How to Tell When Your Premonitions Are Real

Many people get premonitions, from the ordinary to the life changing. A week before the World Trade Towers were hit, I dreamed I was in one of the towers rushing about looking for an escape. There was a hole in the side and a dizzying drop below. People were rushing about trying to find a way down in the vast building. The dream was vivid, a quality I’ve come to associate with prophetic dreams.

Some premonitions are more ordinary and less emotion-infused. Yesterday morning  I was making coffee when  a client popped into my mind, someone I haven’t spoken to in years. This thought tells me she is thinking about me and will probably contact me, and sure enough, I get an email today. It tells me that we are receiving thoughts from people long before they actually contact us.  I have to wonder if I’m sending something to them too, like healing or a warm embrace.

Everyone including you, is hardwired with the ability to sense the future.  So even if you aren’t aware it, you have probably have had intuitive signals coming to you that get mixed in with your other thoughts. The more you become aware of the possibility of having premonitions, the more you will notice them happening to you.

Premonitions are part of our evolutionary advantage. Cornell professor Daryl Bem, one of the most respected social scientists of his generation, has been studying psychic ability in ordinary people for 20 years. His studies show that the average person does in fact sense the future before it happens. He noticed that men are especially adept at sensing future sexual opportunities and women at sensing future danger.   He calls this capacity an evolutionary advantage that has enabled our species to survive. In other words, we might not have made it as a species these 200,000 years without men’s exceptional  ability to sense reproductive advantage  or women’s ability to sense danger to themselves and their young.

The Difference between true premonitions and anxiety.  As security specialist Gavin DeBekker pointed out in his book, the Gift of Fear, when you are really in danger, there is a powerful knowing that fills you and directs you.  Signs of resonance will arise in your nervous system, like goosebumps,  hairs standing on end, or chills. You will become hyper alert, and you may feel that someone is guiding you through the danger.

The rest of the time, what you are feeling might be unnecessary worry, neurotic fears, or just plain anxiety.  Anxiety is energy in your body that has nowhere to go. You’re like a horse in the starting gate. It is not necessarily psychic.  More likely it’s an over reaction to something that originated in a trauma years before.

How can you increase your chance of having premonitions? Intuition happens when we are not distracted.  If you want to receive those signals more, then work on quieting your mind.  You do this by unplugging from the day to day stress.  Go into meditation where you are focusing more on your senses.  Take a walk or go for a jog or a swim.  Try closing your eyes and taking a nice breath right now. Listen to the sounds around you. Feel whatever your hands are touching; feel your feet on the ground;  and notice your breath going in and out.   You are now listening, via your body’s senses, to the energies of consciousness around you.  You now have a heightened awareness of the energies around you.

Your senses are like antenna to the world. The more you practice these moments of presence, the more intuitive you will become.  I get the strongest visions when I’ve been on a meditation retreat for several days, or when I sit in meditation before bed.  I use meditation to get visions of the future. But this is not the same as premonitions. Reading the future is a conscious process where you focus on a target, i.e., your country at a certain point in time.

Premonitions happen to you. You don’t just create them by meditating on the future.  When I get premonitions,  I try to react to them with wisdom and perspective. For that I need to be present and calm. Otherwise, I when I feel energies on the horizon, I may react to them fearfully which is not productive. In other words, if I don’t unplug and breathe, then the intuitions I get, will fly through my mind which will then take off like a runaway train.

Symbols that come in visions. Ever since I first started meditating for visions 35 years ago, I noticed that many came in symbols and metaphors.  Over time I began to understand the symbols. For example, I see a cactus as a symbol for drought. Last year I was returning to Massachusetts from Europe when  I noticed upon waking that I was seeing the cactus.  I thought, Mass in having drought. It turned out to be  true. I also see fire, rain, stock market graphs going up and down, tears (for public grieving), hearts, and square root signs for market corrections.  I also have a set of symbols for reading an individual’s personal future.  Carl Jung wrote about the symbols we get in Man and His Symbols. He suggested that we have universal symbols that we all get, cultural symbols particular to our culture, and personal symbols.

