Michael Jawer

Michael Jawer

Feeling Too Much

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 10

Nightmares involving gravely wounded people or animals have an undeniable power.

Posted Jul 09, 2017

The previous accounts of pets appearing to connect with people in anomalous ways have a collective power, even if one is inclined to dismiss them as coming from ‘questionable’ sources.  What may be more compelling is an account found in a source completely unrelated to anything anomalous. 

Consider the following, drawn from a book by Alaska author and nature photographer Nick Jans.  A Wolf Called Romeo is the story of a wolf that, for reasons that can only be guessed at – curiosity, perhaps, or loneliness – established a friendly relationship with the residents of Juneau, Alaska (and their numerous dogs) between 2003 and 2009, until he was shot by a pair of out-of-state hunters.  One of the city’s residents, Harry Robinson, and his black Lab mix, Brittain, had become very close with this wolf (nickamed Romeo because of his evident search for either love or companionship).  The three would often meet daily, walking, playing and resting together in the wilderness off one of the well-known glacier trails.  By 2009, they had spent hundreds of hours in each other’s company.  Brittain was Romeo’s pseudo-mate/love interest, and Robinson his trusted friend/alpha male role model. (Jans, pp. 157-8)  

In September 2009, however, Robinson had a nightmare.  “I felt Romeo scream,” he said.  “I could hear it inside my head.  He was in agony.  I saw him turn to bite at his side, and at that moment, I know he’d been shot.”  The next day, Romeo did not appear as usual to greet him and Brittain.  Although there had been times when the wolf went missing for days or even weeks, Robinson, mindful of his dream, suspected something wasn’t right. (Jans, p. 201)

Over the next few days, a similar dream came to Vic Walker, a local veterinarian who had developed his own connection with the wolf.  Walker recounts: “Romeo was wounded…He’d been shot in the jaw.  The bone was totally shattered.  Harry was there.  He said, ‘He’s done’; I told him, ‘No, no.  I can fix this.” (Jans, p. 202)  Neither man knew of the other’s dream until years later.

These dreams remind me of a quite different account I once came across, not involving animals but likewise involving a mournful death.  This story is also a well-documented one. (Wood, Washington Post Magazine)  On the bitter cold morning of January 13, 1964, a B-52 bomber flying over western Maryland was buffeted by a tremendous storm and crashed.  Four of the crew managed to eject.  They endured freezing cold conditions and deep snow on the ground; two of the men managed to survive.  Two, however did not.  One of them, Tech. Sgt. Mel Wooten, 27, was severely wounded because, on ejecting, a piece of the broken tail of the plane blew into him.  Writer David Wood describes:

"The impact shattered his left thigh and gashed his head, chest and hands, but he came down alive in a flat meadow known around Salisbury, Pa., as the Dye Factory field.  There, he collapsed in the snow.  Behind him, warmth and salvation lay 200 yards away, in a line of houses just beyond some railroad tracks.  In front of Wooten, half a mile away, were the twinkling lights of town.  He cut himself loose from his blood-stained orange chute and survival kit and began crawling toward the lights, not knowing that between him and town lay the ice-choked Casselman River."

That same night, the wife of one of the Maryland men who would embark on a search for the crew members had a startling dream.  The woman “jerked awake…breathing hard: In a nightmare, she had seen a young man wearing an orange jacket, lying in the Dye Factory field at the edge of the Casselman River. The man was injured, bleeding and holding out his arms.”

I see no overt reason that people should make up such accounts.  If it’s notoriety they seek, they must know that any attention that comes their way for the suggestion of an ESP-like ability is bound to be offset by skepticism and ridicule.  Instead, I suggest that what we have here is an illustration of how searing trauma – experienced by a human being or other mammal possessing a similar neurobiology, similar capacity for emotion, and similar social nature – produces effects that are simultaneously physical, emotional, and spiritual.


Jans, Nick. A Wolf Called Romeo. Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. 

Wood, David. “Bomber Down.” Washington Post Magazine, August 8, 1999. Posted at Buzz One Four, http://buzzonefour.org/bomberdown.html.

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