Why Do I Sometimes See the Future?

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Why Do I Sometimes See the Future?

by Tony Matthews

I am deeply introverted and almost totally reclusive. I’m so reclusive that, apart from my wife, I personally see only about a dozen people a year — and those are the people I have to see for a variety of reasons such as medical consultations or dental appointments. Put plainly, I need to be alone and am happier and more comfortable being in as much solitude as I am physically able to achieve. Throughout my life, I have always attempted to be as invisible as possible.

I’m strange, I know. If I were part of a jigsaw puzzle, I’d be that infuriating last piece which you discover to be missing just when you’ve spent four frustrating, lip-chewing weeks trying to figure out how it all goes together.

Now I know there will be many people out there who will think that I’m a bit odd, to say the least, but in reality, there are millions of introverts in Australia right now and billions more around the world. We are not so strange after all; we are just the quiet, unobtrusive members of society trying to live on a planet which appears to be densely populated by colourful party-going and annoyingly over-enthusiastic extroverts.

I’m also a novelist, historian, narrative poet, animal-rights campaigner and ethical vegan. I think it’s fair to say that I don’t fit the stereotype. If everyone on the planet was running frantically to the left, I’d be sauntering quietly to the right while being cleverly camouflaged in clothing so earthy in colour that hardly anyone would see me. I constantly attempt to fade into the background so perfectly that I become almost imperceptible, which is a difficult thing for anyone to achieve — especially a writer whose work often entails being in front of the public.

Yet I’ve lived a life of colourful contrasts that has been adventurous and even, at times, quite dangerous. It has also been vastly interesting.

Arriving in Western Australia from the U.K. in 1972, for example, while trying desperately to get back to my beloved West Indies — which I’ve always considered to be my spiritual home — I hitch-hiked over four thousand kilometres across the country with just $24 in my pocket. I undertook that vast journey with no real understanding of the immensity of the Australian outback. When I arrived at the edge of the Nullarbor Plains, for example, which was then just a dirt-ribbon of track stretching into a waterless infinity, I was the proud possessor of a spare shirt, half a bottle of tepid coca-cola, and a well-thumbed volume of Dylan Thomas poems.

As you will realise from this, I’ve never been afraid of a challenge. I’ve guarded the queen; been hilariously headhunted by the C.I.A. (they’re always on the lookout for almost invisible introverts); experienced storms at sea that literally sank shipping; witnessed bloody military events, including one of the bloodiest coups in modern history; discovered a secret princess; boarded Arabian dhows in search of gold bullion; rescued a drowning man from a Thailand river filled with raw-sewage and dead dogs; almost been blown to bits by a ‘Sparrow death-squad’ in Manila; painted an orphanage near the legendary River Kwai; helped to destroy a stranded oil-tanker off the coast of Cornwall, and much much more.

And among all this, as crazy as it may sound, I sometimes see the future!

Well, you’re probably thinking now that I’m as loony as a hamster in a well-oiled wheel, but I can state, categorically, that there is something quite beyond the norm going on in my head and it’s about time I tried to figure out what it is.

So let’s step back a little in time because I do have a theory about all this and it’s linked to what I call the D.T.C., or the ‘Deep Thought Centre’.

I spend a lot of my time writing, in fact, I write, or plot, or think about writing, for almost every hour that I’m not asleep. Sometimes I have characters or plots running through my mind while I’m actually asleep. I expect that most writers are the same. Creating something out of nothing, as writers do, is an achievement that requires a massive amount of immersively creative concentration. I personally need to be alone to do that, so it’s just as well that I am a quiet, introverted recluse. My most recent book, for example, (Invisible — the Essential Guide for Aliens Stranded on Earth), describes my life as an introvert, recluse and ethical vegan. It was written entirely at night because I need a super-quiet environment without interruptions to write effectively. Entering that environment places me into some kind of intensely creative state which is almost like being in another dimension. This place is the D.T.C.

I expect lots of writers and other creatives have experienced this phenomenon. My D.T.C. is so intense, at times, that I become almost unaware that I’m still living in my real place and time. I write histories and historical novels, and the creative development of writing my books, especially the novels, is almost like time-travelling. In fact, I’ve frequently been compared to ‘Dr Who’ in the press. I lose the perspective of the present. At times my loving and ever-supportive wife may say something to me but I do not hear her. I’m in another place.

And this is where my theory concerning premonitions comes into play.

It is possible for someone like myself, who spends such lengthy periods in the D.T.C., to find somewhere in their minds that allows them to experience real, verifiable premonitions or events that later prove to be correct?

Now I know you are going to think that I am being freakishly outlandish and improbable — a bit like a former U.S. president ever admitting that he really did lose the election, but hear me out, because, for some strange reason, I have had quite a lot of experience in this.

