Prizewinning New Yorker journalist Sam Knight offers a compelling narrative that is so ‘out there’ it could be a work of fiction. This expansion upon Sam’s 2019 article titled, The Psychiatrist Who Believed People Could Tell the Future centres on the psychiatrist John Barker, who, alongside his work with patients at a Shropshire hospital, was also fascinated with the supernatural.
In the days following a colliery waste tip tragically wiping out a significant portion of the Welsh mining town of Aberfan, killing 144 people, mostly children, Barker learned of premonitions regarding the disaster, from some of the victims and those further afield.
With the assistance of Paul Fairley at The Evening Standard, Barker set up an appeal requesting those who experienced portents of the disaster to contact them. This became The Premonitions Bureau.
Two of the seers who contributed – Kathleen Middleton and Alan Henscher – had a knack for prediction. They predicted plane crashes, political assassinations, and John Barker’s death.