We don’t normally connect romance to extrasensory perception (ESP). Yet a book I read not long ago does exactly that. Since it is Valentine’s Day, I want to introduce you to Sally Rhine Feather’s engrossing book The Gift: The Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People, and give you a taste of what it has to say about love and ESP.
Sally wrote the foreword to my own recent book, The Essential Guide to Remote Viewing. The daughter of legendary parapsychologists J.B. and Louisa Rhine, Sally has been involved in the field of ESP and parapsychology most of her life. Recently she retired as director of the Rhine Research Center, which has been operating continuously since her parents founded it in 1935.
Some of the stories in The Gift come from the treasure trove of fascinating accounts recorded by Sally’s mother, Louisa. Over decades Louisa collected a massive archive of well-attested anecdotes featuring ordinary people who in their daily lives had a brush with ESP. After Louisa was gone, other stories made their way to Sally.
Often called “spontaneous psi” or “spontaneous ESP,” such encounters usually involve unexpected impressions or (often) dreams that the experiencers have of people they are close to—parents, siblings, children, spouses, close friends. You are likely most familiar with stories of people who have sudden, shocking intuitions when distant loved ones die or are seriously injured. But there are many others of these impressions which spring forth from less traumatic events. Sometimes there is even a romantic connection. “We have reports of ESP happening at every stage of emotional attachments…,” The Gift reports
…during initial infatuation and dating; through the normal doubts, misunderstandings, quarrels, breakups, and makeups of courtship; and ultimately marriage and perhaps divorce. As the dramas unfold, there’s a powerful need to know what’s going on in the loved one’s mind and heart, and both our sensory and extrasensory antennae can become unusually active. (P.120)
Not all of the reports are necessarily happy ones. There was the case of a wife, pregnant with the couple’s son, who when her husband made his frequent business trips out of town would have a recurrent dream. In the dream, she saw him with another woman, and would follow him around in the dreaming state carrying the baby and asking, “how could he do that to us?” After several of these trips and the dreams that resulted, she confronted him. His response was that she was being paranoid. But she eventually found concrete evidence of his infidelity and divorced him.
In another case, a husband on a weekend trip to New York met a woman to whom he was instantly attracted. He had never before been unfaithful, but introduced himself under an assumed name and didn’t say that he was married. Nothing happened that weekend, but he made arrangements to meet the woman on another weekend trip he contrived. They spent the night together.
Upon awaking the following morning, his new paramour reported an odd dream she had during the night. She reported that in the dream, he was married, and she proceeded to exactly describe his house and give an accurate physical description of his wife, down to the darkened front tooth the wife had due to a dead nerve. That disturbing psychic revelation was apparently enough to bring the man to repentance and return to his family.
Other stories in The Gift have happier endings. One involved a love-triangle in which neither of the two women involved ever physically met each other. A young woman named Joy who worked in a photo store became interested in a customer who walked in one day, named Gil. Gil and Joy had coffee after her work, and then he walked her home. The two had only just met, yet that very night Joy had a detailed dream, in which she “saw an old rundown, vine-covered house on a hill with a gate in front. A girl standing in front of the house told Joy to leave Gil alone…he was ‘her property.’” Joy’s response was “a childlike singsong ‘All is fair in love and war. If you can keep him, you can have him. I don’t care.’”
Suspecting the dream meant that Gil was not the single guy he pretended to be, she accused him of being married, and hung up on him the next time he called. He finally convinced her to meet him, and she told him her dream. Upon hearing the story, Gil could only muster a stunned expression. Somehow or other he managed to convince her that he really was single, and they eventually married. They spent their honeymoon at a place a few hundred miles from her home. While there, he told her he had something to show her. Driving up a hill, they parked in front of the very house, vines and all, that she had seen in her dream. Knocking on the door, they were ushered inside by the couple who lived there, and in a picture hanging on the wall Joy saw the young woman who had appeared in her dream. The couple were her parents.
Gil, it turned out, had been engaged to the girl in the photo for six years before he first met Joy. Realizing his feelings for Joy were stronger than for his fiancé, he immediately broke off the engagement. But he was taken aback when Joy reported her dream, immediately recognizing what it was about. Even though he had already ended the engagement, he was afraid to tell Joy about it because he was concerned she might end their budding relationship before it ever really got started.
Sally tells another story. In a dream, a 19-year-old girl saw “a specific young man—tall, fair, blue-eyed, with curly black hair.” She had no idea who he was—had never seen nor met him before. Still, she told her mother the next day about the dream and said she was sure that was the man she would marry.
Six months passed, with no sign of the man she had seen in her dream. Then one day at work, she suddenly “felt a force drawing” her to look up. Her work station normally faced away from foot traffic through the building. In turning, even now all she saw was the backs of two men as they passed together into the next room. One she recognized as her boss. The other, though, was unknown to her. “That evening,” she stated in her report, “I said, ‘Mom, I saw my man today.’” The mother asked if he had the black curly hair and blue eyes of the dream. “I told her I didn’t know,” she said, “since I only saw his back.”
A few days later, she met him face to face and he matched her dream exactly—except for the hair, which was hidden under a cap. Once the cap came off, black curly hair spilled out. The two were married three months later.
Sweet as that story is, this last one last one is sweeter still.
After awakening, a woman remembered a dream that had come to her in the night. As she stood near a building in her dream, she was “admiring the beautiful, shimmering, dark blue sky with the moon bright, round, and silver. As she watched, six other smaller moons of varying sizes rose, one by one, in different arcs and at different speeds. Some were more golden than the actual moon, some paler; their light turned the sky almost to daylight.”
She was fascinated. Eager for her husband to share the experience with her, she beckoned him from the building, and they stood together in the dream, entranced by the beauty of the moons.
But now awake, she recounted for her man her marvelous experience.
His reaction was not what she expected. He chuckled and told her she can’t possibly have had that dream. That was the dream he had just dreamed! The only difference was that in his version, he had been the one to beckon her to enjoy the heavenly display. Shared dreams come from shared love.
This Valentines Day, I hope you have someone with whom you can share a mutual dream, whether waking or asleep.
(If you have a spontaneous ESP experience of your own or a close friend or relative you would like to report, you may go to the Rhine Research Center’s experience report form).