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Publisher's Summary

Premonitions are impossible. But they come true all the time.

Most are innocent. You think of a forgotten friend. Out of the blue, they call. 

But what if you knew that something terrible was going to happen? A sudden flash, the words Charing Cross. Four days later, a packed express train comes off the rails outside the station. 

What if you could share your vision, and stop that train? Could these forebodings help the world to prevent disasters? 

In 1966, John Barker, a dynamic psychiatrist working in an outdated British mental hospital, established the Premonitions Bureau to investigate these questions. He would find a network of hundreds of correspondents, from bank clerks to ballet teachers. Among them were two unnervingly gifted 'percipients'. Together, the pair predicted plane crashes, assassinations and international incidents, with uncanny accuracy. And then, they informed Barker of their most disturbing premonition: that he was about to die. 

The Premonitions Bureau is an enthralling true story, of madness and wonder, science and the supernatural—a journey to the most powerful and unsettling reaches of the human mind.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Sam Knight (P)2022 Faber Audio

What listeners say about The Premonitions Bureau

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Profile Image for Chris Bell
  • Chris Bell
  • 06-21-22

Wonderful work

This is a pleasure to listen to. Carefully structured, beautifully narrated and perfectly balanced. I didn’t lose interest for one single minute

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Sheridan Le Fanu
  • 06-12-22

Pure genius

My favourite read this year. Fascinating and original. It has inspired me to do further research on the subject.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. Giddens
  • 05-08-22

Incredible story, wonderfully written

I've been absolutely fascinated by the story of John Barker and the Premonitions Bureau since I first read an article by Sam Knight in the New Yorker several years ago. I'm so delighted that it has now been expanded to a book, giving so much more fascinating information, background and context. I have a lifelong interest in the esoteric and in the workings of the human mind, so I was never going to be disappointed by this book, but it definitely exceeded expectations. Sam Knight has handled the story beautifully and effortlessly captured my interest throughout, introducing many interesting contextual concepts and sources that I now intend to fully explore.

Julian Rhind-Tutt's narration is superb and makes for very enjoyable listening.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Leon Littlechild
  • Leon Littlechild
  • 08-31-22

Very very slow. Too much pointless detail

Was so excited to get this, but oh my word it is slow slow slow. It is packed full of way too much detail that is entirely pointless to the overall message.

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  • AM
  • 08-26-22

Fabulous writing

This is so beautifully written - clever without being smug, funny without being cruel, sensitive without being sugary. I so wanted to believe the precipients, to believe in some kind of hole in the space time continuum. I loved being in the psychiatric hospital, on Fleet Street, even at Aberfan. He writes as though he was there - an incredible evocation of a time completely gone by but just within touching distance. I loved this.

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  • Emma Wilkin
  • 08-25-22

Meanders a lot

There’s an interesting story at the core of this book. But the writer goes off on long tangents that didn’t seem to have anything to do with the main story. This meant there are large chunks that just didn’t seem to go anywhere. Disappointing overall.

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  • L. Howland
  • 08-14-22

A book that stayed with me long after I'd finished

It's hard to know what to compare this book to, because although it's a biography of sorts, it's somehow more than just that. If you're interested in Psychoanalysis, the uncanny, gothic horror, the Aberfan tragedy and unexplained phenomena, you're sure to find something in this intriguing book. It’s brilliantly researched and very well written. It's definitely one of my top reads of the year and I recommend it to everyone I know.

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  • dot_stockport
  • 08-10-22

interesting story but...

OK interesting story and I'd love to know more about the premonitions bureau. I guess this it though. I liked the narration but found the content not only to be meandering but almost dishonest in its spurious detail. This sort of overfull description of side topics feels like an attempt to give a veneer of completeness to something that is lacking. By viewing all events through the eyes of the protagonist we hear about what he thought was scientific, not about what really is scientific. This could be misleading for those who won't notice the omissions. It could be judged harshly by those who do. In other words not great. The real content here could have adequately been communicated in a 2 page article.

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  • justliz@bigfoot.com
  • 07-19-22

Sounds like Fiction

I’d read the reviews and I was therefore not surprised by the content of the book, which was not as I’d otherwise have expected. However whilst reversely people enjoyed the narrator, I found the reading made this book sound like fiction, I actually thought I’d misunderstood the blurb when I began listening. The tone would have been great for a novel but I found it too lyrical for non-fiction. I returned this as a result. I should have listened to a sample first.

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  • Gifts For Geeks
  • 07-06-22

Really Interesting

Really interesting telling of a snippet of history. I love the science that never was aspect of it.