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PERCEPTION OF THE FIXED LAWS OF NATURE. 67
dependent on his memory. In the multiplication of numbers and in the raising of powers, he is doubtless considerably assisted by that remarkable quality of the mind; and in this respect he might be considered as bearing some resemblance (if the difference of age did not prevent the justness of the comparison) to the celebrated Jedidiah Buxton, and other persons of similar note. But in the extraction of the roots of numbers and in determining their factors (if any), it is clear to all those wno have witnessed the astonishing quickness and accuracy of this child that the memory has nothing to do with the process. And in this particular point consists the remarkable difference between the present and all former instances of an apparently similar kind."
The latter remark above quoted would not apply to the present day, for many parallel cases have been reported within the present decade.
It was hoped that the powers of this child would develop by education ; and for this purpose he was placed in school and trained in objective methods of mathematical calculation. It was believed that when his mind became mature he would be able to impart to others the process by which his calculations were made. But his friends were doomed to disappointment. His powers did not improve by objective training. On the contrary, they deteriorated just in proportion to his efforts in that direction, and his pupils derived no benefit from the extraordinary faculties with which he was endowed. This has been the invariable rule in such cases.
A few years ago a gentleman travelled through this country teaching arithmetic. He was known as the " lightning calculator." His powers were indeed marvellous. He could add a column of as many numbers as could be written on a sheet of legal cap, by casting an instantaneous glance upon the page; but he succeeded no better as a teacher than thousands of others who could not add a column of numbers without reading every figure by the usual laborious, objective process. He could give no explanation of his powers other than that he possessed extraordinary quickness of vision. But any one who is sufficiently