My first memory of my clairvoyance is from my early childhood. I was five years old when I sensed my father’s automobile accident.  As I sat at the dinner table with my mother and my little sister, I suddenly saw the windshield of his car shatter and heard crunching metal. I heard an unfamiliar shriek come from his mouth, then saw him slump against the broken steering wheel. I blurted “Oh, no, Daddy’s hurt!”

I began to cry. Wail, actually. The scene was so fresh and real, it was as if I’d actually been in the car with him. I just knew he had been injured. I tried to tell my mother, but she just said, “There, there, honey, it’s going to be okay. Daddy will be home soon.” But he wasn’t home soon. It was almost a week before he came home, his head bandaged and his leg in a cast.

That first experience tested my mother’s skepticism about clairvoyance, but it didn’t eliminate it. In fact, she didn’t really believe in my ability to perceive events across time and distance until I was eleven years old. She thought my statement, just before my eighth birthday, that the baby Uncle David and Aunt Grace had been expecting would die in childbirth was coincidence. But, three year later, on October 10, I had a vision of a major earthquake. I told my mother about the quake and described the damage it would cause. I told her sixty-seven people would die and that cars would be crushed as the upper deck of the Nimitz Freeway collapsed onto cars below. I remember what she said when I told her what I’d seen: “I hope to God you’re imagining this, Sandro. It’s one thing to have a gruesome imagination; it would be horrible to really foresee such awful events.”

We were sitting in front of the television to watch the third game of the World series between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants when it happened.  The pre-game commentary was underway when the screen went blank for a few seconds and then a world series graphic appeared. We felt the quake, of course, but for some reason it wasn’t as bad for us as we’d learn later it was for others. On television, the announcers’ voices could be heard for a couple of minutes against a backdrop of pandemonium. Suddenly, the screen shifted to a television news desk with the anchor, who began describing early reports of damage. She was joined by a reporter who stepped in to say a major fire had erupted in Oakland.

The anchor then encouraged viewers to shut off their gas supply lines. “If you don’t know how to shut off the gas to your house, look in the front of the phone book; it’s described right there in the section about what to do in the event of an earthquake. Now that we know of at least one major fire, it’s important that you take immediate steps to turn off your gas.”

My mother’s ashen face revealed her terror. “Sandro, get the phone book!”

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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