If you begin meditating for visions of the future, you are likely to also get a set of symbols.  Notice what thoughts you get when the symbols appear, and write it down.  You will learn an alphabet of consciousness.

Some people don’t see visions when they meditate on the future. Instead they hear words, or get a thought.  Whatever comes into your mind, write it down!

Dreams:  I know when I’m having a prophetic dream because it is particularly vivid and doesn’t seem to apply to my life. For example, in April I had a horrible dream of a woman being killed in a terrorist attack.  Just the one woman, no one else. I saw her vividly on the ground, with others trying to come to her aid. It was jarring, the vision was ghastly, but I didn’t feel fear for myself.  I posted it on my website and a few weeks later a British member of Parliament was viciously murdered in the street.  My hope is that I unconsciously sent healing to her in her terrible moment.  Perhaps others also felt the event before it happened and also sent soothing thoughts to her. But the reason for my seeing her tragedy is a mystery.  We are all connected, so her pain is everyone’s pain.

When we are dreaming, our intuition is not drowned out by everyday noise of people’s thoughts. When we are awake, there is a non stop ticker tape of thinking flowing through our heads, most of it is just junk we expose ourselves to in books, the Internet, and the media.

Most of the dreams we have are about our own lives. When it’s a prophetic dream about the world, it may feel different. You may feel like an observer. But this distinction is tricky since you are part of the world, and even when a dream is just about you, you can experience yourself as an observer.   The best way to tell the difference is to keep a dream diary and start checking it over time for accuracy.

I welcome your thoughts on this topic.



About the Author:

Jeanne Mayell is a professional intuitive and author who gives private life readings and offers tools to help people develop their psychic abilities. In 2015, Mayell was named by Coast to Coast AM radio as one of America’s most gifted Tarot readers. Holding Master Degrees from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an MA in Counseling Psychology from Framingham State University, and published in The Atlantic and other national journals, she is not only a gifted intuitive, but brings an academic and intellectual perspective to the world of psychic readings and intuition training. Sensing that an era of profound and accelerated change is upon us, Mayell has been teaching people to expand the intuitive gifts we are all born with. In this way, we will be able to navigate the coming changes for ourselves, our families and others. She teaches classes in Tarot, Prophecy, Positive Psychology, and mindfulness — all ways to find inner guidance. Mayell has also worked as a health writer (Atlantic Monthly, American Health Magazine, and EastWest Journal), and was the Massachusetts Medicaid Director, a policy analyst for the City of New York’s health and welfare programs, and a research consultant on national health and welfare programs. She has co-authored two books on health and welfare and is currently writing a book on intuition and the Tarot.


  1. Paige 11/01/2018 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    A few things on this: I believe that I have these random precognitive dreams about things that aren’t really useful to anyone. For example, last year I dreamed that I was sitting in one of my lectures. I’m friends with the guy who sits next to me, and in my dream he dropped his pencil and it rolled over to my side of the lab table. He leaned over to take it and sort of fell out of his chair, and then right after that happened my professor sneezed. The girl on my other side made a smart comment about the ordeal, and then I woke up. I told my close friend about the randomness of it, and didn’t think much of it. Fast forward a few months; the exact same thing happened during my lecture.

    Another one that I found particularly unsettling was one about my brother. The dream showed him in his car with a boot on, as if he had broken his foot. The perspective wasn’t my own, and when the perspective switched to my point of view my mother came in the room and told me that he had died in a car accident. A few months later, my brother broke his toe playing soccer and had to wear a boot for a long period of time. I was extremely paranoid about this and couldn’t help but wonder if the rest of the dream would come true; which it didn’t.

    • Jeanne Mayell 11/01/2018 at 7:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing. Glad your brother is fine. Strange dream. I don’t think dreams are random. They come from our consciousness. But it is possible you’ve worried about your brother and that surfaced as a dream.

