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Dunne, J. W. - An Experiment with Time – Dreams of an airplane crash



Type of Spiritual Experience


Tantalising and annoying recording here, as Paris are an hour ahead of the UK, as such if the death was between 7 and 8, Dunne could have been receiving via inter composer communication, a direct  communication at the time of death.  As the details are not exactly the same as the event, he was not exploring group perception.  There is the possibility the communication was via his sister and not the man himself.

A description of the experience


In 1912 I spent a good deal of time at Salisbury Plain, experimenting with one of my stable aeroplanes. A military aeroplane competition was in progress, and most of the officers of the then tiny Royal Flying Corps were there. One of these I had not met before, nor did I see very much of him, in fact, I do not think I spoke to him more than twice. Since these records are not evidence, or intended to be regarded as such, it will suffice if I refer to him as Lieutenant B. The other officers were all old friends of mine. Shortly after the conclusion of the competition the annual army manoeuvres began, and, having nothing to do with these, I went to Paris to inspect another machine which was being built there to my design.

One morning while in that city I dreamed that I was standing in a very large meadow, situated in a landscape which I did not recognize. In this meadow a monoplane landed, crashing rather badly some fifty yards away. Immediately afterwards I saw B. coming to me from the direction of the wreck. I asked if much damage had been done.

He replied, "Oh no, not much," and then added, "It's all that beastly engine; but I've got the hang of it now." The dream was a longish one, all about aeroplane accidents (a common form of nightmare with me, even to this day), and B.'s smash was by no means the worst thing I saw. I awoke to find the servant by my bedside with the morning tea, from which fact I was subsequently able to fix the hour of the dream as close on 8 a.m.

B. was killed between 7 and 8 that morning, falling into a meadow near Oxford. But I did not read of the accident till about two days and a night later.  But now, note the following points :

1. Engine failure had nothing whatever to do with the accident, nor could B. for one moment have ever thought that it had. For the monoplane was planing down — with the engine partly or entirely stopped — at the time ; and the accident was due to the uncoupling of a quick-release gadget in one of the main " lift " wires, and the consequent breaking upward of one wing. Of course, the planing down may have been compulsory, and due to engine failure; but there could have been no doubt in B.'s mind that his wing had broken.

On the other hand, B. had made to my sister, while we were at the Plain, a remark about the engine almost exactly like that I heard him make in the dream, and it is more than likely that she had repeated it to me. She would naturally have done so.

2. B. was merely a passenger in the machine. It was being piloted by another man, a stranger to me, who was also killed. There was nothing of this in the dream.

But when I read the paragraph about the catastrophe, it was B.'s name alone which caught and held my attention; and I did not know of the death of the other man until I looked up the record of the accident several years later.

3. The paragraph did not state the cause of the accident, and so left me with nothing to go upon but (possibly) B.'s past remark about the engine

4. The coincidence in time was not really remarkable. Dreams of aeroplane accidents were, as I have said, very frequent with me in those days, and between seven and eight, when the noise of motor traffic in the streets begins to penetrate to one's consciousness, has always been my hour for this particular class of nightmare.

The source of the experience

Dunne, J. W.

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Dreaming and lucid dreaming