USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘psychic’
Folk Beliefs
Homeopathic

Psychic Abilities

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I originally asked the informant about his experience with ghosts, or the supernatural, but the conversation quickly shifted when he mentioned that his great grandmother was apparently a psychic.

The informant has deep Jewish roots, with ancestors having fled from Germany during World War II, and has a deep interest in the paranormal, and other odd subjects.
Informant: “I have never seen a ghost. Um… I have heard stories of people who have seen ghosts, and my family maintains that my great grandmother was a psychic.”

Interviewer: “Your great grandmother was a psychic?!”

Informant: “Yes.”

Interviewer: “What can you tell me about that?”

Informant: “Um, so there – we have two stories. Um, so my great grandmother was a holocaust survivor, and the story goes that, um, they – she and my great grandfather, who I’m named after – lived in Berlin for a long time. Um, like, as things were getting worse. Um, but before it was immediately obvious that every Jew in Germany’s life was in imminent danger. But my grandmother had a dream, and she told my great grandfather, ‘We need to get out of Germany now.’ Um, and so they go – like it wasn’t, it still wasn’t easy for Jews to get out of Germany at that time, and there’s a follow up story that is not supernatural about them getting out of Germany, but that’s the first one. And then the second one, um, is someone in my family was going through a particularly painful birth, and, um… and she had – she heard her grandfather’s voice in her head saying, ‘All will be well. Do not worry.’ Um, and the bir- and after that, like almost immediately after she started screaming that she heard her grandfather’s voice, the birth started going better and the next morning, they got a call from the funeral worker, er, from the cemetery worker that her grandfather was buried saying that the tombstone was cracked.”

Interviewer: “Wow. And so do you believe that she was psy-”

Informant: “[Said immediately and with a lot of conviction, interrupting me] Yes.”

Interviewer: “Okay, do you have anything else to add about that?”

Informant: “Um, I mean [laughs] the only reason I think she’s psychic is cause I also sometimes have weird dreams that are either deja vu or the future [laughs]. Um, like, I think the best example of that is when I was in fourth grade, the night before we got assigned to our reading groups, I had a dream that accurately called [laughing] which students would get put into which reading groups. And I just maintained, ‘Oh, that’s weird. I don’t know what to do with that [laughs].’”

Interviewer: “Has anything else like that happened?”

Informant: “Um, a couple times, but they’re all harder to remember than that, because that one was just, that was the first time it happened to me, like, every so often, I’ll, like, I’ll run into something and I’ll remember, ‘Oh wow that, I’ve seen that before.’”

Interviewer: “Is it kind of like, ‘Oh I’ve seen that in a dream,’ or…”

Informant: “[Adamant, perhaps defensively] No, it’s like I know I saw that. Like it’s a definitive, ‘I’m, like, remembering a series, like, a really specific series of events that I had already seen hap,’ like, cause I could – When it happens I could almost always pinpoint when I remember seeing it, but, like, I don’t know?”

Interviewer: “But you can’t think of it in advance?”

Informant: “No… I feel like it’s prob – if if if it is anything, and I don’t know if it’s anything, it’s probably a That’s So Raven-type deal [An older Disney Channel show about a girl - Raven - who has visions of the future] where the thinking about it is what causes it to happen?”

Interviewer: “Was the fourth grade thing something that you dreamed about and then remembered later when it happened, or… ?”

Informant: “I remember, so I remember having the dr- so I had the dream, and in the morning I talked to my family about the dream, then went to school and it happened. That one, that’s like, that’s the why that one stuck out to me, cause I remember, like, there distinctly being a dream, a conversation about the dream, and then the events unfolding. Yeah that one, that one’s wild.”
I have met multiple people in the past who claim that they are somewhat psychic, yet their “psychic” moments sound exactly like deja vu, a phenomenon that almost everyone, myself included, experience. The informant seems to be one of these people who thinks these to be physic moments, though he won’t claim anything as truth. However, his case of him having a dream, describing that dream to his family, then it occuring is indeed an odd coincidence, if it is just a coincidence. I cannot say whether he is psychic or not, but including the incidents with his great grandmother, psychic abilities may be hereditary, if they exist.

Folk Beliefs
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Legends
Narrative

Mother’s Psychic Dream

The informant told me of a dream her mother had before marrying her father, which has deeply influenced her way of looking at the world:

“Okay so, one of  the earliest stories I remember hearing was my mom, after a few first dates with my dad, came home super worried and didn’t think that she’d get married or have kids or do anything with her life, and then that night, she had a dream, with her college roommates, who’s name is Laura, which is dangerously close to Lauren, but she hated Laura, like hated her a lot, and Laura was driving a car and my mom was in the passenger seat and Laura turned, and Luara was talking to her and “you’re going to be fine, everything’s going to turn out okay” and she like pointed to the back seat and she says that she saw a little girl and a little boy in a carseat, and the girl was older which would be me, and the little boy which would be my brother. i also have a little sister but she wasn’t there. I heard it, I think, when I was younger, oh I’m not, in similar moments, i’m not going to be able to do this and my mom was like “i’m not so sure” but i remember going to bed and thinking I’m going to have a dream like that’d I never have but yeah.”

 

The informant also told me that her family, especially through her mother’s matriarchal line is supposedly psychic, so this dream continues that pattern in her mother. She hopes to someday to have a psychic moment although she is not sure that will happen.

