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A caller from Tampa, Florida, talks about the eerie feeling she had when she heard an audio interview recorded with a speaker who at the time was unaware of his imminent death. She’d like a word to describe that feeling. Postalgia, maybe? This is part of a complete episode.

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  • I’ve never heard of a word for the feeling the caller describes, but for the person in the recording unaware of his own pending demise, there is an old and underused word for the trait of being fated to die. It’s “fey”.

    Whatever name is decided upon for the feeling, I’ve been getting it a lot lately as I watch old episodes of Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” on one of the digital broadcast channels. First was when Carol Wayne (the busty sidekick from the “Tea Time Movie” sketches) sat down for a panel segment and made Johnny feel uncomfortable about his age, trying to make it all better by observing “well, some day I’ll be fifty myself, but I probably won’t get as many acting roles”. (Carol Wayne died at 42 in an accidental drowning.) A subsequent repeat had Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten talking about the movie she was just then making with Peter Bogdanovich; Stratten was killed by her ex-boyfriend not long after this interview.

  • My suggestion: “Hindsight Prophecy”/ “Prophecolia”
    I suppose we are dealing here with a psychological phenomenon closely related to hindsight bias / conformation bias. Therefore I would suggest the term “hindsight prophecy” for what the listener experienced. “X happened unexpectedly, but there MUST have been clues in the past “. We all tend to selectively pick that information which complies with our expectation/experience. Another closely phenomenon is “Pareidolia” : Humans tend to see faces everywhere, even if there aren’t any….. So maybe sth like “Prophecolia” might be also an appropriate term.

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