Navajo Mystical Precognition & the St. Francis Dam Collapse

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In what has become a series of posts about supernatural phenomena, here I will add a new instance to the collection from a case that I recently came across. It is a fascinating and virtually untold historical example of precognition, and I think it is worthy of more attention than it has ever before received. This story is ultimately a footnote within a footnote…a story within a story that has already been largely forgotten. That story? The collapse of the St. Francis Dam late in the evening of March 12th, 1928, which killed at least 500 people and was the largest American engineering disaster of the 20th century. The detail I hope to illuminate is a group of Navajo Indians who ultimately did not perish in the flood. The means by which they escaped a horrible death is what is so remarkable and merits being retold.

The collapse of the St. Francis Dam is a fascinating story in and of itself, and I encourage people to check out the documentary about this incident currently playing on Amazon Prime Video. This documentary (“Forgotten Tragedy: The Story of the St. Francis Dam”) is how the event caught my attention in the first place. The building of the St. Francis Dam and the Los Angeles Aqueduct is a story of urbanization run amok, the hubris of mankind, and the failures of a modern society expanding beyond its control.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct, which was one of the foremost feats of human engineering when completed, is the backdrop by which this story takes place. You may be somewhat familiar with the story of the Los Angeles Aqueduct if you have ever seen the 1974 classic film “Chinatown”, in which it is featured prominently. For the aqueduct to be built, water had to be redirected a great distance across the state of California. The source of the water, the Owens River Valley, is on California’s eastern border near Nevada. Los Angeles is on California’s western Pacific coast. This was nothing short of a modern marvel, and would ultimately turn a small desert town into the great metropolis of Los Angeles.

The main engineer of this project, William Mulholland, was a very interesting character in his own right. He was an Irish immigrant who rapidly rose through the ranks of the civil service in the early days of Los Angeles until he ultimately found himself overseeing many great feats of civil engineering as Superintendent of the Los Angeles Water Department. Mulholland is the namesake for the famous LA highway “Mulholland Drive”, and at one point was so highly regarded as a civil engineer that he consulted on the construction of the Panama Canal. His hubris, however, would eventually catch up with him.

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The St. Francis Dam, prior to collapse

The St. Francis Dam was a 200-foot-tall concrete gravity arch dam built by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power between 1924 and 1926. It was designed to serve as a backup water supply reservoir. When full, it contained more than a year’s worth of water for this bustling new metropolis. The dam was quickly constructed (perhaps too quickly), and its site was chosen in part for the cheapness of its land. San Francisquito Canyon, the dam location, was not the first choice. The ideal location was passed over when local farmers banded together to drive up the price of their land. Heaven forbid the city of Los Angeles actually pay a fair price! They instead sought alternative locations, and ultimately settled on San Francisquito Canyon, a cheaper backup location. This was not the only case of a poor decision in the construction process. The height of the dam was raised repeatedly to new and greater heights in order to boost water capacity, and corners were cut in terms of men and materials. For example, they created concrete locally with area materials rather than import a concrete product known to be reliable. The hubris of mankind was on full display.

The Navajo enter this tale when we get to the actual collapse of the dam. On the night of March 12th, 1928, less than two years after construction was completed and just days after it had been filled to full capacity, the St. Francis Dam suddenly and catastrophically collapsed. Several warning signs were ignored in the days leading up the collapse. The warning signs were serious enough that William Mulholland himself had traveled to inspect the leakage problems reported by the main watchman the day prior. Muddy leakage had been seen under the dam, which is a sign that the foundation itself may be in jeopardy. Mulholland dismissed this sign as water mixing with mud in a different way; nothing to see here. As fate would have it, he was wrong. Dead wrong. At 11:57PM and 30 seconds on the night of March 12th, 1928, the dam broke, catastrophically.

