable in terms of scientific terms. Tell us how that played into this.
Andy Paquette: You gave me three things to chew on and I want to say two things: on the New Age subject, for the most part New Age stuff drives me bananas because it’s not evidence-based. In the few cases where I think there’s some evidence behind it, that doesn’t bother me so much. But I do see a lot of things that come from…as far as I’m concerned they have no justification for the claims they make. And it bothers me too, so I just wanted to state that clearly. As far as the evidence is concerned, you made a statement there that’s not completely accurate. I didn’t realize that these things were unusual for a very long time. I’m not even sure it really hit me until I was living in Holland and I talked to Stanley Krippner for the first time in 2009. I knew that it was unusual to have precognitive dreams, write them down and then check them out, but I didn’t know how unusual it was. The reason is because I had read some books at the Parapsychology Foundation in New York and it seemed to me if I was interested in reading a book about this type of psi ability or that kind, they always had a book or paper to read. So I developed this impression that researchers in this field had thousands or even millions of cases to choose from. And there were probably thousands of people like me around who were doing this kind of thing. So I really didn’t know how unusual this was until I actually started looking into those records myself.
Andy’s research led him to writing a peer-reviewed paper with the help of renowned social scientist Dr. Daryl Bem. Even with Dr. Bem’s support, he still had to endure a grueling peer review process to get his work published:
Alex Tsakiris: Let’s talk about statistics. What you’ve really broken some ground on is tying these what you call “spontaneous” and what other people would call anecdotal accounts, to statistical measures that social scientists are really comfortable with and psychologists like Dr. Daryl Bem who assisted you greatly after you brought him in on the process in doing this. Tell us about that interface of statistics and these accounts.
Andy Paquette: Daryl was great. What happened is I submitted this to the Journal of Scientific Exploration quite a while ago. I think it was March of last year. And I got a whole raft of comments almost all of which had to do with statistics.
Alex Tsakiris: We should back up and tell people in case they don’t know, who Daryl Bem is and in the process I really want to tell people about this process and about this journal–the Journal of Scientific Exploration. Again, we can say we don’t have to pay any attention to the skeptics but of course we do. And if you mentioned the Journal of Scientific Exploration to skeptics, it gets the rolling of the eyes and the shrugging of the shoulders. I want you to tell people what you went through, what the peer review process was like, what the acceptance was like, what the editorial process was like, and what the standards were like for getting your paper into this journal.
Andy Paquette: I’ll say that for the other two also. Every paper that I’ve submitted to them is initially rejected. They said they were interesting subjects but they needed me to explain myself a lot better. I think in every case I went through a minimum of two drafts and with this article I think I went through about six. But I felt they were very rigorous. And I think people who roll their eyes at this particular journal are really ill-informed frankly. Nevermind the fact that they’ve gotten Nobel Laureates who’ve played an active role in the publication, they also have really prominent researchers who are publishing in this journal. In fact if I want to find good articles on these kinds of subjects, really rigorous articles by people who know what they’re talking about, I’m more likely to find them here than in almost any location not only because they are willing to publish it but because good researches like to publish in this journal.