Have you ever had a premonition? A weird feeling that something was going to happen — and which, you may have discovered later, actually did happen? If yes, you aren’t alone; these 11 creepy premonitions that actually came true show that you’re in good company, whether you truly believe in psychic abilities or not.
On the skeptic’s end of things, it can be argued that “premonitions” are really just your instincts kicking in — that is, something absolutely natural, rather than supernatural. As Gavin de Becker notes in The Gift of Fear, people often notice more details about a given situation than they realize; the thing is, we don’t always register these details consciously. If you start to feel uneasy about someone or something without really knowing why, odds are that you’ve unconsciously noticed something that’s setting off alarm bells for you — unusual behavior, a detail that’s just slightly off, and so on and so forth. Learning to listen to your gut when those alarm bells ring is a valuable skill which can often make a big difference for your personal safety.
Sometimes, though, weird things happen that are just… weird. Are they truly premonitions? Or are they just our brains trying to make sense of something nonsensical by applying it to other nonsense it may have conjured up earlier? Heck, are they even just good old-fashioned coincidences? We may never know — but either way, they’re kind of freaky.
Here are 11 real-life stories to send a chill down your spine.
1The Fate Of Richard Parker
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is Edgar Allan Poe’s only complete, full-length novel (which, by the way, you can read for free over at Project Gutenberg if you click on that link). Published in 1838, it takes the form of a first-person narrative — that of the titular Pym — recounting Pym’s misadventures as a stowaway on a whaling ship. Mutiny, shipwreck, and cannibalism follow, with the cabin boy Richard Parker becoming the victim of the latter. To be fair, it’s Parker who suggests that a crew member should be sacrificed to provide food for everyone else; he then proceeds to draw the short straw.
Several decades later, though, an eerie incident of life imitating art occurred: In May of 1884, a ship called the Mignonette set sail from Southampton, heading for Sydney. The ship sank — and when the food ran out, the crew drew straws to determine which of them should be sacrificed to feed the others. A cabin boy drew the short straw and was subsequently killed and consumed. The ship was rescued in September of 1884, after which Captain Tom Dudley and crewmate Edwin Stephens were tried in the case Regina v. Dudley and Stephens and found guilty of murder. (They were sentenced to death, but the sentence was reduced to six months in jail.)
The cabin boy’s name? Was Richard Parker.
There’s a postscript to this story, too. You might recall that Richard Parker is the name of the tiger in Yann Martel’s 2001 novel Life Of Pi — and this story is partially why. On top of Poe’s novel and the R v. Dudley and Stephens case, there was another Richard Parker who perished when the ship Francis Speight sank in 1846. “So many victimized Richard Parkers had to mean something,” Martel said according to Amazon. “My tiger found his name. He’s a victim, too — or is he?”
2The Car Crash
Aaaaand that’s why you should always wear your seatbelt — it can literally be the difference between life and death. This story came from a Reddit thread specifically about premonitions people had in dreams that came true; it was posted to the r/Glitch_in_the_Matrix sub about three years ago. That sub is full of super eerie stories like this, by the way, so head on over there for more.
4Call The Doctor
In 2015, Suzan Saxman, who calls herself the Reluctant Psychic, shared a number of stories with the New York Post about times she says her predictions came true. Speaking of one former client, Saxman wrote in her memoir according to the Post, “The moment this woman walked into me room, I wanted to vomit.” The feeling was more intense than Saxman said she usually experienced with ill clients; she observed, “Sometimes I’ll feel the twinge of someone’s arthritis or the dull pounding of a headache, but this was an overwhelming sensation. I was going to throw up.”
She said that she kept asking the client if she was feeling all right; the woman, in turn, kept saying that she felt fine, that she took supplements, that all was well and good. Saxman said she told her client she needed to see a doctor, but the woman declined.
“A few months later,” said Saxman, “I saw her obituary in the paper.”
5Burnt By Fire
In 1555, Nostradamus published his book of predictions, Les Propheties. In the chapter Century II, the 51st prediction contains the following two lines: “Le sang du iuste à Londres fera faute,/ Bruslez par foudres de vingt trois les six.” This is usually translated as something like, “The blood of the just will be demanded of London,/ Burnt by the fire in the year 66.”