Folk Beliefs
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Legends
Magic
Narrative

Psychic Grandma

The informant told me this story about her family when I asked about her influences in her writing. She told me that her family has always been interested in psychics as they believe that many of the female members of the family have psychic powers. This stems from the fact that her great-grandmother was psychic – as detailed below:

“So in the light of women in my family having psychic dreams, my great-grandma who was widely tough to be psychic, so this is in my mom’s line,  so it’s in that line still, like the matriarchy, she like, could see ghosts, and people like my aunt has claimed to see her ghost, that like she’s like a spooky figure, and i never met, and she had a dream before when my mom was born and I don’t think she had a sister yet, and my great-grandma was like staying with my grandma because she was having trouble with the pregnancy. and my great grandmother had this dream of a baby carriage rolling down this hill, and like chasing after it and not being able to stop it. And then, she told this to my grandma and she told her that she thinks that there’s something wrong with the baby and my grandma’s like no, it’s fine, and she didn’t want to worry her too much about it, but she ended up giving birth to a stillborn baby! I know, it’s that creepy? And i guess now people see her ghost and stuff”

Analysis:

The dream confirms the psychic ability of the Great-grandmother to the rest of her family. Another post that investigates dream in the informant family is “Mother’s Psychic Dream.” This shows that dreams in the female line are very important to the informant.

Folk Beliefs
Narrative

Ghost leaving hairbrush on the dresser

Information about the Informant

My informant is the father of a high school girl who was visiting USC campus for a college tour.

Transcript

“And then her mother passed away just a few years ago. Um, and she was close to her mom. And her mom, you know, died suddenly. They didn’t expect her to die. And she may have been not taking her medication or something of that nature. So it’s like maybe preventable. Preventable. Um. So her old–and this woman’s fifty, so she’s not like a kid. Um. The mom–the woman–her mother was in her…maybe close to 80. Um. So she went to a psychic. Someone had said, ‘Oh, maybe you’ll feel–get closure from this woman,’ so she goes and listens to this woman. And the woman said, ‘Oh yeah, your mom’s here with you and she’s sorry that she had to leave. But she’s looking over you,’ and all that stuff. And the– my friend was still thinking this was just kinda, ‘Ok, this woman’s just telling her [inaudible].’ And then she starts saying–she said, oh, there was things that– she left some stuff in her house for her. But they had already gone to the house to clean it. Um, clean the apartment. Um, so she said but there was things that were left there for her. So she said, ok, whatever. So she went back to the house. Another day, not even that day. She was–a couple of days later. And there was–there was things sitting on the…the dresser. That weren’t there. I mean, she says they weren’t there before. She says, ‘I’ve–we cleaned, everything was in boxes.’ And it was a brush, like her mom’s brush, that she would brush her hair, like, my friend when she was a little girl, her mom would use this brush. And there were a few other little things that were sitting there. On the–on the dresser. And, like she said it was–it–the whole house had been cleaned and packed up. So she went back to that woman–the woman. She says, ‘Oh, can you tell me more?’ And she says, ‘Oh, she’s always looking out for you,’ and all that kinda stuff, ‘and will always be here.’ That was like two years ago. So she’s…totally believes all this stuff. You know, my friend believes that, oh, her mom’s looking out for her.”

Analysis

This is a prime example of a memorate. The friend in this account experienced the events in the account for herself, but her story is also part of a larger narrative about ghosts and contact from the afterlife. The significance of the experience for her is pretty clear; she was close to her mother and most likely was grieving the loss of such a beloved figure. The possibility that her mother could still interact with her even after death is a comforting one, especially reinforced by the hairbrush being left on the dresser, an item that she associates with her childhood experiences with her mother taking care of her by brushing her hair for her. My informant, however, when telling this story, sounded less than convinced that there was a supernatural reason behind the experience. I felt that, to him, this story was more important because his friend was involved in it and it marked a turning point in her life, as my informant stated that after this incident, his friend did start believing that her mother was looking after her from the afterlife, when, in his story, she too had been skeptical of the psychic being able to offer her anything substantial.

Folk Beliefs
Signs

Dream Premonitions or Deja Vu?

The source believes it is possible to see into the future in dreams. We discussed the sensation of Deja Vu, when the brain stores short term memories as long term memories, giving you the sensation that you’ve seen something before. But in this case, the source had an experience when she had a dream, told somebody about it, and then experience the events of her dream with that person.

“I don’t have any ghost stories, but I have had like, premonitions. Once I had this dream I was in a church. It wasn’t in the chapel, it was in a room that I like knew was inside of a church. There were lots of brown stained glass windows. And, I was sitting at a table and this girl pulls out a bright pamphlet, with the McDonald’s sign on it. And its like an anti- you know, she, it was an anti-McDonald’s thing. And I woke up and I was like, this is a really weird dream. So I told my friend about it, and then like six months later, in fact my friend and I, the same girl, we were at a cooking camp, and the cooking camp was at a church. And, um, but it wasn’t in the chapel, and we’d always eat lunch in this room that had a lot of brown stained glass. And one day one of the girls we made friends with, um, she, we’d like somehow got on the topic of fast food, and she pulls out this pamphlet and it has a McDonald’s sign on it, it was like this anti-McDonalds thing that she and her friends had made, and she was like, handing it out. And this was like six months after I had this dream. So it was like really fucking weird.”

 

This is a strange case. I certainly have had, and many people probably have had experiences like this that were deja vu, but in this case, the source (allegedly) has proof that she had the dream before the event actually happened, because the same friend that she told about the dream, experienced the real event with her. It is impossible to really prove that the source has dream premonitions, but it is also impossible to disprove it. I think that’s why an educated person would believe it were possible to see into the future, even though most would say premonitions are science fiction.

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