Mother's Intuition: Michigan Mom Predicted Baby's Near-Fatal Illness Before Doctors Had a Clue

Dr. Larry Dossey has studied and collected cases of the phenomena extensively for his latest book "The Power of Premonition." He says premonitions -- which usually warn of health problem, impending accidents or natural disasters -- often come to us in our sleep.

"Roughly two thirds of people will acknowledge having some sort of premonition dream in their life," Dossey said.

According to Dossey, one of the most common types of premonitions he's seen are those experienced by mothers about their children.

"There's an older term back in the 1800s [called] Mother Wit: what women just had for their babies. And if you look at premonitions, in the literature, the most common, is that of a mother for something happening to her baby," he said.

Dossey added there are some clues to identify a dream premonition.

"One woman said, 'The premonition dreams that turn out to be true are lit up from the inside.' So the vividness is one clue. Another clue is whether or not they're recurrent. Many of them that turn out to be true come back night after night as if they're clamoring for attention," he said.

Of course, it's not hard to find skeptics who dismiss all this as new-age blather.

"If premonitions are real, the most convenient way to explain them would be that information is traveling back in time from an event to a person. And so if that is right, then pretty much everything else we know about physics is wrong. So that's kind of a big hurdle to get over," said Matt Hutson, a writer for Psychology Today and the author of the book "The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking."

Hutson believes there's a simpler reason behind what we think are premonitions.

"We're always thinking about what might happen in the future, so it's easy to feel like, maybe I have anxiety for a reason, maybe I'm sensing the future. And then, looking back and labeling, a thought as an example of precognition that is mostly because of our tendency to see patterns in the world," he said.

But Lynn Darmon says it's hard to ignore one's sixth sense when it's been calling to you your whole life. Her premonition about her daughter, she said, wasn't her first.

"The earliest memory I have, I was about five years old, uh, when my grandfather passed. I remember waking up feeling very sad for my mother and trying to explain to her that her father had just passed and she said, 'he is OK, you just had a bad dream.' And I kept saying, 'No, I, I am so sorry, Mommy,' and then about two hours later, she received a telegram that confirmed that."

Darmon said premonitions followed her all her life, but it wasn't until the incident with Ali that Darmon decided to embrace what she calls her gifts. She now works with clients in need of spiritual guidance.

As for Ali, she is now a healthy 20-year-old and attends college.

"Now I realize how special her gift truly is, and how lucky I am to have grown up with that and to have her as a mom," the young woman said. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that."

Learn more about premonitions on "20/20: The Sixth Sense" TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET.

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