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