Thursday, 17 October 2013

What makes a vulpine premonition?

FoxThere is a high wall in our neighborhood which sometimes has foxes walking along its top. So, ever interested in nature, I never miss a chance to glance in its direction when I'm passing. Not only have I seen the animals walking along the wall in broad daylight but even at night. This is possible, even though there are no street lights nearby, because there are houses behind and the foxes can be clearly seen silhouetted against lit windows.

Recently, I was watching the wall at twilight. The windows in the houses behind were already lit and I saw something silhouetted in front of one. But I couldn't make out anything on the wall, even though it appeared still light enough to have done so. Then, seconds later, a fox appeared further along the wall. It was clearly visible in the diminishing light without the need to be silhouetted. It walked along the wall, in front of the very window where I'd seen 'something' just before! It was a premonition! That was the thought that instantly went through my head.

Well, it was easily explained. The 'something' seen in front of the lit window was only seen silhouetted, not on either side of the window. It was, therefore, most likely someone (and not 'snowmen', as the spell checker wanted!) actually IN the room behind the window! So probably not a premonition, just a coincidence.

It did raise an interesting point, however. Many 'premonitions' are only shared with someone else AFTER their apparent fulfilment. To use the current example. If I'd told someone, 'I've just had a premonition that a fox will walk along that wall' and then it did, that's fine. But to only mention AFTER the event 'I think I saw that fox just before in a premonition' isn't anything like as exciting from a scientific point of view. A premonition is a prediction, after all. Mentioning it after the event is more like reinterpreting the past in a new way than doing anything paranormal. But what if the remembered premonition was exact in every detail? The problem there is, how do you know that you are recalling your premonition correctly? You may be 'projecting' what actually happened onto your supposed premonition which, in reality, was not so accurate at all.

Many premonitions are visual in nature. In a lot of cases it's something seen in a dream. This current incident is unusual in that I was not asleep and the first sighting of a silhouette actually occurred, which would make it much more unusual premonition. But the question remains, how do we KNOW something is a premonition? If we see something similar to an incident in a pervious dream, it's easy to say after the event that it was a premonition. However, there are severe problems with this interpretation, as mentioned above. Occasionally people 'feel' that an event, like a dream or thought, is a premonition at the time. In many cases what is predicted does not happen, so it was therefore not as premonition after all. Or was it?

It appears to me that what makes a coincidence into a premonition is what people think about it. I can say that my fox incident was a premonition but you can disagree. As it happens, I don't think it was a premonition. I was actually able to observe both the 'premonition' and its fulfillment within seconds of each other and, though similar, they did not look quite the same. I looked carefully because the idea of a premonition occurred to me WHILE the fox was still walking along the wall towards the lit window! In most cases, the time difference between the premonition and its apparent fulfillment will be much longer, allowing inaccuracies in recall to creep in.

If I feel I have a premonition, I will write it down in as much detail as possible and get it recorded somehow with a date. I might send a copy as an email to someone, for instance. Then, if it is fulfilled, I can accurately compare the two and see if it really merits the title of premonition.

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