|Nostradamus Statue, © Babak Farrokhi|
Nostradamus (Michel de Nostredame, born either 14 or 21 December, 1503, died 2 July, 1566) was one of the first, and certainly more well known, prognosticators of the future. He's been credited with predicting numerous events including the Great Fire of London, the political rise of Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler, both world wars, the Apollo moon landings, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and even the terror attacks of 9/11.
However, most academics say the majority of these prognostications of world events are the result of misinterpretations or sometimes deliberately inaccurate translations. Many times the link between the events and the predictions is so weak, they hardly offer any proof of prognostication. So, in spite of the cult status he's attained for predicting the future, we're still a long way from proving even the most famous seer ever had the ability.
|Psychic Readings, © Adam Currell|
Still, there is no lack of faith in the ability, or people who claim they have the ability. Psychics are everywhere, and anecdotal experiences offering "proof" abound. Much if this is fraud, or illogical leaps of faith due to cognitive bias. Many times we as humans misinterpret correlation, and assign relationships based on what we want to believe instead of looking at things from a strictly objective standpoint.
|Shadow Man Walking, © I K O via Flickr|
Parapsychology research in some form or another has been around since 1889. The term is used to include telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation, and apparitional experiences.
|Fear, © I K O via Flickr|
So what's my take on this? Well, like many things, I'm decidedly undecided. Neutral, one might say. I think there may definitely be something to paranormal activity. I say that with an ace card in the hole, as you'll see in an upcoming post. We haven't produced any factual evidence proving any of it, however, which tempers my beliefs, but overall, I'd say there's at least something there.
I do know someone who seems to have some sort of precognitive aptitude. She has correctly called a large, game changing play while watching football, whether from true ability or luck, who knows. She's also been right on numerous other predictions, from the commonplace to downright astounding. These, however, aren't what makes her predictions interesting.
They become a lot more interesting when observing her behavior before some of the more tragic, large-scale natural disasters we've seen in the world. A number of times I've seen her jittery and worried, saying that something is terribly wrong, only to see a major earthquake or other natural disaster strike within days, or even the same day. One of those times was Christmas Day, 2004. She was horribly edgy, and said several times throughout the day that something was very wrong. She paced the floor, irritable and worried the whole day, in spite of the fact it was Christmas. "Something terrible is going to happen," she told me. "I know it." The next day we watched as tsunamis from an earthquake in the Indian Ocean crashed ashore, killing more than 230,000 people in fourteen countries.
Coincidence? Quite possible. It can't be proved, but on the other hand, it's certainly intriguing enough to make one pause for thought. I'll share my own eerie experiences sometime in the future here, one of which is almost impossible for those involved to brush off as simply coincidence. Stay tuned. It's a wild one.
Until then, I'll leave it to you. Any believers out there? Any complete skeptics? Let me know what you think.