The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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64           THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
" The attention of the philosophical world has been lately attracted by the most singular phenomenon in the history of human mind that perhaps ever existed. It is the case of a child, under eight years of age, who, without any previous knowledge of the common rules of arithmetic, or even of the use and power of the Arabic numerals, and without having given any attention to the subject, possesses, as if by intuition, the singular faculty of solving a great variety of arithmetical questions by the mere operation of the mind, and without the usual assistance of any visible symbol or contrivance.
" The name of the child is Zerah Colburn, who was born at Cabut (a town lying at the head of the Onion River, in Vermont, in the United States of America), on the ist of September, 1804. About two years ago,August, 1810, although at that time not six years of age, he first began to show these wonderful powers of calculation which have since so much attracted the attention and excited the astonishment of every person who has witnessed his extraordinary abilities. The discovery was made by accident. His father, who had not given him any other instruction than such as was to be obtained at a small school established in that unfrequented and remote part of the country, and which did not include either writing or ciphering, was much surprised one day to hear him repeating the products of several numbers. Struck with amazement at the circumstance, he proposed a variety of arithmetical questions to him, all of which the child solved with remarkable facility and correctness. The news of the infant prodigy was soon circulated through the neighborhood, and many persons came from distant parts to witness so singular a circumstance. The father, encouraged by the unanimous opinion of all who came to see him, was induced to undertake with this child the tour of the United States. They were everywhere received with the most flattering expressions, and in several towns which they visited, various plans were suggested to educate and bring up the child free from all expense to his family. Yielding, however, to the pressing solicitations of his friends, and urged by the most respectable and powerful recommendations, as well as by a view to his son's more complete education, the father has brought the child to this country, where they arrived on the 12th of May last; and the inhabitants of this metropolis have for the last three months had an opportunity of seeing and examining this wonderful phenomenon, and verifying the reports that have been circulated respecting him. Many persons of the first eminence for their knowledge in mathematics, and well known