Sunday, August 3, 2014

Premonition of death (a case from 1958)

Rumor has it that some patients suffering from chronic diseases are able to predict the time of their deaths. The following slightly spooky letter was published by the British Medical Journal in 1958.

"SIR, -

On paying my usual routine visit one Tuesday afternoon to a male patient of mine dying of cancer of the lung, the patient took hold of my hands, thanked me for all my attention, and then proceeded to tell me that I would not need to call and see him after Thursday, as he was going to die at 2.30 that afternoon. Needless to say, I comforted him the best way I could, told him to exclude such thoughts from his mind, and promised to look in again.

On late Thursday afternoon I received a message from a member of his family that their father had passed away peacefully. A few days later two daughters of the deceased came to consult me, and in the course of our conversation told me that the day before their father died he had summoned all the members of the family together and repeated to them what he had told me - namely, that he would die the following day at 2.30.  On the predicted day, all the members of his family were with him in his bedroom except his wife. As 2.30 was approaching he urgently called for his wife to come in, saying "Hurry, hurry, before it is too late." She came running into the room, and on the stroke of 2.30 according to the two daughters, "He sighed, raised both hands behind his head, smiled, and passed away." I wonder if any of my colleagues have had a similar experience."

Arnold B. Cowan

(Br Med J. Sep 27, 1958; 2(5099): 797)

I'm rather sceptical as to this story - I've never really believed that such accounts are credible (crucial details such as the time of day tend to get embellished for effect). But what do you think? Has anyone heard of a similar thing happening in their family, perhaps?

Image courtesy of: dan / Free Digital Photos (


  1. Such a thing happened to my father some years before my birth. He told me...
    it was 20 years ago. On the evening, when my parents made love. My father got a sort of flash and he've seen the "death". How was it represented ? I don't know. Anyways, the fact remains that he got a morbid vision. But he continued to make love. Some weeks after, my mother realized that she was pregnant. But the baby died after three months. My father saw it.
    My mother hadn't got any vision but a premonition once. Her neighbour was almost dead and really sick for weeks. Everyone was waiting for this terrible day with anxiousity. One day, my mother came back to home. She was taking the underground when she got a flash. A sentence in her head said : "Mr. X is dead." and she felt that it was true. 5 minutes after the premonition, her boyfriend called her and announced that Mr. X, the neighbour was dead.

    1. These stories are really interesting - thanks a lot for commenting and sharing!

  2. Years ago When I was in my teens my father told me was going to die at the age of 65 of a heart attack. He did just that, alone in his apartment. Shortly before his death I dreamed he had died, in the fall, it was mid summer the. I was going to take a visit to him before he went, in my dream he came and said it was time to go. I missed the timing and never had the chance. He came to me after that as spirit but only once to tell me what his assignment was by God. I never saw him again. 6 months after that I dreamed my mother was going to die of cancer. I put it aside as just worry in a dream. 2 months later my Mother called me and said she had terminal cancer and was dying. I didn't hesitate this time and went to see her to say goodbye. I also saw her only once after her death, my sister in law nearly died from complications to a surgery, my Mother stood in my living room and seemed to try to tell me something was seriously happening. I got a call from my brother 3 days later about his wife.