Every once in a while I hear from someone who has apparently precognitive dreams, what they dream about happens later in ordinary reality, and it’s not something that could be rationally predicted. Dreaming that some public figure will be exposed as involved in a scandal involving sex or money, for example, is way too likely, we’ll never think of that as paranormal. Highly specific stuff that’s unpredictable and turns out to be right is what gets our attention, like a highway crash the next day involving three red trucks and one crashed airplane – not your everyday event.
It’s not the paranormality or lack of it that concerns me here, that’s a judgment call in real life events. My concern here is the people who dream of disasters, it looks precognitive, and they start to worry: “Did I just know about that in advance, or did I somehow make it happen? Am I just a reporter, or an agent of destruction?”?” To most of us this worry may seem somewhat silly: we see reports of catastrophes on the news all the time – floods, famines, explosions, etc., but we don’t feel responsible for them. But some people really worry over this.
I would not absolutely rule out the possibility of psychic abilities being used, perhaps unconsciously, to bring ill into the world, and most people have believed that throughout all known history. That’s folklore: we few parapsychologists tend to be very nice people and we don’t do experiments to see if paranormal cursing really works. My best guess – and certainly my desire – is that it’s very unlikely that someone who dreams of catastrophes in advance has anything to do with bringing them about.
Indeed as a psychologist, my concern for such people is to hope they would undertake various psychological and psychotherapeutic and spiritual growth exercises to figure out why they are attracted to the idea that they might be agents of catastrophe. That is not the same thing as saying I know they are “sick” and need to work on themselves! I know nothing of these individuals’ psychology. But in general I think we benefit from self-knowledge.
So if I talk to someone with this concern I can tell them that, using what scientific knowledge we have (too little, really, but it’s all we have), they should not worry about it. Whether this is really helpful to anyone, I don’t know. When, like me, you like to be helpful to people, but don’t know if you’re actually doing any good, that’s frustrating – but it’s the way reality works most of the time, so you do what you can and hope and pray for the best.