Dreams That Predict Future Events: When Nightmares Become Reality
A Sense of Dread
Marion Sellers always thought of herself as the no-nonsense type who could always find a practical explanation for even the strangest event. That is, until she had a dream that would foreshadow the future in the most horrifying of ways.
This story was sent to me by Marion's sister, Caroline by way of social media. It is one that affected me profoundly, both as a writer and a mother. I think you will agree that her experience carries with it a burden that no parent would wish to bear.
Marion was in her mid-thirties when she learned that she and her husband Mark were expecting their first child. The pregnancy had gone smoothly, except for a particularly disturbing nightmare that the mother-to-be had experienced beginning in her second trimester and ending shortly after she had given birth to a healthy baby.
In the nightmare, Marion could see a teenage girl flailing around in a large body of water. As she watched helplessly, the girl would disappear under the water only to resurface in a state of panic. Marion recalled that the sky was so dark that she could barely see and yet she could clearly make out the image of the young girl who was obviously drowning before her eyes.
Marion would later say that she felt as though she was observing an event as it was taking place. Everything about what she was seeing seemed as real to her as anything she had ever experienced. The dream was so vivid that Marion claimed that she could hear the girl's desperate gasps for air.
As the young girl went under for what would prove to be the last time, Marion tried to run to her even though she had a paralyzing fear of water and had never learned to swim. She had known instinctively that the girl would die if she didn't do something, but her legs would not move. As a result, Marion was forced to watch as the water swallowed the terrified girl.
Marion would have the exact same dream dozens of times throughout her pregnancy. With each recurrence, she would wake up in a cold sweat feeling as though she had just witnessed an actual death. Marion so dreaded the dream that she began purposely staying awake well into the night when she should have been resting for both her sake and that of her unborn child.
The expectant mother had shared the content of her nightmare with several people, including her obstetrician. He suggested that the influx of pregnancy hormones, coupled with the natural jitters and fears that go hand-in-hand with impending parenthood were to blame for the disturbing dream. The doctor assured her that such things were normal and nothing to worry about. He explained that the dreams would probably end with the arrival of the baby.
It would turn out that he was partially right. The nightmare would soon end, if only temporarily.
The Joy of Michelle
Caroline can't say enough good things about her niece, Michelle. According to her, Marion's daughter had been a baby who had smiled broadly at everyone she encountered beginning when she was only a few weeks old. She was a happy baby who grew into a warm and loving child. Caroline can't recall a time when Michelle was anything other than a joy to her parents. The family seemed to be truly blessed.
As Michelle grew, it was apparent that she was a natural athlete. The young girl would go on to be a star runner on her middle school's track and field team. She was also gifted academically and rarely received anything other than excellent marks on her report cards.
Her aunt remembers a time when Michelle covered the walls of the family home in paper hearts that she had cut out herself as a surprise for Marion on Mother's Day. The event stands out in Caroline's memory not only for the fact that it occurred the year that Michelle officially became a teenager, but also because it would be the last time she would have the chance to make such a gesture.
Soon, the bright light that was Michelle would be extinguished when a nightmare from the past became a terrifying reality.
Staring into the Abyss
Caroline says that the world came crashing down for not only her sister, but also the rest of the family in November of 2009. It was then that she received a frantic call from her brother-in-law Mark informing her that Michelle had been killed in an automobile accident.
Reeling from the shocking news, the family gathered at the trauma center where Michelle's body had been transported following the crash. From what they could gather, Michelle had been riding in a car with two older teens when the vehicle had skidded on a patch of ice and careened over an embankment.
As the story was pieced together, it appeared that the car had plunged into the icy lake that lay just off of the roadway. Several witnesses had seen the accident as it occurred and had rushed to help retrieve the car's occupants from the freezing water.
The driver of the vehicle had made it out with no serious injuries. Rescuers pulled one of the passengers, a young girl, out of the frigid water and administered aid to her until the ambulances began to arrive. It was only after paramedics showed up on the scene that the girl had the peace of mind to mention that there had been a third person in the car.
Braving the cold, two men who happened on the scene dove into the water to search for the passenger who was still unaccounted for. The water wasn't terribly deep and the vehicle had not been fully submerged. It wasn't long before they surfaced holding the lifeless body of a young girl.
Rescue personnel scrambled to assist the victim who was clearly in grave danger. After efforts to resuscitate her failed, she was rushed by ambulance to the nearest hospital. The teenager would be pronounced dead on arrival a short time later. Not long afterwards, Marion and Mark would learn that the only fatality that day had been their daughter Michelle.
Caroline recalls the events at the hospital as being a blur of disbelief and unimaginable grief. No one could grasp the news that Michelle was gone. It would be days before they would hear the full story of what had happened to the teenager.
She isn't sure why, but Caroline says that she had assumed that Michelle had been killed when the car hit the water. It was only later that the family would learn that she had actually drowned as others were being rescued. Several of the witnesses had stated that they had seen the boy on land and the two girls flailing in the water in the moments following the accident.
Apparently, Michelle had gone underneath the water's surface without anyone noticing. Witness statements asserted that everything happened very quickly and that people who were attempting to help were caught up in the panic and confusion. This frenzied activity could explain why Michelle was overlooked.
Caroline recalls her sister bringing up the nightmare that had marked her pregnancy not long after Michelle was laid to rest. So many things that had occurred in her dream had come to pass on the day of the accident. Marion had felt certain that what she had dreaded for so long had finally happened. Michelle had been taken by water and her mother had been unable to help in those final moments.
