In early October 1966,
a ten-year-old Welsh schoolgirl named Eryl Mai Jones had something important to
tell her mother.
"Mummy," she said,
"I'm not afraid to die."
"You're too young to be
talking about dying," her mother said. "Do you want a lollipop?"
On October 20, Eryl Mai woke up
after having a memorable dream.
"Mummy, let me tell you about
my dream last night," she said.
"Darling, I've no time now.
Tell me again later."
"No, Mummy, you must
listen," she said. "I dreamt I went to school and there was no school
there. Something black had come down all over it.,,
Her mother thought nothing more
about the dream. After all, they lived in Aberfan, Wales, a poor coal-mining
town. Perched high on a hill overlooking Aberfan was a coal tip, where waste
from the mining process was dumped. The Aberfan coal tip caused many residents
of the town to worry for their safety. So when Eryl Mai's mother heard her
dream, she may have concluded that her fear of the ever-present coal tip had
Eryl Mai went off to Pantglas
Junior School that day as usual. Nothing unusual happened. The next day, Friday,
October 21, she did the same. But at 9:15 that morning, the coal tip gave way,
sending tons of coal sludge, water, and boulders to the village below. The
avalanche mowed down everything in its path, including stone houses and trees,
and swept toward the Pantglas School, where it crushed the back of the school.
In all, 144 people were killed,
most of them children at the school. Eryl Mai Jones was one of the victims.
Had her dream provided a glimpse
of a tragedy in the future? Or was it merely a coincidence? Dr. John Barker, a
psychiatrist in a nearby town, was curious to discover if anyone had had a
precognitive dream or vision about the Aberfan disaster. He persuaded a
newspaper to run an article asking people to send in a written account of any
precognitive experience related to Aberfan. Altogether, he received seventy-six
letters, but many seemed too vague to have anything to do with Aberfan. He
selected the cases that seemed believable. Then he made sure to ask each
correspondent to supply him with the names-and addresses of anyone who knew the
details of the dream or vision before the disaster had occurred. Only by asking
friends and family of the correspondent for confirmation could Barker be sure
that the correspondents were telling the truth.
Eryl Mai's experience came to
light through Barker's appeal for precognitive cases. Although she was the only
schoolchild in Aberfan to have a future vision, she wasn't alone in her
precognitive experience. However, most of those who wrote had never heard of
Aberfan, didn't live near it, and had no connection to it in any way.
One woman, Carolyn Miller, had a
vision of the disaster on the evening of October 20. In her mind she saw