Yet one of the most vivid memories from my childhood involves an inexplicable case of dream-precognition; it was an experience that shook me to my core as a twelve-year-old ... and even now, leaves me with disquieting questions about the nature of reality.
Sixth grade, Mister Arney's homeroom. As part of our science class, we were supposed to spend three weeks creating a research report on a topic of our own choosing. Three trips to the library and multiple evenings wrestling with my father's electric typewriter (wow, I feel old just mentioning 'electric typewriter') finally produced my twenty-page science report on Sea Anemones, bound in a clear, professional plastic binder.
The night before our graded projects were to be handed back, I had a dream where I was in the classroom, listening as Mister Arney read off the names of each student - who would then approach his desk and pick up their report. In the dream, I remember carrying my report all the way to my desk on the other side of the room before opening it, whereupon I found in circled red ink in the lower right corner B+
And then I awoke.
Not a bad grade, to be sure - but being Asian, we know this is two marks below what is considered acceptable performance. :) I remember thinking how strange it was to walk all the way around to my desk before opening my report; normally, we look at our grades right at the desk, the moment we get our hands on them.
Convinced that this dream was a premonition of the day's event, I wondered during breakfast whether I could subvert the outcome of the day - somehow break the timeline that results in my getting a 'B+' ... and roll the dice for a better grade than the one I foresaw. During the bus ride to school, I thought "if I open my report to look at my grade at any point OTHER than where I was in the dream, I can jump into an alternate timeline, where I could receive a grade OTHER than that B+" and vowed to open my report the moment I picked it off Mister Arney's desk.
Moment of truth - as usual, there was a cluster of students around our teacher's desk as they were comparing grades and chatting with each other when my name was called. The moment I picked up my report, a classmate (who was seated next to me) struck up a conversation while walking back to our desks on the other side of the room. Momentarily distracted from my mission, I responded - and when we were close to our desks, he asked 'so how did you do on your science report?'
On instinct, I opened up my report at the exact same place as I dreamed ... and felt a sick sensation of deja-vu as I see the grade encircled in red ink on the lower right corner - B+.
It's a spooky experience for a twelve-year-old; in spite of my deliberate efforts to subvert my premonition, I felt like puppet on a string - marching to a pre-scripted tune that I could anticipate, but not change. I've kept this story to myself for many years for fear that people would think I was crazy - and even now, I find my memories of this incident (and other predictive dreams I've had since) as unsetting rebuttals to my anti-mysticism worldview.
Now if only I can order dreams ex-ante, and read the financial statements of small-cap stocks in 2005 ...