A tremendous wall of water reaching a maximum height of over 120 feet raged through the towns in the canyon below, carrying with it the huge chunks of concrete from the failed dam. This monstrous wave was travelling at a brisk 18 miles per hour and carried with it such a huge amount of energy that nothing in its way stood any chance. Everyone in the direct path of the water was killed…most of whom had been sleeping. 25 entire families were wiped out. Other families had only a few survivors. The rare survivors were those who were awakened by the sound of the dam breaking and were smart enough to immediately recognize the urgency of the situation. They were able to scramble up to higher ground to survive, but these were the exceptional cases. Of the 75 workers in the main camp below, only 3 survived in this way. It took a full 6 hours for this wall of water (over 12 billion gallons!) to finally make its way to the Pacific Ocean. By the time it did, more than 500 people had been killed in total. Some estimates were above 1,000 dead, and the truth is that we will never know. Many villagers in the area were not well documented, and many bodies were never recovered.

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The dead, covered and laid out for identification.

Among the people who SHOULD have died in this event were a group of Navajo Indians situated near the epicenter of the disaster. Their town was 9 miles due south of the canyon below the dam and would be directly in the path of the deadly wall of water. These Navajo lived on a village owned by silent film star Harry Carey Sr. and they existed basically as a tourist attraction. So, how did these Navajo Indians survive? Was it their tremendous swimming skills? Did their earthen hogan huts float and carry them to safety? No, they survived because they were not there.

So why were these Navajo not present? As it would happen, just days prior to the collapse, the Navajo medicine man had a mystical vision where he “dreamed of an impending and epic disaster”, according to Carey. They had phoned him prior to the event and stated that they were packing up and going to their reservation in Arizona. Their reasoning for leaving was the mystical vision of the medicine man.

This story has become a local legend. The exact number of days ahead of time they left is disputed (some say a month, some say the night before), and also unknown is whether they had witnessed cracks in the dam. Either way, what is not disputed is that these Navajo left directly ahead of the disaster due to the mystical vision of their medicine man. If one of the foremost civil engineers in the world dismissed concerns the day prior to the collapse (cracks in dams are not uncommon), but the Navajo left because of a mystical vision, then something significant is happening here. Remember, these Navajo lived 9 miles away from the dam, and would have had no way to know that they would be exactly in the deadly path of water. Even if we try to use a logical framework to explain this away (they saw cracks), their behavior does not make sense without the mystical vision of the medicine man. Mulholland himself said following the disaster that the St. Francis was the driest dam of its size that he had ever seen. Even with subtle warning signs, no other people were known to have relocated at this time. The watchman who reported the muddy leakage perished in the collapse…he was not concerned enough to relocate, and he was located directly underneath the dam. There were no outward signs of an imminent disaster serious enough to alarm those situated directly under the dam. It was only this tribe of Navajo Indians situated NINE MILES AWAY who were able to sense the imminent disaster in time to relocate. They did so not through physical signs, but through confirmation in a mystical vision of their medicine man at a great distance. Remarkable! This is perhaps the most prominent instance of precognition ever recorded, yet it is just a tiny footnote in a story that has already become a footnote in and of itself.

What powers did the Navajo mystic use to have this vision? Such a topic merits further study. Do you, dear reader, immediately dismiss this story as a lie? A coincidence? I suggest you think again. The tribe took this vision seriously enough that they packed up and left. Sure enough, the disaster was indeed both epic and impending. A great number of Navajo survived who otherwise would have perished, and it was solely because of how seriously they treated this mystical vision. What a truly amazing story!

How could this kind of precognition work? Could catastrophic events leave such a profound impact on space and time that they can be sensed in advance by those in tune with the universe, like ripples in time? We know enough about space and time now, even thru mainstream scientific outlets, to believe that such a thing could be possible. When we have such a concrete example as this (pardon the pun), it supports the idea that precognition could be very real. This anecdote is but one of many. Often, people sense when someone is about to phone them. They dream about an event that has not happened yet, and then the event really does occur. This phenomenon speaks to a different kind of human consciousness, but Western society has long taught us to disregard these things.

As I have mentioned, I personally witnessed telekenesis as a child. I believe in such abilities, and I have concrete reasons to believe. As a society, we always seek to understand everything in rational, scientific terms. With this, we completely lose touch with these other abilities that we inherently possess as humans. As a society, we should study these cases rather than ridicule or disregard them. Often, the next frontiers in science are those that were previously ridiculed until we finally had the means to understand them. I submit for your consideration this remarkable and largely untold historical case of precognition: the surviving Navajo of the St. Francis Dam collapse.