Marion had also carried with her a sense of guilt because Michelle had never learned to swim. The fear of water that so many in the family shared, including Caroline, had been passed down to the younger generation. Marion had tried to coax her daughter into taking lessons, but the youngster had refused.
Caroline remembers Marion telling her of an incident that occurred when Michelle attended the birthday party of one of her schoolmates. They had known ahead of time that the venue of the get-together would be a local water park. Michelle wanted to attend and seemed to have no issue with the location of the festivities.
Marion had later said that her daughter had been fine until a boy had playfully pushed her into a pool. Although the water had not been deep, Michelle had panicked and her actions had frightened many of the other kids in attendance.
Marion related that Michelle had come close to drowning due to her uncontrollable thrashing about in the water. It had taken several adults to get her out of the pool safely. Michelle didn't want to talk about what happened after things had died down, but she did tell her mother that she never wanted to go into the water again.
Nothing would be the same for the family after the loss of Michelle. The stress of losing their daughter had caused irreparable damage to their marriage resulting in Marion filing for divorce from Mark. Two years after Michelle's death, Marion suffered a heart attack and passed away at the age of forty-nine.
Caroline believes, as did her sister, that Michelle's death had been foretold prior to her birth. The recurring nature of the dream was something that Marion had not been able to ignore. She had always feared that dark water would claim her daughter and it had done just that.
One of the most compelling aspects of this story for me is the fact that Michelle had also seemed to sense that water was something to fear. Caroline claims that, to her knowledge, Marion had never mentioned the nightmares to her daughter. In fact, she had explicitly stated on various occasions that she didn't want Michelle to know about the dreams that she feared were visions of things to come.
Perhaps Michelle had sensed her mother's worries and adopted them as her own. It is also possible that, much like Marion, Michelle had also seen the future and knew that she was living on borrowed time.
It is all speculation, since neither Michelle nor Marion is able to share their insights. When all is said and done, our lives play out much like a book whose final pages remain a mystery until the end. Unfortunately for Marion, she was forced to glimpse the conclusion before the story had even begun to unfold.
Perchance to Dream
The following is another story that came my way via social media. It perfectly illustrates the mysteries held within the world of dreams.
Maryanne Ayers and her husband had been married for three years when they decided that the time was right to start a family. They were a young, healthy couple who had no reason to suspect that they would have any trouble achieving their goal. They would soon learn that things are seldom as simple as they seem.
The couple tried for months to conceive without success. Frustrated with the lack of progress, Maryanne visited her family physician who assured her that there was no reason that she couldn't get pregnant. He encouraged her to relax and be patient; all things happen in good time.
One night, after six months of trying to conceive, Maryanne had an experience that she would never forget. She dreamed that she was in a grocery store when an unknown woman approached her and placed her hand on Maryanne's belly.
"How far along are you?" the woman inquired.
A bit taken aback and embarrassed by the question, Maryanne replied that she was not pregnant. The strange woman had then smiled at her and nodded her head knowingly before offering a reply.
"Yes, you are dear. You're having a little girl."
With that, the woman walked away as though nothing had happened. Maryanne couldn't remember anything else about the dream, except that the woman had possessed the most piercing blue eyes that she had ever seen.
Try as she might, Maryanne could not shake the feeling that the events in the dream had actually taken place. She had never experienced anything like it before or since. A few days following the dream, she began having bouts of nausea that would last for hours on end. After a week of feeling terrible, she made an appointment with her doctor.
At the clinic, routine tests were run which revealed that Maryanne was somewhere around eight weeks pregnant. She was immediately referred to a specialist who would oversee her care until the baby arrived.
Maryanne and her husband were elated to learn that they were finally going to be parents. She began seeing an obstetrician who kept track of the baby's progress. It was during her second trimester that things took an unexpected turn for the truly bizarre.
Maryanne had noticed a tiny bit of spotting so her doctor asked her to come in for an ultrasound. Maryanne was worried that something was wrong with the baby, even though she had been assured that the test was simply a routine precaution.
As she was lying on the table awaiting the technician's arrival, Maryanne thought of how much she already loved the life growing inside of her. Although not a religious woman, she prayed that everything was alright and that the baby was healthy. Eventually, the ultrasound technician entered the room and introduced herself to Maryanne.
When the woman sat down on a stool in front of the array of equipment, Maryanne found herself at a loss for words. The technician was smiling as she explained what the procedure would entail, but Maryanne's mind was elsewhere. She had recognized the woman as being the same one from her dream; her icy blue eyes had been burned into Maryanne's memory.
When the ultrasound was completed, the technician had asked Maryanne if she wanted to know the baby's gender. She and her husband had already decided that they wanted to be surprised, but Maryanne suddenly had a change of heart. In that moment, she wanted to know everything she could about the baby.
"You're having a little girl," the technician had said with a smile.
Maryanne recalled that the woman had spoken the exact same words in her dream. In her mind, she was reliving events that had already occurred, albeit under vastly different circumstances.
The ultrasound that day would not be the last one that Maryanne would undergo, but it was the only one that involved that particular technician. Maryanne never saw her again in any capacity. Even so, she is convinced that she encountered the woman with the piercing eyes twice during her pregnancy; once in reality and the other in a dream.