Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: Can anyone share something that has happened to them that they can’t explain? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
When I was younger, my family had a tradition of getting together at my grandmother’s house for a roast every Sunday night. This was back in 1987 — my parents had recently separated, so my mother was living alone at the time and for some reason I don’t recall, she did not have her car with her and so needed my grandmother to give her a lift home after dinner.
At the time, these family gatherings were frequently attended by a former student of my mother’s by the name of Sam, a girl whom my mother had helped through a difficult time in her life and who had become kind of de-facto family member. That night, as my grandmother was preparing to take my mother home, Sam suddenly went ghost-white and told them not to leave. She said she had a “bad feeling” and that they shouldn’t go yet. They more or less laughed this off, but decided to humour her. So they had another cup of coffee or whatever, and after about 20 minutes Sam relaxed and said it was okay for them to leave.
They headed off. When they turned off the freeway towards my mother’s suburb, they found that police had just blocked off the road. As my mother tells it, theirs was the first car to be turned around, but I can’t vouch for that. However what is certainly true was that if they had left even five minutes earlier, they would have been driving down Hoddle Street when the former army cadet Julian Knight went on a shooting spree, killing seven people and seriously injuring 19 others.
My mother recounts she later recalled a dream she had had the previous night in which she had been driving with my grandmother and had said to her, “Get down, there’s shooting.” Obviously I can’t vouch for the veracity of that, as she didn’t tell us the dream, or even take much notice of it before what happened, but I’ve no reason to doubt her.
It seems impossible that this event was the result of chance. Sam was not prone to irrational worries or superstitious feelings, and the timing of both her premonition, and her feeling that the danger had passed, seem to me to be far too accurate to be dismissed as mere flukes.