According to reporter Sandra Clark, "Karen Dryer’s worst nightmare started to unravel when her young son Logan Dryer, 5, became so anxiety ridden when he went to kindergarten at Sandy Hook Elementary School that she decided to pull him out of school just two weeks before the deadly massacre.

"Logan started kindergarten in September 2012. He was perfectly fine in September and October, and then in November he started acting strange. I got an email from his teacher saying he was a little weepy and then I started getting phone calls that Logan was crying and wanted to go home. Eventually it got so bad that I took him to the doctor who ran tests, saying that Logan was perfectly healthy."

Logan's doctor suggested that he be home-schooled for several weeks, though he and his mother visited the school once a week so he could socialize with friends. During those visits, his mother said, the boy would become visibly upset as if he knew something bad would happen. Karen Dryer came to believe that her son’s concerns and fears revealed his gift of prophecy: "My mother, Milly, who passed away a couple of months ago was very psychic, and I know now without a doubt that my son has the same gift."

Psychological Explanations

While Dryer's interpretation of her son's behavior may be correct, a closer look at the details of the case suggest an alternative explanation. On one level, Dryer's assumption makes sense: her son's fear was prophetic.

But that logic is common fallacy with a Latin name: post hoc ergo propter hoc ("after this, therefore because of it"). Because the human mind seeks connections, people often misattribute causes, thinking that, "B happened after A did, so A must have caused B." Logan expressed anxiety and fear about school, and two weeks later that school experienced one of the worst shootings in history. It makes sense—except that it's not necessarily true. It's like saying "roosters crow before the sun rises, so the roosters must have made the sun rise." Just because the boy expressed fear before the tragedy doesn't mean he knew it was going to happen.