The following is an incident from my youth. Of course, the names have been changed. The final question is played out in Shannon’s story.
Clairvoyance or Coincidence
I should have known Branson was dead before my boyfriend told me. The information should have been transmitted invisibly, infallibly, instantly, like radio waves from brain to brain as the trauma of the motorcycle crash was happening. I felt inadequate. Perhaps, if I had been in love with Branson instead of his brother, I would have felt his death at the time of its occurrence. Perhaps, I might even have predicted the circumstances of his death—saved him somehow.
At age thirteen, I was sure clairvoyance and other magical connections of thought processes were possible and I wanted to have those abilities. Maybe my best friend in seventh grade really had spoken with a ghost. Maybe my dog really did warn me of danger when we walked together in the woods. Maybe my dreams were telling me something important. Maybe if someone I loved was about to be killed, I could warn him.
Later, as a scientist, I disavowed such thoughts. Not so fast, I say now. Because the evidence is shaky, the proof missing, the documentation questionable, we cannot say forces that appear magical do not exist. Lightning used to be magic hurled by angry gods. Migrating birds navigated as if by magic. Today we have scientific explanations. After we know how something works, we no longer call it magic.
Similarly, scientific inquiry cannot prove something does not exist. Until there was an effective way to search, we thought our earth was the only planet in a solar orbit compatible with supporting life.
What if I had dreamed about Branson’s accident before it happened and dismissed it as a nightmare?