The Foreseeable Future: The The Mystery of Precognition, by Gary Williams
Reviewed by Robert A. Charman
Gary Williams was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1969, and has had a successful career in American radio and television, hosting many popular shows. During his life he says that he has experienced many paranormal events including precognitive experiences, has had his future read dozens of times, sometimes very accurately, has interviewed many psychics and mediums and in his exploration of the psychic scene has travelled widely, including the UK in which he has lived several times. He now lives in Spain where he has set up a Foundation to investigate psychic phenomena, and is the author of A Life Beyond Life (1989), Death’s Aftershock (2007), A Walk on the Wild side (2018), which I reviewed (see Charman, 2019), and The Miracle Workers (2018). He trained as an astrologer with Isabel Hickey and his detailed chapter on the subject The Stars Impel opens with the statement that ‘It is a proven fact that future events can be predicted or precognised by the use of astrology.’
His first chapter begins with a personal experience that he returns to several times throughout the book as an example of thrice told prediction. Between 1999 and 2004 he was living in Hampstead, London, in a house owned by a Miss Wendy Richards, a wealthy, elderly, friend of Celia Fremlin (1914-2009) the award winning crime and mystery novelist who lived across the street and had introduced them. In return for living there rent free he looked after the house and garden, did the shopping and helped look after Wendy and Celia and assumed that this arrangement would continue indefinitely. In the summer of 2003 he consulted a French psychic who said that he would lose his existing living arrangements and return to America ‘very soon’. At the time this seemed very unlikely as the arrangement suited everyone and he had no wish to return to America. In the early summer of 2004 he consulted her again, resulting in the same forecast and soon after, following an astrology reading for a client she, in turn, produced a set of tarot cards, and knowing nothing about his situation predicted an imminent return to America against his wishes. In September, 2004 Wendy told him that she had decided to transfer her house to her daughter to avoid large death tax duties. Once the transfer had been completed the daughter immediately evicted Williams so that she could rent out the property for a good income and he returned to America.
The book contains dozens of accounts of what appears to have been confirmed predictions and precognitions, many concerning himself and friends interwoven from those taken from the precognitive literature and it is sometimes difficult to separate the two. On several occasions I recognised that I had read the same precognitive experience in The Future is Now: the Significance of Precognition by Arthur Osborn (1961). Referencing is erratic throughout and there is no index. The chapter on ‘time slips’ includes an unreferenced summary of the Victor Goddard case concerning his apparent precognition in 1935 of an RAF Drem to be in 1939 (cf.Charman, 2019). Also included are some of the intriguing Bold Street, Liverpool accounts of people entering a strange retrocognitive time warp back to the 1950s and seeing people dressed in 1950s fashion and the names and businesses of shops long since changed, before returning bemused to the present. The well known 1901 Moberly and Jourdain Versailles Adventure in which they apparently saw scenes near the Petit Trianon as if from the 18th century is covered as well as the many accounts of apparent precognition of the 1966 Aberfan disaster (see Barker, 1967) in which thousands of tons of colliery coal spoil poured down as a huge slurry that enveloped a school and nearby buildings, killing 116 children and 28 adults.
The Dutch Trio chapter is devoted to Gerard Croiset, Peter Hurkos, and Marinus B. Dykshoon: ‘Three of the most amazing clairvoyants who ever lived’ (cf. Hövelmann & Michels, 2017; Lyons & Truzzi, 1991). Professors W. H. C. Tenhaeff and Hans Bender testified to Croiset’s clairvoyant ability, particularly in the chair experiments, in which he would describe details specific to who would sit in a randomly chosen chair at some event. Hurkos, whose claim to fame was as a ‘psychic detective’ involving missing persons and murder victims, often through psychometry, had convinced Andrija Puharich of his ability under test, but according to Williams, Dykshoorn (1920-2006) was the greatest psychic who has ever lived. Such was his repeatedly confirmed predictive and clairvoyant abilities that the Dutch government is said to have allowed him to put ‘Clairvoyant’ on his passport and his autobiography is called My Passport Says Clairvoyant (1974).