The Great Fire of London, which caused massive destruction and death throughout the city, began burning on Sept. 2, 1666.
(It’s probably worth noting, by the way, that “bruslez par foudres” is probably closer to “brushed by lightning” than “burnt by the fire” — but the similarities are still eerie.)
Uh… yikes. For what it’s worth, premonitions seem to run in the family for this Redditor; a follow-up comment noted, “I'd also like to mention that my grandmother (rest in peace), used to wake up in the middle of the night and wake her husband to tell him that a relative or close friend had died. They were never surprised when they got a phone call in the morning confirming the fact.”
Posted about four years ago, this Reddit thread asked users of the r/Paranormal sub simply whether they’ve ever had a premonition that came true. Given the timeline, I’m assuming that the premonition was of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami; that incident occurred in March of 2011 and caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Earlier this year, BuzzFeed asked their readers to submit the scariest and weirdest premonitions they’d ever had. The resulting piece is 18 bullet points of pure terror, but one in particular really stood out to me. According to a reader, her grandmother had once dreamed the same dream for three nights in a row — a dream of a woman standing at the foot of her bed and telling her to move her two daughters (one of whom was the reader’s mother) out of their bedroom. After the third night, she told her daughters — and, wrote the BuzzFeed reader, “The next night, the roof over their beds collapsed and a massive beam dropped right across their beds.” The woman the grandmother dreamed about may have been her husband’s mother who had died when he was young.
9Sharon Tate’s Premonition
As Dangerous Minds notes, the original source of this one is a little dubious; it came from a column in Fate magazine. However, what it has going for it is that its author, Dick Kleiner, was quite a well-known Hollywood and Broadway columnist — so, do with all that what you will.
In any event, according to the column Dangerous Minds dug up (which can be found here), Sharon Tate once told Kleiner in an interview about a strange vision she had once had — one that, in retrospect, appears to have predicted her own death. The vision occurred around 1967, when Tate was dating celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring. One night while he was traveling for work, she was sleeping at Sebring’s house alone — a house which, it’s worth noting, had once belonged to Hollywood agent Paul Bern. Bern had literally died in that house.
In any event, Tate apparently told Kleiner that she started experiencing a “funny feeling” while trying to get some sleep, although she was in fact awake at the time — and that she then saw a small man matching Paul Bern's description in the bedroom with her. She ran out of the room (as one does when one sees a stranger in one’s bedroom, especially when there isn’t supposed to be anyone else in the house) — and that was when she saw it. Per Kleiner:
“I saw something or someone tied to the staircase. Whoever it was — and I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman but knew somehow that it was either Jay Sebring or me — he or she was cut open at the throat.”
10An Explosion In Space
The one thing about this story is that it doesn’t specify which shuttle explosion it’s addressing. My guess is that it’s either the Challenger, which broke apart 73 seconds into its flight on Jan. 28, 1986, or the Columbia, which disintegrated while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere on Feb. 1, 2003. Which it is depends in part on how old the Redditor who posted the story is — but either way, it was a huge tragedy: In both disasters, all seven of the crew members aboard each shuttle was killed.
11The Titan And The Titanic
In 1898, Morgan Robertson’s novella Futility was published. In it, a fictitious ocean liner, the Titan, hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and sinks — despite having been described as “unsinkable.” A shortage of lifeboats is among the reasons the majority of passengers and crew die. Additionally, the crash occurs during the month of April.
In 1912, the Titanic hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and sank — despite having been described as “unsinkable.” A shortage of lifeboats was among the reasons the majority of passengers and crew died. The crash occurred during the month of April.
Robertson denied that he was clairvoyant; when asked if he was, he answered, “No. I know what I’m writing about, that’s all,” according to TIME. Additionally, Titanic scholar Paul Heyer said to the Associated Press in 2012, that the similarities between the fate of the Titan and that of the Titanic come down to exactly what Robertson had said: “He was someone who wrote about maritime affairs. He was an experienced seaman, and he saw ships as getting very large and the possible danger that one of these behemoths would hit an iceberg,” Heyer told the AP.
As for the names of the ships themselves? That’s just coincidence.
…Probably, at least.