There have been many seclusionists in history who have adopted the lifestyle either to get closer to whatever god they serve or to enter some kind of ethereal meditative world where they claim to be able to see into the future. However, there are other people who theorise that seeing into the future is not only improbable but actually impossible because it does not exist, as yet, so how can we see into it?

Yet somehow, and I really don’t know why or how, exactly, I have experienced a multitude of premonitions that have come startlingly true. It seems like a wild claim but my wife will attest to the truth of it. I have infrequent premonitions. Some seem highly improbable, and really are, and I put them down to the natural creative process which all writers have to embrace as part of their work and lives, but others usually come true within the space of a few days.

Some time ago I was looking through one of my old diaries when I found an entry for August 1986. I’d written that I had experienced a sudden feeling there was going to be a rather dramatic oil-tanker accident in Sydney, and that someone was going to die. Slightly more than a week after that prediction an oil-tanker crashed in Sydney. It burst into flames and two people were killed. That’s all recorded in my journal. This, I think, may have been one of the earliest precognitive events I experienced, but there would be many more.

Quite a large percentage of my predictions have concerned air accidents. I’m not sure why this is the case, although I have always been interested in flying and, many years ago, undertook flying training to obtain a private pilot’s licence. Incidentally, on my first solo flight (which in itself is a really peculiar and, some would say, a terrifying experience) I made aviation history by experiencing a genuine flap failure. Despite this catastrophe, I was able to land the Cessna safely without, thankfully, joining the ‘turf club’.

Foxtrot, Pappa, Sierra, the aircraft that suffered flap-failure on Tony’s first solo flight.

Foxtrot, Pappa, Sierra, the aircraft that suffered flap-failure on Tony’s first solo flight.

I never predicted that one, by the way!

There is nothing unusual about thinking of the famous Kennedy family in America. The assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas was one of the most iconic events of the 20th century. Online, many people claim to have had premonitions about the Kennedys, although no one, as far as I am aware, predicted the death of Joseph Kennedy, (the future President Kennedy’s brother) killed while participating in a top-secret mission while piloting a prototype self-guiding bomb during the latter stages of the Second World War, (which I’ve written about in another of my books). However, the assassination of President Kennedy was, apparently, predicted by hordes of people, as was the later killing of the president’s younger brother, Robert.

I was still quite young when President Kennedy was assassinated. I had never really thought too much about the Kennedy family. The assassination was a tragic event but the world learned to move on. However, in July 1999, when I had not thought of the Kennedy family for many years, I dreamed one night that John F. Kennedy Jr., the son of former President Kennedy, would be killed in a plane crash. My dream included the fact that John Jr’s wife would also be killed. This was interesting because I knew next to nothing about John Jr’s life. I didn’t actually know at the time that he was married. I remembered him only vaguely, as a child, on international television, saluting poignantly at the funeral of his father.

The dream I had that night was particularly detailed. John Jr. would be piloting a light aircraft and it would crash into the sea.

Upon awakening that morning I had a chilling feeling of helplessness and foreboding. By this time I was beginning to differentiate between what was apparently a dream and what was probably a premonition. Ordinary dreams tended to be rather mixed up, a bit fuzzy at times, and in the morning I would have trouble recalling them. That was perfectly normal. The actual events of the dream were never repeated. They came only once during the dream and then were gone. However, the dreams which tended to portend coming events were always far more detailed and were very specific. They came clearly, as if watching a TV screen, and the events were usually ‘replayed’ several times throughout the night. I’m not sure why that happened. It was as if my mind was telling me not to forget the events portrayed within the dream so that when I awoke the following morning all the details would still be quite clear to me.

On the morning following the Kennedy dream I told my wife what I had ‘seen’ while asleep. By this time she was becoming used to hearing about the strange dreams I was having. She nodded resignedly. ‘Those Kennedys are cursed,’ she said, and we waited to see if anything would appear in the news.

About a week later, on 16 July, as we subsequently learned from press reports, John F. Kennedy Jr., had been the pilot of a Piper Saratoga flying from Essex County airport in New Jersey to Martha’s Vineyard. On board were three people: Kennedy as pilot, his wife, Carolyn Bessette, and sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette. Kennedy was not rated for instrument flying and, by law, was able to fly only under what is known as VFR or visual flight rules. However, weather conditions that day were difficult for aviation. Landmarks were obscured making navigation problematic. Air-crash investigators later ascertained that John Kennedy Jr. had been affected by what is known as spatial disorientation, and, while flying over water, had lost control of the Piper. All three on board had been killed.

This was just one more premonition in a fairly intense sequence of dreams and unexpected daytime flashes that I was experiencing which proved to be some kind of precognitive events. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me.

I did some research. There are loads of people in the world who have precognitive experiences — visions, dreams, sudden flashes — all kinds of strange events. Organisations have even been established to harness the power of premonitions. It was hoped that, with some coordination, impending disasters, for example, might be prevented. I wasn’t sure that such a concept was even remotely possible but it was evident to me personally that premonitions were actualities.