Be mindful, your life may depend upon it.

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A geological map of the flood, along with a map of the flood path with modern landmarks.

Flood animation (forgive the incorrect dates, it is an excellent animation of the flood path): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MdB_s6KhwA

67 thoughts on “Navajo Mystical Precognition & the St. Francis Dam Collapse

  1. There is another celebrated case of precognition and survival from 2000 years ago, the “Flight to Pella.”

    During the time when the Roman army besieged Jerusalem in A.D. 70 to suppress a Jewish rebellion, there was a brief cessation of hostilities. In that moment, because of a warning in a vision, the Christian community of the city departed and went north to the town of Pella. The young church survived while all their countrymen in Jerusalem were slaughtered.

    Jews never forgave the Christians for their miraculous deliverance, especially inasmuch as it suggested that God favored the upstart community rather than the old-line sects of Judaism. It was after the Flight to Pella that the animosity of Jews against Christians became so white-hot, leading to the following two millennia of antagonism. Some of what is studied in Truther circles goes back to this hatred,

    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm

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  2. Navajo Nation-Mistical Experience-Peyote.
    Classic hallucinogens and mystical experiences: Peyote, Ayahuasca, going a bit on a limb even DMT.
    Magic Mushrooms open doors to new realms or so they say. Personally, never tried them or any drug for that matter.

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      1. Yeah, and speaking of being mindful, none like the Japanese. A great culture that I’ve become to know and respect. There s a lot to learn from them, specially if you are a Westerner…They are not perfect but wow! what a culture. Good article, by the way. Yes, LA is dessert-ish. Dry-heat hits you differently than say, Miami’s or the Tropics’ heat. In LA, there is a monument, a fountain as a Memorial dedicated to W. Mulholland and the Aqueduct on the intersection of Los Feliz and Riverside Aves.

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          1. Do not leave out (it was mentioned in the post as well) the Super-Mega-Hyper world famous scenic serpentine Mulholland Drive.

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          2. Yessir. Also the name of a film by David Lynch. Mulholland Drive as a film is strange even by the standard of extreme strangeness set by Lynch’s work. Never had the pleasure of driving the road myself.

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  3. Terrific post, Fauxlex. I’m convinced there’s a lot more documented evidence of supernatural phenomena than we are led to believe. Our own CIA, like their pals the Nazis before them, have spent an awful lot of time, money and resources investigating and exploring the supernatural. Logic and scientific materialism is useful for some practical purposes… and also useful, I think, in keeping people from accessing their own inner power if they are conditioned as we have been to believe materialism is all there is.

    Russell Targ, who worked as a researcher for the Stanford Research Group and is therefore a spook or a spook employee, has presented a lot of fascinated information about Stanford’s research into remote viewing. It’s worth checking out.

    In my college Metaphysics class, we watched a video about Einstein’s concept of space time. Not being much of a scientist, I’d never thought much about the notion that what an alien on Mars would consider “now” is our “two (or four, or whatever it was) years ago.” It occurred to me that if the universe is infinite, somewhere out there, “now” would have to be the exact moment of the Big Bang, and somewhere else, “now” is a million years before the Big Bang. Would the more scientific minds here agree with that? Our everyday understanding of time certainly seems to be extremely subjective and myopic.

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    1. Oh, I don’t think I made this clear. To my mind, the concepts of remote viewing, space-time and precognition are linked. If we can remote-view (project our consciousness to another place, as Stanford research suggest we can), we should be able to project our consciousness to other planets–planets which, according to mainstream science, exist in a “now” that is ahead of or behind our “now.” So consciousness can project into different points in time. To me, this suggests strong scientific evidence for precognition. Yes?

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        1. Pineal gland Faux. These folks were in tune to the truth. Truth that the Vatican wanted for themselves & wipe out the ‘savages’ oral history.