  2. Sasha 10/06/2018 at 3:14 am - Reply

    I just woke up from a nap having a vivid dream with an angel laying down with me holding me healing me and saying everything will be ok!
    She said I would have a baby boy and when I asked if I was already pregnant she smiled and I woke up !
    Before I had my nap I did ask the universe to help me financially and to help the journey of having a baby easy than it feels like now !

  3. Tyree hunter 09/25/2018 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    I always have to have dream about murders that happen around two days to a weeks later.
    It bothers me as what can I do with this information (?) they are always strangers but I had one last night about a friends daughter. I did contact her and just asked her not to put herself in a certain situation.

  4. Tracey Jurd 09/15/2018 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    Hi Jeanne Mayell. I have had dreams of premonition dreams I think. One dream was my fiancee saying to me “do I wanna move where there are no neighbours” then I woke up. Another one was seeing his son when he looks 16 which is two yrs away. He was walking down a dirt track towards us. Another one was my wanna be lawyer in handcuffs walking down the corridor police station and I broke down and collapsed in tears and he turned and looked at me and said “im sorry Trace” i woke up in tears. My last dream quick dream was my fiancee’s ex mrs( his boys mother) saying to me why am I lying for chris. I don’t know what that is about. Can you please tell me if these are premonitions. I only ever had these dreams once.
    Kind regards Tracey

  5. Jordan 09/14/2018 at 9:27 am - Reply

    Many of the dreams I’ve been having in the past six months have been coming true. I’ve had dreams like this for the past two years. I notice that I’ll have a dream of a situation that manifests about two weeks later in real life. I’m not sure why it is always two weeks, although I had a dream a year ago that manifested just a couple months ago. That is odd to me that in the past six months however, most of the dreams actually happen almost exactly fourteen days later. The dreams that end up coming true have a different feeling to them. I know they are significant because I always remember them as soon as I wake up. It does not feel as a dream. Instead, like a snippet of life. They are very short in duration but I recall them very vividly. I know they hold meaning as well because it seems almost TOO random. I will wake up and immediately think that the dream was so exact, yet so misplaced. Then it unfolds in real life. I have found with regular dreams that seem to be guided by imagination, are remembered later in the day, are quite fuzzy or patchy on the details of the dream. My precognitive dreams seem to attach themselves to my waking consciousness. As soon as I awake, that snippet is internalized into a picture. The crazy thing is that I never realize it’s coming true until after it happens. Right after I realize it’s like the last piece to the puzzle is placed on the board. The snippet I took of my dream weeks ago aligns with exactly where I am once the dream unfolds in real life. The two pictures align into one. It is a very, very strange feeling. I wanted to comment because I feel as though my abilities are getting stronger. I can not control when I have these dreams. But I can tell when I’m having them based on some of the things I’ve stated before. I was hoping to connect with others, as I would like to hear any thoughts or comments on my experiences or yours.

    • Jeanne Mayell 09/14/2018 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Jordan, I would love it if you would repost this in the Forum under the Dreams topic so more people could respond. My own experience with prophetic dreams is that they are more vivid than usual, as if they are connecting to waking consciousness. I can play a role in remembering my dreams, though, unlike you who say it’s just happening and out of your control. If I make a point of remembering my dreams before I go to bed, I’m more likely to remember them.

  6. Tee 09/13/2018 at 4:38 am - Reply

    I have a Question. Dont know about premonitions not sure about psychic abilities it’s all so fictional to me. But I can’t deny what I’ve encountered.
    Take it back 10 years I was gazing out the window of my front door. The screen on the door was wide open. As I looked outside while on the phone being a normal teenager I notice that im seeing a reflection but it’s as if a movie projector is projecting on the screen door. I see clear as day a man walking around a kitchen with the lights on back and forth kind of looks similar to mines I run to my mom thinking someone was in the house yet theres no way to see the kitchen from that area. So she comes to the window and sees nothing but cars across the street while I’m staring and pointing to the little projection (what I call it) watching the man hide behind a wall until my mom leaves.
    I was scared.
    Fast forward
    I’ve been having a lot of vivid dreams come true
    For instance, I had a dream I went outside And my sister car was gone she’d let me and my BF use. I tried to tell her in the dream but before I could even finish the dream my bf woke me out my sleep and said “Wake up.” I jumped up. “What is it?” “The car is gone.” I need help!!!

