The Sixth Sense: The Power of Premonitions

A mother knew something was wrong with her infant before doctors had a clue.
3:00 | 10/26/12

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Transcript for The Sixth Sense: The Power of Premonitions
Announcer: Once again, elizabeth vargas with seeing the future. Iceberg straight ahead. Reporter: "Titanic." Who could forget the movie's recreation of the ship sinking in 1912, but remarkably the story of it was first told 14 years before the ship left port in this book, almost exactly foretelling the name and the month of the disaster? How could that be possible? And what about a strange pattern of empty seats on doomed trains, discovered by an accident INVESTIGATOR BACK IN THE 1950s. Almost invariably on the day of the crash the occupancy rate went down. The vacancy rate went up. Reporter: Were passengers tipped off by a force from the future? Do true premonitions really happen? The answer may lie where we all begin, with our mothers. Lynn darmon's daughter ali is a healthy, happy 0-year-old but her bright future almost never was. Something lynn sensed while ali was still in her womb. And when did you start having a feeling something might be wrong with the baby? Probably the end of my second trimester, around there. Reporter: But when ali was born, and she looked to be this beautiful, healthy baby, at that point did you feel at all relieved? I remember holding her and having that feeling that something was really wrong with her. Just a feeling that something was not right. Reporter: Did you say anything at that point to your doctor? Oh, yeah, I did. Reporter: Lynn did more than just tell her doctor, sensing the clock was ticking on her daughter's life, she risked being ridiculed as an hysteric and rushed ali to the emergency room three times. They checked her out. They said, "she is fine. Here are your discharge papers." And I refused to sign them. Reporter: At that point they are starting to think, "we have a mom with postpartum depression." Yes. Reporter: Before the psychiatrist could arrive, infectious disease specialist dr. Bishara freij stepped in. She was clearly concerned that there was something serious going on that nobody had yet to identify. Reporter: Lynn told dr. Freij she had more than just an ambiguous concern, she pinpointed a problem in ali's abdomen. How did you know that? I just -- it just came to me like that. Reporter: Lynn had nailed it. Ali had a rare, undetected infection outside her small intestine. It was caught just in time. She ended up being in the operating room within really within two or three hours of the encounter. Reporter: They told you that, in fact, if she hadn't had that surgery, she could have died. Yes, she could have. I mean, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that. Reporter: It's a compelling story, but is it really possible that lynn was experiencing something beyond everyday motherly instinct? Dr. Larry dossey thinks so. If you look at premonitions, in the literature, the most common is that of a mother for something happening to her baby. Reporter: Dossey, who wrote a book called "the power of premonitions" says they often come to us in our dreams, but they're by no means ordinary dreams. 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. Reporter: He says that along with foreboding about our children, premonitions of disasters are the most common. March 11, 2011, an epic trifecta of disasters hits japan -- an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear meltdown, and an 18-year-old american boy claims he predicted it all. You say you have accurately predicted several thing joost. Right. Reporter: Ryan michaels is the resident psychic in rural beaverdale, pennsylvania. From his home tucked between the cornstalks and train tracks, he looks into the future and claims to catalogue premonitions of disaster on his website. His entry from before the tsumani specifically mentions "explosions," "earthquakes" and "flooding." I closed my eyes, and i pinpointed where I felt drawn to, the ocean near japan and i saw two explosions and felt shaking, which resembles earthquake. And that this would cause some type of a flooding or tsunami. Reporter: When did you get this premonition? About nine months before it happened. Reporter: Is that disturbing to you, to have a premonition about a natural disaster like that? I write what I see. Reporter: But author and skeptic matt hutson doesn't buy it. What's happening to people when they feel like they're having a premonition? The most likely scenario is people just feel anxious about something. So it's easy to feel like maybe I have anxiety for a reason. Maybe I'm sensing the future. And then looking back at an experience and labeling a thought as an example of precognition that is mostly because of our tendency to see patterns in the world. Reporter: But what about this bizarre tape from 1950. A chump exploded during a scheduled choir practice, but nobody was hurt. Why? Because all 15 people scheduled to be at practice that night didn't show up. Nobody had a clue that anything bad was going to happen, but yet everybody found some reason to not go to church. Reporter: So what does that tell you? I think that the unconscious works in very strange ways. Reporter: It certainly did for this man. Barrett naylor is a wall street executive, a brass tacks kind of guy with no interest in the paranormal. I never made the needle move on the ouija board. Reporter: But naylor cannot explain two life-changing moments he could not ignore. Each occurred as he stepped off his commuter train after an hour long ride into grand central station heading into work. The first time was on the morning of the 1993 world trade center bombing. It was a feeling I don't belong here today. I just simply turned around, got on the train, sat down and went home. Reporter: The second was on 9/11. It's not a physical feeling, it's -- I can't even describe it. Reporter: Dread? It wasn't dread. It was -- I got in there. A feeling came across me that it was not a day to be in the city. Reporter: And it was strong enough that you did not ignore it. I mean it's a big deal to turn around -- I turned around and got on the train. I was on the train when the first plane hit. I wish I had a better explanation for it. But it was real. Reporter: Naylor regrets not warning others on that tragic morning. So do you struggle with feelings of guilt? I struggle with 9/11. I think that everyone carries something with them when they have this sort of an experience, and it's difficult to talk about. Reporter: But his experience also gave naylor a shared sense with people like lynn, ryan, and so many others who believe in premonition, believes that there's something more to this world than we can see.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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