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    2. It takes light 22 minutes to get to Mars, but your point is all the same. It is fascinating to think only in terms of the present moment…even a galaxy at the other end of the universe billions of light-years away should be able to experience the same “now” as us. Is the flow of time only an illusion? Even more interesting is the extent to which causation may simply be an illusion, or a local tendency of the universe…where effect precedes cause in other places. The research I pointed to elsewhere in the comments showed that there is a measurable effect found by studying for a test after the test is taken. So wild.

      Existence is so mysterious and so far beyond our understanding that it is really just something to marvel at. I do not think that modern science would strongly argue against the idea that it is possible to glimpse moments of time in the future. It is likely that we all do this, or are capable of doing it, but the mystics are just the ones among us who are best practiced and able to put these visions into context. Thanks Scott, I really enjoyed your comment. I am not a physicist by any means, but these are such interesting things to ponder. I hope that one day science develops to the point of being able to better explain these phenomena.

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      1. By the way, my Metaphysics prof was a nice guy who had a very conventional view of the world. He enjoyed talking about metaphysical concepts, but firmly believed in the version of reality presented to us by mainstream propaganda. When I made a passionate argument in class in favor of psychic abilities, my professor actually said that if there were solid evidence of human psychic abilities, it would be all over the news! I was so shocked at his naivete I literally couldn’t respond. I just stared at him in honest-to-God amazement and laughed.

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        1. The sad thing is that we are not just up against run-of-the-mill stupidity. We are up against a daily propaganda so deep in its roots that it ensnares even the well-educated into having such obviously self-defeating views as your professor’s example shows. We will always be a very lonely minority.

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  4. I can’t begin to understand how the Navajos knew to flee, but in terms of space time, Electric Universe Theory, which I have dabbled in, states that one side of our galaxy is impacted by the other, and within seconds over a space and time unfathomable by the standard of speed of light. A problem with the advancement of the theory is Wallace Thornhill (“Wal”), perhaps the most boring speaker who ever walked on a stage. He could drive me to pound nails in my forehead, one at a time, pound, pound,pound. He is their leading spokesperson. Please, kill me!

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  5. Aren’t precognitive dreams (information from the subconscious) common? Is that “off the table,” or what? Am I missing something?

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    1. Agreed, I think this is the one precognitive ability nearly everyone is capable of. It may also be the source of the medicine man’s “vision”. Imagine having persistent dreams of an imminent epic disaster, then upon taking a hunting trip up river in your canyon noticing the cracks in the brand new dam. This likely is how the Navajo put two and two together and left.

      This site has a good rundown:
      https://corrosion-doctors.org/Dreaming%20is%20Personal/Precognitive.htm

      Dunne tells how he sought to make sense of these dreams, coming slowly to the conclusion that they foresaw events from his own future, such as reading a newspaper account of a disaster rather than foreseeing the disaster itself. In order to try and prove this to his satisfaction, he developed the experiment which gives the book its title. He wrote down details of his dreams on waking and then later went back and compared them to subsequent events. He also persuaded some friends to try the same experiment, as well as experimenting on himself with waking reveries approaching a hypnagogic state. Based on the results, he claimed that they demonstrated that such precognitive fragments were common in dreams, even that they were mixed up in equal occurrence with past memories, and therefore they were difficult to identify until after the event they foresaw. He believed that the dreaming mind was not drawn to the present, as it was during wakefulness, and was able to perceive events in the past and future with equal facility.

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    2. Steve, to me it’s like all the people who concede that the media can’t be trusted, but in reality pretty much believe whatever foolishness the media tells them to believe. I have known quiteva few people who profess at least open mindedness to precognitive dreams and other such phenomena, but if asked to accept specific instances, they reflexively brush such things away with “logical” explanations.

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      1. It’s a fine line to walk, because we do have to consider if the logical explanation really is the true one for each individual case, but I think it’s incredibly short-sighted to believe that there always MUST be a logical explanation that is better than precognition as an explanation.

        If you approach it this way, you are going to end up following some pretty ridiculous strings of logic for an explanation.

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  6. Isn’t fear of the unconscious part of our conditioning? Magic, myth, dreams are taboo. Our separation (imagined or real) from this part of ourselves defines part of what makes us “modern,” or at least no longer perceived to be “primitive.” What could be worse than that (being considered a primitive man)?