Dr Alex Tanous (see Psi Encyclopedia entry) whose predictive abilities developed at an early age, was a close friend of Williams and the Precognition of Death chapter includes the following example:
When I was nine years old a friend of the family came to visit and I shook hands with him when he arrived “Sir” I said “Are you ready to die?” The man laughed and my father was horrified “What are you saying?” He demanded. “Dad, I just can’t help it. That’s what I see.” Our friend laughed again while my father made his apologies on my behalf, but within twenty four hours our friend was dead of a heart attack. (pp 52-3).
But as Williams points out, while death and disaster predictions tend to make the headlines trivial events, as in the Precognition of Trivial Events in a Person’s Life chapter are probably far more common. As he says ‘Triviality is not in the event but in the mind’ as in their occurrence they achieve non trivial significance. Here is an interesting example noted down by her husband. In her vivid precognitive vision his wife was standing on a jetty in sunshine surrounded by intensely blue water against a rocky shoreline and as she looked towards the shore she saw two French sailors with red pompoms on their hats leaning on a rail looking at the scene. This vision was so powerful that she did not forget it. Some five years later they visited Sydney and on one afternoon his wife decided to go to Taranga Park Zoo, reached by ferry boat. At the end of the afternoon she was on the jetty waiting for the ferry boat and shielding her eyes from the bright sun in a cloudless blue sky she looked across blue water towards the shore and saw two French sailors with red pompoms on their hats leaning on a rail exactly as in her vision. They found out later that a French boat had arrived in Sydney harbour and the sailors were out sightseeing. There is a chapter on prediction of the winners of horse races and lucky pool numbers and in The Psychics Do Their Thing he names many predictive psychics currently in practice with examples of their predictions including Lynne Palmer, Las Vegas, who provides the Foreword and helpfully lists her many accurate predictions for the great and good including Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli and Mia Farrow.
His discussion on time and the unresolved conceptual conflict between cause and effect generating the everchanging present which is time’s temporal boundary beyond which there is nothing, and precognition taking place in the present of a later confirmed future-to-come as if it already exists in some other reality breaks no new ground, but it does lead Williams to a firm conclusion. He makes the interesting point that our sense of free will is based upon our awareness of the past and present beyond which we cannot know because there is nothing to know, so in consequence we assume that it is our freely made decisions that determines the future and we can change them as we want. Williams agrees that our sense of free will is dominant but like the sun (my analogy here as a summary of his argument) that so obviously circles the so obviously stationary earth on which we are standing in a so obviously daily journey across the sky, free will is just as much of a compulsive illusion. Precognition clearly indicates that, although we do not know how, the future already exists and is unalterable. If this was not so, then all the thousands of examples of confirmed precognition could not occur, but they do. Like the earth spinning so imperceptibly west to east on its axis that it appears still, provides the correct explanation for the sun’s apparent course across the sky from east to west, precognition of what already exists is the correct interpretation of all reality. We have to make choices in the immediate present as in me agreeing to do this book review and your decision to read it, but it seems that our choice is already made. This book is written for the popular market by an author who is obviously sincere in his beliefs, so with that proviso in mind, it can be recommended as providing many examples of precognition that appear to have been confirmed beyond reasonable dispute and leaving you to decide if Williams is correct in his conclusion or not.
Barker, J.C. (1967). Premonitions of the Aberfan disaster. Journal of the Society for Psychical
Research, 44, 169-81.
Charman, R. A. (2019). Research note: Was wing commander Victor Goddard’s unexpected
observation when flying over Gullane airfield in 1935 a precognitive glimpse of that airfield
in 1939? Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 83, 18-30.
Hövelmann, G. H., & Michels, H. (Eds) (2017). Legitimacy of Unbelief:The Collected Papers of Piet
Hein Hoebens. Münster: LIT Verlag.
Lyons, A., & Truzzi, M. (1991). The Blue Sense: Psychic Detectives and Crime. New York: Warner
Osborn, A. (1961). Future Is Now: The Significance of Precognition. New Hyde Park, NY: University
Robert A. Charman can be reached at email: firstname.lastname@example.org