    • Jeanne Mayell 09/13/2018 at 10:54 am - Reply

      Hi Tee, thanks for these questions about dreams and visions. There’s a section now in the forum on dreams. It would be great to also post these visions here so others can weigh in and people will learn from the responses.

      Visions come from consciousness which is another word for thought. We live in a sea of consciousness that flows throughout the universe.

      Because they are energy, they behave according to quantum physics, which means that they can be about thoughts and/or events that are happening far away (the term in physics for that is non local) and in another time dimension (past and future). So those thoughts can be events that are going to happen that you will become aware of later. They could also be events that happened in the past that your psyche has determined you need to be aware of for some important reason. Or they could be happening someone in the present moment, far away from you. Having a present moment vision is useful for insight. We tune a lot on this website into present moment thoughts about world figures and the collective. There are many such visions in the Forum.

      I don’t know who the man was in your vision who was walking around the kitchen, but it’s likely he existed in some way and you picked up on it. I don’t think these visions are random. They are usually significant, but figuring out the significance is difficult. The more vivid the vision, the more significant it is. Your psyche wants you to see it. If you are still remembering it after all these years, then it’s likely something that is still significant for you. Perhaps something that was going on at the time that has been hidden from you. Your dream about the car came true, so you picked up on thoughts that were about to happen – i.e., your bf reaching out to you for help about the car. Studies show that humans are pretty good at picking up on things that are just about to happen.

  7. Aubrey 09/12/2018 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    I don’t know exactly if what I experienced was a premonition but I did dream of someone I know about like a year or 2 ago. In my dream it was a scene where we were walking in some kind of street and I was shocked to see our hands was holding each other. We were happily walking that time and he drove me home and stayed for awhile then left saying he’ll see me again tomorrow. Then the next scene was I woke up with him in a room and I woke him up too to ask why the heck are we together. Then he said why am I asking a silly question because its just normal for a married couple to sleep together. Then he raises my hand with a ring. Then suddenly her mom knocks on the door and says our babies are fast asleep now and we could go out. When I blinked again we ere outside and staring at the sunset together and he says to me he will never get tired of marrying me all over again. When I finally woke up from that dream I was confused and somewhat felt crazy to think about it because I we both have our own girlfriend and boyfriend that time. But we were just friends. Not until a year later after we are both single we somewhat got into liking each other. So we became a couple just like what happened in my dream. But after of 6 months together we broke up. And we are supposed to be a year next month on October. Then suddenly he keeps on bugging me. I still love him. And his mom keeps on chatting me to keep in touch with him because she likes me very much for her son. And he kinda loves me still but he won’t tell. And I keep on thinking about that dream I had before. Could it possibly continue what isn’t finished in my dream?

  8. Mandy 09/10/2018 at 7:45 am - Reply

    I was wide awake one day and I had a vision, and don’t know what to make of it. I had gone for a walk and was a couple blocks from home, and I was laying in a parking lot, and was looking up at a bunch of police officers. I could hear what they were saying. They said I was dead and that I had been shot multiple times. Does this actually mean that will happen?

    • Jeanne Mayell 09/10/2018 at 8:39 am - Reply

      No. Like dreams, that vision could mean many things. Peehaps you picked up something that was happening or will happen to someone that will be in the news. We live in a sea of consciousness (or thought) Ao that vision could have come from an event that is about to happen or already happened.

  9. Charlotte 09/03/2018 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    I don’t think I’m getting premonitions but all the time I get this really Strong feeling of déjà vu for example I was sitting in class and someone put their hand up and asked a question and it was like they already asked the question and when the teacher answered I recognise the answer but she hadn’t said it before so I’m not really sure what it is that I’m feeling but I was wondering if maybe you can help me figure out what it is. This happen about 4-5 times a week,

    • Jeanne Mayell 09/03/2018 at 5:24 pm - Reply

      Hi Charlotte, Thanks for asking the question. Sounds like precognition.