    We explore all sorts of arcane topics, including space, but have really never taken study of the human psyche all that seriously — except for the few “professionals” in the business for fun and profit. Just think of how much money is spent on climate change compared to study of dreams, and the unconscious. Even though it’s been around a long time it’s just not a very popular area of study.

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    1. My view may be overly simplistic for what you’re getting at Steve, but I’m inclined to think it’s not a popular area of study–that it’s not part of our “conditioning”–because it empowers individuals (or rather taps into their innate power) in a way that has nothing to do with money or class or social status. If anything could unplug the masses from groupthink and propaganda, it would be access to the awesome potential within their own minds and bodies. What ruling elite would want their subjects fucking around with that shit?

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      1. What I find particularly interesting about these kinds of phenomena are that both science and reason can act as mental prisons. In the debate I had above, the commenter was adamant that they were not a follower of science, but they clearly were trapped in the same kind of prison with reason. They imagined that unless I could prove this case in a court of law, it was not worthy of our consideration. In the same way, I think science fails because we can imagine they test 5,000 subjects and only two subjects display the ability to do this kind of phenomena. The scientific study would probably conclude that they had seen too small of an effect to declare the phenomena real. This might be the scientific viewpoint, but anyone who is really paying attention would just be amazed that there were actually two people who could do it. The question is really whether those two people were really genuinely doing this. Science rarely studies it in the first place, and when they do they tend to look for any possible counter explanation when they witness something that could be legitimate. In the same vein, these are not the types of cases that you could ever prove in a court of law. Even if we had interviewed the Navajo Medicine Man, his testimony would have likely been deemed unreliable. Short of having his brain hooked up to an imager during the vision itself, I don’t see how you could ever prove these types of cases in a court of law (even then, they would still say “coincidence”). There would always be deemed to be a Reasonable Doubt. The fundamental question is whether those who are capable of these kinds of phenomena are legitimately capable of them or not. Rare (or common) as the abilities might be. Even just one compelling case should be considered proof enough, but most people are incapable of seeing it this way.

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      2. Bad sentence. I am thinking that fear is/was/will be conditioned — to keep us from understanding ourselves and our real potential.

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    2. From a less paranoid or cynical perspective, I think there are valid reasons for individuals to shy away or cut themselves off completely from such potentialities. If you believe we’re put through this material realm for a purpose, and that the purpose has something to do with mastering it in one way or another, the ability to jump around space-time whenever you feel like it, or read people’s minds, astral project, move objects telekinetically, etc., could be a distraction from whatever the hell it is you’re supposed to be doing here, maybe.

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      1. I suppose willful ignorance keeps man believing falsely that he/she is master of the universe — or at least one’s own “destiny.” Not understanding (or wanting to admit) that nature always bats last.

        ps. Google “destiny” and try to find a definition. I gave up after page 12… Waaay lost.

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  7. Not sure why psychic experiences arn’t talked about hardly at all in our society, surely people must have them however rare. Have had quite a few psychic experiences of things that happen quite soon a few dreams more awake. Most of us have probably experienced the phone thing, a knowing of who was calling as phone rang or before.

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  8. Seems that you may be over looking the obvious? They were tipped off perhaps? Powerful Hollywood actor who has PET Indians as a tourist attraction. Smells bad

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      1. I’m not a fan of Occam’s Razor, because all it says is that the simplest explanation is USUALLY the best. Often, we’re dealing with inherently complex and unusual issues. Occam’s Razor is the wrong test to apply. To Watcher’s comment, tipped off? By all accounts the breaking of the dam was a sudden and completely unexpected happening. To say they were tipped off implies all kinds of things, foremost being that the dam failure was somehow done intentionally at a specific moment. It also doesn’t jibe with the given account of Carey Jr. or Mulholland. It broke out of the blue, and I can’t think of anything supporting the idea that it would have been possible for anyone involved to “tip off” anyone else. The main engineers were in denial. Nobody could have known for sure that such a thing would happen imminently.

        That said, there are lots of ways you could look at it, and the point of the post was more just that it’s a fascinating case of an account of a premonition saving lives because it turned out to be true. They could have just as easily left because of the premonition and the dam never broke. The two events happening in tandem COULD have been a coincidence. It’s just one hell of a story, and if you take the story on the merits, it would seem that this vision really did glimpse an aspect of what was to come.

