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Jim's Powder

Dreamed before 1961 by Helen as reported to the Rhine Institute

A woman in Texas dreamed about a man who was only a casual acquaintance. She thought she was begging him not to commit suicide, rather, she says,

"to face life in reality. But he left me standing in his living room (one I had never seen), rushed to the bathroom, took a white powder and collapsed into the tub.

"I told my husband about the dream, also called our pastor and my two sisters. I was very disturbed. My husband insisted I call the man, but I thought he would think me a crank and refused to do it. I was troubled about it still when I received a late phone call from a friend. She said, 'Helen, have you heard about Jim? He was found dead a few minutes ago in the bathtub at home.' I was shaken. The coroner ruled it death by heart attack. He had been taking a powder, presumably baking soda.

"I can't forget the dream ever and continually live with my conscience. Possibly I could have prevented his death."

[Psychic dreams] tend to be discounted and not believed, whether about important or unimportant matters, and in spite of the fact that they may bring relatively complete information. One can scarcely escape the observation that whatever may be the basis of belief in an ESP experience, it is not directly related to the amount of information that gets into consciousness.

--Louisa E. Rhine


True, most people discount dreams. But anyone reading this is not most people. Dreamworkers, especially psychic dreamers, do, I think, have a responsibility to take warning dreams seriously. Not all dreams are private letters to the self--often we dream for the tribe. That's been a shaman's job for 15,000 years.

It might have been easier to act if Jim were a closer friend. So why'd this fall to Helen? Why not to a real friend? My answer's simple: for all we know, everyone in town had warning dreams. Helen was just the most receptive--or had the best recall. In the middle of Texas she was the nearest thing to a shaman available.

Might she have saved Jim? My guess is that most psychologists would tell her "Don't feel guilty; if you rush around treating your dreams as gospel, you are a crank." I'm sorry, but in this case, her guilt's partly justified. She knew she should intervene. And the very strangeness of her call--a near-stranger begging him not to kill himself?!--might have shocked him out of it where nothing else would.

Shamanic or even Western dreamwork might have given her the confidence to call. As it is, her silence left two victims: one dead, one haunted.

--Chris Wayan

SOURCE: Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p. 80. Account untitled, author's name witheld; title & byline added to aid searching & indexing.

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