  10. Stasia 08/30/2018 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Am I having visions and if so how am I sharing it with other people?

    Years ago I was visiting my cousins for the summer and while my cousin and I were cleaning up after dinner my cousin grabbed a knife to put away and I walked by her to put another dish away. In that moment we locked eyes and My mind went off in what seemed like a very vivid daydream and I saw her stab me with it. It was her physically but in my vision her spirit seemed like someone else as was mine. I brushed it off but then she said “it’s so weird…I just saw myself stab you. I would never do that but that was weird…”

    Another shared vision happened with a random person I passed by on the street: I was walking under a street light and for a moment I had another very vivid daydream where the street light falls and it’s about to land on me. As I am having the daydream, In actual reality I felt someone grab and pull me away from and we locked eyes (same body but the spirit was different). We both look at the street light and it’s totally fine! He says “I thought the street light was going to tumble down on ya” And then shakes his head apologizing for his intrusion saying “don’t know what came over me”.

    Ive had MANY encounters like this. With people I know and don’t know. Only one person (let’s call him Tom) have I had these shared moments with has the daydream actually been the same person and same spirit but while the other shared visions/vivid daydreams felt more like deja vu, the shared visions with Tom feel like they have not happened yet?

    • Jeanne Mayell 08/30/2018 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks for posting. Your visions sound like thoughts from a vivid imagination that other people pick up. Our thoughts emanate from us like rays of light and other people pick up on them. Then sometimes those people will mention that they too thought your thought. Only most people don’t realize they are simply picking up on your thoughts.

  11. Elsie 08/22/2018 at 10:18 am - Reply

    This is going to sound really silly but I have dreams that seem to come true in part weeks later. Nothing massive like natural disasters or bad things happening, just things that create a sense of knowing. I had a dream about few weeks back, in the dream I was on a farm/plantation and there was this big grand house which was painted a kind of salmon pink colour with a wrap around porch and a bignore balcony and a terracotta tiled roof. Yesterday I was watching a programme on tv that I’d never seen before and there it was the house that was in my dream was on the TV. I don’t understand how I could’ve dreamt of something and then see it weeks later when I’d never been there or seen it before? It’s not the first time it’s happened I’ve also dreamt of a view from the top of a hill in Wales before weeks before I’d ever been there. I spontaneously moved to Wales later that year and just round the corner from where I moved there was that exact same view.

  12. Bianca 08/15/2018 at 5:42 am - Reply

    Can a feeling towards someone be a premonition. And i feel heartache and sadness in me. I feel like crying. Is there a way that I can see or know what is going to happen??

    • Jeanne Mayell 08/15/2018 at 11:51 am - Reply

      Bianca, thanks for asking this question. There is no quick answer however the people who have attended my classes have learned to begin to see the difference between their own emotional reactions to people and a true intuitive or psychic feeling.

      One method to see the future is to meditate on a target, in this case it is your friend, and call out the months ahead and write down the feelings and visions you get as you focus on points in the future.

      Then keep track of those feelings and then watch if they unfold.

      In my classes I give lots of examples of how we know when something is truly a premonition versus just our anxiety. It is important to know your anxiety triggers — i.e., the traumatic events in your life that cause you to overreact to situations and spread unnecessary fear.

      If you are someone who mediates regularly or knows how to breathe and be present and still you get these feelings then those feelings are more likely to be correct intuitive hits.

      Come to the next Read the Future night on September 17 and get some practice.

