Do you ever get the feeling that something isn’t right? Have you had a strong feeling that you need to leave a place, not get on an airplane or not get in the car? Has your gut ever been right? Premonitions occur continually in everyday life, but it isn’t clear if they reflect a psychic ability or a subliminal perception of events.
If you predict that the sun will rise tomorrow, no one would call you clairvoyant. Every day we make projections based on experience. The more experience we have the more accurate our predictions. Some people are more perceptive than others and make better predictions.
Not all of our perceptions are conscious, so sometimes our subconscious minds pick up stimuli that we do not realize. With all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings we experience every day, it is impossible to consciously think of every single data point in our complex world. Our ability to perceive these things that fly under the radar has an important impact on our behavior that we usually don’t even notice.
On the other hand, there are times when a person makes a prediction about something they have no reasonable way to know. One study by W. F. Cox examined train accidents between 1950 and 1955. Cox found that on some, but not all, accident days the number of passengers on the train was substantially lower than the average. Did people avoid or miss the train because of a subconscious pre-knowledge of the accidents?
There is also the concept of precognition. Instead of a feeling, a person sees an image or an event, which manifests in a dream or waking and comes to fruition at a future time. Abraham Lincoln is said to have dreamed he attended his own funeral, two weeks before he was shot dead. These events are rarer than gut feelings; therefore they can be ascribed to coincidence more readily. Of all the dreams people have in a given night, there must be some chance that a few come to fruition. How compelling these anecdotes are greatly depends on the detail involved. You may often dream that a fire starts in your house, but how often do you dream that the clock reads 3:00 a.m. when it happens?
The Skeptic’s Dictionary Precognition: http://www.skepdic.com/precog.html
Wold of Lucid Dreaming Precognitive Dreams: http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/precognitive-dreams.html
Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect: http://dbem.ws/FeelingFuture.pdf