Tuesday, 7 January 2014

They Saw It Coming

     I've boarded more long distance flights, both international and domestic, than I can count, and suffered nothing worse than a missed connection. I never worry about them. I never have premonitions - about aircraft, or anything else. That is why I occasionally ponder this proposition: suppose the night before a fully prepaid flight, with a fully prepaid package holiday waiting at the other end, I had a vivid dream of a crash, what would I do?
     I happen to know that premonitions of disaster are one of the most commonly reported psychic phenomena. And I have already explained why the glib explanations of coincidence or the manifestation of prior anxiety fail to hold water. It is probably part of our in-built survival mechanism.
     In December 1995 the Brazilian daily, Folha da Tarde ("evening sheet") published a prediction by the alleged psychic, Mother Dinah that the five members of the rock group, Mamonas Assassinas ("murderous mammaries") would be involved in an aeroplane crash. So what's so special about that? you may ask. Every year we see professional "psychics" spouting out their predictions for the coming year. Most of them are quickly forgotten - much to the psychic's own benefit. As a general rule, they fail to come true or, if they do, it is because they are either highly probable events, or extremely generalised ones. But in this case, she would appear to be sticking her neck out. It was not like predicting a political scandal - which is more or less a dead cert. No, it was something which is inherently unlikely. Also, the Mamonas Assassinas were one of the most popular rock bands in the country. People are likely to take notice, and to remember any failure of prophesy.
     Also, the group was already in the middle of a five month tour. Well, they played in city after city, and nothing happened. Then, on 2 March 1996 the tour officially ended in Brasília. They had just one more concert before flying back to their home town of Guarulhos for a well earned rest. A few hours before the concert, Júlio Rasec, the keyboard player, decided to have his hair dyed red. (These were rockers, remember.) Not only that, but he got the salon owner, Nélson de Lima to videotape the process. On the tape he could be clearly heard stating, "Last night I dreamed something. It seemed the aeroplane was falling."
     That night, they went out to board the flight home. A runway worker wished them luck for their scheduled overseas debut. "I hope you're a smash in Portugal," he said.
     To that, lead singer Dinho Alves replied, "It's my head I'm going to smash."
     Guess what? They did crash. Everyone on board was killed.
     And I'm starting to get a good idea of what I should do if I ever do have one of those pre-flight premonitions.

Reference: Time, 18 March 1996, quoted in The Fortean Times Book of Strange Deaths 2 (2013), pp 52 - 53.

2 comments:

  1. Ooh I think this's a wonderful development Malcolm especially given your wonderfully clear t'the point o' almost bein' scrubbed clean mind.

    What I find deeply intriguin's how readily you've plunged in this pool o' possibilities given how many other Christians I know consider it tantamount t' Satanic.

    "I'm starting to get a good idea of what I should do if I ever do have one of those pre-flight premonitions."

    In your heart o' hearts you're really a White Knight [even if the armor's more likely t'be cricketing whites] so I'm pretty certain at the last minute you'd realise demonic forces could control you for the rest o' y'life if y'bought in t'this sort o thing too much so you'd decide t'take Jesus as your co-pilot an' take the flight anyway.

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    1. I must admit, if I received one of these premonitions it would never occur to me to consider it was Satanic. Why would the devil or his agents want to warn me about danger - unless they were afraid I was able to get away before they had thoroughly corrupted my soul? I'd be more likely to see it as one more example of divine intervention.
      I've never seen interest in anomalies or the paranormal as inherently evil, but that does not mean you should allow them to become an alternative way of life. As I said in an earlier post, there are two good reasons to avoid getting involved in séances. The first is that it is probably a load of rubbish. The second is that there is a slight possibility it is not a load of rubbish - in which case, the forces being invoked may be ones you would like to keep at arm's length. This, as I see it, is the purpose of the such passages as Deut. 18: 10-11 :
      "There shall not be found among you ... any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord."
      The Christians you know who consider all this to be Satanic are probably fundamentalists. Although they are usually defined as those who "take the Bible literally", in fact, they tend to read more into the text than is literally there. Thus, from passages such as the above they deduce that anything weird or uncanny must come from the devil. I don't think so.

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