  13. anonymous 08/13/2018 at 7:21 am - Reply

    I have a question. i get premonitions frequently along with feelings of deja vu and i could ask 1 million questions but i will sum it down. I recently had this premonition with someone screaming ‘don’t do it’ and a glowing green stone pendant thing. Now i know what the don’t do it part was about, it was about the fact that before this premonition i had another one about a friend who was recently very (like hospital) ill and it said that she was going to give me some kind of news relating to her and i had half a mind to tell her. And i also know who was screaming don’t do it. it was a family member of mine i am almost positive. Now to my questions: my first one is what do you think that the glowing green stone pendent thing meant because i am struggling to figure it out. And my second question is relating to the voice. The voice I am positive like i said is a family member however this family member is deceased and has been for a long time and there is the small fact that this family member died before i was even born so my question is, can premonitions be linked to the spirit realm or is that something else entirely?

    • Jeanne Mayell 08/13/2018 at 8:06 am - Reply

      Sounds like you received instructions from your family member who is in the spirit world. My belief is that once they pass over they have a better view of what’s going on down here. They are in the light and it’s dark (as in harder to see) down here. Always use whatever you receive from them with discernment, but do listen to it. As for the emerald crystal, sounds like something good and very positive, even healing.

  14. Allison 07/18/2018 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    Jeanne I would like your advice about disclosing a premonition to a friend. I believe I have been having one…it is quite intrusive and I thought it was my own voice. I felt the need to reach out to her the past couple nights and felt compelled to visit her at her home after work today. While there I had a starting premonition too loud to be ignored. On my drive home I realize the two are linked and the nagging one is not about me but about her. I am not skilled in premonitions and have a lot of self doubt. My question is do I warn her when I risk scaring her half to death since probability points to me being wrong about all of this.

    • Jeanne Mayell 07/19/2018 at 1:39 am - Reply

      Allison, use discernment about telling her. I wish I knew what it was you were feeling coming but I don’t think you should put it in this public forum. I don’t share my premonitions unless I am certain they are right and even then only if it is constructive. Then I still don’t share them outright, but I might try to steer the person to avoid the calamitous event. Think about whether it can be avoided. Above all, do not harm.

  15. Eter 03/27/2018 at 6:28 am - Reply

    I don’t buy this. 1 week before? For 22 years I only get seconds to about 2 days max. I have warned, but have never stopped anything from happening. They can come in dreams, but mostly when awake. Calling premonitions an advantage? No. Try living in the life of someone that knew their loved ones were about to die, or just died. Try having to comfort your family before they even know they need to comforted.
    Live 1 day in my life, and you will wish you had never lived that day.

    • Lisa 08/28/2018 at 11:39 pm - Reply

      You have described exactly what happens to me, and how I feel about it. It almost toure at times. It happens in a lot of areas, but mostly people. My dad being sick, knowing when he was going to pass away….and it’s like you can’t tell people “I know when my dad is going to pass” without them thinking your crazy, or sounding insensitive.
      I’m same also like you described, mine come moments, hours (sometimes days before) it’s going to happen.
      It wreaks havoc on me, and causes horrible anxiety. I can’t be in places where there are a lot of people because things pop in my head left and right.
      This may seem like a silly example, but it just happened (and how I found this site) I had this feeling a large tree in front of the house was going to come down, nothing wrong w the tree, just that feeling. I was so worried it was going to happen and injurer someone walking under it, or driving. It was so strong I called the village hall to have them come look at it yesterday.
      About a half hour ago…the tree came down! Not the entire thing, four VERY large branches. It’s nighttime thankfully…2 landed on the sidewalk and two in the street.
      It’s never good things either, which makes it even harder to deal with. I wish more than anything I could turn it off.
      I just wanted to let you know you’re not alone. People tell me they wish they had this ability, I would not wish it on anyone.

  16. Dew 02/20/2018 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    I accurately predict world events. Don’t really know what to do with them. I can’t prevent tragedies even though I see them beforehand. Then, fate exists.

    • Jeanne Mayell 03/27/2018 at 9:45 am - Reply

      Dew thanks for weighing in. Premonitions don’t necessarily end in prevention. Sometimes they do when it’s personal to you and so you can change your path, or at least have a greater understanding about the direction you are going. Still, this field is part of the great mysteries of life, so it’s going to raise questions we can’t necessarily answer.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.