The real question was this: why was I having these dreams and flashes? I gave this a great deal of thought and finally came to the conclusion that it all came down to being an isolationist, a recluse and an introvert, and spending a massive amount of my time thinking immersively and creatively. Was there something special about spending a lot of time alone, I asked myself, and letting one’s mind drift almost aimlessly as I sometimes do while contemplating a plot, for example?

During the night that the first Stealth bomber in history crashed, I dreamed about it. I awakened the following morning and told my wife what I’d seen. That night a report of the tragedy was on the news. The disaster occurred on 23 February, 2008, when the Spirit of Kansas, a B-2 Spirit Stealth heavy bomber, took off from the Anderson air-force base in Guam. The aircraft crashed onto the runway just a few minutes later. The pilots survived, having ejected, although both were injured.

The Stealth bomber which crashed onto the runway at Guam in February, 2008. Tony saw this exact event the night before it happened.

The Stealth bomber which crashed onto the runway at Guam in February, 2008. Tony saw this exact event the night before it happened. Source: Federal Aviation Administration from Wikimedia Commons.

On a more personal note, during one dream I saw my brother-in-law’s business, a panel-beating workshop, being engulfed in flames. This dream was particularly vivid, although that was probably because of the bright colours of the flames. The dream repeated over and over that night; it never seemed to end. It was like a revolving film-reel in a cinema. The following morning, with considerable hesitation, because this was family, and personal, I told my wife about it. Six days later the brother-in-law’s workshop went up in flames causing a large amount of damage including the destruction of two vintage cars.

The premonitions just kept coming, including astonishing details of a fighter aircraft going down and killing a lot of people on the ground. In my dream, I saw that the disaster would happen in England and very near the sea, although I did not have any precise location. In that dream I saw that the plane would be destroyed but its pilot would survive. A day or two later exactly that happened. On 22 August, 2015, an ex-military vintage Hawker Hunter T7 crashed during an air-display at Shoreham, fairly close to the beach, killing eleven people on the ground and seriously injuring sixteen others. The pilot survived by ejecting from the aircraft.

When that news bulletin came on TV my wife and I looked at each other with considerable astonishment. How could I have seen the event two days before it had occurred?

For some time I went through a period when I saw no further premonitions. Then one night in February 2022 I received a ‘flash’ premonition. It came at around ten o’clock. The house was in almost complete darkness as I walked up a passageway. Then, without a warning of any kind, a face flashed before my eyes. It was more startling because I recognised it immediately. It was the face of British actor Anna Karen who had achieved considerable fame through her role as ‘Olive’ in the 1970s TV series On the Buses.

This flash was particularly powerful. It literally stopped me in my tracks. I stood, transfixed for about thirty seconds wondering why Anna’s face had flashed before me so unexpectedly. There was no apparent reason for it. It had been many years since I had even thought about On the Buses and it had probably been two decades since I had actually watched the program, so there was no reason why Anna should have been on my mind at that time. Yet here she was, in full colour, apparently looking directly into my eyes in the darkness. It was a bit spooky, I have to admit. Then the image dissolved and, like a TV program-closer, ‘faded to black’.

That night I went to bed wondering why I had thought about Anna so unexpectedly. There appeared to have been no reason.

The following morning, while I was seated in a lounge-chair thinking about some historical research I was working on for a new book, my wife, who was reading the news on her mobile phone, looked up and gave me a sad look. ‘You’ll never guess who died?’ she said.

‘Don’t tell me,’ I replied. ‘It’s Olive from On the Buses.’

I’d had another of my premonitions!

Now, I’m just an ordinary person although I admit to being a little weird. Those who know me probably have little idea what is going on in my head. I’m a confusing amorphism who manages splendidly to confuse even myself. However, something is evidently happening in my brain which appears to have been tuned to a strange frequency.

I’m alone rather a lot, thinking silently and deeply. Does this immersive thinking process open up some kind of ‘portal’ into the future? I really don’t know. What I do know, however, is that I have seen events before they have occurred, although I’m not claiming to have special abilities. Some people say that I’m psychic, but I now believe that we are all somehow capable of having precognitive experiences. Every one of us. It all comes down to being alone, quietly and deeply reflecting and being willing to allow ourselves to be as divorced as possible from our physical realities. In short, for both our bodies and, more importantly, our minds, to be completely alone and capable of immersively deep thought processes.


Tony Matthews

Author & historian Tony Matthews
Tony Matthews is a Welsh/Australian novelist and historian. He is the author of over thirty published books including his lighthearted and humorous autobiography: Invisible — the Essential Guide for Aliens Stranded on Earth, published by Big Sky Publishing, and available worldwide through Amazon Australia.

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