The Man who Dreamed of Horse Race Winners

Lord Kilbracken

Few precognitive dreams are as useful as those that give accurate descriptions of future winners at horse races. Numerous dreams of this kind have been recorded in the annals of psychical research, but few have been as remarkable, or as well corroborated, as the case of John Godley, later Lord Kilbracken.

While he was an undergraduate at Balliol College, Oxford, Godley found that he could dream precognitively. Moreover, the subject matter of his precognitive dreams was the winners of horse races. The punters' dream - or the bookies' nightmare - seemed to have homed in on Godley.

On the night of 8 March 1946, he dreamed that in Saturday's evening paper he read the racing results and noticed that two horses, Bindal and Juladin, had both won at starting prices of 7-1. Godley woke up. He went to a café in town where he met a friend, Richard Freeman. He told him of his dream, they looked at The Times and found that Bindal was running at Plumpton that afternoon. Later that morning, Godley found in the Daily Express that Juladin was running at Wetherby.

The undergraduate was now understandably excited. He told some of his friends, who placed bets. Godley himself backed both horses. Bindal won at 5-4. Godley put his winnings on Juladin, which in due course won its race.

Not unnaturally, the news spread through the undergraduate community. For a fortnight after the event many morning enquiries were made of Godley as to whether he had had any racing dreams. Godley was worried. He suspected, probably with good reason, that if he did dream any more horse names and they did not win, he would never be forgiven by those friends and acquaintances who had put their shirts on them.

But it did happen again, on Thursday, 4 April 1946, when Godley was at home in Ireland. Again in his dream he was looking at a list of winners. The only horse he remembered was Tubermore. He told his family at breakfast. At that time, the family lived in such isolation that on a Thursday they would get Tuesday's edition of The Times and Wednesday's Irish Times. Godley telephoned the local postmistress, who checked the daily papers and found that a horse called Tuberose was running in the Grand National. The name seemed close enough and he and members of his family backed it. The BBC news at 6 p.m. that day told them that Tuberose had won.

The Times racing form By now Godley took the matter seriously. He began to keep a written record of his dreams when he returned to Oxford, but it was only on 28 July 1946 that he dreamed that special sort of dream again. In it he telephoned his bookmaker from a telephone box in the Randolph Hotel in Oxford to ask him for the result of the last race. The dream was so vivid that Godley even felt how stuffy the box was. He was told that Monumentor had won at 5-4. Next morning he checked the runners. There was a horse named Mentores. He backed it. It won at 6-4.

The fourth time Godley had one of these dreams, a year later, he dreamed he was at a race meeting. He noticed not only that a horse had an easy win but also that it carried the colours of the Gaekwar of Baroda: not only that but he recognised the jockey, the Australian Edgar Britt. The next race found everyone shouting for the favourite - The Bogie. In fact the excited clamour woke Godley up.

In a fine state of excitement he went downstairs and consulted The Times. The Gaekwar of Baroda's horse - called Baroda Squadron - was being ridden by Edgar Britt at Lingfield that afternoon. In the next race the favourite was The Brogue.

Godley backed both horses. And also told a number of people, including his girlfriend Angelica Bohm, and his friend Kenneth Harris. He wrote a statement about his predictions, had it dated and witnessed by three people, took it to the post office where it was placed in an envelope - which, after sealing, was stamped by the postmaster with his official time stamp and locked up in the post office safe. Both horses won.

Fame came to Godley as newspapers all over the world got hold of the story and, perhaps as a result, he was given the post of racing correspondent on the Daily Mirror. Predictably, he also became inundated with mail from those who hoped he would share his good fortune with them (or at least give them a few winners).

His episodic and unpredictable gift stayed with him. On 29 October 1947 he dreamed of a horse called Claro. He backed it. It was unplaced. However, on 16 January 1949 he dreamed again of the racing results. On waking he recalled that one of the winners had been a horse called Timocrat. Godley backed it - and it won.

Nine years later, Godley dreamed that a horse called What Man? won the Grand National. He backed the horse with the most similar name - Mr What - and won the largest amount of money in his career as a dream punter.

Godley's astonishing case is supported by a large number of testimonials. Many of his predictions were told to his fellow undergraduates before the races were begun; at least one was written down, witnessed and sealed away. He had no idea why he should have demonstrated such a gift in such a way except that he was mildly interested in horses and, like all impecunious students, had a strong motivation to back winners.

There can be little doubt that Godley's predictive dreams demonstrated evidence of a precognitive faculty at work. Perhaps the most interesting feature of his dreams, from a psychological standpoint, is the fact that he always dreamed of reading or hearing the results of races, and never "saw" the races themselves in his dreams. This is a common feature of precognitive dreams and premonitions, and hints, perhaps, at some kind of unconscious censorship. It may be, in other words, that the unconscious mind blocks direct access to information that is "not allowed", and that this information can only pass through the unconscious censor by taking a form that is more commonplace and acceptable - that is, in the shape of "second hand" information reported in a newspaper or on the radio. In effect this absolves the dreamer of any blame for accessing this "illicit" channel of information.

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