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Ehrenwald, J. (1971). Prophecy: Fluke, Fraud or Psychological Syndrome?. Am. Imago, 28(1):79-83.

(1971). American Imago, 28(1):79-83

Prophecy: Fluke, Fraud or Psychological Syndrome?

Jan Ehrenwald, M.D.

Dreams, to the uninitiated, are still meaningless fabrications of an “idle brain,” following in the wake of a heavy meal. Or else, they are considered veridical, prophetic portents, presaging the future. The advent of psychoanalysis has gone far to correct such misconceptions—at least in the mind of the educated public. The Egyptian Dreambook or Artemidorus of Daldis' Catalogue of Dreams have become quaint archeological curiosities, and belief in precognition is relegated to the realm of psychopathology or primitive mentality.

During the twenties and thirties of this century Freud (4), Zulliger (11), Hitschmann (6) and other analysts went out of their way to unmask ostensibly precognitive dreams as self-fulfilling prophecies, with the scenario written, the action staged and the roles played by the dreamer himself. Analysts, in the past two or three decades, are no longer so sure. Eisenbud (3), Servadio (9), Ullman (10) and many others, including the present writer, have come out with a number of observations which strongly suggest the presence of truly precognitive elements in the manifest dream content: it seems to contain “bits” of information relating to future events, not based on rational inference and not amenable to interpretation in terms of telepathic self-fulfillment. My own paper, “Precognition in Dreams?,” published in 1951 (1), still had a timorous question mark tagged to its title. Yet Jung and his followers had long before gone on record describing “Great Dreams “which were thought to carry the seeds of things to come imbedded in their deeper archetypal layers. In 1955 Jung, together with the physicist Wolfgang Pauli, proposed the theory of synchronicity to account for such observations (7). It was a time when quantum physicists, mathematicians, or the aeronautical engineer J. W.

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