Do nighttime dreams actually come true? According to groundbreaking, peer-reviewed breast cancer dream research published in the National Library of Medicine,1 the answer is a resounding “Yes.” 

While ‘dreams come true’ standardly elicits positive emotion, some precognitive dreams can actually predict illness, which was the basis for the aforementioned study where dreams were validated by scientific tests and life events. 

References to prophetic dreams date back to Aristotle with mention in his text, On Divination in Sleep. Belief in precognition has been related to superstition, so these unique, rather psychic callings are often considered superstitions or mere coincidences. However, with this recent research, medical science is offering validation. 

I have long been a believer, as I had an active, lucid dream predicting illness which was validated by pathology reports and saved my life.

It takes curiosity, awareness and a bit of work to recognize if dreams are precognitive. A good place to start is by understanding the three subcategories defining precognitive dreams: 

Symbolic dreams are signs, symbols and abstract information not completely understood until the event occurs later in the waking world when they give the dream new meaning. Recognizing what signs and symbols in dreams may represent can be both fun and fascinating. For example, a dream of crabs in your house may symbolize cancer (crabs) in your body (house). These are the signs that spoke to me and inspired me to look further.

Literal dreams are a detailed, first-person view of the dream. The dream message is crystal clear upon awakening and later comes true. 

Lucid dreams are when you are focused and aware that you are dreaming within the dream. Two types of lucid precognitive dreams are ambient, where the dreamer is a passive observer, and active, where the dreamer engages in conversation, actions and emotions, such as speaking with a deceased loved one. 

Here are four steps which can help you determine if your dreams are precognitive or simply wishful thinking: 1) journal your dreams for future reference; 2) define the dream’s precognitive category (as above); 3) underline dream signs, symbols, people, places and conversations, and explore their meaning to you; 4) revisit your journal to find “dream validation” in your waking world.   

You never know where your dreams can take you. Journaling and categorizing may help answer the question as to whether or not your dreams actually do come true. 

Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos of Rancho Mirage is a survivor, author, dream expert, speaker, TV/radio host/producer and has been featured on Dr. Oz and The Doctors. Her new book Dreams That Can Save Your Life is available now. For more information, visit

Reference: 1)

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