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        1. More specifically, we’d have to imagine Mulholland knew, told Carey, who told his Navajo…but Mulholland DIDN’T tell the watchman directly under the dam or warn anyone else? I am not so sure that’s the obvious explanation. Specifically, why would Carey have warned his Navajo if Mulholland didn’t warn anybody else (and they were in some kind of secret cahoots with each other where Mulholland didn’t warn others directly facing death)? And that is assuming some kind of shady connection between Mulholland and Carey, which I know no evidence of. Or some kind of intermediate connection between Mulholland and Carey, but it still doesn’t follow that these guys would be secretly warning each other only, yet the Navajo somehow became privy to this.

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        2. I agree there is never an always or never, and Occam so states – “entities should not be multiplied without necessity.” As a general rule, the simplest explanation is most often the closest to truth. The simplest explanation here would be that everyone knew the dam was leaking, and that the Navajos had the least faith in engineering, and so vamoosed. Everyone else, having great faith in authority figures and the skills and assurances of engineers, hung around.

          Something similar happened in 1969 with Apollo 11, where a magazine survey found two groups more likely than others to think it was a hoax … blacks, and gays. I think the reason is obvious, if this is true: These groups would be least integrated into proper society, and so not subject to groupthink.

          I can find no verification of that magazine survey, so my point is broader: Unassimilated people are less likely to be subject to group pressures and are more able to think independently.

          Anyway, attributing the Navajo behavior to magical intuition is a far step, beckoning Sagan’s restatement of LaPlace’s Principle: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

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          1. This was what I considered to be at least a fair counter idea (a coincidence), and I like the connection to the Navajo having the least faith in authority figures. However, we’re still left with the idea that these Navajo were nine miles away and left at almost precisely the right time. As coincidences would go, it’s one heck of a coincidence that they “called it”, so to speak. I also don’t think it’s fair as others have here to have dismissed the premonition as just a tall tale. All the particulars in the Carey family repeated this detail. There WAS a premonition. I think if you pair the two ideas, you are still left with something remarkable. The Navajo had no faith in authority or modern civil engineering, but their doubts were strengthened by a premonition, mystical vision. It is what made them so certain they should immediately leave when they saw the state of the dam. It fit with the premonitions they had of imminent disaster. The best quasi-scientific studies showed that the dreaming mind may be capable of pulling from past and future, and the author of this firmly believed that around 10% of dream images were pulling from future events. If the Navajo were having recurrent visions of imminent disaster, seeing the dam would have been the thing that locked it into place. There is still a place for the mystical in all this, even with the idea that they didn’t have faith in the dam. Just food for thought. For mindfulness.

            As for extraordinary claims, extraordinary evidence, I tend to agree…but be careful to not let this become a cage for the mind. I have witnessed telekinesis to a level that I can say with extreme confidence it was genuine. I witnessed such extraordinary evidence. So a case like this need not completely seek to toss out any mystical connection. It can be a little bit of both.

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          2. Basically, I just think that it is interesting that even open-minded people such as those in our community would be far more willing to accept a long-shot idea if we can ascribe reason/logic to it before they would consider a long-shot idea that goes even slightly into the mystical realm.

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          3. When I was a kid, my brother and I were big baseball fans (Milwaukee Braves, yes, “Milwaukee”), and spotted a book that had photos and stories about baseball and all of the stadiums that the teams played in. But we could not afford it.

            One day after school we came home, and Mom was gone. Somehow I knew, with nothing being said, that she had purchased the book for us and was bringing it home to surprise us. She did.

            For me, telekinesis-wise, for my entire life, that’s it.

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          4. SMJ, yep, I’m 100 percent sure I know what all the definitions of protest are. Are you sure you understand what it means in the context of the popular quote I’m referencing? Never mind, sorry I asked, it’s none of my business and I’ve no reason to care. Have a good night.

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      1. That’s strange. I don’t see any evidence that we’ve had any sort of dialogue in this thread. Where were you poking at me?

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